As a seller, you don’t want your message to get lost in the blur of sales pitches customers are flooded with via phone, email, Web, direct mail and social media. You also don’t want to annoy them (and waste money on) sales calls before they’re ready to buy.

You need a cost-effective way to “drip” the information prospects need to them when they want it, so you stay in their mind until they’re ready to buy. This is how content marketing “nurtures” customers, tracking which content each prospect has read to infer where they are in the purchase cycle and what content to offer them next.

But for that tracking to tell you something meaningful about the reader, each object – each piece of content – must be unique. If a white paper explaining, say, a new framework for mobile application testing is aimed at “testing professionals” all we learn by tracking who read it is that they have some interest in testing. They might be a test manager for a Fortune 500 firm, a one-person development shop in Brooklyn, or (the bane of all marketers) just a student writing a thesis.

By breaking that white paper into several smaller components, each of which are designed to attract a specific type of prospect, you can infer more based on who read what. Consider “reimagining” the mobile app testing frameworks white paper into:

  • An introductory piece (which you can take from the problem statement LINK of the white paper) describing the unique demands of testing mobile apps. This tells you the reader is interested in mobile apps, and their testing, but is probably not an expert or they’d already understand the problem statement.
  • A second piece, also taken from the problem statement, explaining the shortcomings of current methods for testing mobile applications. This indicates the reader cares enough about mobile application testing to care about how to do it right.
  • A third piece, drawn from the solution portion of the white paper, describing what an application testing framework is, and how it can help. If a reader chooses this piece – especially after reading the first two – you can infer they not only are familiar with software testing, but have experienced some pain with current approaches and are looking for help.
  • And a fourth piece, describing either how to choose a testing framework (and/or describing the benefits of yours.) If a reader has made it through to this, you’re probably safe asking if they’d like to be contacted to discuss their needs, or at the very least give you their contact information  for possible follow up.

By carefully designing each blog post, Web page, Webinar or video, you can infer not only where a prospect is in the sales cycle, but whether they’re a business or technical decision maker, the size of their organization, which industry they work and even what hardware or software they’re currently running. That information can help reduce your cost of sales while increasing lead quality, which helps increase both revenue and margins.

 

Author: Bob Scheier
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I'm a veteran IT trade press reporter and editor with a passion for clear writing that explains how technology can help businesses. To learn more about my content marketing services, email bob@scheierassociates.com or call me at 508 725-7258.