Customers or prospects. Baby boomers or Millennials. Men or women. Experts or novices. Your audience learns about you online. Through content. That's how you connect with customers.
In fact, studies suggest that 57% of a purchase decision is complete before a customer even calls a supplier. And it's not just prospects. Your current customers needs change. They go through the same discovery process. Telling them about new capabilities and services doesn't mean they remember or jump to their feet and place an order.
The Rule Of Seven
The rule of seven means that your audience needs to hear your message approximately seven times before they take action. Although results vary, multiple communications, both in person and on-line, are necessary for either customers or prospects to remember. And they don't remember for good reason:
- External noise like a hot project or other work related distractions
- They like what you do but don't need you yet
- They don't know you very well and need to learn more about you
So how can you ensure that your valuable information gets communicated so your buyers see it, understand the value and then act upon it?Need help with your content strategy - download the Content Tool Set
7 Ways To Connect With Customers And Impact Revenue1
Blogs are an online information hub. They educate, inform and guide your audience allowing you to touch on issues and concerns that impact their business. Blogs allow you to share your voice and show your personality, building relationships and trust.
Additional Blog Benefits
Blog posts are always on. They sell when you can't. Regardless if it's at 6:00 in the morning or 12:00 at night, your post will help guide prospects to a next step in their decision making process. Plus, there is no shelf life for useful information. A two year old post can impact your audience today.
In addition, search engines thirst for fresh content. When web crawlers spot new pages they reward your website with greater visibility. The increased visibility delivers more traffic, some of which will turn into prospects and then customers.
Although they are easy to start, blogs are a challenge to maintain. Once a day or once a month, sustaining a consistent schedule is crucial. Editorial calendars help. But before you leap into a blog, commit the resources to ensure consistent output.2
Newsletters provide timely and topical content for customers and prospects that have connected with you. They provide the opportunity to highlight a product, explain the benefits, and point them to additional information that guides them along the path to purchasing.
Additional Newsletter Benefits
It's estimated that over 90% of consumers check email on their smart phone at least once a day. An e-newsletter allows you to connect with customers and provide useful information your audience can easily consume. When newsletters deliver great content they help you strengthen engagement and stay in touch with your audience. If you are informing alongside selling, you’re building a long-term relationship with your customers.
Just like your website, blog posts or social media, a newsletter should provide education and information. Developing topics that benefits your audience is crucial. It might be easier to provide internally focused content or use it entirely as a selling vehicle but that doesn't work.3
Case studies are a powerful sales enablement tool. They connect with customers, as they progress through buying phases or introduce new capabilities. Case studies demonstrate your solution and the value it provides. Case studies are especially helpful when a prospect is deciding between suppliers.
Additional Case Study Benefits
Case studies are multipurpose. On your website, in a blog post, newsletter, a social media page, or even a video, you can repurpose and distribute in various channels.
Case Study Challenges
A good case study requires in-depth research. Understanding exactly how a customer utilized your solution and explaining each step so a reader grasps the benefits isn't easy. It's helpful to use a customer's name or quotes from a user. However, obtaining permission takes time or may even be rejected. These challenges all contribute to longer development times.4
Video is the online content of choice. In 2015, digital video consumption increased to nearly two hours each day! And part of that consumption includes business related applications. It allows you to connect with customers in a way written information can't. Videos allow you to explain complex capabilities quickly and clearly or demonstrate a product and show exactly how to use it.
Additional Video Benefits
A short video provides an effective way to introduce other information increasing engagement for that content. For example, a 20 second video summarizing the value of a white paper will increase the amount of people downloading it. Video, both on your site and on Youtube, Vimeo or other similar sites, is accessed by enterprise buyers during their discovery process. When you make it easier for your audience to learn about you, you'll convert more prospects into customers. And, like blog posts and social media, videos sell for you 24/7/365.
Although not every project requires high end production, a more complex video can be expensive. And you can't just produce a video and forget about it. Just like any content, they can become stale requiring updates or even new production.5
For complex capabilities and applications, white papers are an excellent fit. They allow you to convey deep educational content, convey your expertise while providing thought leadership.
Additional White Paper Benefits
White papers serve as a lead generation tool. Prospects are willing to exchange their email address for valuable content. Not just anyone wants to download a white paper. Downloads indicate interest not window shopping. Plus, white papers can be optimized generating additional traffic to your website
White Paper Challenges
White papers are research intensive and require a substantial amount of time and effort. Whether it's an internal resource commitment or outsourcing, the expense is greater than blogs or social media.6
What better way to interact and connect with customers and prospects than in person at a company sponsored event. Combining a facility tour with a keynote address and educational sessions or conducting similar sessions in a offsite venue, bring significant value. The ability to interact 1:1, match up subject matter experts with specific customer needs and enhance relationships are greater than any other medium.
In Person Events Additional Benefits
Customers and prospects get to meet your entire team. There's a certain excitement that events generate that add to the good feelings your audience already has about your company. And most importantly, the ability to close business increases exponentially.
In Person Events Challenges
They require extensive planning and longer lead times. Follow up, both on the event itself and with prospective attendees, is essential. In person events are the most expensive of any of the "content" options.7
The Good Ole Phone Call or Personal Email
1:1 contact helps amplify all your other messages. It's obvious that conversations connect with customers in a way that digital media can't. But even if voice mails or emails aren't answered, you can still direct prospect's to all the helpful information you've developed. Whether it's an informative blog post, a capabilities video or white paper that addresses pain points, adding that personal touch increases the connection and accelerates next steps.
Expanding the channels you use to connect with customers allows them to learn about you where they go to look for information. The more they learn, the more likely they are to become your customer and impact revenue.