Those of you who are regular readers of this blog have likely been following The Contagious Content Challenge. I started this series to share with you the updates sent to me by a marketer who'd read my book, eMarketing Strategies for the Complex Sale, and started implementing the strategies I wrote about to create his company's content marketing programs.
If you need to catch up, here are the other posts in the series:
Today he sent me another email. I'm really excited to hear from him as this is his update after one year of sticking with the program he developed. Here's what he had to say:
I promised to provide you quick updates every now and then since you inspired our content strategy. One year ago I implemented the strategy. It is amazing how much can be accomplished by staying at it. A few observations:
- User-concentric content works best for lead nurturing. We use an online lead generation package that allows us to set up campaigns. Our lead nurture program has 12 pieces over 3 months. Educate, educate, educate. Every time we post a piece or release it to our email list - the phone rings. The leads are highly qualified.
- Once a lead contacts us - it typically takes us 90 days to close a sale. We have developed sales content. First we aggregated 5 of our thought leadership "Strategy Briefs" into an e-book. We have also created case studies. Plus we have all of the traditional product catalogs and stuff. When we are in sales mode - we tend to use the content on an ad-hoc basis. Whenever we check in with a prospect for a status check by email - we always attach one piece of content. We can use more ideas for sales content.
- This week we had a new experience. In your book you talk about the continuum of 0 to 100. 0 is the start and 100 is the sale. It seems that content takes us from 0-70 … and then sales takes us from 71-100.
This week we got a call from a firm. They told us they have been reading our stuff for months. They had one key function they were looking for in a system that they concluded our product had. The called - we did a demo - and had a sale in 2 days. What was so interesting is this prospect knew almost everything about our product and the demo was about confirmation. Throughout the demo they used our company vocabulary when asking questions - indicating they have been combing through our stuff pretty seriously.
So in this story - content took us from 0-98. This was unbelievable to us.
It is time for you to write a second book!
[I included that last line for my benefit :-) It's nice to hear.]
I'm so proud of him for sticking with it. Just look at what's possible if you do! His success is based upon setting expectations and consistently delivering over time. By using content strategically, he's been able to position his company as an expert, help prospects understand exactly why they need what his company offers and shorten the sales cycle by a huge margin. Those are results I'd bet every company would like to have.
My reader also shared something he'd like some help with. He says he'd like to create a formal, automated sequence for a prospect once they enter the sales cycle, but he's using his best content an ad hoc basis during Step 2, above. He's concerned about being too repetitive.
Here's the dirty little secret about repetition: It takes 5 - 12 repetitions of an idea to make it stick. I'd recommend he re-invent some of his best content, change it up a bit so the repetition isn't obvious, maybe even switch out a point or two. That way he can create a series that reinforces the active sales end of the buying process with nurturing without having to reinvent the wheel.
And, consider that if salespeople are also interacting with the prospects at this point, that the touch frequency can slow down. You don't want to barrage them with communications from the sales rep and the nurturing program. So, slow the cadence.
An additional point to consider is breaking longer pieces in two. Use the first part as a nurturing touch and have the salesperson use the 2nd part when they call to follow up. This not only gives them a conversational lead in, but a way to extend the conversation. This would require a bit of coordination, but can be done.
It's amazing what can happen in a year, isn't it? What's stopping you?