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7 Generative AI Prompts To Help Your Content Marketing Workflows

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7 Generative AI Prompts To Help Your Content Marketing Workflows

This article was co-written by Alli Berry.

Like it or not, generative AI tools generated (pun intended) a nauseating amount of attention this year, but not without merit.

These powerful tools can make your content marketing team more efficient without replacing humans. Here are seven ways to make generative AI work for your marketing.

1. Train AI to learn your brand and author voices

Before you use a generative AI tool for something related to writing content, teach it the brand voice detailed in your style guide. You can do it quickly.

For example, if you use ChatGPT, simply feed it a couple of articles from an author or your website and ask it to learn the voice. It’s a two-part prompt:

Prompt one: “Can you learn the voice of [name] using these articles [insert article URLs]?

Example prompt:

Can you learn Alli Berry’s voice using this article [pasted text of article]?

ChatGPT response:

Based on the provided content, Alli Berry seems to have a straightforward and informative writing style. She emphasizes the importance of content audits and highlights common mistakes, providing practical insights and actionable advice. Her tone is professional and focused on helping readers understand the key elements of a successful content strategy.

Prompt two: “Can you use [name’s] voice to create [detail marketing asset]?”

Example prompt:

Great! Now, can you use Alli Berry’s voice to create a marketing landing page about content audits?

ChatGPT response:

Absolutely, let’s give it a shot:

🚀 Maximize Your Online Impact with Expert Content Audits

Unlock the full potential of your website with Alli Berry’s proven strategies in content auditing. Our in-depth analysis goes beyond the surface, revealing key insights to drive your content strategy forward.

✨ Why Choose Our Content Audits?

🔍 Comprehensive Insights: We don’t just scratch the surface. Dive deep into your content landscape to identify strengths, weaknesses, and untapped opportunities.

📈 Strategic Recommendations: Receive actionable advice tailored to your business goals. From clear calls-to-action to a well-rounded customer journey, we’ve got you covered.

💡 Learn from the Best: Benefit from Alli Berry’s expertise, as showcased in her extensive work in content marketing and SEO. Transform your content with insights from one of the industry’s leading voices.

🌐 Stay Relevant Locally: If location matters to your business, we guide you on making your content locally relevant. Capture your audience’s attention with content that speaks directly to their needs.

🛠️ Avoid Common Pitfalls: Learn from the most common mistakes highlighted by Alli Berry, ensuring your content strategy doesn’t miss a beat.

👉 Ready to Elevate Your Content Strategy?

Take the first step towards a more impactful online presence. Partner with us for a content audit that goes beyond the ordinary. Alli Berry’s expertise is just a click away.

📆 Schedule Your Content Audit Now

[Get Started] [Learn More]

📞 Have Questions? Contact Us

[Email] [Phone]

With those two prompts, the generative AI tool is already working for you. While the content will need some human finessing to make it sound less fluffy, the draft sounds like your brand.

2. Turn features into benefits for marketing

If you write marketing copy for products or services, you know the difficulty in developing compelling benefits that connect with your audience’s wants and needs. Generative AI can’t write those benefits from scratch, but it can translate features into emotional benefits with relative ease.

Prompt: Detail your product’s features.

Example prompt:

Here are two features for a product:

  • Real-time trade alerts so you can make the same stock trades in your own portfolio
  • Members-only monthly calls with analysis of every stock in the portfolio

Can you turn these features into standard and emotional benefits?

ChatGPT response:

Standard

“Stay updated on market moves without constant monitoring.”

“Minimize missed opportunities by acting on real-time information.”

Emotional

“Peace of mind knowing you’re not missing out on key market events.”

“A sense of being ‘in the loop’ and part of an exclusive group.”

Are these perfect? No. But the concepts are developed. It’s easier to finesse language than it is to come up with them from scratch.

3. Pick up the pace on article planning

Speed and convenience never trump accuracy. Always, always, always verify the validity of the generative AI content. You certainly don’t want the content, company, or you to become an AI cautionary tale.

