[GUIDE] Content Marketing That Sells Without Having Your Prospects Feel They’re Being Sold To
As A Recovering Direct Response Agency Marketer Here’s What I Know That Works
The Most Overlooked Thing in Business… And What You Can Do About It
To be direct - you can be successful without this one thing.
As a matter of fact, I know multi-million dollar companies that have grown very successful without it.
Yet, there remains a tipping point in growth where without it you will face:
not being able to attract world-class talent at scale
higher team turnover
a weaker USP in the marketplace since you aren’t different therefore allowing competition to compete with you on things like price or features
average client results… nothing spectacular to talk about
In short, you can be successful but not as successful as you can be.
And if you are interested in reaching your potential you need this.
I’m talking about a purpose for your company.
You see, it’s easily dismissible, however, there are countless case studies of well-known, world-class, companies who lost focus of their purpose, eroded, and ended up in the corporate graveyard.
Humans Do Business With Humans
To have a purpose is human.
Humans do business with other humans.
The goal is to turn your business into a human.
How your business looks, walks, talks & operates is your brand.
The outlook your business has for the future & why you’re worth following is your vision.
The current long term goals you’re working to achieve is your mission.
The principles that guide your actions & decision making are your values.
These are all necessary ingredients to build a business that is highly profitable and that lasts.
Your True Bottom Line
There are team and individual operating KPIs (oKPIs) that roll up into department-owned KPIs, which then roll up to the company bottom line KPIs (Profit & Loss).
In order to create a world-class company that lasts, you have to attach your oKPIs, department KPIs, and bottom line KPIs to your TRUE bottom line:
The results you drive to your clients and the impact you make in their lives.
If you don’t focus on this, you will be a commodity.
If you focus on your real bottom line, you will build profits that last and compound.
Don’t play the short-term game.
Now that you know the true bottom line and understand the core fact that humans will only do business with humans, we can begin.
The Million Dollar Content Plan
It’s no surprise, people do business with people they know, like, and trust. The question is what are you doing to ensure your market trusts you?
The modern prospect:
is jaded and has seen every sale marketing tactic your industry has to offer
is extremely well educated and knows how to find answers if you don’t give them what they want
only cares about their problems, not your features and benefits
Lazy (and newer) marketers and salespeople will go for the jugular and try to hard-sell everyone to get business now. This is obviously short-term thinking since on average only 3% of your market is ready to buy your solution now.
This means that 97% of your market is open to buying from those who follow what we’re about to go through:
Value first marketing creates a relationship with your market for the long run. Doing this alongside your inbound, outbound, directly paid, organic social, and live event marketing will allow you to create an ecosystem for your prospects to self-select when they are in the buying process and work alongside you so you help them (not sell them).
We mentioned that your prospect only cares about one thing: their problems and solving their problems.
You have to therefore meet them where they’re at and have a deep psychological understanding of who they are, what they believe in, why they’re experiencing their problem, HOW they experience their problem, and what words they use to describe their problem.
Be very specific and niche down. Then do the same around their desired solution. Skip this step if you don’t care about long-term brand benefits and compounding the return of your marketing dollars.
Then list out the 3-5 steps it takes for your ideal clients to go from Point A: pain/problem to Point B: desired outcome.
These steps are now your content pillars where you can create posts, videos, tutorials, webinars, speaking presentations… and so on.
The key here is knowing your ideal client’s psychographics and language, their desires, and speaking to them in ways they understand and that showcase your expertise consistently over time.
So when do you sell? Add soft call to actions at the top of the funnel and more direct call to actions at the bottom of the funnel. And yes, you can enhance this with paid remarketing campaigns.
The Content Conversion Funnel
Content creates a relationship with your ideal clients before they become ideal clients. The early stages of your customer journey are as follows:
Top of funnel: Discover your content on social/podcasts (free public spaces)
> engage with your site (either owned by you by a platform)
Middle of Funnel
> are convinced you’re worth giving their email to and subscribe to something you offer of value
Bottom of Funnel
> want more of your stuff and vote that your work is worth investing in (service/product)
Your job is twofold:
1 - Offer things that your ideal clients would care about and can’t get anywhere else
2 - Remove friction and orchestrate their journey to getting more value from what you offer
I can’t help you with #1, you either do good work and add value or you don’t.
For #2, the following is an example of how you might remove friction using both paid media and organic (non-paid) media.
Removing Friction & Optimizing for Quality
Top Of Funnel (TOF)
Step 1 - Review your analytics and drill down your highest engaged content. Put some ad spend behind it to reach more of your ideal clients (review The Million Dollar Content Plan if you don’t know who they are). If you don’t have money to spend on ads, focus on increasing your reach on your content by re-posting, syndicating across different platforms that your ideal clients are on/listen to, and guesting on other’s audiences.
