Content marketing. Brand storytelling. Social media. This trifecta is the darling of the digital-marketing world. Reams of posts and pages have been written explaining why you should use these tactics and how to put them into practice.
But at the end of the day, only one question really matters: How do these tactics help the bottom line?
Here are five ways marketers say content marketing, social media, and brand storytelling help them close more deals.
1. Develop Relationships
Any salesperson will tell you that most of their job comes down to building relationships with potential customers. Now that most customers forego talking to a salesperson until close to the end of their purchase process, companies are looking for new ways to inject the personal touch. Content marketing, brand storytelling, and social media help fill the gap.
“We’ve found that people who opt to engage with us through social media are much keener to work with us compared to those who come in through paid media tactics like banner ads,” said Stacey Sayer, Global Manager, Social Media Marketing at Level 3 Communications. “It’s a more personal touch. This approach acknowledges that the customer wants to feel like a human being responding to a real person rather than simply clicking on a banner ad.”
2. Drive Conversions
In a multi-step B2B, selling process, content marketing, brand storytelling, and social media are unlikely to directly drive a sale, but they can—and do—drive customers to take the next step in the buying process.
For example, Skyword is a digital content services provider. To market its own services, the company has a destination website with all manner of useful content. It includes profiles of innovative content marketers, how-to advice on developing successful content-marketing strategies, and more. Potential customers get to know the company through this content.
Yet the customer may not be ready for a sales call after simply engaging with this content. So Skyword puts on events around the country and uses the content to drive customers to these events. The event in turn creates a face-to-face relationship that drives the sale.
“By that time,” said Patricia Travaline, Vice President of Marketing at Skyword, “prospective customers know what they have to do, understand that we can help them become better storytellers, and want to work with us.”
3. Direct the Sales Conversation
When marketers adopt content marketing, brand storytelling, and social media, combined with marketing automation and lead scoring, they can see exactly what topics and information prospective customers are interested in.
“With this knowledge,” said Travaline, “when our salespeople do talk to customers, they can adapt the conversation based on the customer’s behavior and interactions with us. This information helps define what questions salespeople should ask and makes for a more intelligent conversation.”
4. Shorten the Sales Cycle
Ultimately, the sum of these personal conversations helps the prospective customer develop a relationship with the brand and learn to trust the brand as an advisor. “In this way, content marketing and social media tactics shorten the sales cycle,” says Travaline.
5. Turn Customers into Advocates
Once companies reel in a customer, the job of storytelling has just begun. Now companies can use content marketing to provide additional value by helping customers become better at their job and enriching their lives. “This sets the stage for building loyalty and creating champions,” said Travaline.
The trifecta of content marketing, brand storytelling, and social media helps marketers establish credibility with customers, drives them more quickly through the sales cycle, and not only keeps customers coming back for more—but turns them into your best sales resource.