I recently met with a client who told me she didn’t like the idea of “selling” to her clients. She told me that she considered the creation of carefully targeted content, delivered via her blog, email marketing and social media activity, as “too salesy,” and she believed that as a marketing strategy, it would do more to turn clients away than to win any new business. I have to be honest: She’s not the first person to tell me this, and she definitely won’t be the first person I have proved wrong.
First, I was keen to ascertain how she had come up with this theory.
Had she previously tested a strategic content marketing strategy, or was she just making assumptions based on gut feelings? Or worse still, was she creating self-imposed roadblocks because she perceived that building such a campaign of marketing activities would be a lot of hard work?
Note: Marketing always needs an upfront investment in time and effort if it is to yield a success. Throwing money at a marketing problem (like lead generation) is an incredibly inefficient way to build your business if you don’t have engaging, informative and persuasive content in place to make sure prospects don’t bounce off elsewhere.
I asked her a number of questions:
- Did she ever read marketing collateral (in the form of brochures, blog posts, expert reviews, etc.) before making a buying decision?
- Did she ever delay or abandon a buying decision because she didn’t have enough information at hand to make an informed decision?
- Has a well-placed piece of content ever persuaded her to make a purchase because it gave her all the information she needed to reassure her it was a wise decision?
Of course, the answer to all these questions was “yes.”
The Art of Persuasion
Great content had persuaded her to buy all manner of things, from the makeup in her handbag to the car in the parking lot. It had sold her last year’s dream vacation and helped her choose where she bought her first house. But she never considered any of that content as part of a heavy-handed sales process. Great content simply helped her make the right choice by highlighting the positives behind each purchase.
The moral of the story is twofold:
- Great content helps people solve problems and make informed buying decisions.
- When you focus on helping people, marketing is never “too salesy.”
Do you make assumptions based on bad gut feelings? Isn’t it time you stopped assuming and started testing? I guarantee the results will surprise you.
What’s the biggest mistake you’ve made by assuming you know what your customers like and do not like? Share your comments below:
This post first appeared on the iContact Email Marketing Blog.