Middle Of Funnel (MOF)
2 - Take what your best clients have paid top dollar for and create a tool/training that you either give away for free or a ridiculously low price (think less than $34). Don’t try to hard sell here, make this a soft sell. Target your ads to those that saw content from the TOF and those who hit your website or are fans of your social sites. If no ad spend, focus on placing this offer on digital properties you own (like your site) and make a call to action to get the goodies there.
Bottom Of Funnel BOF (BOF)
3 - Create an experience AFTER someone takes you up on the offer you make in the MOF and offer to provide even more value (either in your opt-in or purchase thank you page, during your email series, or after the delivery of the MOF offer). If you want to spend on ads here, remarket to those who have subscribed to your MOF offer and focus on solving your ideal customer's pain and why taking action now will alleviate that pain.
The Type of Content That Enhances Your Sales
If you are dedicated to creating and delivering quality content to your future ideal clients then you must become an experience designer.
Timing is everything and showing the right content at the wrong time will hurt your conversions. This is a dance and it takes two, you and your future ideal client.
The ideal client experience begins with your marketing in the TOF (top of the funnel), then leads to the MOF, and then the BOF… then your sales team… your fulfillment/delivery, and client retention team…
Here we will discuss the marketing aspect since we have to guide your future ideal clients in this dance.
From the Top
For TOF we must assume you’re new to your ideal client and they don’t know you. Trust is low and they have their guard up. The best type of content that works here is to help your ideal client with their problems.
Following your Content Pillars from your Million Dollar Content Plan, you can start doing tutorials, “over your shoulder” training, “how-to” or “how-I” content that hits every one of your content pillars and adds value to your future ideal client.
The goal here is again to gain trust by actually being useful and helping your future ideal client gets some result well before they ever have to pay you. So don’t limit yourself and don’t hold back. You don’t want your content to be a commodity.
Warming Up & Selling
Once your future ideal client gets a sense of who you are, what you can help them with, they will naturally look you up. Google yourself right now, what comes up?
In this part of their journey, they are learning more about YOU, your ethos, and what makes you unique. You also have to keep in mind that the sales process is still in motion and your future ideal client IS asking these 3 questions:
1 - What is it? (aka your product/services)
2 - Does it work?
3 - Will it work for me?
So we will give them exactly what they need.
To Answer: Who are you?
Create content about your mission in the marketplace (and world) and what go you to doing what you’re doing today.
Create content that shows your unique point of view and why you’re different
Create content that showcases your values and how they shape your company’s action (yes even brand values work here - remember Humans Do Business With Humans)
To Answer: What IS it that you do and why are you unique?
Showcase specific mechanisms or methodologies you follow (or created) and how they solve your ideal client’s problems
Highlight what makes you different when you work with clients. Is your product or service unique or do you have a community that empowers your ideal client OR is working with you an elevated experience that your ideal client isn’t used to….
To Answer: Does it work?
Provide real-life proof of previous client successes (that they allowed you to share), case studies showcasing your fabulous work, and video or written endorsements from winning clients and authorities in your industry.
To Answer: Will it work for ME?
Create content that is honest: “I don’t know but let’s find out” and drive your future ideal client to take action.
You can also create content that removes barriers in decision making for your ideal client such as FAQs that addresses top concerns and objections before they speak with your team in a sales conversation
My professional opinion: with this type of marketing, the decision to buy is decided before the prospect engages in a sales conversation with your team. The sales conversation will only VALIDATE their decision to buy.
Scaling Your Client Acquisition in 3 Dimensions
Language is the most beautiful, important, and critical way that we communicate with one another. It reveals how we think and shows you what’s going on in the mind of other people.
It also can be and should be adjusted to fit the medium in which you will communicate and whom you will communicate with.
However, there is another dimension in which you can differentiate your messaging, and that’s the client journey you design for your future ideal clients.
At the heart of marketing and sales, you have a core premise and a core offer for your ideal future client to take you upon. This is your X-axis.
That core premise and offer can be repositioned and displayed to multiple types of audiences depending on how many ideal client personas you have. This is your Y-axis.
To add volume, weight, and expand upon your core offer and audience, you have your client journey: the unique digital path you’ve designed to introduce your future ideal client to your solutions, provide value, build trust and earn their business. This is your Z-axis.
These paths are in the digital realm and mostly take place with the series of content, webpages, and emails that you craft that guides your potential ideal clients to become actual paying clients.
5 years from now, we may be experiencing customer paths inside a virtual world.
Success is boring.
The nice thing about having a successful marketing campaign that attracts winning clients and drives sales is that it doesn’t have to be too complicated.
Right now, you probably only have 1 to 3 core offers that you provide to the marketplace and possibly 1 to 2 buying personas. If you craft 2 or even 3 unique digital paths to drive potential clients into actual clients, you would have up to 18 ways to acquire clients.
Don’t overcomplicate it.
Because your job after you’ve created your client paths are to measure & fine-tune them by eliminating friction and making it smoother for your potential ideal clients to come out the other side as happy paying clients.
It’s an honor to be a small part of your journey.
Do Good Work,