Loving on Your Prospects:  Why Your Content Strategy Should be Like Dating

Finding prospects and turning them into customers or clients is a lot like dating.  First comes a bit of attraction; getting to know each other and obtaining a "yes" to "Can I call you again?" 

Then it's getting to know each other on a deeper level: 

  • Do you think about and stay in touch with each other often?

  • Is there perhaps a bit of desire burning under the surface?

  • Are you to the point of dating each other exclusively?

And, ultimately, could you see yourself with this partner forever?

If you've sailed on this love boat you know it's a process full of stages.  And for each stage there are different feelings, thoughts shared and expectations met or unmet.  At each stage can make or break the relationship.

Welcome to the world of your content strategy.  It's the same.  There is a process; there are stages to our love connection.  But how many times have we seen content thrown out into the world with no thought as to how our prospects feel about us?

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Matching Your Content Strategy to the Love Stages for Prospects

If marketing is like dating, and there are stages along the way that introduce  and finally endure our prospects to us, what does that say about our content as they move through our sales funnel?  Does our content match the customers' journey through that process? 

There are countless types of content; blogs, white papers, videos, infographics and landing pages are just a few.  There are also steps to the sales funnel, which often can be thought of as AIDA. (Yes, the same AIDA that goes into one-hit wonder landing pages, only in multiple-contact form to match the decision-making psychology of most prospects, especially in the B2B world.)  It goes something like this:

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  • Top of the Funnel:  The Attention step - Mentally grab 'em fast and hold 'em tight.

  • Mid-Sales Funnel:  Interest & Desire - Make them fall in love with you.

  • Bottom of the Funnel:  Your Call to Action - The right marriage proposal at the right time.

But are all types of content right for every step?

Let's take a look at your average customer.  Where do they start?  What do they have in common before they actually love you?

The Content Strategy for the Top of the Sales Funnel 

The content at the top of the sales funnel is designed to introduce your company, product, or service to a new audience.  It's about building awareness - for your brand, your product or service benefits.  It's also about getting inside the head of your prospect and recognizing they have a problem - and you have the solution.

But your audience has options.  If there's one thing the internet has taught us it's that we can shop around, regardless of what we're looking for.  So as a marketer, online sales machine or business owner what are you doing to catch the attention of potential buyers? 

 

Well, that's the job of content.  That first piece your prospect sees has to catch their attention.  Sure, they're going to leave and move around the internet like a pinball on crack, because they can.  But at the top of the funnel they're just narrowing the field of choices.  Your content has to let them do that, ensuring you're still on their short list once they leave your

website or landing page.

 

The big question you need to answer for your potential buyer at this point is:  "What's in it for me?  What problem are you going to solve?"

 

So, at the awareness stage, ask yourself, "What is the best type of content at this stage in the sales funnel that will capture my prospects' attention?"  What's the best way to form an initial relationship; a landing page with a video that outlines the main benefits and features of your product or service, a blog that showcases your understanding of their needs, or an infographic that is a quick, attention-grabbing read of facts and features?

The Type of Content for the Middle of the Sales Funnel

Now that you've got prospects headed in the right direction, the middle of the sales funnel presents your next hurdle; capturing their interest and desire.  This means the message will be different from that at the top of the sales funnel.  Therefore the content type should also be different.

You're not going to introduce yourself in the same way you did at the top of the funnel.  Nor should you.  By now you know more about your prospect than when you started, and they've learned a little something about you too. 

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It's time to start building rapport and content that answers questions like:

  • "Why me over anyone else?  What benefits do you offer?"

  • "Does your solution make me drool with desire so much I can't live without it?"

 

To answer those questions, what type of content will you use?    A landing page with a video that outlines the main benefits and features of your product or service?  An eBook that walks the reader through how to use your solution to solve their problem in greater detail.  Maybe a case study before and after results.

 

Content for the Bottom of the Sales Funnel

By now, hopefully, you've nurtured your prospect with a string of different types of content  that has taken them on a love trip with you to the moon and back.  You're now ready to pop the call to action question.  The content at this stage is designed to get the prospect to take action and buy your product or service.  While popping the big question there are things to keep in mind.

Your content should answer questions like:

  • "What does it cost?" 

  • "How do I sign up?"

  • "Are there any risks for me if I decide to buy from you?"

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Now is not the time for content that is long-winded, but it must predictable yet exciting. Predictable in that this is not the stage for surprises. You've been courting your prospect for a while now. Your brand has been consistently presented. Your potential client or customer is falling in love. Would you want a surprise right now if you were in their shoes?

Nope - they'll think you've cheated on them - that you've held something back. Your surprise, whether it be tone, style or message, could change the the entire relationship you've taken so long to build. You've taken advantage of their awareness-turned-desire.

But you do have to make your call to action exciting. It needs to be the climax of the relationship you've built.

So, content at the bottom of the funnel should:

  • Be short and sweet - to the point

  • Use strong and active verbs

  • Be personal - use "you" statements

  • Create urgency without being pushy  (Don’t put products or services on sale “for a limited time”!)

 

Now that you know the content types that work at each stage of the sales funnel, you can start to produce content with greater purpose. Write content that moves your prospects whether they are just learning about you or they are ready to wed.

If you can do all that, content marketing at each stage of the sales funnel will be a breeze and your content will work hard to attract prospects and turn them into lifelong fans.

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