7 Steps to Create a Sales-Driven Content Marketing Plan

The content marketing strategy for a business could have many objectives, like establishing brand awareness, winning back lost customers, etc.

But in the end, the overarching, global objective, is to drive sales. Which is why 70% of marketers actively invest in content marketing.

This post will cover 5 tips on how to create a robust content marketing plan that leads to conversions. 

1. Create a specific buyer persona for each product/service.

You might have already created a persona buyer persona for your brand and audience, and that will be the global buyer persona. However, you might have different products and services that you’re targeting to sub-sections of your audience. 

E.g., if you are selling hiking shoes and your overall target audience is mountain climbers, you might have two types of sub-audiences under that: novices and experts. 

Similarly, if you’re a service-based cleaning business, you might have a target audience of corporate workspaces, and there you might have different packages for startups and multinationals. 

So the first step is to get a detailed understanding of your different target audiences and humanize them by creating a persona for each one.

Elements you should include:

  • Pain points
  • Desires
  • Lifestyles
  • Purchase journey 
  • Key challenges in attaining their desires

This step will help in both content creation and conversions. Here’s a sample buyer persona template you can use:

buyer persona template
Image: Buyer persona template

2. Create the relevant money pages on your website.

A money page on a website is one that actually leads to conversions/ sales. Some examples of money pages could be:

  • A product page on an e-commerce store.
  • Landing page for a paid digital product. E.g., a course, a consultation, a paid video series, an ebook.
  • An affiliate content page. E.g. a review with affiliate links, native content

One very effective way of driving first-time sales is to create a tiered product strategy. Hook in customers with an affordable minimum viable product/service (MVP), with an option to upgrade to a higher-priced product/service with more features. Create a money (landing) page for each. 

SaaS companies use this model frequently, with different subscription plans, sometimes even by including a free trial. 

3. Create content for your conversion funnel(s).

People will buy from you if they trust you. And they will trust you when they get at least an idea of your expertise. So irrespective of what your product/service is, first establish your knowledge of what you’re selling, and why it could be good for your audience. 

The best way to do that is with content for different stages of the conversion funnel. In the buyer persona section, we mentioned including the purchase journey of a customer. i.e., when potential customers face a problem, what are the steps they take to solve it, and how do they reach the purchase stage? At each step of this journey, your audience is looking for different types of content, to answer their questions for that stage. 

Once you know this, you can set up a conversion funnel based on the TOFU BOFU MOFU concept, and create content topics accordingly. 

TOFU: Top of the funnel. It is mostly about finding a solution to a problem. This is the stage where your audience, by reading your content, may get awareness about your brand, but they are not in the mindset to buy any product/service yet.

TOFU content examples:

  • How to solve a problem your audience faces. Whether they be listicles, step-by-step guides, the primary goal of TOFU content is to establish brand expertise.
  • Ebooks, worksheets, templates, and other tools to help your audience solve their problems

MOFU: Middle of the funnel. By this stage, your audience is more familiar with your brand, and may turn into a lead or prospective customer. They could, for example, sign up for your newsletter or buy your MVP.

MOFU content examples:

  • Case studies: How a problem was solved (using your product/service)
  • Tutorials: Your money page could list the features and benefits of your product/service, but usually doesn’t include in-depth steps about how to use it. You could create detailed MOFU content around this topic. 

BOFU: Bottom of the funnel. Your audience converts to a full customer. One that trusts you, and is willing to go to your money page and buy from you. 

BOFU content examples:

  • Product demos
  • Reviews & comparisons: When your audience is looking for reviews, they are very close to buying. You could compare your product to your competitors. Or write an honest review about an affiliate program.

Here are some content formats and ideas for each stage of the conversion funnel.

Conversion Funnel content
Image: Source

4. Amplify your content marketing with repurposing.

Blogs, videos, podcasts, infographics, webinars, ebooks, are all excellent types of content that increase brand engagement. Choose the most comfortable medium for you to create and for your audience to interact with. 

