The key to lead generation: stop pitching, start helping
Trying to pass your sales pitch off as content will only hurt your content marketing efforts.
Do you think of your company's blog as a refreshing new way to highlight your products or services? Do your posts include verbiage like “one-stop-shopping,” “innovative,” or “industry leader?” Stop right there. Everyone you reach probably knows right away that you are trying to sell them something, and they will quickly move on.
As counter-intuitive as it may sound, being “salesy” will make potential customers look elsewhere, or run in the opposite direction — perhaps to your competition. The best way to win customers is to stop boasting about yourself and to stop trying to sell. Content that answers your customer’s needs is what will grow your business.
Nobody welcomes a sales pitch
Admit it: you tune out anyone that comes across as trying to sell you something. You get emails, voicemails, and social media updates with “information” that is really a not-so-cleverly disguised sales pitch. What do you do? Most likely you hit delete, or you do not read past the first sign of a sales promotion.
So you know deep down that “salesy” does not sell. Yet, according to a recent study of 500 global marketers from the Economist Group, many B2B content marketing programs are doing just that: promoting products throughout their content efforts. In fact, 93% of the marketers surveyed said they directly connect content to a specific product or service.
Customers see right through this trick. The same study found the majority of B2B customers are annoyed by pitches. In fact, 71% of B2B executives reported that content they didn’t like seemed more like a sales pitch than valuable information.
Focus on your customers to increase sales
So what should you content be doing? Rather than forcing your products on your prospective customers, take time to answer their questions. Be the expert advice they are seeking. You do this by:
- Keeping content informative and educational. Your content should hold value for your readers.
- Letting your content demonstrate market expertise. It should give the reader a favorable impression of you and your business. They should walk away thinking that you know what you are talking about.
- Write as if you are speaking to a business peer. You are approachable and intelligent. Speak the language of the customer, and bring something new to the table, in terms of information.
- Focus on topics and questions of crucial importance to your target audience. What do they care about or want to know more about?
The philosophy of content marketing is to offer help, to educate, and, at times, to entertain your target audience. This is accomplished by focusing on the customers’ needs and interests, not your company’s latest product. When you form this online relationship with your audience, you gain their trust and respect, and that is what brings in sales.