That said, AI can be a helpful research assistant for topics in which you’re not well versed or when you need to track down the latest and greatest information. Some AI tools, like Copy.ai, will even list the sources to make fact-checking more efficient. 

Prompt: I’m going to give you a question. I need you to summarize the most current information from reputable sources to help answer it. The question is: What should [describe audience] consider when [action you want them to take] today?

Example prompt:

What should content marketers consider when choosing an AI tool today?

Copy.ai response:

Content marketers should consider several factors when choosing an AI tool today. First, they should identify their needs and goals and choose a tool that aligns with them. Second, they should consider the tool’s ease of use and integration with their existing marketing technology stack. Third, they should ensure the tool is backed by reputable vendors who prioritize transparency and ethical AI practices [1].

Additionally, content marketers should choose AI tools that are designed to enhance their content creation processes, personalize content for improved customer engagement, and automate routine tasks like social media scheduling and email marketing campaigns [2].

Finally, content marketers should look for AI tools with robust analytics capabilities to track and measure the impact of their content marketing efforts, understand customer behavior, and identify opportunities for optimization [3].

Sources:

  • https://www.cmswire.com/digital-marketing/how-to-choose-the-right-ai-tool-for-your-content-marketing-strategy/
  • https://marketingaiinstitute.com/blog/how-to-choose-an-ai-content-marketing-tool
  • https://neilpatel.com/blog/ai-tools-to-make-your-smb-marketing-more-effective/

Now, you can confirm the accuracy and relevance of the AI output to your audience. A human subject matter expert would be a solid go-to for this.

After you make the necessary refinements, ask your AI tool to create an outline for your article using this validated research.

Prompt: Using this research, create an outline for an article.

Example prompt:

I’m going to give you some summarized research. Can you use it to create an outline for a blog article about “5 things a content marketer should consider when choosing an AI tool”?

Copy.ai response:

I. Introduction

  • Briefly explain the rise of AI in content marketing
  • State the main purpose of the blog post: to identify five factors content marketers should consider when choosing an AI tool

II. Identify Your Needs and Goals

  • Explain the importance of defining your content marketing objectives
  • Provide examples of common goals for content marketing (e.g., lead generation, brand awareness, thought leadership)
  • Offer suggestions for how to align AI tools with your specific needs and goals

III. Consider Ease of Use and Integration

  • Emphasize the importance of choosing an AI tool that is easy to use
  • Describe the benefits of seamless integration with your existing marketing technology stack
  • Provide examples of tools that have strong integration capabilities

IV. Choose a Reputable Vendor

  • Explain the potential risks associated with unethical AI practices
  • Offer criteria for evaluating the reputability of AI vendors (e.g., transparent practices, compliance certifications)
  • Provide examples of leading AI vendors in content marketing

V. Prioritize Content Creation and Customization

  • Describe how AI tools can enhance content creation processes (e.g., assisting with research, generating topic ideas)
  • Emphasize the importance of personalized content for improving customer engagement
  • Give examples of how AI can be used for content customization

VI. Use Robust Analytics

  • Stress the importance of data-driven strategies in content marketing
  • Describe how AI can collect and analyze large amounts of data to inform decision-making
  • Offer examples of metrics that can be tracked with AI tools (e.g., engagement rates, conversion rates)

VII. Conclusion

  • Summarize the five main factors content marketers should consider when choosing an AI tool
  • Provide closing thoughts on the importance of using AI tools in content marketing
  • Encourage readers to consider implementing AI in their content marketing strategies

The next steps might include modifying the outline to better meet your content objectives, identifying additional points to research, or formulating interview questions to ask a subject matter expert so you can include some human quotes in the finished article.

4. Spice up your sentences

Avoid sending readers into a snoozefest by asking your AI tool to assist with wordsmithing favorites like synonyms, analogies, and metaphors. And that’s not all – get more punch from your prompt by requesting suggestions that are specific to your industry or topic.

Prompt: Can you give me a synonym for [word] that is related to [industry or topic]?

Example prompt:

Can you give me a synonym for growth that is related to business finance?

