Marketing Content to the House of Worship Market

featured-how-trendsIf the products you sell are well suited for the church market, how are you using content marketing to close the distance between product awareness and a product purchase? Targeted content goes beyond the typical product features and benefits and instead identifies with the church buyer.

Content is the currency companies use to communicate stories that motivate purchases.

Keep reading to learn the three steps for better email and advertising conversion rates and how sales should use content marketing to close deals.

Content Is Bigger Than Marketing

Since your marketing department creates content, how is content bigger than marketing? Content is sales enablement. Since marketing and sales are tied at the hip, sales enablement means arming salespeople with the tools they need to close business faster – which includes content like presentations, product videos and infographics. In the hands of a salesperson in touch with the needs and priorities of a church buyer, these content tools are bigger than the pre-sales marketing fodder; they’re specialized deal-closing tools.

“Content’s spread shouldn’t be surprising. It follows a similar pattern to the spread of digital media in the early 2000s, and to a slightly lesser extent that of social media later in the last decade.” Sam Slaughter, content marketer

Instead of the old-fashioned thinking of creating double-sided PDF files for each and every product, content marketing builds dozens of content pieces about the products, each composed to tell the story of the user type that would use the product. In this way, personas are used to create targeted content that identify not with the features, benefits or specs of the product but with the potential buyer. Don’t tell me about your product. Tell me about how my church environment is missing your technology to make what we do more effective and eliminates my pain points.

Your content should be promoted to specific personas as often as possible. Identify the needs of your church buyers and build Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Twitter Ads, LinkedIn ads and email campaigns to start from their viewpoint, not your product’s feature set. Statistically, on average, there are three paid advertising methods used to promote and distribute content. Ion Interactive, a firm that makes amazing interactive landing pages, put together these stats from their 2015 research of how content marketers promote and distribute their content.

While I’m a fan of advertising in church specific publications, you’ve also got to go where the church buyers are looking for content — and that is on a variety of channels.

Stop Linking To Your Website

This sounds counterintuitive, doesn’t it? But when it comes to sending targeted email campaigns or pay-per-click (PPC) advertisements (Google Adwords, LinkedIn Ads, etc.), you want a conversion from eyeballs to a name and contact information. To best get that conversion, eliminate anything that takes away from the key message and focus their eyeballs on your targeted content.

For most companies, pointing to a page within the website simply introduces too many choices. Remember, you’ve got them to either open an email that talks about a specific product or service, so now is your opportunity to focus their attention on that one thing. A typical website has navigation links, sidebar information, and, frankly, a lack of focus. So if you don’t send them to a page on your website, where do you send them?

You have two options. The first is to drive them to a landing page on your website that’s devoid of navigation links, additional content, and links to other pages/content. This is an intentionally stripped-down web page that exists only to talk about your one thing. You have a captive audience with a captive message, so your chances of creating one — only one — call-to-action is greatly increased. The other option is to use content marketing automation software (Pardot, Hubspot, Marketo, InfusionSoft, etc.) to manage your lead nurturing (keep them coming back and track who they are and what they do). I’m a fan (and user) of the latter, but the point is to simplify their viewing experience to the one thing you’re promoting and radically increase conversion rates from eyeballs to contacts.

This is where what I said above about content being bigger than marketing comes into play; your work marketing team’s work on the front end to identify the talking points and pain points of churches comes into alignment with your products and services. As much as possible, keep your content “above the fold”, meaning you want to tell them what’s in it for them first, position your differentiator, and then add in the extra content that supports your targeted message.

Oh, and that call-to-action? That needs to be a form that asks for only the most critical information necessary for sales to follow-up — and quickly. Those fields are “First Name,” “Last Name,” and “Work Email” — that’s it. Even if you have sales set up by territory and you need to know where the buyer is located, at least have your inside sales create a fast (minutes, not days) email response (automation helps here) to strike while iron is hot. You can always ask more questions in the follow-up email to find out other key information, but your first priority is to get them to fill out the form, and less fields have been proven to dramatically increase lead form completions.

Content Marketing Stats

All of my rAVe articles have been from my own experience of over 20 years through experiments as well as researching the best practices of others. In a shameless plug, I’d point you to all of my rAVe house of worship articles, listed here.

However, I recognize that readers here often want a second opinion, so here are some interesting stats that demonstrate just how big content marketing is today and how marketers are using it. This comes from a joint research project by two of the biggest marketing research and trends firms, and was completed in 2015.

69% of content marketers are currently working on creating more engaging/higher quality content.

63% of content marketers are currently working on better converting visitors to the website.

55% of content marketers are currently working on better understanding what content is effective.

54% of content marketers are currently working on creating a greater variety of content.

*2015 B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends – North America by Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs

Content — targeted content — works for every vertical market. Even though I write this column for the audio, video, and lighting sales firms wanting to reach more churches, the principles shared above apply across the board. My hope is that at least this work will be applied to the still underserved house of worship market.

What has been your experience with content marketing? Share your views and opinions in the comments below.

See also  Church Online: Pro AV for Streaming Church Services