When it comes to sales, PR has always been thought of as a “top of funnel” contributor. While PR’s impact on the top of the funnel cannot be denied, this association does not fully encapsulate the impact PR has throughout the buyer’s journey in today’s digitally-driven landscape.
The most critical ingredient in virtually every sales funnel is content, which is something PR produces and owns in droves. From earned or owned media, to analyst relations and social media, PR has an arsenal of assets at their fingertips that can influence potential customers along every touchpoint in the funnel.
Below are three places where the work of PR can be harnessed to usher potential customers through the funnel to maximize the chance of conversion and ultimately, stimulate a continuous flow back into the top of the funnel.
1. PR at the Top of the Funnel
PR’s sweet spot is the area between a Visit and a Lead. This is what AirPR calls a Potential Customer. A Potential Customer is someone who comes to your website as a result of having consumed PR-driven content. These people are more invested and informed than a random website visitor because they have encountered something compelling about your brand or created by your brand that made them want to learn more. This positions them to be more than a visit, but less than a lead.
Since these visitors have made a conscious decision to invest additional time in getting to know you, their appeal will naturally be greater. Especially if they are coming from an article published on an outlet whose readership matches your target audience.
2. PR Throughout The Funnel
As potential customers progress down the funnel, there are a number of ways PR can be leveraged to minimize funnel loss. In these stages it’s important to provide product validation and demonstrate tangible benefits. But it’s also important to remember those in the funnel will be conducting their own research outside of your sales strategy and collateral. Here’s where the work of PR across multiple channels really shines.
If your blog is stocked with useful content, your social media channels are engaging, your spokespeople are pumping out thought leadership to demonstrate your expertise, and your online newsroom is up to date, it’s highly probable that PR will affect those doing their due diligence. These touch points may just be the catalyst that turns an opportunity into a customer.
3. PR Post-Sales
After sales, there is still a tremendous opportunity for PR to work with customer success to “convert” customers into genuine brand advocates. This collaboration will spur success stories, testimonials and case studies which can then be used to pitch journalists, create content for your blog and inform thought leadership. All this will provide validation for new prospects who will be repopulating the top of your funnel. Talk about a virtuous cycle!
In the end, the most important point to keep in mind is that PR is no longer a siloed discipline with a single focus of securing press coverage. It’s a fundamental layer to your business with much to offer every other department.
Too often do companies settle into communicating only with members of their own teams. The most powerful, persuasive, and innovative thinkers and organizations are the ones who communicate on a regular basis with teams that aren’t their own. Be one of those people and get to know everything PR can do for your sales funnel.
Leta Soza is the director of PR engineering & ops at AirPR.