Copy.ai response:

A synonym for growth in business finance could be “expansion”[1]. In the context of business finance, expansion refers to the increase in a company’s operations, profitability, and market reach[1]. It entails expanding product offerings, entering new markets, and increasing revenues and profits[1]. The term “expansion” is often used to describe the financial growth of a business[1].

Sources:

Power Thesaurus – Synonyms for Business Growth

Prompt: I’d like you to give me an analogy that compares two things. Those two things are (thing 1) and (thing 2). I’d like this analogy to relate to (theme, topic, industry, etc.). Do you understand?

Example prompt:

I’d like you to give me an analogy that compares two things. Those two things are life and a garden. I’d like this analogy to relate to the importance of family. Do you understand?

From Copy.ai:

Life is like a garden, and family is the nurturing soil that allows us to grow and flourish. Just as plants need fertile soil to thrive, we need the love, support, and connection that family provides to truly thrive in life.

In a garden, different plants have different needs and flourish in different environments. Similarly, each member of a family has unique strengths, passions, and challenges. It is within the family, like the diverse garden, that we find the acceptance, understanding, and encouragement to embrace our individuality and blossom into our true selves.

A well-tended garden requires care, attention, and maintenance. Similarly, strong family bonds require investment, effort, and active participation. Just as you water your plants and remove weeds to ensure their growth, in a family, we nurture relationships through communication, quality time, and shared experiences. This constant cultivation of family relationships fosters a strong support system, providing us with emotional nourishment and a sense of belonging …

Prompt: I’d like you to give me a metaphor. That metaphor is for [object or action]. I’d like this metaphor to relate to [industry or topic]. Do you understand?

Example prompt:

I’d like you to give me a metaphor. That metaphor is for solo traveling. I’d like this metaphor to relate to empowering women. Do you understand?

Copy.ai response:

Solo traveling is like a compass in the hands of a woman, guiding her on a transformative journey of self-discovery, empowerment, and liberation. Just as a compass provides direction and guidance, solo travel empowers women to navigate their own paths, explore unknown territories, and conquer the barriers that limit their freedom.

Like a compass, solo travel equips women with the tools necessary to chart their own course. It enables them to break away from societal expectations and step into a world of independence and self-reliance. By venturing out on their own, women can challenge stereotypes, overcome fears, and discover the immense strength and resilience that lies within …

5. Ignite ideas for images

If you’ve drained the creative well for unique visuals for repetitive topics, let AI help get those juices flowing.

Prompt: Can you give me a suggestion for a compelling photo or other visual that represents [topic, theme, key message]?

Example prompt:

Can you give me a suggestion for a compelling photo or other visual that represents budgeting wisely to buy your first home?

Copy.ai response:

A compelling photo or visual that represents budgeting wisely to buy your first home could be a split-image collage. Here’s a suggestion for the visual layout:

Left image: Show an image of a person or a couple diligently saving money. For example, they could be holding a piggy bank, jar, or envelope labeled “Savings” and placing money inside. This image represents the discipline and commitment required to save for a down payment.

Right image: Display an image of a house or a key symbolizing homeownership and achievement. It could be a close-up shot of a hand holding a house key or a front view of a beautiful home. This image represents the ultimate goal of budgeting wisely – owning a home.

In the center of the split-image collage, include a bold and inspiring text overlay that says something like: “Budgeting Wisely: The Key to Your First Home.”

This visual representation captures the journey of saving and budgeting while highlighting the ultimate goal of homeownership. It showcases the effort and dedication required to achieve the dream of purchasing a home through wise financial management.

When you’re satisfied with the visual concept, put it in a creative brief for your graphic designer or use it for a more successful stock image search. 

6. Repurpose remarkable content rapidly

You’ve produced a prized piece of content (with or without AI help). That content deserves a long, vibrant life or at least a big, glorious one. Use AI to breathe it into fresh formats. Transform an article into infographic copy, a podcast transcript into an article, or web copy into a short video script. Make your reborn content sing by molding and refining the AI results with your unique and creative human touch.

Prompt: I’m going to give you the text from an article. Can you summarize the main ideas into five key points? These points will be used to create an infographic about [topic] that is intended to encourage [audience] to [action].

