by Jeff Molander
Time to read: 3.5 minutes. What good is a content marketing plan if it doesn’t create sales? The harsh truth is most content marketing plans fail because popular wisdom on content marketing strategies is fatally flawed. Don’t let all the hype about storytelling torpedo your content marketing plan. Instead, work to create high levels of confidence in buyers. Here are simple guidelines to ensure your blogs, videos and other digital content create leads and sales by super-charging buyers’ confidence in their abilities.
Too many businesses are using content marketing to soft sell—disguising what they’re really up to (selling). Others are falling victim to the “telling a good story” myth—where somehow customers start buying based on emotional pixie dust. Telling compelling, transparent, authentic stories about your business sounds great. But it is not enough to create sales.
If you want more leads and sales from content marketing what you publish must ultimately cause customers to become so confident in themselves (as buyers) that they ask you for the sale.
Create Confidence, Not Stories
There are a handful of ways to approach effective content marketing plans (that create sales). The two most effective strategies are solving common problems (that customers have) and giving away mini-samples of experiences that relate to your product or service. This is the best content for blogs or any content marketing you publish.
Yes, yes, content marketing gurus… I can hear you whining already. You CAN tell a story as part of this formula; however, that story must be meaningful enough to provoke a response that gets “the conversation” going in a direction you can do something productive with. If you don’t get the customer or prospect to react to what you put out onto social media you’re like most everyone else out there—wasting precious time.
The most effective, practical way to generate sales with blogs, videos, download-able applications, etc. is to find ways to give confidence to buyers in ways that increase their ability to feel emotionally grounded and intellectually stronger… fully equipped to buy.
Give Customers a Reason to Believe it Can Happen
Let’s avoid over-thinking this and disconnect from your work life for a minute. Instead, think about the last time you made a purchase—one that you had to really think about. I’m serious. Stop reading for a second and think of one.
Ok. Now, consider the process you went through to arrive at the final point of purchase.
In the beginning, you probably had a handful of questions that needed to be answered before you were comfortable enough to see yourself parting with your money in exchange for whatever it was. Or you needed to actually experience a little bit of whatever it was you were considering investing in. Those questions—or that free taste—probably had a lot to do with a particular goal you had. Or a fear or worry you had.
You see, buyers always have questions and are seeking guidance. Or they’re yearning for a sample that gives them a reason to believe (become confident) that it can actually happen for them. They want to be confident. They want to believe that someone (you) can make that something that they want actually happen for them.
Be a Trusted, Problem-solving Guide
Social media gives your brand or business a chance to be the guide—to answer important questions OR solve problems for customers that relate to what it is you sell. You just need to do it up-front, in ways that give customers something they value. That solution to a nagging problem or sample of a cool experience converts, in the end, into confidence.
In exchange for giving customers this confidence, you earn the chance to guide customers toward, or away from, your products and services. Nice hu? You see, this is a system—a logical way to create leads and sales that doesn’t rely on telling a story and walking away. Hope is not a strategy. Best of all you know it works because it’s how you, yourself, often go about the purchase-making decision.
So remember, don’t let all the hype about storytelling torpedo your content marketing plan. Instead, work to create confidence in buyers. Answer their burning questions about your product or service… or an issue that relates to it. And do it in ways that give customers incentive to respond to you… to ask more questions! This will make sure your blogs, videos and other digital content create leads and sales.
Photo credit: Brizzle Born and Bred
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.