Content marketing is the newer, better version of the salesman.
What is the first thing you do when you want to purchase something? You probably pulled out your smartphone or went to your laptop to searched something related to the need and/or company; the ensuing information helped you formulate your purchasing or non-purchasing rationale.
This is content marketing at its best and whether you realize it or not, your decision was probably influenced.
The first step in the sales process is establishing rapport with your potential customer. Tony Robbins describes rapport as “the ability to enter someone else’s world and make him/her feel that you understand him/her.” This is a valuable tool in the sales process and is equally valuable with content marketing. Breaking down the wall between your brand and the audience will improve credibility and trust.
How do you establish rapport through your content?
- Understand your brand’s identity and develop content with that uniform brand voice
- Create audience-centric content
- Admit failures, mistakes and misconceptions. Be proactive and not reactive with your content
Related Article: Persuasion Techniques: How to Get People to Say Yes to You More
Qualifying your audience is another key step in the content marketing process. Qualifying, with respect to content marketing, means knowing who your audience is and what their tendencies, demographics, needs and interests are. Your content will more effective the better you understand who is viewing it.
Three quick and easy ways to qualify your audience is through:
- Competitive analysis. Look at competitors and see what content they are producing and what seems to work. Look for trending topics in your industry that customers would find engaging.
- Audit your current customers. Look at the makeup of your current customers. Find relevant trends that you can target for future clients.
- Collect feedback and iterate. Content marketing is not meant to be stagnant. Develop processes for tracing success of content and be ready to pivot when you find opportunities or pitfalls.
After researching and collecting customer information, it is now time to start orchestrating the content. Probing, as it relates to content marketing, is the process of pulling out pain in the audience and perpetuating an action. Leveraging emotions and feelings are the best way to achieve this result. Critically analyze what emotions would cause a customer to convert or act. Once you have action-eliciting emotions, create content that evokes that feeling in the audience.
For example, a marketing company understands customers purchase their services because they want to generate more leads. Two emotions that cause a client to contact the marketing company might be the feelings of curiosity or fear.
Curiosity: Business owners want to believe that solutions will generate more leads. Create content that evokes optimism and curiosity in the audience.
- Topic Idea: “3 Tips to Triple Your Leads Today”
Fear: The business owner might also act out of a fear or uncertainty.
- Topic idea: “Are you Missing Out on a Huge Opportunity to Find Leads?”
Related Article: What John Wooden Can Teach You About Content Marketing
Salesmen will tell you that the hardest part of the job is dealing with objections. Objections are obstacles that take potential leads away from closing. There are countless motives for why a person might not continue the sales process and each unique objection needs to be met with a response to help get the customer back on track. Just because a customer has an objection does not mean the sale is lost, the customer is just looking for reassurance or more direction.
Creating content that is geared around objections will help your content marketing strategy move through objections. A FAQs section on the site, testimonials, customer service chats or automated marketing emails are all content marketing solutions to client objections. Content designed to move users through the funnel and handle objections will help generate more sales and provide less work for the internal sales or customer service team.
The closing stage is the last and most important aspect of the sales process. As you’ve seen to this point, content marketing first needs to be grounded in research and analysis. Establishing rapport and qualifying the customers provide this pertinent information. Next, the probing and objection stages leverage customer information to provide a framework for developing content.
If you have executed the other stages effectively the close should be one of the easiest stages. The customer is looking for concise and clear directives. This is often in reference to pricing, expectations, and results. Create content that clearly outlines objectives and pricing to the customer. Consider creating custom proposals for each client that sets definitive expectations, deliverables and deadline goals. This will help push the client towards the close and alleviate any questions about the project. Setting the expectations will also help improve customer satisfaction.
Content marketing is arguably replacing the traditional salesman. Once you understand your customers and their path to purchase, you can create content that supports their needs at every stage. When they are ready to purchase, you can have content that is designed to eliminate any pre-mortem buyer’s remorse and make the closing process as easy as possible. Now that you’ve made the sale, you have to focus on a customer retention content strategy, but that’s for another day!