Prompt example:

I’m going to give you the text from an article. Can you summarize the main ideas into five key points? These points will be used to create an infographic about dog safety in summer that is intended to encourage dog owners to prevent, look for, and act on the warning signs of heat exhaustion.

Copy.ai response:

Here are five key points that can be used to create an infographic about dog safety in summer, focusing on the prevention, recognition, and response to heat exhaustion:

  1. Recognize the signs of heat exhaustion in dogs: Educate dog owners about the warning signs that indicate their dogs may be experiencing heat exhaustion, such as excessive panting, drooling, weakness, and vomiting.
  2. Prevent overheating: Provide tips for dog owners to prevent heat exhaustion by ensuring their dogs have access to shade, cool water, and adequate ventilation. Encourage them to schedule outdoor activities during cooler times of the day.
  3. Avoid hot pavement burns: Highlight the importance of protecting dogs’ paws from hot surfaces by walking them on grass or using booties to prevent burns and discomfort.
  4. Never leave dogs in parked cars: Emphasize the dangers of leaving dogs unattended in hot vehicles, as temperatures can quickly rise to life-threatening levels. Encourage dog owners to take their pets with them or leave them at home in a safe and cool environment.
  5. Take immediate action if heat exhaustion is suspected: Encourage dog owners to take immediate action if they suspect their dog is suffering from heat exhaustion by moving them to a cooler area, providing water to drink and wetting their body with cool water, and seeking veterinary attention if symptoms persist.

These key points can serve as the foundation for an infographic that raises awareness and encourages dog owners to prioritize the prevention, recognition, and prompt response to heat exhaustion in their pets during the summer season.

It’s a decent start, right? Here are some other repurposing prompts:

Prompt: I’m going to give you the transcript from a podcast. Can you rewrite it as a 500-word web article that focuses on [theme]? This web article is intended to inspire [audience] to [action].

Example prompt:

I’m going to give you the transcript from a podcast. Can you rewrite it as a 500-word web article that focuses on the interviewee’s resilience? This web article is intended to inspire young actors to keep following their dreams.

Prompt: I’m going to give you the text from a web page about [product, service, topic]. Can you use it to write a script for a 30-second video? The video is intended to motivate [audience] to [action].

Example prompt:

I’m going to give you the text from a web page about home lawn care services. Can you use it to write a script for a 30-second video? The video is intended to motivate busy homeowners to save time and enjoy a great lawn by hiring our company to do the work for them.

7. Tune your title tags and meta descriptions

The content writer creates an amazing article, but no one reads it. Did it really exist? Here’s where an AI SEO assist can be your friend.

You can ask the AI tool to take your page content and create a title tag or meta description that follows best SEO practices.

But here’s something more interesting: Have your AI tool analyze the title tags and meta descriptions of high-ranking pages about your topic, including those written by your competitors. Ask it to write your title tag or meta description based on what it learned.

TIP: Some AI tools (like Copy.ai Workflows API) allow you to save and apply a title tag formula in bulk so you can create title tags for multiple web pages in one shot. 

Prompt one: I’m going to give you some title tags. I’d like you to tell me what commonalities they have that make them rank well in search for ? Here are the sites: [URLs].

Example prompt:

Copy.ai response:

Let’s analyze the title tags of the provided websites to identify the commonalities that make them rank well in search for the keyword “running magazine”:

https://runningmagazine.ca/

Title Tag: Running Magazine

Commonality: The website’s title tag directly includes the keyword “running magazine”, which is likely to improve its relevance in search engine results.

https://www.runnersworld.com/

Title Tag: Runner’s World – Racing News, Training Advice, Nutrition Tips

Commonality: Although the exact keyword “running magazine” is not present in the title tag, the title tag includes related terms such as “Runner’s World”, “Racing News”, and “Training Advice”. These terms indicate that the website offers content related to running, which helps it rank well for the keyword “running magazine”.

https://www.womensrunning.com/

Title Tag: Women’s Running – Training Advice, Race Calendar, Motivation

Commonality: Similar to the previous website, the exact keyword “running magazine” is not present in the title tag. However, the title tag includes relevant terms such as “Women’s Running”, “Training Advice”, “Race Calendar”, and “Motivation”, which indicate that the website provides content related to running for women. By including these related terms, the website is likely to rank well for the keyword “running magazine”.

