Content Marketing: Tips That Work For Selling Too

One of the reasons I love content marketing is that it shares. It shows, it educates, it informs. By its very nature it’s collaborative. It’s designed to enhance skillsets and build trust. It gives the gift of knowledge with the ideal of making your customer better.

Content marketing is a positive activity that results in sales.

Photo courtesy of Spikenheimer (CC)

Photo courtesy of Spikenheimer (CC)

In the hands of the best salespeople, selling can be a positive experience too, but all too often it breeds mistrust. Being sold to often leaves customers feeling like they’ve been in an arm wrestling match. At the end they’re exhausted. There’s one winner and one loser.

And even when you’re the winner, your arm hurts!

 

 

The techniques that define content marketing also apply to sales. In fact after this weekend I’d go so far as to say, if you’re not incorporating the following into both your sales process and your content marketing process you’re in trouble.

What happened this weekend? What went so horribly wrong for the young lady who showed up at my door? The scene I’m going to lay out may seem like an over-simplification but actually these lessons apply regardless of the complexity, the cost, or the length of the sales cycle.

These lessons also apply regardless of channel. It doesn’t matter if you’re standing on my doorstep or revealing your business to me online.

Lesson #1   Be Relevant

She started the conversation by asking where I bought my doormat. This was in no way relevant to either of us.

In content marketing and in sales, it’s important to accept that your target audience is selfish and only really interested in what matters to them. Respect their time or they’ll close the door in your face. Be relevant at all times and they might listen to you long enough to hear something that matters to them.

Lesson #2   Be Authentic

She faked an intimacy that didn’t exist when she asked “Hi Mom, what are we making for lunch today?”

I really wanted her to be authentic and say something like, “I can see you’re busy so let me cut to the chase. Are you interested in having your carpets cleaned? Everyone wants clean carpets but it’s a pain to do them. Let us do them for you.”

Because she had great energy and wonderful eye contact I wished I could have performed a Jedi mind trick. “This is not the approach you are looking for!” Be authentic instead.

In content marketing and in sales, it’s essential to be real with your audience. We’re all jaded by fast talkers and tired of feeling like we were somehow forced into the transaction. Build the relationship openly and honestly and at the pace set by your audience.

Lesson #3   Educate

At no time did she share any knowledge that increased my awareness. She didn’t try to educate me into being a better homeowner for example.

She might have noticed that we have pretty sturdy carpets and recommended a process to keep them looking good. That would have increased my knowledge and might have led to questions or more conversation. In other words, a strengthening of the relationship.

In content marketing and sales, businesses have to be adept at providing the right information at the right time. Be helpful and share knowledge that your audience doesn’t already have. Make them aware of something that makes them better informed in this field.

Giving your audience the gift of knowledge may mean that the sale won’t go through today, it can still be made because you educated.

Lesson #4   Call To Action

When I politely gave the final no, she turned and left discouraged. For her this was all or nothing. She had one shot and it was over.

A warm handshake and a brochure with helpful information, contact details, and a discount coupon could have saved the day.

In content marketing and sales, businesses have to give their audiences good reasons to stick with them. They have to call them to action and provide easy-to-follow next steps to move audiences from exploring to buying.

The goal in content marketing and in sales is to clear the path for your target audience. Work tirelessly to make it easy for them to engage. Cut away anything that isn’t relevant, encourage them with useful information, and be there when they need you.

Buyers are more likely to purchase from businesses that inform, educate and build a relationship with them. That’s why I love content marketing!

What is about content marketing that you love??


Written by Nicola Roark, a small business owner working to demystify content marketing for other businesses.

One thought on “Content Marketing: Tips That Work For Selling Too

  1. parenthesesphotography says:

    Hey Nicola! This post is so spot on! I JUST had the same knock on my door from one of those out-of-state sales people a couple days ago. And I’d like to add one other thing to your list. Be HIGHLY PRESENTABLE or at least decent looking. To me, that’s a big one, as first impressions always get me! She was certainly not dressed appropriately enough for me to want to invite her into my home to clean my carpets in front of my family. She was very off topic, just as you’ve explained here, by complimenting my hair color as soon as I opened my door. She also tried to get in good with me by telling me that she’s got little ones at home too when she noticed I had kids. She was completely off topic right from the start and I remember feeling that she was simply wasting my time. I really just wanted to know why she was on my doorstep. Finally, she sped through her obviously routined speech that she just gave to all of my neighbors. It was almost as if she was a robot. And she was very clear on how she needed to clean so many carpets in order to win this trip to Disneyland. Like that mattered to me or something, when I haven’t even made it to Disneyland yet. 🙂 You are right! I like when they just cut to the chase without taking up too much of my time. I respect them more for being more genuine and REAL. I eventually explained that I am changing out all of my carpets and that we were in the process of getting all wood floors and that I wasn’t interested in her cleaning the carpets we had left because they were just going to be removed anyway. And she quickly says “Okay” and walks away with haste. No “Thank you for your time.” No “Here’s a brochure that maybe you can pass along to one of your friends.”….nada.

    I’m currently in the stages of beginning a new content marketing plan for my business. So, I’ll be checking back often for tips.

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