When it comes to writing your marketing content, I get your thought process goes something like this:
- I want people to buy my product
- That means I must promote it at every opportunity
- So every piece of marketing I send out must push my product
- Because all I have to do is tell people to buy and they will
If you do follow that line of reasoning you’re going to end up very disappointed, and here’s why:
According to Neilsen, less than 50% of customers trust any form of advertising
That means if you go in with your hard sell, it’s likely to be ignored.
After all, why should someone buy from you just because you tell them to? You haven’t done any groundwork. You haven’t built a relationship with them. You haven’t given them any reasons to trust you.
How to sell without selling
Yes, it is possible to create a successful sales strategy without using content that overtly sells.
The best content concentrates on offering advice, information and tips.
If you want someone to buy from you, you must provide them will all the facts.
That means giving detailed product information, which focuses on the benefits they will receive. Show them everything they need to know because if you don’t tell them, they’ll wander off to another company that does.
Under the ‘facts’ heading you can also include ‘how to’ guides to add extra value by telling them the best way to use your product so they can see for themselves the benefits it will bring.
Customers are great at coming up with questions. When creating your content, you’ll probably brainstorm to try and cover potential questions. However, your customers will have many more common questions for.
That’s why it is important for all your departments (customer service, sales team etc.) to make a note of these questions so you can provide a comprehensive FAQ section on your website, or create ideas for blog posts and ‘how to’ guides.
This will help improve the service you offer your customers and reduce the number of calls you get.
But that doesn’t mean you should follow the lead of those companies that believe an FAQ page is sufficient. Many people still like to speak to real people, so make sure you provide several different contact options.
Your content doesn’t always have to be written.
You could also provide valuable content through Instagram and Pinterest to show your products in action, or videos to offer ‘how to’ guides and useful or unusual ways your products can be used.
I’ve already mentioned ‘how to’ guides, but why not think a bit bigger than that? Give them ideas about the different ways your products can be used. You’re not selling them directly, merely planting a seed as to how they could be used.
You could provide recipes, checklists, and information about styling tips or even research about your area of expertise in reports.
Each of these won’t be a sales tool per se, but they are food for thought about how your product can be used.
Two other forms of under-the-radar marketing are customer reviews and case studies. They give your customers real-life illustrations about how a product can be used and the benefits it offered.
There’s no hard sell, just simple facts outlining how someone benefited from what you offer.
How else can you produce content that doesn’t sell?
There are simple techniques such as linking your content back to your product page under the guise of a call to action that says ‘learn more’ rather than ‘buy now’. It’s also a good idea to enable social sharing and printing of your webpage and offer a regular email or newsletter to capture email addresses from potential customers to grow your marketing list.
It is possible to produce content that isn’t all about sales. It’s what your customers want, so isn’t it about time you gave it to them?
Author: Sally Ormond, freelance copywriter at Briar Copywriting Ltd and cyclist.