Solids Tips for How to Reinvent Your Marketing
How salesy is your content?
Your website copy, your blog posts, your email newsletters — do they tend to read like sales pitches? Marketing speak? Are your products or services identified as the “greatest” or “most innovative” or “most effective and cost-efficient”? Can I buy now to immediately start saving time and money?
You aren’t alone. Most companies write their content this way, and have been doing so since the first caveman firesale. But what if there was a new way to write content that spoke to the new way that customers search?
Customers are online because of their access to information. It’s even been determined that younger generations remember less because their brains know they can simply Google something to find out the answer. We all seek information. So when potential customers conduct an Internet search and find your offerings, why not give them information instead of immediately slinging them into a sales pitch?
What you currently do
Think about it. When’s the last time this happened:
- You went to a store in search of something.
- Immediately upon entering an employee descended on you and said, “Do you need a wrench? You should buy this wrench. It’s super light and super strong and it’s the best price you’ll see for this quality. Should I ring you up?”
- You bought the wrench right then and there and left the store.
That’s sort of what you’re expecting from your customers, isn’t it? They come across your offerings in the course of performing an online search or reading email, and you immediately explain the qualities and virtues and push them to make a purchase. But what if they want to peruse the aisles first? What if they’re just collecting general information on your type of product or service and aren’t ready to make any buying decisions yet?
What you should do
Don’t lead off your copy with a sales pitch. Instead, provide useful, meaningful content about your space. Serve as a resource that gives customers information they want and need. They will then look more favorably at you and be more likely to decide on their own to purchase from you, their helper; their resource.
Think about a brick and mortar shopping experience again. When you ask a sales person for advice and he or she listens to what you need and recommends the best item for you, even if it isn’t the most expensive, how do you end up feeling about that shopping experience? Are you more likely to consider that company for future purchases?
Do that online. Build a positive view of your organization, and the sales will follow.
How to do it
Landing pages are a perfect opportunity to try this informative content approach. Common practice says that banner ads or Facebook campaigns or marketing emails should direct users to a visual page with a small dose of salesy bullet points and a large form right at the top, immediately noticeable.
The problem with this method is that your huge form is serving as the obnoxious car salesman or the eager associate at the furniture store who seems to materialize over your shoulder the instant you enter. “Is there anything I can help you with?” No, you’re just looking right now. That’s what your huge form is doing — asking your audience to fill it out before you’ve given them a reason to want to.
Instead, consider leading off with helpful, comfortable, non-intrusive content that makes your visitors better informed. Don’t be afraid to fill the page with words. If it’s useful, potential customers will keep reading. And if you conclude with information about your own offering that is as comfortable and non-intrusive as the preceding content, by the time they get to the end and find a simple form waiting for them, they may have been talked into filling it out. Doesn’t that sound much more effective than slamming them with nothing but an unsolicited sales pitch and a form?
Here are some additional tips for content that provides a useful resource to potential customers:
Comparisons — When possible, provide objective comparisons between products or types of products. Easy-to-digest charts are always nice. For an example of how NOT to do this, see this Samsung ad that got lampooned in the media for listing marketing items as features: http://cdn.gottabemobile.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/SAM12172-PrintWSJ10.87x21_copy_610x1179.jpg
Resource section — If you don’t have one, build a page on your website that lists useful tools from other sources. This can be other websites, Webinars, PDFs, or other great assets provided by companies, government bodies, trade organizations, etc.
White papers — One of the best ways to gain respect from your audience is to give them information they couldn’t get elsewhere. Conduct a survey, perform some research, or utilize other resources to develop an authoritative document on a pertinent topic or with actionable advice that you can give away as a free gift. Brand it with your company information but don’t include any sales pitches.
Webinars and presentations — You are experts in your field, right? Your staff has years of acquired knowledge on all topics related to your offerings? Well, share that information. One way is to present at conferences and trade shows, but you can potentially secure a more frequent audience by delivering routine Webinars from your website. They can be an hour long, 30 minutes, even five. Every two week you can post a new two-minute-video offering a quick tip or interesting nugget of info. No where in these presentations or Webinars should you tout your product’s strengths. This is simply a tool to educate your audience on something they’re interested in knowing more about.
Callouts — Pepper your website with boxes and callouts that provide mini-facts and tidbits. They can link to larger pages with deeper details.
Balanced emails — Your email marketing messages shouldn’t only be about you, either. Balance your notes about new products or upcoming events with informative articles, interviews with experts, and links to great materials from other sources, as examples.
The bottom line is that no one likes to be sold to. That counts online as well. Maybe particularly online, where the Internet is a safe haven for research and information gathering, where users want to scroll through multiple sites to get a full understanding of the market for what they’re considering purchasing. Instead of hitting them with a sales pitch on something they might not yet be ready to buy, consider feeding them information that gets them more informed on how to make the best purchasing decision. Then they’ll feel more comfortable with your organization, which makes it much more likely that the ultimate buying decision will be your offering.