SharpSpring Onboarding Part 2: Creating a Killer Content Strategy

Cassandra Garcia - Fri, March 17, 2017

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content strategy

Early on in my onboarding career at SharpSpring, I was tasked to give a presentation on content marketing. Coming from an Art History background, I certainly understood the importance of content, but I had to do quite a bit of research to understand what goes into developing and executing an effective content strategy.

One thing I learned is that although there are plenty of “how-to” guides, white papers and blogs on content best practices, many marketers are not really applying these practices in their content creation endeavours.

At SharpSpring, however, we make content a major focus in our onboarding process. We’ll work closely with you to help you create valuable content, develop a content strategy, and link it all together with marketing automation.

In the first part of our onboarding blog series, my colleague Chris talked to you about getting set up in SharpSpring. In this segment, I’m going to walk you through all the content-related aspects of SharpSpring onboarding. Later, you’ll learn how we help you use marketing automation to streamline your day-to-day operations, convert more leads, and track the ROI of your efforts.

Convey the Right Message at the Right Time With Emails

Let’s be honest, whether for personal or professional reasons, you most likely create and send emails everyday. In marketing, email is often one of the first points of contact between a business and a lead and can therefore determine whether that lead becomes a customer. That’s why the quality of your email content is so important.

Knowing how to use an email editor is as important as knowing how to use a pen. One of the first things we cover in onboarding is creating and sending emails in SharpSpring. Your Onboarding Specialist will walk you through the whole email gamut, from how to use the simple WYSIWYG editor to best practices for content display.

I love helping partners take the awesome content they’ve created and propel it through email campaigns. The immediate question I always get after a send is, “Who opened my email?” Everyone has expectations for how their content will be received, and it’s my job as an Onboarding Specialist to help you understand the different ways people can engage with your emails.

Here are some of the things your Onboarding Specialist will cover when it comes to reviewing email reports:

  • Number of successful deliveries
  • Open rates
  • Click-through rates
  • Unsubscribe data
  • Hard and soft bounce info

People open emails through a variety of clients and devices, all of which have unique rendering capabilities. SharpSpring partnered with Litmus to deliver render tests to help you maximize your deliverability. Your Onboarding Specialist understands that your emails set the tone for your relationships with prospects, leads and customers, and he/she will show you how to perform render tests for all of your emails and employ best practices for high deliverability.

Keep the Conversation Going With Landing Pages & Blogs

While emails are an extremely important part of the communication cycle, landing pages are what guide leads down the funnel you’ve created for them.

Think of your main website as your storefront, where landing pages serve as aisles directing visitors to the right product or service. Unbounce has a great article on the importance of using landing pages. It’s proven that the conversions rates from using landing pages are massive – but it takes time to create perfect landing pages.

During onboarding, we help you navigate our landing page builder, which offers a library of pre-made content, a point-and-click editor, and an easy publishing system. We also run through one of the most effective, inexpensive and creative content tools in the system. Can you guess what it’s for? BLOGS!

Blogging is your ticket to becoming an industry leader in your space. It’s a tremendously effective way to get your message out there and display what you have to offer. SharpSpring’s blogging tool makes it super easy to get up and running, and your Onboarding Specialist will be there to help fill in any gaps.

Identify & Capture Leads With Forms

A major feature in SharpSpring is the ability to capture anonymous web traffic, which begins once a unique tracking code is embedded on your site. It can provide basic information on many of those anonymous visitors, but how do you identify everyone else and gather even more information about them? By directing them to forms, you can get them to fill out their contact information and identify themselves for you.

What you choose to include on these forms will determine not only how much you’ll learn about your prospects but also whether they’ll be willing to give you any personal information at all. It’s important to ask the right questions at the right times to ensure you won’t put people off. You want to be sure you’re getting enough information, but you also don’t want to ask too many questions right away.

We can help you map nearly any type of form, including ones made within SharpSpring, native forms living on your website, and forms made in third-party platforms like Formstack, Wufoo and Gravity Forms.

During onboarding, we also guide you on the best forms to place in your website. Your Onboarding Specialist will help you create forms with the right custom fields so you can capture the information you want. This allows you to then segment, target and nurture your leads more effectively, increasing the likelihood that they’ll convert later.

Personalize Your Messaging With Dynamic Content

A common question we get from leads and customers is why they should use SharpSpring for content creation as opposed to third-party tools and platforms. We often have people sign up who are already using another email delivery platform or landing page builder, and we are tasked with convincing them why they should be using SharpSpring for all of their marketing activities. Dynamic content is the best answer.

We are living in an age of predictive analytics, where providing users with the most customized content is key for conversions. With dynamic content, you’ll no longer be sending generic emails to all of your prospects or directing leads to cookie-cutter landing pages – you’ll be sending them hyper-personalized content based on their behavior and interests.

During onboarding, you’ll learn how you can easily switch out subject lines, images, calls to action, and messaging in your emails and landing pages based on the information you’ve gathered on your leads.

Measure the Success of Your Content With Trackable Links

Many of the clients we work with have an assortment of great content: infographics, pdfs, whitepapers, videos, etc. In the past, it was challenging to know who was interacting with this critical content and when.

SharpSpring’s Media Center helps you segment those pieces of content as unique trackable elements. Then, click-through data from those links will give you the ability to see exactly how many times someone viewed a particular infographic, and how and when they got to it.

We help you capture leads who are already being tracked in the system as well as anonymous viewers. This allows you to hone in on what is being opened and viewed, so you can invest more resources into producing those types of content.

Furthermore, when a lead views content via a Media Center link, that becomes memorialized in his/her Life of the Lead, allowing marketers to follow up with more meaningful and relevant communications.

Another aspect that I love about this feature is that it’s not only useful for content like those mentioned above, but it can also apply trackable links to content on third-party websites. This means you can capture engagement rates on virtually anything you’re sending to your contacts, and your Onboarding Specialist will be there to answer any questions you have as you’re setting up Media Center tracking.

Now That You’ve Optimized Your Content Strategy…

One of the most important steps to successful marketing is developing and executing a great content strategy. That’s why we’ve made content a central focus of our onboarding process – so you can learn how to use SharpSpring to support and optimize your content marketing strategy.

The next step is putting all the pieces together with automaton. Up next in this series, we’ll walk you through the engine that runs your content marketing machine.

Want to see all of these tools in action? Sign up for a demo of SharpSpring today.


This is part of a four-part blog series that covers the ins and outs of SharpSpring’s onboarding process. Find out how our Onboarding Specialists will set you up for success with marketing automation – so you can streamline your daily operations, convert more leads to sales, and calculate the ROI of your campaigns.

 

  • Cassandra Garcia
  • Author: Cassandra Garcia

  • With a background in Art History, Cassandra has experience working with clients in a variety of industries – from a living history museum to working as an IBM business partner. In her time at SharpSpring, she has become a master on the platform, and she looks forward to continuing to help partners leverage marketing automation to grow their businesses.