Posted on August 26, 2010 by John Houghton.
In part four of my interview with David Meerman Scott, we discuss social media as it relates to driving web traffic and thereby generating sales. While good to reiterate in the context of social media, these ideas are also basic to online marketing. If you want to attract a certain type of buyer, you should publish high quality content that attracts this buyer through targeted keywords. This is called search engine optimization.
David talks about the old ways in which selling has taken place through television commercials and sales reps calling in and beating up their buyers until they get meetings. The new model entails creating lots of little pieces of content that are found through search engines, with different pieces of content for each step of the sales cycle. In addition, sending such useful content to prospects on a regular basis and thereby educating them through the sales process is called “lead nurturing.” On New Media Currents, I talk to the CTO of Eloqua about lead nurturing best practices.
JH: Then how do you turn that into sales? Let’s say you have a limited budget, a lot of companies have limited budgets for this and that’s why they do end up pitching their products because they want a really quick return, how would you sort of loop that around into a quicker ROI?
DS: I think when you’re creating the sorts of information that are valuable, not just with video, but with every kind of online content. You’re driving people into your company, into your ideas. You’re driving people into your thoughts. When they do that, some percentage of them will say, “wow, this person, or this organization, or this group, seems like they’re interesting and they’ve got some ideas that I find valuable. What else do they have, what else do they provide? Oh look, they’ve got a product. Maybe I should check that out. I think we’ve been living in a world where television commercials and B2B sales where sales people are cold calling and beating up people until they get a meeting and then beating them up until they get another meeting. You know, this idea that you have to coerce people, both on the B2B side and the B2C side, is a model that really isn’t as appropriate for the online world as the model of creating tons of little pieces of content – each one serves as a magnet to drive a number of people into you. They find more of your content. And if you are a B2B company, and if you have a sales funnel, you can create content at every step of that sales funnel. So some content serves to drive people in. Other content serves to educate, other content serves to drive them into the sales process. Then the salespeople take over, driving them through to the point where they’re ready to buy something.
JH: Like lead nurturing all throughout the process. What kind of content do you think is more relevant at the beginning of the process versus the middle of the process?
DS: Anything that will be valuable for the search engines to find, keyword strong content. Higher level in the beginning, more educational in the beginning, driving down to more specific is generally the way to go. It’s hard to sort of generalize. The more there is the better. With search engines, it’s unlike the offline world, it’s really hard to say, well, this piece of content drives people in the sales process, but this piece of content drives them to close. You really can’t say what’s going to drive in and what’ s going to drive to close because all of it is search engine optimized. People will find any piece of that content depending of what they search on.
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