Every lead is different - so why do so many companies treat them as though they’re the same?
B2B companies often have longer buyer journeys than B2Cs, so if a new visitor is browsing your website for the first time they probably won’t enjoy being pressured to buy, buy, buy.
On the other hand, if a prospect has visited and researched your website a dozen times and is seriously considering spending thousands of pounds with you, you can safely assume that they won’t need to download an introductory description of your product.
Leads at different stages of the buyer journey are nurtured more effectively via different content. The best kind of marketing is the kind that responds to an individual’s precise needs, so you should be speaking to your visitors in a way that suits their stage of the buyer journey.
Smart content, also known as dynamic content, is content that automatically alters depending on the past behaviour of the person viewing it. Once a visitor or lead is recorded in a sales and marketing system, you can automate the messaging that your website or emails generate, so that the lead only receives content that is right for them.
You know that your website is attracting visitors and converting them into leads, but that you want more of them to become customers. You decide to explore whether this problem can be helped by smart content, which would aim to provide more appropriate messaging for your leads depending on the interests they have expressed by their behaviour on your website and the content they have downloaded.
Let’s see what you could be doing more effectively, and how smart content could help nurture your leads into customers.
When someone first visits your website and you have none of their details on record, they will probably want to see introductory information, and introductory offers. Once they are tempted by a call-to-action and decide to offer you their details in exchange for a piece of content, that’s when your smart content will come into effect.
With your imaginary professional services company, let’s say that a web visitor gives you their contact details in exchange for an ebook. This is an awareness stage piece of content explaining why they should be concerned about an issue that your company provides a solution for, as well as some of the ways that the issue will affect your target audience’s businesses.
Success! They are tempted by an offer matched to their early stage in the buyer journey, they gave you their details, and they ticked the permission box to say that they are happy for you to contact them. An email is automatically sent out to your new lead thanking them for downloading the ebook, and they are automatically signed up to your email marketing list.
Time for the clever stuff.
Once someone becomes a lead, they move from the awareness stage of the buyer journey to the consideration stage. Smart content can now be used to give your consideration stage lead offers that are relevant to them.
The first piece of content they downloaded was suitably broad, suggesting that they were interested in learning more about the subject but had not yet explored possible solutions. As they are now better educated about the topic, the smart content offered to them should discuss some of the possible solutions to the problem - and why the solution(s) your company is selling is the best, most effective, cheapest, etc. However, you should still avoid directly referencing your company within the content, as you are aiming to be helpful to your lead without pressuring them to choose your product.
When your personalised content appears to the lead whenever they visit your website or receive an email, the information you offer becomes uniquely relevant to their interests, what they will be considering, and what their interactions with your website have suggested about them.
Here are just some of the ways you can have a personalised call-to-action appear to your new lead:
You can also add smart content to your forms, which can add or remove fields that are relevant or irrelevant to the lead such as their name and email address, as you will already have these.
When your lead downloads one of these consideration stage offers, you can label them as a qualified lead and move them into the decision stage of their buyer journey.
At the decision stage, your qualified lead has expressed an interest in your product and is likely to be trying to decide if you are the right company to buy from.
By now they will have visited your website a number of times and will have read emails demonstrating your knowledge of the subject, and will hopefully now see you as a thought leader. Now is the time to start using your smart content to promote offers such as free trials, direct contact with your sales team, and specific examples of how your company’s product is more suited to your lead’s requirements than those of your competitors.
Like the offers in your consideration stage, you can put decision stage smart content throughout your website and in emails. This changes the experience of every visitor depending on the areas of your website - and therefore the kinds of product - they have expressed an interest in.
Smart content completely changes the way your nurturing works, and once it has been set up, the entire system becomes automated. It changes your website from a static, generic portal into an interactive online space that adjusts its function and the information it provides according to the person viewing it.
While we have given an example of the way that smart content can work in this blog, its uses as a marketing tool are wide and varied. Almost wherever there is content on your website or within your emails, there is the opportunity to use smart content, and there are near-countless parameters and signifiers you can use to categorise your leads and nurture them more effectively.
Essentially, if you appreciate the power of using content to nurture leads into customers, you are ignoring a powerful weapon in your marketing arsenal if you do not use smart content to customise your messaging.
Want to learn how inbound marketing and using smart content can benefit your company?