How to use Content Marketing for Manufacturers to Create a Digital Twin of your Sales Team
As we mentioned in the last section, let’s break down content into two areas: Content and marketing.
Content: Strategic uses for your Digital Twin
When we say you should create a Digital Twin of your sales person, we’re not suggesting it as a replacement for your sales team. Instead, it should function in a complementary manner:
Use SEO content for when your customer is searching online
It’s an on-demand world. You need to operate in it. By creating content optimized for different points in the customer journey, you’re allowing the customer to discover solutions when they search for it.
From top of the funnel content that will appear on your blog, to your sales / landing pages that appear on your website, your content should be optimized for every stage of the customer journey. (We’ll dive deeper into this area in the next section.)
Use social media content to build connections, aka, referrals
Think of social media, especially LinkedIn, as a place to find prospects and you’re dead in the water. For example, how many times have you received LinkedIn invites from complete strangers who are just spamming you for business like they spam countless others?
Instead, when you think of social media as a place to find potential referral sources, and you’ll succeed. Despite all the talk of lead generation coming from online, more leads to your business come via your sales team.
Use email content to stay in touch with your customers and cultivate prospects
How many leads have been collected by your sales team, only to never be contacted again? How about those customers who slowly drift off the radar?
Your sales team can’t possibly stay in touch with all of them. Using email, you can share relevant content and stay in their in-box and on their minds.
Use video content to create personal connections
From short, informal social media videos to more polished corporate videos, you can amplify your real sales team and put a face to all your messaging. Video can also include webinars and online conferences. Video is a tremendous way to make personal connections.
Industrial Content Marketing Pro Tip:
Make sure your content is backed by data to add credibility and make your sales team more efficient.
If your sales team makes a claim, that’s not enough. People want the data to back it up.
According to research by SurveyMonkey, 75% of people said data-backed content was more trustworthy than content without data, and 73% said it was more persuasive.
They want detailed product information verified by external sources or your own proprietary research. If you say it without data to back it up, then it just sounds like you’re selling.
Marketing: Helping your Digital Twin reach prospects
The “marketing” component of content marketing is how you distribute your content. It’s absolutely mission critical. Producing content just for content’s sake won’t get you found. You need to deliver it to the people who want to see it.
Time for your digital twin to channel surf.
This involves choosing the right channels, and using the correct messaging that’s appropriate.
Organic channels to distribute content and build audience
These channels don’t necessarily cost money to use, but they do take and will respond only with the amount of effort you put into them. Think of organic channels as networking events: You get out what you put in.
Social media: As your company and your individual sales team builds followers and connections through tools like LinkedIn, you expand your reach and meet potential referral sources. Don’t look for social media to generate leads; use it to build brand and relationships.
Search engine optimization: Everyone searches for answers, and there are keywords your content needs to rank for through the customer journey. From informative terms to transactional terms, when they search, you need to be found. As your content begins to rank for keywords, your traffic can grow exponentially.
Email: Email addresses are your Digital Twin’s rolodex. Use your list to cultivate new followers and keep in touch with customers. The bigger your list, the larger your audience. You can effectively segment your list for specific buyers.
Webinars (stand-alone and online conferences): Online webinars are a great way for your real-world sales people to deliver their message. They give you a captive audience and allow you to really deep dive into your message. You can also add attendees to your email list.
Guest blogs: You can share content on other websites, which is a great way to access other people’s networks. It’s a win-win situation — they get great content, you get their network. You can leverage your paid strategy to get more valuable editorial placement.
Paid element to expand your message and scale your growth:
Organic traffic is great, but here’s the deal with digital. “Free” is temporary. Digital networks like Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube use consumer-generated content to expand their reach. Then, when they’re big enough, they charge you for the real estate you helped them build.
Don’t hold it against them. Take advantage of the freebies while you can.
But you should also take advantage of paid growth to expand your reach. Think of it as a scaling mechanism. You can create content, then use paid to amplify your message. Old school advertising, right?
Here are some effective ways to pay for your digital twin to be heard:
Trade publications: Industry publications have worked diligently to build up targeted audiences. You can really get uber targeted with your message. Advertise your content, such as white papers and mid-funnel offers of tools, such as templates, calculators.
Social media advertising: Advertising on platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook can get you very targeted eyeballs. It’s a great way to build a seed audience, which you can revisit through retargeting efforts.
Sponsorships – We love the way sponsorships let you partner with other organizations. They add credibility to your name and also allow for continuous built-in promos.
Bartering – You’ll be surprised at how your digital content can be used to generate in-kind promotional messages. It’s a form of sponsorship, in which you create content around an event in return for free messaging. We use this tactic quite often.
Now that we’ve given you an overview of the types of content you can produce and how to market it, let’s dive deeper into how it fits within the customer journey.