In summary, the commonalities among these websites’ title tags that help them rank well for the keyword “running magazine” are the inclusion of related terms, such as the website’s name, “training advice”, “race calendar”, and other terms that indicate their content focuses on running.

With prompts like these, you can reverse-engineer what’s working for your content competitors to create your own title tag – or have an AI tool do it with this next prompt.

Prompt two: Please write a title tag for [page] that uses best SEO practices and is no longer than 60 characters (please give me the character count)? When writing the title tag, please incorporate the commonalities you just learned. Here is the text from my web page: [page text].

Example prompt:

Great! Now, can you please write a title tag for [page] my women’s running page that leverages best SEO practices and is no longer than 60 characters (please give me the character count)? When writing the title tag, please incorporate the commonalities you just learned. Here is the text from my web page.

Copy.ai response:

Based on the provided text, here is an example of a title tag that leverages best SEO practices and is no longer than 60 characters:

Title Tag: Women’s Running Tips | Training Programs | Gear & Apparel

Character Count: 58 characters

This title tag includes important keywords related to the content, such as “women’s running tips”, “training programs”, and “gear & apparel”. By incorporating these keywords, the title tag improves relevance in search engine results and gives a concise overview of the webpage’s content.

You can do the same process to create meta descriptions.

Get more efficient with an AI assist

While AI is a highly trending and evolving topic in content marketing, efficiency is always in style. Give these tips a try. You just may find using AI tools to productively produce content (and get more eyes on it) frees up time for you and your team to play harder in the content spaces you love most.

The tools mentioned in this article were identified by the authors. If you have a tool to suggest, share it on social with the hashtag #CMWorld.

Couldn’t attend Content Marketing World in person this year? Register for the Digital Pass to access on-demand session recordings from the live event through the end of the year. Use promo code BLOG100 to save $100.

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Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

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Why We Are Always ‘Clicking to Buy’, According to Psychologists

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Why We Are Always 'Clicking to Buy', According to Psychologists

Amazon pillows.

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A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots

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A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots

Salesforce launched a collection of new, generative AI-related products at Connections in Chicago this week. They included new Einstein Copilots for marketers and merchants and Einstein Personalization.

To better understand, not only the potential impact of the new products, but the evolving Salesforce architecture, we sat down with Bobby Jania, CMO, Marketing Cloud.

Dig deeper: Salesforce piles on the Einstein Copilots

Salesforce’s evolving architecture

It’s hard to deny that Salesforce likes coming up with new names for platforms and products (what happened to Customer 360?) and this can sometimes make the observer wonder if something is brand new, or old but with a brand new name. In particular, what exactly is Einstein 1 and how is it related to Salesforce Data Cloud?

“Data Cloud is built on the Einstein 1 platform,” Jania explained. “The Einstein 1 platform is our entire Salesforce platform and that includes products like Sales Cloud, Service Cloud — that it includes the original idea of Salesforce not just being in the cloud, but being multi-tenancy.”

Data Cloud — not an acquisition, of course — was built natively on that platform. It was the first product built on Hyperforce, Salesforce’s new cloud infrastructure architecture. “Since Data Cloud was on what we now call the Einstein 1 platform from Day One, it has always natively connected to, and been able to read anything in Sales Cloud, Service Cloud [and so on]. On top of that, we can now bring in, not only structured but unstructured data.”

That’s a significant progression from the position, several years ago, when Salesforce had stitched together a platform around various acquisitions (ExactTarget, for example) that didn’t necessarily talk to each other.

“At times, what we would do is have a kind of behind-the-scenes flow where data from one product could be moved into another product,” said Jania, “but in many of those cases the data would then be in both, whereas now the data is in Data Cloud. Tableau will run natively off Data Cloud; Commerce Cloud, Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud — they’re all going to the same operational customer profile.” They’re not copying the data from Data Cloud, Jania confirmed.

