As a business living in 2022, you probably have a nice website and at least one profile on a social media platform. That’s great! But does your content have a purpose? Is it working for you as a tool to grow your sales? Or does it merely exist so you can check a box and say “we’re a modern business with an online presence”?
Your online presence should exist to lead people down the marketing funnel and make a purchase. It’s easy to create a Facebook page or Instagram profile and throw up some basic content. Even publishing a website today is pretty simple. But you should always have a strategy for your content. Your website and social media can be strong tools to generate sales when correctly equipped.
The Marketing Funnel
You want every person who interacts with you online to take action. And after they take one action, you want them to take another. And another. Until, step by step, you lead them to making a purchase with you.
What we’re looking at here is cultivating a strong marketing funnel that generates, nurtures, and converts leads to sales. This is what it means to create content with a strategy. Do you find yourself posting a picture or a quick link on your social media just because you know you should be posting something?
If so, it may be time for you to take a step back. Review the marketing funnel and discover how you can use your online presence to make more sales.
Stage One: Lead Generation
In the beginning, no one knows who you are. They don’t know your name, they don’t know what your products or services are, and they may not even understand how they work. They certainly don’t understand at the moment why they need you.
This first stage is all about finding your ideal audience and introducing yourself. It may require some market research. It will require a lot of content that is friendly, full of value, and memorable. For content in this stage, do not immediately jump into the sale. Just start the conversation.
Here’s how to leverage social media and your website to generate leads.
- Research what hashtags will reach your ideal audience and use these in every post on social media. You want to be as discoverable as possible.
- Create content that is quick, friendly, and simple to introduce your business, products or services
- Answer questions or address problems you know your ideal customer is asking: show how you solve them
- Optimize your website and social media bios with exactly who you are in a few short words
- Include a call-to-action (CTA) that invites people to follow for more, or get more information
Stage Two: Lead Nurture
At this point, people know a little bit about you and you should have a following of some sort. They may recognize your name, understand what industry you operate in, and hopefully understand the problem you solve. Do not stop here with this awareness. Always create content and a website that leads people to take the next step into interest and consideration.
Some people will be in their own research mode, needing to solve their problem but unsure which business they should partner with. Others may not have accepted they need to solve their problem now, but they’re curious enough in your solution to consider purchasing from you. Either way, your content in this stage should be more detailed and persuasive. Here are a few content ideas to nurture leads.
- Share testimonials from past clients and customers
- Demo a product or service to show how excellently it works
- Build engagement by asking your followers questions or running Q+As
- Pay influencers to promote your business
- Create content that is extremely shareable
- Make your videos or pictures attractive, creative, and unique
- Target users on social media who follow you or have engaged with you in the past when you run any advertising so you can continue the conversation
- Include a CTA that invites people to visit a landing page, read more about your offerings, and even to make a purchase
This stage is more persuasive than the last. This time you should take a step past introducing yourself and tell people why your company is the best and they should buy from you.
Stage Three: Converting Leads to Sales
People know who you are and what you do. They know the benefits of your products or services and hopefully why you are better than your competitors. You have built a relationship with these leads and have every right to ask for the sale. Here are a few ways to use your online content to convert leads to sales.
- Run a sale and target all advertising towards your followers and anyone who has engaged with you before
- Ask questions that lead to a sale
- Do you [have this problem]?
- Are you ready to [fix this problem]?
- Have you ever considered [this solution]?
- Create content centered around one specific product or service you want to sell. Make sure it leads to a landing page on your website with persuasive sales copy and hard sell to “Buy now”
- Provide opportunities for anyone still on the fence to clear the air
- What questions do you have about [this product or service]?
- Ask yourself these questions to create a sales post: What time of year is it? Why is buying your product today the best decision someone could make?
This stage is the moment to push and ask for the sale. But you can’t get to this stage without introducing yourself and nurturing the relationship first, so make sure the first two stages are not neglected.
Put it All Together
Now you have three stages of content to build from. But what does this look like on a daily and weekly basis? First, use each stage as a category to brainstorm content ideas from.
- Lead Generation
- Introduction post
- Answer a problem my ideal customer has
- An exciting and unique hook that introduces a benefit of your service or product
- Lead Nurturing
- Client testimonial
- Product or service demo
- Ask a question to build relationships
- Converting Leads to Sales
- Promote a sale, discount or special offer
- Ask sales questions that lead to a landing page
- Create a seasonal post about the benefits of your product or service
These are just a few ideas. Keep a constant list of content ideas for each of these categories. Any time you create any advertising content for a lead nurturing post, target people who have engaged with your lead generation posts. When you create advertising to convert leads to sales, target people who have engaged with your lead nurturing posts.
Social media can be a lot to balance as a business. But with a simple strategy to direct people down the marketing funnel, your social media will increase your sales. No more posting inconsistently and without direction. Let your social media work for you instead of just being an afterthought. Create content that introduces yourself, engages with your followers, and persuades them to purchase.
By Tabitha Jean Naylor
Keywords: Business Continuity, Business Strategy