Everybody gets the “know, like and trust” component of good marketing content. But most companies don’t recognize how good marketing content – and bad marketing content – affect the sales process.
Bad marketing content lacks clarity. It’s filled with shameless self-promotion instead of helpful information. There’s no strategy behind the subject matter, the distribution, or how to incorporate content into your sales arsenal.
That ain’t helping anyone close a sale.
Good marketing content helps you fill information gaps and dispel myths. It provides a deeper understanding of who you are, what you do, why you do it, how much you know, and how you can make someone’s life better.
You know, all the stuff that has a tendency to drag out the sales process.
Here’s how the right marketing content can do some of the selling for you and get you to the finish line faster.
Fewer Questions to Answer
An educated prospect is your best prospect. Educated prospects make educated purchase decisions based on actual research, reliable information and sound judgment.
By the way, there’s a big difference between an educated prospect and a know-it-all. The know-it-all’s “knowledge” is typically based on uninformed opinions, stereotypes, and what their best friend’s brother’s co-worker told them.
I prefer the educated prospect and waste as little time as possible on know-it-alls.
The educated prospect appreciates content that, well, educates. Blog articles every week. Newsletter articles every month. White papers or case studies every quarter.
Each piece of content can focus on explaining a specific topic or answering a specific question that people have about your product, service, company or industry. This content can be used to educate the prospect prior to a conversation or as a follow-up tool to reinforce what you said during a previous conversation.
If your marketing content is valuable, truthful, transparent and deployed strategically, your prospects won’t have as many questions. Which translates to a faster sales process.
Fewer Obstacles to Overcome
We all have canned answers for dealing with common obstacles to the sale. Imagine if you were able to nail your explanation with the perfect wording and tone. Imagine if you were able to do this without interruption.
That’s what marketing content allows you to do. You can address obstacles and misconceptions directly, one at a time, in a newsletter or blog article. You can also address them indirectly within the context of a case study or white paper.
Again, this content can be used to educate prospects or as a follow-up tool.
You mentioned that you had concerns about XYZ. I think the information in this article/white paper/case study will help to put your mind at ease.
Overcoming obstacles often involves some serious heavy lifting. Let your marketing content shoulder some of the burden and move the sales process forward.
By the way, there’s no better way to overcome price as a sticking point than by providing information that conveys the value and results you deliver. If the prospect is still hung up on price, they’re probably not a good prospect anyway. Move on.
Fewer Trust Issues and Credibility Concerns
When you consistently publish valuable, relevant content, and your goal is to help, not sell, you earn your audience’s trust. You build credibility. You position yourself as an expert in your field. You prove over and over that you know what you’re talking about.
You’ve shown you believe so strongly in what you know and believe that you’ve made a permanent online record of it and attached your name to it.
You communicate your brand promise. You set an expectation. And you deliver on both.
Remember, a prospect’s mind is mostly made up by the time they contact you. Sure, they read customer reviews and other information about your company on third-party websites.
But they put a lot of stock in what you say and how you say it.
If your content is written in your unique voice, people will make a connection between what you said in your content and what you said in an email, phone call or in-person conversation. That consistency between what you say in your marketing and what you say when interacting with a human being shows honestly and authenticity.
Marketing content speeds up the sales process by helping you earn the trust of prospects and establish credibility before that first interaction with a live person.
More Visibility into the Results You’re Capable of Delivering
Client success stories. Case studies. Testimonials. All three should be part of your content marketing strategy.
When you say something about your business, it’s a claim. When someone else says the same thing about your business, it’s a fact. That’s how perception works.
I prefer client success stories. It’s a simple but powerful process and formula.
I interview a business owner or employee to get background information on their client. I interview their client to learn about their problem, the solution, and the results delivered.
Then I weave both perspectives into a relatable, real-life story. This allows us to focus on the client’s experience but also do justice to the work done by the business to make that experience possible.
When you have authentic, strategically told stories that show how you’ve made a difference in the lives of real people, you validate the claims you’ve made in other marketing and advertising.
And you speed up the sales process because you’ve helped provide the validation that prospects would otherwise have to find on their own.
More Visibility into Who You Are as a Company
This is an important part of marketing that most companies overlook. Many prospects don’t just want to know that you’re capable of solving their problems. They want to make sure your company is the right fit.
Personality is important. Values are important. Company culture is important.
If personality, values and culture aren’t aligned, things could get ugly. It doesn’t mean one side is right or wrong. It just means the two sides didn’t gel.
Better to know that before you start a business relationship than after.
The right marketing provides a window into who you are as a business. This helps you speed up the sales process by allowing you to focus your efforts on your ideal clients and proactively weed out the wrong ones.
Ultimately, all marketing content should be developed with specific business goals in mind. You can’t just say it and spray it and expect Google and prospects to fall in love with your company. But when you hone in on the right message and execute a sound strategy, your content can’t help but speed up the sales process.