You Are A Media Company
Modern businesses are media businesses and content marketing is at the core of a successful sales and marketing strategy. This is a concept popularized by Gary Vaynerchuck and is more relevant today than ever before. I’ll outline what this means for you in 2018 and how to apply it to your business.
Sales and Marketing The Old Way
Think about the last 5 interactions you’ve had with one of your favorite brands. Chances are each and every time that brand connected with you, they were “asking for the sale”. Now think about your business and and how you connect with your target customers. It’s likely you’re also following suit. We’re all in business to make money, so asking for the sale is logical isn’t it? The obvious answer is yes, and not asking for it has been the ruin of many businesses. The problem with most sales and marketing strategies is that “asking for the sale” occurs too often or too soon in the buying process. People buy from brands they know and trust. A connection or relationship is required for the sale and more importantly repeat sales.
Have you ever borrowed money from someone or asked for a favor? If the answer is yes, then unless it was an emergency, you did it after establishing a relationship and trust over a period of time. The same principle holds true for business. Content marketing is an effective means for developing a relationship with customer even when they aren’t interacting with you by phone, email, chat or in-person. Some key benefits to content marketing include:
- It establishes you as an expert in your field
- Repeat customer visits to your web site and social media
- Increased engagement with your audience
- Ongoing communication with your customer on your site, social media or email list
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Soft sales that get your client thinking about how they can use your product or service
- Your writing will help you refine your offer
Let’s use some examples to illustrate how you can use content marketing as part of your sales and marketing strategy.
Event Company Example
An event company is targeting corporate sales which are high margin and bring awareness to the brand. The head of marketing can plan content creation around hosting a successful team event, team building and dynamics, hosting a celebration around a key sales win or a major holiday party. The content not only educates the reader and event organizer on how to host a great event, but it also gives them ideas about hosting more than the one off event they may choose to book with the event company. The use of video, customer testimonials and great photography in the content piece will also help the customer imagine how great their own event will be with you.
The use of content marketing can also guide your readers into purchasing the high margin and profitable events you write about. Add links to external articles on team-building or write some of your own discussing how the types of events you host would engage your customer’s team and you’ll easily remove questions, doubt and objections from their mind.
A restaurant or food establishment can take a different approach. Patrons visit because of the experience they have and their enjoyment of the food. An Italian eatery can educate customers on their specific regional food, publish recipes for favorite dishes or even write educational content about traveling to Italy for a vacation? As a restaurant you may ask “why would I publish my recipes for others to take?.” You might not post your secret sauce, but you can post tutorials on making the perfect fresh pasta or how to make gelato at home.
The truth is, the experience will not be the same for the home cook and yet they will feel the connection with you even when they are at home. Furthermore everyone likes to be part of a secret which creates greater connections and trust. Friends who benefit from fresh pasta or homemade gelato inevitably will ask about the source of the recipe which leads to great word of mouth advertising that you don’t have to pay for. Now you’ve just picked up 4 new potential diners.
A Real Estate Example
Real estate is a different kind of relationship. Transactions are less frequent, but the dollar amounts are considerable. For personal property, real estate often represents a person or couple’s largest investment. For commercial real estate, vacancies kill cashflow and can put an investor out of business.
Brokers and agents can attract clients on both sides of the equation through thoughtful content that educates. Helping buyers and sellers understand the market, receive notifications of changes in laws and regulations, and see opportunities that benefit them now or in the future makes for an easier buying and selling process.
Instead of cold-calling prospective clients or sending out daily listings to existing customers that fill up inboxes, real estate professionals can share content pieces that educate and inform. These create value and trust and when the timing is right, clients will reach out to you as a trusted resource who cares about them and their needs instead of the pushy salesperson looking who is “only looking for a sale”. Relationships are nurtured over years and as such the more value you can provide over the years, the more you’ll receive in kind.
Now that you’ve created the content, you can promote it. Those ads that you usually run talking about you are now transformed into content that puts your customers and clients first.
- The event company can target HR professionals, admins or others who book events for business.
- The restaurant can target foodies within a specific geographic radius.
- The real estate broker or agent can target recently married couples, investors or those with an interest in real estate
Search Engine Marketing
Instead of going for the hard sale in an ad with limited text, target your content pieces to keywords related to “team building, pasta recipes, mortgage rates and real estate respectively.
It’s All About The Relationship
The level of care that you place into your customers and clients with separate you from your competition and create a deeper connection. Furthermore, with a relationship a sale is almost expected and well received. The value you bring to the relationship will return to you over the lifetime relationship you have with your customers and clients.
Also published on Medium.