When it comes to creating content for your business, you’re looking for two types—that which engages and that which acts as a resource for those interested in what you offer. Engaging content is the easy stuff, things like image memes, simple questions, quotes, and fun pieces that people respond to on social media as they’re looking to escape work. Engaging content helps people get to know those behind your company. Think of it as the small talk of the digital content world.
But the content that converts, the stuff that will bring you the sales and the deeper interest, is not an image meme or a cat video (unless you sell cats). For content that converts you need to provide resources to help potential customers make a buying decision. The key to success with these pieces is to be helpful, not salesy. These are resources for buyers not brochures for your company. Here are a few suggestions on what should be in your content tool kit.
The following pieces, when done well, will help you move potential customers deeper into your sales funnel by giving them the resources they need to make an educated buying decision. This content should be available on your website because most consumers start researching long before they approach you for information about your company or product/service. While you want to give it away for free so that the largest number of people can benefit from it, it’s a good idea to at least ask for a name and an email address.
If they are downloading this type of resources, they’re not kicking tires. They’re looking to buy. The question is whether it will be from you or your competition. If you don’t get a name and an email, you won’t be able to keep in touch and that’s an opportunity lost.
No one reads anymore. The world is moving at hyper speed and most people prefer to skim, that’s why checklists are really popular. Topics you might consider could be:
Five Things to Do Before Purchasing a New _________
10 Critical Question to Ask Your (self, sales person, significant other) Before Buying a ___________
Safety Checklist for (whatever you sell, such as “Your New Home” or “Teen Drivers” if you sell insurance)
If your sales process is a long one or if there are things that must be considered, weighed, or other important information necessary to make the purchase, create a purchasing guidebook online. Walking your potential customer through everything they need to consider is not only a relief to them, it helps you frame the right questions and concerns that place your business in the best light. For instance, if you know your competitor is weak in a certain area, you can talk up the importance of that area.
If a guidebook doesn’t quite fit your business, you can create an eBook on just about any topic. For instance, an attorney might create an eBook on understanding workplace harassment.
A Comparison Sheet
Why should someone buy from you or work with you? If there are a lot of moving parts to the sales cycle or if you work in a crowded industry, helping your potential customers by comparing your services or product with the competition can go a long way to making the customer feel like you care about what’s best for them.
But if you want to create an effective comparison sheet you need to keep the bias at bay. Don’t drag your competition through the mud and then tell everyone you’re perfect. Even if it’s true, no one will believe you. Instead, try conceding a weakness up front and then hitting with strengths. This helps establish trust early on because you’re doing something no one expects—helping without thought to your own business.
A Final Word About Content that Sells
When creating content for your business, your goal is to get people to know, like, and trust you. You do this by sharing content that engages, inspires, and educates. The first two types of content will get people to know and like you. To be trusted give them resources the buyer can use to make an educated buying decision. If you want to fully be trusted you need to admit, sometimes you’re the best option and sometimes you aren’t. By doing this, you may lose this sale but you will build a tribe of people who want to do business with you (in the future) and will pass how helpful and different your business is along to their network. A word-of-mouth referral is the gold standard of marketing these days.
Christina R. Green teaches small businesses, chambers, and associations how to connect through content. Her articles have appeared in the Midwest Society of Association Executives’ Magazine, NTEN.org, AssociationTech, and Socialfish. She is a regular blogger at Frankjkenny.com and the Event Manager Blog.
She’s a bookish writer on a quest to bring great storytelling to organizations everywhere.