The Missing Link Between Content Marketing And Sales
I love producing content marketing articles for businesses of all sizes. After seeing companies struggle with content marketing, though, I feel the need to set the record straight on a few things today. There are so many marketing strategies you can employ from video marketing to search engine marketing. With so many types of marketing, many businesses go back to content marketing because it seems like a great way to get their message out there. Let’s chat about the missing link between content marketing and sales that many businesses miss.
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The Missing Link Between Content Marketing And Sales Is Value
I am not going to hold back any longer. The missing link between content marketing and sales is value. Often when businesses want to get into content marketing, they approach it like a written commercial for their products. Content marketing is not a commercial. We are not writing a sales page here. Instead, we are producing value-rich content that gets our audience to know, like, and trust our business.
Value-driven content is going to look different from content written to make money. The issue is, content written exclusively to make money isn’t going to do well from the content marketing perspective. Someone doesn’t want to click on an article that says, “5 Ways To Create A Better Workflow For Your Projects,” only to read and see that four of those points lead to your project management software. You need to give value, link to other pieces that provide value, and give readers a way to opt-in to your list or buy products on their own.
Why Content Marketing Works
Content marketing works because it builds a connection between you and your intended audience.
Most people are impatient, though, and expect that content marketing will work like other marketing avenues. Creating a sales page for a low-value offer that upsells, advertising a product during a traditional television show or YouTube video, advertising on search engines, et cetera are all places where you are expected to be salesy.
Content marketing is different. The goal is to produce content that begins your sales funnel. Before you can get the sales, you need to get traffic. Content marketing is fantastic at providing a lot of traffic to your blog. With excellent search engine optimization, budding social channels, and more you can create content that works.
You want to create content that gives back to your audience. Your audience only moves further into the sales funnel when they’ve built trust with you. If you don’t deliver on your content promises, you won’t see a return on investment for content marketing. This means, don’t create a sales page disguised as a blog post.
How To Parlay Content Into Sales
Now, you may be wondering, “Okay, Amanda, if I can’t be salesy outright, how do I parlay content into sales?”
Simple: get your sales funnel on. Here’s how that works.
You run a business selling social media software for small businesses.
You produce an informative piece titled, “5 Signs Your Social Media Strategy Needs A Reboot.”
You advertise this piece online, create buzz around it, it does well on Google, et cetera.
Potential customers who want to know these signs or feel like their strategy needs to be better go to the website looking for answers.
At the end of the post, you have a call-to-action. Maybe you ask them to sign up for a short email course you’ve written on rebooting your social media strategy, or a demo of your product, or a free trial. There are so many potential CTAs.
If the audience member found the post helpful and they want more information, they will sign up.
Now, you’ve got their email address. You can continue to create content that will resonate with them via email. When you want to share your products with them, you can. You may even have a way to make a sale through the call-to-action you shared earlier.
When you are doing this, you create a funnel. Think of it this way:
Beginning of Funnel = Blog Post: All the traffic you get to your blog post is the beginning of the funnel for that post.
Middle Of Funnel = Signing Up With Their Email Address: An email address is a lead. You can use that lead to make sales.
End Of Funnel = Purchasing From You: When you give enough information, you can begin to make a pitch for a sale. After they’ve shown that they know, like, and trust you through reading your content and signing up for your course or product demo, you are ready to ask for the sale.
Action Step: Create Content That Creates Value For Your Audience
Now, let’s talk about action steps. Here are the steps you need to take today to create content that your audience will value.
Who Is Your Intended Audience?
Get clear on your intended audience. If you don’t know who you are targeting, it will be challenging to make a real impact. Who are the customers you are trying to target most? Start there and create an overall profile of the audience you want to reach.
Related Reading: How to Build a Buyer Persona via Hootsuite
What Are They Struggling With Right Now?
Now that you know who your audience is, what are they struggling with? You need to know their pain points inside and out. Understanding audience pain points may mean chatting with people who match your ideal audience. Once you know who your ideal audience is, go to social media. Reach out to people who match that with an offer to ask them a few questions in exchange for a gift card or a small monetary amount. Have these conversations with 3-5 potential audience members.
Let the conversation flow freely, but have a few questions that you ask everyone. You want to be able to cross-compare some of the data you get from these calls. Often when people are getting qualitative data over quantitative information, they forget about this step. Even when you have a conversation, you need some data you can compare across the people you’ve talked to.
Can You Give Them 3-5 Tips That Will Help Ease Their Stress?
Compile all of this valuable data into a spreadsheet, which issue will you tackle first? If you have a product that will solve their pain point, you don’t need to solve their stress fully. You do need to give them something they can genuinely bite into. What does this mean? It means that your articles can’t be five seconds of information and two minutes of selling.
A blog post doesn’t need an insane structure. This is how I structure most content:
Main Point #1
Main Point #2
Main Point #3
Call To Action/Question
You can add as many main points as you want. The more main points you have, the less you have to write with each point. So, while my article on 16 content ideas you can use to get high-quality traffic on your site had a ton of ideas, I could write less content per idea.
How Can You Shift That Into Signing Up For A Demo, Joining A List, Et Cetera?
Now, you want to include a few chances to opt-in on all of your content. It may be in the form of a simple call-to-action, an image that pulls up a form to input your email, et cetera. You want your readers to enjoy your content so much that their next step is to join your list, sign up for a product demo, take your free masterclass, et cetera.
Conclusion: Content Marketing Doesn’t Have To Be A Struggle
People struggle with content marketing because they believe that the end goal of content marketing is getting a sale right away. Instead of focusing on providing valuable, actionable content, they may try to push their latest product before they’ve built trust. Trust comes first, then sales. If your new audience doesn’t trust you, they won’t buy any product you have for sale. Stop treating blog content as an extra lengthy sales page. You can do this!