This is the final article in our 12-part subscription sales series, designed to help you understand and prepare for the evolving sales landscape. This article discusses the importance of content in building trust and influencing buyer behaviour. Don’t forget to read the previous ten articles in this series; a new sales strategy, customer segmentation, understanding your customer market, customer-centric sales approaches, understanding the customer journey, the road to profitability, online channels, part one and part two of our data guides, sales processes and selecting sales tools.
Your customer expects content, lots of content. They expect to look online and learn everything they need to know about their problem, find a product or service solution that interests them, and learn about the company that is selling it. Content creates trust and influences the conversion of a prospect into a quality lead.
There are some pointers to consider when creating content. Read our top tips below.
Share content across the entire sales process
The majority of content available is written for the awareness stage of the customer journey and there is a decent drop off when you progress to the education and usage stages. This approach doesn’t help subscription businesses. Think about it. Onboarding and expansion are the most important stages of the customer journey for a subscription business. Therefore, it is beneficial to deliver content that includes key points of interest for customers in these stages.
Encourage user-generated content
User-generated content is content related to your brand but that is created by someone who isn’t an official representative of your business. It could be a social media update, a review, a video, a podcast, etc.
User-generated content is incredibly powerful. In fact, customers are more likely to buy from businesses with bad Google ratings than from customers with no rating at all. This is because user-generated content is authentic and trustworthy. In addition, user-generated content is scalable and is typically tailored to the interests of your customers.
Find opportunities to encourage your customers to create their own content. Try creating campaigns or processes that motivate your customers to share content.
Expand reach through multiple channels
There is no shortage of platforms to share content, as evidenced by multi-billion dollar businesses like Google, LinkedIn and Instagram. As a side note, the fact that these are billion dollar businesses should further reinforce why content is so important.
The more distribution channels you use, the more customers you’re likely to reach. However, you can’t blast the same post across every channel. The way users engage on LinkedIn is very different to how they engage on Youtube and Instagram. Be intentional about curating content to the platform and the target customer segment you intent to reach on that platform.
Educational content is an outbound sales strategy
Many content writers make the mistake of assuming that customers look for information in the awareness stage – when they become interested in a product. The reality is that customers look for educational content when they are researching different solutions. And when they find something they like, they share it with their connections. This is an outbound sales strategy.
We’ve noticed that sales teams get nervous about sending content during active deals. But they shouldn’t. Properly defined content strategies can be extremely effective when designed using a thoughtful sales process. In fact, the right content can save your sales teams from answering generic questions, allowing them to focus on unique customer questions.
Sales, Development Reps and Account Executives are content creators
Each of your sales reps is uniquely equipped with extensive product knowledge and the common problems and challenges faced by your customers. Combining these two perspectives is a winning recipe to create content that speaks directly to customers.
While sales teams have all the information needed to write great content, they may not have the natural skills to create engaging and clear content. We recommend investing in tools, training and processes to help them create content as part of their daily activities.
Experiment with visual content
In an era of TikTok, Instagram and Youtube, video content is growing in dominance. A sensible ambition for businesses should be to create simple, short and informative content. The reasons why video content is so powerful is because it:
- Builds reputation – A younger sales rep who might usually have been dismissed can easily be presented as an eloquent and informed member of your team.
- Is an efficient communication mode – You can easily develop videos on your iPhone. Use video to create 60-second sales pitches. Or, switch from spending an hour carefully crafting an email and instead film a short show-and-tell video that clearly gets the message across while building credibility and authenticity.
- Is sticky – Customers are more like to recall a message in a video sooner than in an email.
- Establishes connection – Email open rates can increase by 2-3 times after a person has seen a video from the sender.
Video content can be confronting to generate at first. But as with all things, it becomes second nature with time. We recommend giving it as shot as part of your overall content strategy to support your sales process.
Contact us for more advice on creating and sharing effective content with your customers.
This is the final article in our subscription sales series. As a reminder, we’ve covered the following topics in this 12-part series:
- A new sales strategy
- Customer segmentation
- Understanding your customer market
- A customer-centric sales approach
- Understanding your customer journey
- The road to profitability
- Online channels
- A guide to data part 1: building the foundation
- A guide to data part 2: leverage data
- Sales processes
- Selecting the right tools
- Content is king