Another thing to know is tit’s possible for Salesforce customers to import their own datasets into Data Cloud. “We wanted to create a federated data model,” said Jania. “If you’re using Snowflake, for example, we more or less virtually sit on your data lake. The value we add is that we will look at all your data and help you form these operational customer profiles.”

Let’s learn more about Einstein Copilot

“Copilot means that I have an assistant with me in the tool where I need to be working that contextually knows what I am trying to do and helps me at every step of the process,” Jania said.

For marketers, this might begin with a campaign brief developed with Copilot’s assistance, the identification of an audience based on the brief, and then the development of email or other content. “What’s really cool is the idea of Einstein Studio where our customers will create actions [for Copilot] that we hadn’t even thought about.”

Here’s a key insight (back to nomenclature). We reported on Copilot for markets, Copilot for merchants, Copilot for shoppers. It turns out, however, that there is just one Copilot, Einstein Copilot, and these are use cases. “There’s just one Copilot, we just add these for a little clarity; we’re going to talk about marketing use cases, about shoppers’ use cases. These are actions for the marketing use cases we built out of the box; you can build your own.”

It’s surely going to take a little time for marketers to learn to work easily with Copilot. “There’s always time for adoption,” Jania agreed. “What is directly connected with this is, this is my ninth Connections and this one has the most hands-on training that I’ve seen since 2014 — and a lot of that is getting people using Data Cloud, using these tools rather than just being given a demo.”

What’s new about Einstein Personalization

Salesforce Einstein has been around since 2016 and many of the use cases seem to have involved personalization in various forms. What’s new?

“Einstein Personalization is a real-time decision engine and it’s going to choose next-best-action, next-best-offer. What is new is that it’s a service now that runs natively on top of Data Cloud.” A lot of real-time decision engines need their own set of data that might actually be a subset of data. “Einstein Personalization is going to look holistically at a customer and recommend a next-best-action that could be natively surfaced in Service Cloud, Sales Cloud or Marketing Cloud.”

Finally, trust

One feature of the presentations at Connections was the reassurance that, although public LLMs like ChatGPT could be selected for application to customer data, none of that data would be retained by the LLMs. Is this just a matter of written agreements? No, not just that, said Jania.

“In the Einstein Trust Layer, all of the data, when it connects to an LLM, runs through our gateway. If there was a prompt that had personally identifiable information — a credit card number, an email address — at a mimum, all that is stripped out. The LLMs do not store the output; we store the output for auditing back in Salesforce. Any output that comes back through our gateway is logged in our system; it runs through a toxicity model; and only at the end do we put PII data back into the answer. There are real pieces beyond a handshake that this data is safe.”

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Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads (And How To Fix It)

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Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads (And How To Fix It)

Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To

You ask the head of marketing how the team is doing and get a giant thumbs up. 👍

“Our MQLs are up!”

“Website conversion rates are at an all-time high!”

“Email click rates have never been this good!”

But when you ask the head of sales the same question, you get the response that echoes across sales desks worldwide — the leads from marketing suck. 

If you’re in this boat, you’re not alone. The issue of “leads from marketing suck” is a common situation in most organizations. In a HubSpot survey, only 9.1% of salespeople said leads they received from marketing were of very high quality.

Why do sales teams hate marketing-generated leads? And how can marketers help their sales peers fall in love with their leads? 

Let’s dive into the answers to these questions. Then, I’ll give you my secret lead gen kung-fu to ensure your sales team loves their marketing leads. 

Marketers Must Take Ownership

“I’ve hit the lead goal. If sales can’t close them, it’s their problem.”

How many times have you heard one of your marketers say something like this? When your teams are heavily siloed, it’s not hard to see how they get to this mindset — after all, if your marketing metrics look strong, they’ve done their part, right?

Not necessarily. 

The job of a marketer is not to drive traffic or even leads. The job of the marketer is to create messaging and offers that lead to revenue. Marketing is not a 100-meter sprint — it’s a relay race. The marketing team runs the first leg and hands the baton to sales to sprint to the finish.

