Over two decades ago, Bill Gates declared, “Content is king.” This statement still rings true so many years later with the rise in content marketing and other forms of online digital media. The average user, consumer and casual internet browser cannot go anywhere on the web without consuming some sort of content marketing – and we’re not just talking about blogs.
Marketers need content in every function of their efforts to be successful in a highly competitive marketplace with potentially desensitized consumers. Here are three areas of your marketing operations where you must regularly churn out high-quality content:
While the days of the traditional press release might be quickly fading into oblivion, PR’s credibility is still founded on good content. The general public craves authenticity out of everyone, from their politicians to the retailers they shop at. With this in mind, make sure that every piece of PR content you release is dripping with honesty and excitement.
The reason behind proliferating this area of marketing with content should be a no-brainer. Essentially, if you create high-quality, SEO-worthy regular content on your website, you will start generating more leads. Average consumers doesn’t want to just be told what to buy – they also want to know that the companies they buy from are thought leaders or educators in their particular space.
If you have a product your company is excited about, you need to be posting about it everywhere online. Don’t just send off a few quick tweets or hang up a few billboards. You need to launch full-scale media campaigns in a mixture of different mediums, if you want your consumers to get pumped about your product. Start months in advance to build anticipation.
Engineering, Product Management and Product Marketing have worked months to get the product launched, so now let people in your organization know about it. Why? When employees are aware of new products, it gets them excited about what the organization is doing and gives them some messaging points to talk about it.There are a range of activities and communication tactics that you can use depending on how big or small the launch will be.
For minor launches:
- If your sales and account management teams have a regularly scheduled meeting, join the meeting to provide an update. Include information about the product update, provide them with some messaging, and field any questions they may have.
- Send an all company email letting employees know about a new feature, update or fix.
- If your company uses a social media platform like Yammer or Chatter, post any updates there.
- If your company has an all hands meeting, that can also be another place to let people know about anything new.
For major launches:
- You can use the above tactics, plus…
- Set up specific training sessions for customer-facing teams.
- Hold a brown bag lunch session, where anyone in the company can come and learn more about the product.
- Order logo’d items and hand them out to employees to generate awareness. These can be anything from stickers to t-shirts or hats. We even did some 3D printed foxes for one launch and asked employees to take the fox with them on trips or to meetings and post to social media.
- Ask employees to do a social storm at a specific time and date by giving them the messaging to share with their social channels.
- For a really big launch, you can generate excitement by throwing a launch party. We did this when we launched FoxDen. FoxDen was a new product for our company that helped us get into the video meeting space. We rented out a nearby restaurant and invited employees to join us for some food and beverages. Our senior leadership team talked about what the launch means to our company, and thanked all those involved.
It doesn’t hurt to communicate and over-communicate in a variety of ways – email, verbally with training, through social media, and having employees see a demo of the product. How do you let employees know there is a new product or service?
Once the Messaging Strategy Document (MSD) has been finalized. It time to start creating tools that will assist sales in selling the product or service.
Types of Sales Enablement Tools
There are two types of sales enablement tools – internal and external. Internal tools are documents that get created for sales that they do not share outside the company. External tools are created to share with prospects, partners, customers and others outside of the company. Not every launch has every single component listed below, but rather you work with the key stakeholders to determine what this launch will need.
Internal sales enablement tools:
- You may have user and buyer personas. User personas are created usually to get a better understanding and get into the shoes of the person that will be using your technology or product. You want to understand what a day in their life looks like, what technologies do they use, how would they use your technology, what are their pain points, etc. Buyer personas may or may not be the same as your user persona. Buyer personas are the people that are buying your product or service. Creating these personas help you develop messaging and positioning so you know exactly how to talk to the various segments.
- Use cases
- Use cases are how the personas use the product or service. It’s the set of actions between the system and the user for a particular environment.
- Training content
- You will want to understand who will be trained so you can develop the appropriate training content. This will include all customer-facing employees usually – sales, account management, and customer care. I generally include an overview, target audience, their pain points, messaging, how it stacks up against the competition and what sales tools were created that sales can use.
- Work with Product Management to come up with a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). For internal FAQs, you may include all the questions that sales, account management or customer care might have and the answers.
- A playbook is basically everything included in training, but in a handout. It might also include sales cycle, buying titles, sales scenarios and scripts.
- If you have a product that can be demo’d, include a script that tells sales step-by-step instructions to do the demo, what the key benefits are and data points to prove out the benefits. Example: Here’s our new video product, it’s ridiculously simple and allows everyone to feel engaged whether they are in the room or not. Did you know 60% of remote employees do not feel engaged.
External sales enablement tools:
- Data sheet or brochure
- This can be printed or digital and describes the product or service, what the key benefits are and include information about how to contact sales.
- Web page
- Add a page to the website that provides an overview of the product or service, some key benefits with a call to action.
- Customer communication
- This can be done in-app if you have that built in to the product or use a 3rd party engagement software. In-app notifications would notify the user of new features. If you do not have the ability to do that in-app, you can update product release notes and send an email communication to customers.
- Prospect communication
- If there is a relevant group of prospects, you can send an email to let them know that you now have a product/feature that they were requesting or include them based on title or other criteria.
- Create a blog post noting what problem this new product or feature solves.
- Create a presentation for sales and account management to use
- Product feature video
- You can create a promotional video to highlight the product or even a tour of how the product works.
- Webinars are great for lead gen. Put one together around what pain point your product solves and get customers to participate and tell how they use your product.
- Public Relations
- PR helps you get the word out. Draft a press release and try to get a customer quote to include.
- Social media
- Use your social media outlets to let people know about your new product.
Using an integrated marketing approach, enables you to tell your story through a lot of different media and marketing channels.
Next up, how to create internal awareness for your new product or service.