Easy to Get Overwhelmed

With all of the information that’s available in the area of content marketing, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Video techniques, articles, white papers, podcasts, copy, design, layout, colors, titles, keywords… the list goes on and on.

From time to time, I find it’s helpful to go back to the basics of why we do content marketing in the first place.  In fact, I like to explain to my new hires the basic idea of content marketing before they begin to learn all of the different aspects.


The Basic Idea

Content Marketing is meant to bridge the gap between sales and marketing in order to improve the effectiveness of marketing and increase sales conversion rates.

In some cases, such as automated sales and marketing funnels, content marketing can not only bridge the gap, but serve effectively as the entire marketing and/or sales process.


Imagine, for a Second

Imagine in the past what sales and marketing looked like before the digital age of blog posts, websites, mobile devices, and email.

The role of marketing was, (and still is) to deliver leads to sales.

The role of sales was, (and still is) to convert leads onto sales.

Whether or not you have a sales or marketing team, and whether your business is B2B or B2C, to be effective, you still need to fulfill the rules of marketing and sales.

If you don’t have a sales force, the sales role is incorporated into your marketing message.


The Role of Marketing

The job of marketing is to go out into the world, find qualified prospects, get their attention, and encourage them to raise their hand, indicating interest.

To do their job well, marketers need to have a deep understanding of their target market for avatar. They need to know the problem that this avatar has and how the product or service can help them.

The marketers need to know whether or not this avatar is aware that a problem exists before they provide the solution.

Once they understand this avatar like their best friend, they need to get in front of the eyeballs of this avatar and speak their language.

They need to connect with the avatar on an emotional and logical level, building trust before they ask for a favor.

Trust, even in the context of marketing, is like a bank account. You must make deposits before you make withdrawals.

Consider, for a moment, why celebrities are paid millions of dollars to advertise.  We spend hours and hours consuming their content, and building trust in them, in the form of movies, television shows, and sporting events.

When celebrities talk about someone else’s product or service, we are more likely to take their word for it.


The Role of Sales

The role of a sales person is to take the qualified lead (provided from the marketer) , and build a relationship with them.  This increases the deposits of trust, so that when the lead is ready to buy; the sales person is there to finish the sale.

The sales cycle works very much like the dating cycle. Once interest has been established, the relationship needs to build with each successive date before a marriage proposal is likely to be successful.

The more expensive or complex the product or service, the longer the sales cycle, and the more “dating” that needs to take place before the sale is initiated.

If you’ve ever read a book on sales or been to a sales conference, you know the importance of follow-up in sales. You’ve also probably heard that the sale is not made on the first “touch”, but rather the sixth, seventh, or beyond.


The Big Mistake in Marketing and Sales

The biggest mistake most marketers make is asking the prospect to indicate interest too soon in the marketing cycle.

The biggest mistake most sales people make is asking the lead for the sale too soon in the sales cycle.


The Psychology of a Consumer

To be an effective sales person or marketer, it’s important to understand the psychology  of consumers. We’ve already discussed how sales and marketing is much like dating, but it goes further.

Most consumers would rather buy from a person they trust, as opposed to a generic brand.  They will pay more, be more loyal as repeat customers, and refer their friends at a higher rate.


The Takeaway for Content Marketers

So what does all this mean for content marketing?  It means that before you jump on the latest content marketing gadget or technique, you must first make sure that your content is relevant.

It must build trust with your prospect or lead, and be as effective at follow up as a top sales person who was with the lead when the window of opportunity presented itself when they were ready to buy.


Tips for Effective Content Marketing

Here are a few ways to improve the effectiveness of your content marketing campaigns:

Include a personality, either your spokesperson, founder, or salesperson.

This helps to build trust with your prospects or leads so that they feel like they are building a relationship with a person rather than a faceless brand.

Write/speak in a conversational tone, avoid “corporate” speech.

The knee-jerk reaction of most marketers is to act overly professional in their marketing communications. This can be a turn off for prospects or leads that are looking to form a relationship.

Avoid overly commercial imaging, such as overly graphical emails.

Sometimes the most effective marketing messages are simple and even graphically “ugly”. Write emails and messages as if you were talking directly to your avatar on a one-to-one basis.

Respond to viewer questions and comments.

Even a simple one line response to a question or comment can leave a lasting impression on a prospect or leads mind and go a long way to build trust.

Give away something of value to your prospect or lead before you ask them to indicate interest or to buy your product or service.

Remember the celebrity example where the celebrity entertains us before they ask us to indicate interest or buy a sponsored brand.


Be as approachable as possible

Make sure to include things like contact information, checkboxes, social media, etc., to let people know that there are humans behind your brand.


Effective Campaign Start Here

Content marketing can be an extremely effective way to attract relevant leads to convert them into high quality sales.  At the same time, it can be a huge waste of time if these basic principles are not followed.

If you make the mistake of asking prospects to indicate interest, or leads to buy too early, all the time and human resources you spent on developing your content, could be for not.

The next time your head starts to spin with all the latest tips, techniques and gadgets in the content marketing universe; simply go back to the basic idea of content marketing which is bridging the gap between marketing and sales like they used to do before the digital era.