Is increasing sales important to you?
What do you do? What are you selling? Why are you selling it?
More importantly, do your prospects care?
If you blog for your business, does it exist to merely give away your ideas and promote good will or does it exist to enhance your reach to new prospects, build credibility and trust, and ultimately serve to increase your business through new and repeat sales?
Over the last three years I’ve read at least a thousand blogs written by businesses who believe sincerely that they are creating content that will bring them more customers, only to discover within a few months that they are completely wasting their time.
How John Went From Successful Advertising to Struggling Business Blogger and Lost Sales
Take John… John started his business in 2012 and built it the traditional way.
Advertising money out… new paying customers coming in.
Advertising is a great way to increase revenues for businesses over a short period of time and it doesn’t mean you have to have an established brand that is initially built on trust in order to build a business.
The problem with advertising is that, generally, it is a one time thing.
You pay – you may or may not receive.
Stop paying, the ad goes away and so do prospects.
You have to keep doing it over-and-over to get results and that can be very expensive.
It worked really well for John, but he didn’t want to just stay in the advertising arena. He wanted to create a long-term, valuable asset that would also continue to attract new customers.
By early 2015 John was exposed to marketing his business online and he bought into the exciting possibilities of what it could bring to his business.
He paid to have his website redesigned and he began blogging in order to build up his online diary of content that he was told would bring him new business and opportunities.
He cut back on his advertising budget and diverted his funds to digital marketing as a result.
Six months later, his business was suffering as the sales didn’t happen and he had some difficult decisions to make.
What was the real problem?
Why was he struggling so much?
Is the internet a rue? Is it all a lie?
The Illusion of Communication in Sales
George Bernard Shaw is quoted as saying:
“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”
Like John, many business owners know that the internet can help their business tremendously.
The problem is not the internet, the problem is in the communication and delivery of the message.
Let me take it one step further, the real problem is that many don’t have a message outside of talking about the product, service, features and benefits, or price.
That’s not a message, that’s advertising.
Unfortunately, many businesses are stuck in the advertising mindset, at no fault of their own.
John was under the illusion he was communicating.
Communication is a two-way street of give and take.
John wants readers who will buy and readers want to consume content that will help them; and in order to buy they have to feel that John understands and relates to them.
The problem is that most people online are not looking to buy something (unless you’re Amazon, eBay or an online retailer).
They are looking for free information that will either solve a problem, meet a need or fulfill a desire.
It’s your job to communicate with them at a deep and personal level that catches their attention and begs their conscious, teases their conscious, to want more from you.
Great communication is when the content consumer gets that “Oh My God, how did he know…?”
How did he know that was me?
How did he know that’s what I am experiencing?
How did he know that’s where I’ve been and this is where I want to go?
Blogging and Content Marketing Requires a Single, Focused Message
Content marketing via blogging, landing pages, sales pages, videos, podcasts, pictures, etc., is a completely different type of marketing than anything you will ever do.
It requires a deep, rich understanding of the consumer and the problems, needs, wants and desires of the consumer.
It requires a business to do the work of discovering the specifics of what the consumer is looking for and talk to one person, with one problem / need/ want / desire, and offer one solution.
It requires deep specificity.
Specificity can feel complex, but there are four areas in communication where you must be very specific:
- Why – Why should they read your content and why should they buy from you?
- What – What do they need to know?
- How – How will they do it and how will you help them?
- If – If they do it, what will be the result or what will happen?
Consumers Tell You 20%, You Have to Discover the Other 80%
In his book “Questions That Sell”, Paul Cherry writes:
“Research has shown that during typical business interactions customers reveal only 20% of what is on their minds… It is your responsibility to get to the other 80%.”
By coming to your site and taking an action (i.e. reading your articles, watching videos, listening to a podcast, downloading something) your audience and prospects are telling you 20% of what they are looking for.
You have to connect the dots with the other 80%.
This is where relevance comes into play if you are to be successful in content marketing versus advertising.
You have to connect the dots for each, individual consumer of your content.
For one person they want to know “WHY?”
For another it’s “WHAT” do they need to know?
For another it’s “HOW” should they do it?
For another it’s “IF” they do it what will be the result?
They aren’t telling you and they keep it closely guarded.
But there are clues and ways for you to discover the 80% of what they are not telling you in order to give them what they need.
You may share some of John’s experiences or frustrations. Who among us hasn’t?
But, like John, these obstacles don’t have to be hindrances. They can opportunities for personal enrichment and growth and most importantly a thriving business.
Are you ready to make that jump into a new, exciting world where you discover more about yourself, your business and your customers than you ever thought possible?
Are you ready to discover the 80% of what your prospects are not telling you so that you can communicate to them powerfully and inspire them to take the next step in your sales funnel?
If so, I want to invite you to my upcoming FREE webinar titled “The 5 Step Formula to Attract Your Audience, Increase Sales and Position Your Business for Success!”