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.
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.