Content creation and distribution has become an indispensable part of any marketing team’s lead generation strategy. When you consider that content marketing generates three times as many leads as its outbound counterparts, and costs 62% less, it’s easy to understand why.
Content marketing’s effectiveness can largely be attributed to the value it adds to your buyer’s experience. Sharing a tip, answering a question or helping your audience address a challenge shows them you’re more invested in helping them than making a quick sale.
Adding this value early and often helps you build a relationship with prospective customers, which increases the chances they’ll buy from you. In fact, 70% of customers actually reported they felt closer to a brand because of the content they share. The trick to developing this customer relationship is delivering high-value content that actually connects with the needs and interests of your audience.
This post will take you through three ways you can actively listen to your buyers to develop content that connects with them, ultimately helping you drive more sales.
1. Listen in on sales calls
Spending time listening to sales call recordings is one of my favourite ways to generate high-value content ideas. Your sales team is often having daily conversations with the buyers you’re trying to reach with your content. Gaining a better understanding of the challenges your buyers are trying to solve, what their path to purchase looks like and objections they raise throughout the sales cycle will help you create content that converts.
How to do it:
Ask your sales team to sit in on a few prospect conversations
See if your sales team is open to recording a few sales calls, that you can review
Bump up your next round of win/loss analysis to connect with lost prospects yourself
Intentionally block off some time to review sales calls, preferably in quick succession so you can connect conversation themes
What to listen for:
Common objections raised by several buyers
Challenges encountered throughout the sales process
Everyday problems they’re looking to solve with your product
Questions like “how do I….?” or “why would I…?”
Language they use to describe all of the things noted above
All of these insights could translate into new content topics for your blog, a whitepaper, sales enablement collateral or website copy updates. I’ve never regretted spending an afternoon listening in on sales calls. More often than not I’ve unlocked a new level of empathy that helped me create content that addresses what buyers actually cared about, which in turn boosted sales.
2. Scour user forums and discussion boards
Dedicating some time to scouring online forums, social platforms and discussion boards is another way to understand to the challenges and problems that your buyer faces. These spaces are often where they’ll turn to discuss topics of interest with like-minded peers. Paying careful attention to the topics they’re chatting about in these online spaces and how they’re chatting about them can help you craft content they’ll connect with. When a new buyer feels like you understand their challenges, they'll have every reason to buy from you.
How to do it:
Identify the audience you want to connect with
Search online to see where they may be having peer conversations (Reddit and Facebook groups are great places to start)
Spend some time reviewing relevant discussions each month
What to look for:
Topics that have the highest number of comments and replies
Content themes that are shared across several topic threads or discussions
Keywords and terms that are referenced consistently
Questions that are asked and how they are phrased
Misunderstandings about your products or services
Mentions of competitors
All of these insights can help you refine your content keyword strategy, discover new topics for your blog, or even inspire a new ebook. Addressing real customer challenges early on through content will help you establish trust, increasing the chances they'll buy from you. Often I will dedicate time in my calendar to revisit common discussion forums each month, or better yet I’ll join the communities where I find the most listening value.
3. Shadow your support team
If there’s one team that spends the majority of their time listening to your customers, it’s your support team. This team engages with your buyers every single day, usually across multiple channels. Spending time shadowing your support team or scrolling through support chat or email history is another great way to find content inspiration that can help you attract and acquire new customers.
How to do it:
If time allows, set up a block of time to shadow your support team
Alternatively you can dedicate some time reviewing support chat or email history
Block off intentional time to dedicate to review this each month
What to look for:
Common challenges customers are facing
Type of support content new buyers are looking for
Questions like "how do I...?"
Common misunderstandings of how to navigate
Your support team is ultimately trying to achieve the same goal, understanding challenges that your customers face and how best to solve them. Knowing which topics support speaks with customers about could inspire a series of how-to videos, blog posts or customer-focused webinars. When customers feel like they've had an exceptional experience with your support team, and content resources they'll be more likely to leave a positive review or refer a friend or colleague. This ultimately helps you attract and acquire new customers.
Pulling it all together
Incorporating feedback from sales calls, user forums and your support team into your content strategy will help you create content that buyers actually care about. But, they're not the only sources.
You could also connect with your success teams, existing customers, prospective buyers, run a survey or take a look at what your competitors are doing for more inspiration.
Regardless of the source you use, spending time actively listening to your buyers will give you the insight you need to add value to their experience, helping you unlock more sales.