Content management systems have always been known as great website editing tools, but many organizations aren’t even aware of the true power of current Web CMS platforms. Today’s CMS platforms offer advanced features and capabilities that can help you transform your website from a basic information center into a two-way customer engagement experience, which can help you interact with customers in a more meaningful way, and nurture them all the way through the buying lifecycle.

One of the greatest challenges marketers face is converting website visitors to leads; in a 2009 MarketingSherpa B2B Marketing Survey, 69% of respondents stated “generating high quality leads” was their toughest task.

Content management systems that incorporate content optimization, personalization, community, marketing automation and analytics capabilities along with content can help engage customers early, nurture them through the sales cycle, and turn them into highly qualified leads.

Getting Them in the (Virtual) Door

Most of the “foot traffic” to your website likely comes from search engines -- that’s no surprise. But Google and other search engines don’t just search and return your corporate website URL; search results can also display your blogs, videos, white papers and other articles, and of course, paid advertising.

So while a Web CMS can help you manage your basic website HTML content, many web content management platforms also include:

  • Common search engine optimization tools, such as human/search engine-readable URLs, 301 redirects and meta tags/titles;
  • Blogging tools, including tag management and commenting options;
  • Multimedia content publishing tools, including video, slideshows and PDFs.

SEO-optimized, multi-channel content, managed from a single Web CMS space, can significantly enhance your chances of being found online.

Start the Conversation

Your successful SEO efforts have brought the traffic to your door. Of course, not every visitor is the same, so how can your website deliver the right content to the right people?

That’s where your content management system comes in. A CMS platform that provides analytics and personalized content delivery tools can, in real-time:

  • Determine where the visitor came from (organic search, PPC, link);
  • Analyze what brought the visitor in (search term, ad, click stream);
  • Using pre-determined rules, serve content that aligns with what that specific user is looking for.

Your rules tell your Web CMS what content to deliver to your home page based on what visitors searched for and where they came from, engaging them with content relevant to them as soon as they arrive on your site.

Allow the Visitor to Respond

So, you’ve started the conversation by proving that you have what the user wants, and showing them right up front. The next task is tricky -- how do you get the user to give you actionable information, such as an email address?

The answer is more personalized content -- specifically, content that is compelling and offers high-value to the user. Since you are asking them for something valuable to them (their contact info), you need to offer value in return. Your Web CMS can serve up this content, be it a video, white paper or demo, based on the information gleaned in the previous step and any additional analytics information it can acquire -- the longer the user stays on your site, the more pages they visit, the more data your CMS has to help segment your visitor and build a profile of them.

Your CMS platform can also manage security, make sure all forms and information submitted are secure, and integrate with CRM platforms, ensuring the relevant prospect data is captured and ready to be picked up by the sales team.

Nurture to the Finish

Now it’s time to really establish the two-way dialogue. With the prospect’s email address, and all of the analytics data your CMS has captured to this point, you have the ability to deliver, directly to prospects, highly targeted and personal content.

Many CMS systems now provide advanced tools for campaign management, such as A/B testing and automation. These tools enable marketers to target prospects with precise email messages and offers at the appropriate time, quickly and easily.

As you can see, a full-featured content management system allows you to take the familiar prospect buying cycle one step further, enabling you to control the interaction by personalizing the web and email experience for the prospect. Your CMS can help you learn more about your prospect and what they’re looking for, so you can deliver a highly qualified lead to your sales team that’s educated, engaged and ready to buy.

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