​​

via GIPHY

To make leads valuable beyond the vanity metric of watching your MQLs tick up, you need to segment and nurture them. Screen the leads to see if they meet the parameters of your ideal customer profile. If yes, nurture them to find out how close their intent is to a sale. Only then should you pass the leads to sales. 

Lead Quality Control is a Bitter Pill that Works

Tighter quality control might reduce your overall MQLs. Still, it will ensure only the relevant leads go to sales, which is a win for your team and your organization.

This shift will require a mindset shift for your marketing team: instead of living and dying by the sheer number of MQLs, you need to create a collaborative culture between sales and marketing. Reinforce that “strong” marketing metrics that result in poor leads going to sales aren’t really strong at all.  

When you foster this culture of collaboration and accountability, it will be easier for the marketing team to receive feedback from sales about lead quality without getting defensive. 

Remember, the sales team is only holding marketing accountable so the entire organization can achieve the right results. It’s not sales vs marketing — it’s sales and marketing working together to get a great result. Nothing more, nothing less. 

We’ve identified the problem and where we need to go. So, how you do you get there?

Fix #1: Focus On High ROI Marketing Activities First

What is more valuable to you:

  • One more blog post for a few more views? 
  • One great review that prospective buyers strongly relate to?

Hopefully, you’ll choose the latter. After all, talking to customers and getting a solid testimonial can help your sales team close leads today.  Current customers talking about their previous issues, the other solutions they tried, why they chose you, and the results you helped them achieve is marketing gold.

On the other hand, even the best blog content will take months to gain enough traction to impact your revenue.

Still, many marketers who say they want to prioritize customer reviews focus all their efforts on blog content and other “top of the funnel” (Awareness, Acquisition, and Activation) efforts. 

The bottom half of the growth marketing funnel (Retention, Reputation, and Revenue) often gets ignored, even though it’s where you’ll find some of the highest ROI activities.

1716755163 123 Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To1716755163 123 Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To

Most marketers know retaining a customer is easier than acquiring a new one. But knowing this and working with sales on retention and account expansion are two different things. 

When you start focusing on retention, upselling, and expansion, your entire organization will feel it, from sales to customer success. These happier customers will increase your average account value and drive awareness through strong word of mouth, giving you one heck of a win/win.

Winning the Retention, Reputation, and Referral game also helps feed your Awareness, Acquisition, and Activation activities:

  • Increasing customer retention means more dollars stay within your organization to help achieve revenue goals and fund lead gen initiatives.
  • A fully functioning referral system lowers your customer acquisition cost (CAC) because these leads are already warm coming in the door.
  • Case studies and reviews are powerful marketing assets for lead gen and nurture activities as they demonstrate how you’ve solved identical issues for other companies.

Remember that the bottom half of your marketing and sales funnel is just as important as the top half. After all, there’s no point pouring leads into a leaky funnel. Instead, you want to build a frictionless, powerful growth engine that brings in the right leads, nurtures them into customers, and then delights those customers to the point that they can’t help but rave about you.

So, build a strong foundation and start from the bottom up. You’ll find a better return on your investment. 

Fix #2: Join Sales Calls to Better Understand Your Target Audience

You can’t market well what you don’t know how to sell.

Your sales team speaks directly to customers, understands their pain points, and knows the language they use to talk about those pains. Your marketing team needs this information to craft the perfect marketing messaging your target audience will identify with.

When marketers join sales calls or speak to existing customers, they get firsthand introductions to these pain points. Often, marketers realize that customers’ pain points and reservations are very different from those they address in their messaging. 

Once you understand your ideal customers’ objections, anxieties, and pressing questions, you can create content and messaging to remove some of these reservations before the sales call. This effort removes a barrier for your sales team, resulting in more SQLs.

Fix #3: Create Collateral That Closes Deals

One-pagers, landing pages, PDFs, decks — sales collateral could be anything that helps increase the chance of closing a deal. Let me share an example from Lean Labs. 

Our webinar page has a CTA form that allows visitors to talk to our team. Instead of a simple “get in touch” form, we created a drop-down segmentation based on the user’s challenge and need. This step helps the reader feel seen, gives them hope that they’ll receive real value from the interaction, and provides unique content to users based on their selection.

