Guiding Prospects Through the Sales Cycle with Social Media
If you’re not using a blog for your business, you should be. If you are using a blog for business, are you wondering how to combine blog posts with social media content to move people through the sales cycle? PTC Computer Solutions works with clients all the time who ask this very question. Discover how to use blog posts to create social media content at every stage of your marketing process.
1.Define Marketing Goals
Every company should have clearly defined marketing goals and objectives. This includes both traditional and online goals. Creating a social media marketing funnel is directly tied to these defined marketing goals. To begin with, think of one marketing goal to accomplish. Beginning with a single short-term goal is much easier than tackling long-term goals. Also, choose a realistic, measurable goal so that the objective can be measurably attained.
Examples of clearly defined objectives are as follows:
- Aim for a specific number of pre-orders before launching.
- Focus on making a certain number of reservations for the first quarter of business.
- Concentrate on increasing the rate of new subscribers numerically or by percentage.
2.Publish Blog Posts to Support the Customer Journey
After the goals have been identified, ensure to publish content that leads people toward that goal. To do that effectively, content must cater to people at different stages in the process. For each stage, write a few blog posts that support the goal at each stage of the sales process including building awareness, gaining confidence, and converting prospects.
Content should cater to people at different stages in the sales cycle.
Stage 1: Create Awareness
To create awareness, think about blog posts that would attract new people to the brand and demonstrate what you can offer. Also, if your blog posts give people a quick-fix solution to a problem, you’ll earn enough trust for them to hang around and learn more. That’s probably why you are still reading this blog.
In this first stage of the sales process, these types of blog posts work well:
- Top resources post: Share your best resources with your audience.
- Product and gift guides: Share about and rank products, gifts, and/or services that suit a specific purpose.
- “How To” posts: Present a problem and demonstrate a solution (or many solutions) to that problem.
- “Q&A” posts: Write a post in Question & Answer format to answer readers’ most likely asked questions about a product.
Create content that spreads awareness of your brand and attracts new followers.
Stage 2: Your Prospect Wants to Know, Like, and Trust You
At this stage, the word “want” is important. Marketers often assume that loyalty is hard-won. However, when you help people, they naturally want to like and trust you. Your prospect becomes eager to learn more and figure out if you can help. The higher the price tag, the more content you’ll need at this stage.
Here are five blog post types that work well for building trust, likeability, and loyalty:
- Customer Cases: Share customers’ experiences to show readers how your business helped that customer.
- Expert interviews: You might ask an expert to give insight into an issue that’s relevant to your readers.
- Inspiration & Motivation: Tell a personal story to motivate and inspire your readers.
- Opinions: Persuade readers to consider an alternative point of view by challenging conventional wisdom on an issue.
- Research breakdown: Analyze the takeaways from several current surveys or studies about a trend in your industry. Or summarize an industry report to help your readers understand how the information may affect them.
Expert interviews are one way to help your prospects and build trust.
Stage 3: Your Prospects Are Warm and Ready to Take the Relationship Further
Conversion doesn’t necessarily mean asking for the sale. To illustrate, you might ask the reader to subscribe to your email newsletter so you can nurture the sale via email. However, it’s a myth that blog posts should never contain sales information.
When you’re in business, you’re supposed to ask for the sale. It’s absolutely okay and necessary for you to tell your potential customers how you can help them and why they should buy from you. Focus on attracting and nurturing relationships 80% of the time, but you can focus on conversions with the other 20%.
Here are three types of blog posts that work well for conversions:
- Call the reader to action: Run a challenge that motivates your readers to take action. You can organize a formal challenge where readers must sign up to participate or an informal challenge designed to foster a sense of community.
- Invite the reader to enter a competition/giveaway: Promote a product or service by enticing readers to enter a competition by writing no more than 25 words about a given topic.
- Launch a new product or service: Write a blog post announcing a new product and explain how the product helps your customers.
A blog post about a product or service can help you convert warm prospects into buyers.
3.Repurpose Published Blog Posts to Create Social Media Marketing Collateral
After your several blog posts are published, break them down into smaller chunks you can use on social media. Create graphics, videos, and so on to support each piece of content as it’s rolled out to different Social Media platforms.
Because you’ve started with blog posts, you can easily repurpose the content in other formats for use on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, and other channels.
From content in each example blog post, you can create social media content chunks such as the following:
- How to create a blog post strategy in 5 minutes or less: Native video, SlideShare presentation, infographic, Instagram story broken into five short videos demonstrating each phase of the process
- Ten tools for creating awesome images for your blog: Instagram multiple-image post, short tips to share on Facebook and Twitter
- How a business coach made $7K out of this mistake: Video testimonial, quote graphics, Instagram story broken into segments throughout the day
- Why I dropped everything to found a tech startup: Behind-the-scenes video, inspirational quote graphics
- Create your content calendar in 7 days – Join the challenge: Lead generation ad with downloadable document, live video Q&A for each day of the challenge, Facebook group for challenge participants
- Small beginnings: Our content tech experiment has begun: Conversion ad with a call to action to purchase, recorded video that demonstrates the product, infographic that shows the product’s value
You can repurpose just one blog post for several social media platforms.
Creating the Right Amount of Content for Your Prospects
Depending on your product, prospects may take their time to make a purchase, especially if what you’re selling is at a higher price point. In that case, it helps to allow a longer lead time in your marketing campaigns. Your audience’s tolerance for information frequency will determine your lead time.
For instance, a lower-priced product like a book or gadget may require only a one-week lead time and three pieces of content. A higher-priced product like a house or a pool may require a longer lead time and six pieces of content.
When creating a social media marketing process that supports a goal, you create a more targeted and relevant content on both blog and social media platforms. Also, these can be easily repurposed for the use in blog posts or for social media marketing.
Remember to create content for each stage of the customer journey and adjust how much content is posted based on the knowledge of the product and customers.
What do you think? Does your content build a social media marketing funnel? Have you repurposed blog posts to create content for social media?
PTC Computer Solutions works extensively on building relationships, not posting things for the sake of posting. Spend time looking at your networking list to learn how you can deepen the relationships with your followers and give them more of what they want.
If all of this befuddles you, belittles your being, begs your brain to be foddered, belying your intellect…not to worry, PTC Computer Solutions has a team of experts on this stuff and we’re here to help. It’s what we do.
Online marketing is an incredibly dynamic environment with a tremendous number of moving parts. It is a constantly changing world. You do what you do best. Let us do what we do best. Keeping involved and staying ahead of the latest improvements is what we do at PTC Computer Solutions.
If you are looking to get noticed on the Internet but don’t know where to begin, let PTC Computer Solutions help you get started or help improve your current website and website marketing plan and budget. Among everything else we do, PTC can plan a full marketing strategy and budget for your company and complete any marketing efforts, web or otherwise, you wish to achieve in order to deliver a consistent and effective message to your prospects.
By David W. B. Parker
PTC Computer Solutions