If you want to be successful in online marketing, don’t sell a thing to your potential customers.
Skip the sales pitches, discount deals and product details.
Don’t talk about price or features.
If you want to be successful in content marketing, teach potential customers the things they want to know -- things that have nothing to do with sales or promotion.
The very idea of not selling turns marketing on its head, but “teach, don’t sell” is what makes content marketing so effective. Still, some may wonder -- if you’re not selling, are you even marketing?
Yes. You’re marketing educational content rather than products or services. You’re still selling those products and services, but the selling doesn’t take center stage. It’s backstage, where it belongs.
People ignore your marketing efforts
Frankly, people don’t want your marketing. Don’t blame them, and don’t blame yourself, either. The average person is bombarded with roughly 3,000 to 20,000 ads and brand messages per day. To stay sane, they develop a filtering mechanism called “banner blindness,” which essentially allows our brain to tune out everything that even remotely looks like a sales pitch.
In short, they ignore you every time you try to sell them something.
It leads to a lot of frustration, distrust and wasted time for both marketers and potential customers. According to the 2016 State of Small Business Report, 45% of small businesses use social media to pitch specific products or services, and 38% use them to share information about promotions, sales or discounts. That’s exactly what potential customers don’t want to see, and because of this, the tactics simply don’t work.
However, content marketing takes a different approach:
Teach. Don’t Sell.
The point of your content marketing is to build an audience that consumes and shares your content. This educates, spreads the word about your company’s expertise and builds amazing trust – all without direct selling. People are much more likely to buy from companies they trust and respect.
Build trust with your potential customers
There are ways you can use content marketing effectively and win back your customers’ trust.
1. Education builds relationships.
Remember, your goal is to educate and to build an audience, not to sell. It’s OK to put your logo and Web site link somewhere on the content, but don’t mention what you do or what you sell and don’t ask them to request a quote or purchase anything.
It’s also OK to use a call to action that directs them to more content - ask them to sign up for an email newsletter, check out your YouTube channel, or to follow you on social media.
2. Focus on what your audience wants to know, not what you want to tell them.
As a marketer, your first instinct is to push the features of your product or service.
While features are important, benefits are what your customers want. People don’t want all the tech specs; they want to know they can get home earlier because your GPS app provides real-time traffic data. Or how they can save money on ink cartridges because your printer uses less ink than competitors.
One of the best ways to convey benefits is through a comparison table to help consumers determine what plan best fits their needs. You’ll have to divulge data about competing products, but the honest information builds trust and ultimately helps customers know how your product really compares to others like it in the market.
3. Be generous
A good, yet simple content marketing rule of thumb is to “give more than you take.” One way to employ this technique is through email newsletters and social media. For example, provide four or more educational emails for each promotional email you send.
Limit your self-promotional social media posts to just 5% to 10% your content; the rest should be helpful information and resources.
As a marketer, it could be hard to stop selling and start content marketing; however, you’ll find content marketing will be more impactful to get past your audience’s marketing blinders, build trust and get their full attention.
To create the largest impact on your audience, don’t sell. Teach.