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So, if they select I need help with crushing it on HubSpot, they’ll get a landing page with HubSpot-specific content (including a video) and a meeting scheduler. 

Speaking directly to your audience’s needs and pain points through these steps dramatically increases the chances of them booking a call. Why? Because instead of trusting that a generic “expert” will be able to help them with their highly specific problem, they can see through our content and our form design that Lean Labs can solve their most pressing pain point. 

Fix #4: Focus On Reviews and Create an Impact Loop

A lot of people think good marketing is expensive. You know what’s even more expensive? Bad marketing

To get the best ROI on your marketing efforts, you need to create a marketing machine that pays for itself. When you create this machine, you need to think about two loops: the growth loop and the impact loop.

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  • Growth loop — Awareness ➡ Acquisition ➡ Activation ➡ Revenue ➡ Awareness: This is where most marketers start. 
  • Impact loop — Results ➡ Reviews ➡ Retention ➡ Referrals ➡ Results: This is where great marketers start. 

Most marketers start with their growth loop and then hope that traction feeds into their impact loop. However, the reality is that starting with your impact loop is going to be far more likely to set your marketing engine up for success

Let me share a client story to show you what this looks like in real life.

Client Story: 4X Website Leads In A Single Quarter

We partnered with a health tech startup looking to grow their website leads. One way to grow website leads is to boost organic traffic, of course, but any organic play is going to take time. If you’re playing the SEO game alone, quadrupling conversions can take up to a year or longer.

But we did it in a single quarter. Here’s how.

We realized that the startup’s demos were converting lower than industry standards. A little more digging showed us why: our client was new enough to the market that the average person didn’t trust them enough yet to want to invest in checking out a demo. So, what did we do?

We prioritized the last part of the funnel: reputation.

We ran a 5-star reputation campaign to collect reviews. Once we had the reviews we needed, we showcased them at critical parts of the website and then made sure those same reviews were posted and shown on other third-party review platforms. 

Remember that reputation plays are vital, and they’re one of the plays startups often neglect at best and ignore at worst. What others say about your business is ten times more important than what you say about yourself

By providing customer validation at critical points in the buyer journey, we were able to 4X the website leads in a single quarter!

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So, when you talk to customers, always look for opportunities to drive review/referral conversations and use them in marketing collateral throughout the buyer journey. 

Fix #5: Launch Phantom Offers for Higher Quality Leads 

You may be reading this post thinking, okay, my lead magnets and offers might be way off the mark, but how will I get the budget to create a new one that might not even work?

It’s an age-old issue: marketing teams invest way too much time and resources into creating lead magnets that fail to generate quality leads

One way to improve your chances of success, remain nimble, and stay aligned with your audience without breaking the bank is to create phantom offers, i.e., gauge the audience interest in your lead magnet before you create them.

For example, if you want to create a “World Security Report” for Chief Security Officers, don’t do all the research and complete the report as Step One. Instead, tease the offer to your audience before you spend time making it. Put an offer on your site asking visitors to join the waitlist for this report. Then wait and see how that phantom offer converts. 

This is precisely what we did for a report by Allied Universal that ended up generating 80 conversions before its release.

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The best thing about a phantom offer is that it’s a win/win scenario: 

  • Best case: You get conversions even before you create your lead magnet.
  • Worst case: You save resources by not creating a lead magnet no one wants.  

Remember, You’re On The Same Team 

We’ve talked a lot about the reasons your marketing leads might suck. However, remember that it’s not all on marketers, either. At the end of the day, marketing and sales professionals are on the same team. They are not in competition with each other. They are allies working together toward a common goal. 

Smaller companies — or anyone under $10M in net new revenue — shouldn’t even separate sales and marketing into different departments. These teams need to be so in sync with one another that your best bet is to align them into a single growth team, one cohesive front with a single goal: profitable customer acquisition.

Interested in learning more about the growth marketing mindset? Check out the Lean Labs Growth Playbook that’s helped 25+ B2B SaaS marketing teams plan, budget, and accelerate growth.


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