To get more traffic, however, it’s best not to just stick to one. Repurposing your original content into different types and promoting them on other platforms besides your website will actually help you reach more of your audience and hence, prospective leads and customers.  

E.g., if you’re selling a course on how to bake the perfect fluffy muffins and cakes, you could create written recipes, and also videos of you actually creating these desserts.

If you’re selling an affiliate program for web hosting, write/shoot tutorials of you actually setting up websites with your recommended hosting provider, and talk about all pros and cons. 

5. Set up a conversion funnel for each product/service.

Now that you have your content and money pages, it is time to set up the conversion funnel to guide your audience from content to purchase.

The first step is to create TOFU content, genuinely aimed at solving your audience’s problems. You can then set up different types of conversion funnels and see which one works best for your brand. Here are some examples:

1. Include links within your TOFU content, to more in-depth MOFU content. Link this MOFU content to your BOFU and money pages.

2. Insert Call-to-Actions or forms on TOFU/MOFU content to sign up for your newsletter or a lead magnet.

Nurture these leads via email marketing with more TOFU & MOFU content, and finally, send your product/ service offers to your most engaged leads.

3. Include links to your MVP landing page in your TOFU/ MOFU content, like through a popup form or a non-intrusive sidebar banner. Avoid too many sales links here, because remember, people are not looking to buy. But if they have been following your content for some time, and trust you as a brand, they could still read a how-to blog post and buy a product.

4. Use retargeting to show your money pages to your website visitors.

5. Optimize both content and money pages for SEO 

This is a huge topic, and we won’t get into detail here, but it is key to remember that SEO is about people first, search engines second. As long as your content and site are credible, relevant, and authoritative, and you provide value to your user, you can do your SEO effectively.

In the context of content marketing to drive sales, here are 5 key tips:

  1. Create content with the search intent in mind
  2. Use relevant, long-tail keywords
  3. Use images and other media in your content
  4. Make your content easy to read/ watch
  5. Get backlinks

Landing page SEO is a little bit more challenging than SEO for blog posts, for example, because typically they have fewer words. That’s where long-tail keywords and really valuable offers that meet the audience’s needs become even more key. 

6. Drive traffic to both content and money pages

Content creation is only a part of the process. The bigger step is to get eyes on it. So share and distribute your content repeatedly, consistently.

While email is one of the highest converting methods, also use social media, ads, requesting influencers, whatever works for your business.

A balanced strategy that works is to drive more traffic to content pages and use the conversion funnel(s) to boost your sales.  

7. Track, analyze, and revise

To know if your content marketing plan is actually generating sales, you need to set some goals. One way is to set up goals in Google Analytics, to track conversions. You could also use A/ B testing to optimize your content and use a marketing software to track the metrics. 

See what’s working and what’s not, and improvise your content plan accordingly. 

Content marketing is a continuous process, and the more you work on it regularly with an eye on KPIs and results, the more effective you can make your marketing plan in the long run. 

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4 thoughts on “7 Steps to Create a Sales-Driven Content Marketing Plan”

  1. Hi Poulomi! I just came across your blog post and must say that it’s a great piece of information that you have shared. I am bookmarking your site for future reference.

    Reply
  2. Absolutely, Ryan. No matter how good your products and services are, the single most important factor that drives people to shell put their hard-earned money to buy from you is trust – that you can help solve their problem. And that’s where any kind of content marketing, including blogging, plays a huge role. Small business owners sometimes tend to forget that though, they just keep pushing their products and services on social media. It is instead important to create trust-building content and a funnel that will actually drive sales.

    Thanks so much for stopping by and adding to the post!

    Reply
  3. Good job Poulomi. Creating content is huge; what a key factor in the sales-driving game. I see free, valued content as proof that readers can trust the advice you offer. Being armed with trust, these same readers become customers because they gladly buy your premium offerings. Why? They trust you. They know you are credible so your premium offerings will be even more helpful than your free content. End game; sales boost.

    Ryan

    Reply

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