Everybody wants more of it, and when it comes to content marketing, sometimes figuring out where to get the most bang for your buck can be difficult.

So many companies have that question at the top of their mind. It’s no longer good enough to simply raise brand awareness- how do you drive actual sales?

While every organization is vastly different, there are a few best practices that are helpful when trying to connect revenue to your digital marketing efforts.

1) Understand how digital fits into your sales cycle.

This may seem like a no brainer, but so often companies take the view that online activity, content and social media is an “extra” that’s not truly at the core of the marketing or sales process. These same companies then wonder why they aren’t seeing ROI in that space. If you do not integrate digital into the sales process on the front end and consider all the ways that a potential customer may be engaging with your brand, you are already missing out. Be intentional about including this in your overall strategy from the get go. Set realistic goals to ensure that you will know what success looks like, and how you would like to see it contribute to your overall revenue.

2) Involve your sales or development team.

Chances are your sales team is on their mobile device most of the day already. Give them an opportunity to expand their number of qualified leads by creating opportunities for them in the social and content space. This can be done a number of ways, but a few examples are: allowing them to connect with your corporate page on LinkedIn, and share the amazing content you are producing with their personal networks. This will increase the awareness of your brand and the social proof that they bring along with it. Another way is to involve them in the content marketing strategy on the front end. They know what they need to support their efforts, and can give you much needed insight into how to address customer pain points and needs through your content.

3) Collect as much data as possible and measure, measure, measure.

Whether it’s through Google Analytics, Facebook Pixels, or other social media analytics tools, you have to be able to connect the dots to know where the revenue is generated online. Without this information, you will be left guessing. Creating online sales funnels that guide potential customers through a defined process helps you to know where they came from and how far along in the process they are. This is where it can get sticky, as many companies, especially B2B, are still utilizing traditional sales methods (because they know they work) and don’t understand the value in creating inbound funnels. But any company can benefit from this, and having a closed loop system, rather than just throwing content out into the world and seeing where it sticks, can help you know best where your best ROI really lives.

4) Make sure your content is supporting the sales process.

“Sell sell sell” doesn’t work anymore. Potential customers want to be educated, they want to trust your brand, and they want to know how your product or service can really change their life. Without a consistent voice and informative content, your sales posts will fall dead in the water. When you are writing content, ask yourself- where does this piece of content meet my potential customer? Who is my audience, and how can I address their needs and provide a timely and helpful solution without being pushy and annoying?

5) Don’t forget about the soft sells.

This is much harder to track, but social proof goes a long way. Having a well designed, consistently branded website, social presence, and written content is more than half the battle. Once you have that, you can begin to engage, build community, and learn who your audience is on each platform. “Soft sells” may seem like just a nice word for “no revenue” but “not now” doesn’t mean never. Building trust, spending the time to create quality content, and engage with people in an authentic way serves your long game bette than you could ever imagine.

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