by Jeff Molander
Time to read: 3 minutes. Most B2B content marketing plans fail to generate business leads because marketers have been given bad information about “what works.” Telling good stories doesn’t cause sales. Engagement does not either. High levels of confidence in buyers and clear, compelling calls to action create social media leads. Here is a deadly simple system to make sure your content marketing strategy always generates business leads by creating response and super-charging buyers’ confidence in themselves.
Case in Point: Jones Lang LaSalle
If you want more sales to result from whatever you’re publishing on social media (blogs, ebooks, videos, white papers) make sure you are causing customers to become confident in themselves (as buyers). Because if you do this well enough prospects will ask you for the sale.
It happens to people like Gunnar Branson all the time. Branson helps global B2B services firms like Jones Lang LaSalle net six and seven-figure contracts using content marketing designed to produce a) response from customers and b) confidence in them.
Branson’s approach is powerful to B2B professional services companies like insurance, legal, financial services, or consulting firms and manufacturers like medical device, pharmaceutical, industrial equipment, or computer networking suppliers needing to generate business leads.
The most effective, practical way to generate business leads with blogs, videos, download-able applications, etc. is to give confidence to buyers in ways that increase their ability to feel emotionally grounded, intellectually stronger… fully equipped to buy. But where to start?
Create Response, Not Just Engagement
Start focusing on provoking reactions with social media rather than positioning a thought leader, says Branson, CEO of marketing and innovation consultancy Branson Powers.
Branson has inspired me to start using YouTube to generate something along the lines of a “hmmm … I never thought of that” from customers—all with generating a response in mind. It works! I’m generating business leads and sales more often.
“The key is to discover what you’re seeing that most people are not seeing in the market right now,” says Branson.
Take Action: What might you know—right now—that’s relatively unknown and revealing? Think in terms of a risk or opportunity that your target customer will react strongly to. These are the nuggets to provoke reactions with—to create leads with. I confess: that’s what I’m doing right here, right now!
Every Piece of Content Makes Them Crave More
When you blog or produce YouTube videos, give prospects a reason why they need to think about whatever-it-is in a powerful new way. Compel them. Give prospects a reason to ask you for more (content)… so they can more clearly understand what you just provoked and become confident in themselves. This is how you use social media for sales.
For example, buyers usually have questions and are seeking guidance before they buy. Or they’re yearning for a sample (of expertise/knowledge) that gives them a reason to believe (become confident) that whatever it is they want can actually happen for them—on time, on budget, without making a mess of the place or getting them fired. They want to be confident.
They want to believe that someone (you) can make that something that they want actually happen for them.
So your job is to show prospects that you can make it happen… in your blogs, videos, downloads, etc. Do it simply by answering questions in ways that create more questions. This part is key. Tell them something previously unknown to them in a way that teases them… ethically bribes them to ask you for more details.
This is how I’m successfully using LinkedIn for sales prospecting lately. Every piece of content makes them crave more.
Focus your content marketing plan on solving common problems, revealing hidden risks or helping prospects perfect a skill relating to their end goal (that your service can deliver). Then give them the chance to sign up for something that continues the journey.
Ask them for qualitative information about themselves in exchange for more answers to the questions you just provoked! You’ll be surprised at how willing they are to give it.
Photo credit: photosightfaces
About the Author
Jeff Molander+ is the authority on making social media sell. He's a sought-after corporate trainer to small businesses and global corporations like Brazil's Petrobras. He's an accomplished entrepreneur, having co-founded the Google Affiliate Network. Jeff also serves as adjunct digital marketing faculty at Loyola University’s school of business. His new book, Off The Hook Marketing: How to Make Social Media Sell for You, is first to offer businesses a clear, practical way to create leads and sales with technology platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and blogs.