Turn your Bio and other website content into a lead generating system that attracts, engages and closes new business….
by Wendi Webb, Content Strategist
Every single piece of content on your website should be prospecting for you 24/7.
Your Home page should be sending traffic to your About page… where your video is racking up views… while your e-letter cranks out subscribers… and your Contact page schedules appointments…
This kind of production doesn’t happen by accident. It’s the result of a Content Marketing strategy where you map all of your website marketing materials to your prospects’ decision-making process, building relationships with education and thought leadership.
If you publish anything at all on your website, you’re a content marketer at some level. To master the strategy, spend some time in your prospect’s shoes…
Content marketing gets you discovered
Think about how clients find you.
They arrive at your website either through a referral, a search or some kind of advertisement. They are looking for information to solve a particular problem they have or anticipate.
In effect, they are visiting your office looking for answers they can trust and believe in.
But – they are out the door the moment you go off point. get boring or get salesy. They want advice but on their terms. If you close them too fast… force a decision they’re not ready to make… they’ll quickly click off – and call you a “Bernie.”
Online, prospects run the show and you don’t. They drive the sales cycle according to the stats:
- The average buyer guides themselves through 60-90% of the traditional sales funnel before contacting a sales rep (Forrester Research)
- 80% of people who buy professional services educate themselves online before buying (Hinge)
- Consumers spend 79 days conducting online research before buying (Chain Store Age)
- 34% of prospects start searching for advisors with a cold Google search, not based on a referral (AdvisorEngine)
While you can’t control the process anymore, you can facilitate it. You know prospects come to your website looking for information.
How do you show them – without physically pitching them – that you’re the solution they need?
Content marketing brands your expertise
You educate them. You inform, you entertain, but above all you offer them content that answers their questions, explores their options and builds credibility for you.
But… no selling! No one comes to your website for a sales pitch.
But they will come to learn… to discover… be entertained… get relief. Which gives you the opportunity to showcase your expertise through various forms of thought leadership and financial education (content!).
People want to work with subject matter experts, and they validate expertise with content. Prospects will look at articles, ebooks, classes, webinars, tools, videos and more to evaluate your authority and reassure themselves that you have the knowledge and skills to handle their accounts.
However, publishing expert content is not enough. It needs to be optimized to attract prospects’ attention and keep them coming back until they are comfortable enough to take a phone call from you.
Content marketing helps prospects get comfortable by setting up a buyer’s journey at your website. You use content to attract traffic and then move those visitors through a series of touchpoints mapped to their level of interest.
Those touchpoints serve as a glidepath for getting the prospect to say “yes” and keep saying “yes.” They are small “conversions” people voluntarily take to learn more about you and receive the next piece of content. Each yes builds on the last, signaling a growing trust in your brand.
Content marketing is designed to keep those yeses coming… the right content sent at the right time with the right message is very hard to refuse.
Capturing your ‘yeses’
What would a successful content marketing glidepath look like? Here’s one scenario:
- A prospect searches and finds an article you’ve published addressing a problem he has…
- He watches a video to discover more about his options…
- He clicks on the About page to assess your credentials…
- He opens a link to a whitepaper highlighting your expertise…
- He subscribes to your newsletter giving you his name and email…
- He attends your workshop to see how you work with people like him…
- He studies the follow-up material to confirm he’s moving in the right direction…
- He answers your email agreeing to a phone call and a meeting…
See how that worked? All the bold items are content marketing assets doing their job of turning a stranger into a qualified prospect.
Notice something else. You weren’t physically involved in this process until the very end when the prospect was well acquainted with you and comfortable with your expertise.
Content marketing works because you are building a relationship with your prospect online. When you finally meet, he’s ready to say yes. Maybe in just one meeting. Maybe over the phone.
At this point, he’s your client to lose.
The content marketing sales funnel
The key to a powerful marketing strategy is to map your content to the prospect’s decision-making process or level of interest.
You want to set up a series of mini-closes that will get the prospect to say yes and keep saying yes all the way to your conference room.
The buyer’s journey and your content marketing funnel will look something like this:
When the prospect arrives at your website, she’s looking for information on her issues. Your social media post referred her to a how-guide that sounded so spot-on, she’s willing to share her contact information with you.
Bingo! You’ve earned your first mini-yes. And, actually, that’s a big step in the journey. She now trusts you some. Not enough to call, but she’s open to interacting online.
So you need to get to the next yes by nurturing her with content so relevant she enthusiastically subscribes to your newsletter and forwards to a friend.
Getting started with content marketing
It takes about five steps to launch a content marketing strategy for your website:
- Develop targeted buyer personas of the ideal clients you want to attract
- Identify different touchpoints where you can ask and get a yes
- Map content to move website traffic to and through those touchpoints
- Optimize content for digital marketing
- Promote content in all marketing channels, online and off
The key to making your strategy work is to understand buyers’ motivations during the decision-making process. In effect, you’re helping prospects conduct due diligence on you and your business. What do they need?
Content for each stage of the buyer’s journey
At the top of the funnel, website visitors don’t know much about you. They are finding you mostly through a referral or a search. (Fun fact: 66% of prospects find you through a warm referral; 34% find you through a cold search term like “advisors near me.” (AdvisorEngines))
Buyers at this early stage want an education. They know or anticipate a problem and they’re beginning to research their options. They’re looking for top-level content that educates, informs and, if you can, entertains.
Once interested, prospects head mid-funnel to review solutions specific to their situation. They’re looking for more in-depth information, maybe tools that calculate a breakeven point or a retirement number. They also want validation that you have the expertise they need.
As they near the actual buying decision, prospects need late-stage content that explains your company, pricing and services. This is your entry point for giving them more personal attention through newsletters, webinars and workshops.
As you can see from the funnel above, different formats work better at different stages of decision-making. However, all of the content should offer thought leadership and financial education as a way to brand your expertise and connect on a human level.
In addition, all of your content should be optimized for the web. “Publish it and they will come” doesn’t work online. To attract eyeballs, your marketing materials need to be optimized for keywords, subject matter, location, navigation, links, format, calls-to-action and more.
Your Content Marketing Toolkit
Seems like a lot of content, doesn’t it? We’re talking content in different formats, delivered at different times, covering different talking points, encouraging various kinds of buying decisions, optimized for different objectives…
It sounds like a lot, but content comes in many formats from bios to soundbites to videos, and everything in between.
Basically, all you need are 17+ content marketing elements – some small, some large – to set up a good system.
Some of these materials are probably already up on your website. Some may need to be repurposed. Some will have to be created to handle specific marketing tasks like increasing click-through or dwell time.
Content marketing is a strategy for building relationships online. It’s a 24/7 prospecting approach that once set up can turn your website into a productive source of traffic, conversations and new business.
So… how’s that Bio working for you?