Converting your prospects into customers is a journey that takes time, a consistent cadence of outreach, and a steady stream of the right content to ultimately land a sale.
The act of moving the prospect along this journey is known as “nurturing,” and it involves both art and science for optimum success. A new report by SmartBrief, in which it polled subscribers who are involved with organizational purchase decisions, concluded that some content drives success better than others. As you go about creating content, consider these four key points from the report:
- Purchasers doing homework: These days, decision makers conduct research on their own before ever contacting a vendor. More than 80% in the SmartBrief poll agreed to that statement, and almost half (46%) strongly agreed.
- Third-party content is more influential: In turn, purchasers say they are most positively influenced by content not provided by the supplier or vendor, but instead rely upon third-party information, such as peer recommendations (80%), outside, original research (74%) or impartial product reviews (58%). Less influential is vendor-provided content: case studies (43%), webinars (42%) and blog posts (21%). That’s not to say such company-generated content doesn’t have its place – the numbers are still respectable and this content still has a role in the sales process, but it’s just not top of mind nor as influential early on as third-party content.
- More educational; less promotional: More than 60% of respondents want material that “speaks to my specific needs or pain points,” while 57% desire product and service specifications. Up to 43% of decision-makers want content to be more educational than promotional, and 33% want content that shows how a product or service has helped others. Less important is how the information is communicated – only 24% care whether the information is professionally presented, and only 12% say they are influenced by visuals or company-provided testimonials (11%).
- Email is the best way to share: As purchasing decisions are often a shared responsibility, evaluating prospective vendors usually involves a collaboration among various stakeholders. And although some marketers track social sharing, the decision makers say they rely primarily on email (82%), conversations (64%) and collaborative documents (36%) to share their findings. That means marketers’ emails stand a good chance of being forwarded to other influencers within a prospect’s company.
The bottom line is that marketers should create content that speaks to specific prospect challenges. It’s also essential to focus on educational materials that build trust; dedicate resources to creating original, unbiased research; and make content easy to share via email to support internal review.
By providing the optimal content for the sales pipeline – converting prospects into customers can be accelerated. And that’s always good for business.
Outward Media’s accurate, targeted email data can help you achieve better email marketing ROI, and convert more prospects into customers. Ask us how. Also, take a look at our complimentary e-book on building a successful B2B email marketing database.