This is part 2 of a 5 part Creating Lifelong Customer series. We’ve already covered how important it is to talk to directly to your potential customers about solving their problems. Today’s post will cover content marketing for the sales funnel.

Problems with Marketing and Sales

Many companies make a mistake in their marketing process. Their marketing process goes from Know to Buy. This might work, but it also creates a bit of resentment on the part of your customer. I was at the grocery store today and a woman talked us into buying some beef that was pre-seasoned and already prepared. I wasn’t really ready to buy. I had already tried it and it was good, but I wasn’t ready to buy. She pushed and I guess my willpower was running low, because I said yes when I’d normally say no.

She might have thought this was a good thing. She sold me something, but I now regret buying the beef. My walls will be up the next time I walk into that store. Even worse, I am less likely to become a brand champion for that store.

Create awareness: Getting someone to know you

Let’s use the following marketing stages: Know, Like, Trust, Try, Buy and then Champion. You need to create content that moves your potential customers into the next stage. Let’s talk about each stage and what it takes to get them to move on to the next stage.

The goal of this stage is to get people to simply know who you are. Historically this has been done with some sort of advertising. Today, this stage often starts with social media, SEO and using other online tools.

Developing a strong social media profile and audience is a great way to start this process. You can do this while developing your content marketing strategy. The feedback from the people you meet will help you refine your strategy. Developing strong profiles on the right social media network is key. We’ll cover more on developing this platform next week. You also need to link to helpful content on a regular basis, have conversations and be a part of the community. Avoid posting link after link without interacting with others. This makes your account appear automated and no one really wants to talk to a machine.

In terms of content consider: blog posts, white papers, an auto-respond email campaign, pictures with captions, infographics and other material that establishes your expertise or your products usefulness. A good account to learn from is George Takei from Star Trek fame. He now has 4.6 million likes with massive engagement on each post. Most of his posts are just jokes and they get shared.

Getting people to like you with content marketing

Be likable. Getting people to like you is easier said than done. From my perspective, it comes down to basic social skills and finding your voice. You can’t listen on a blog, but you can write about issues important to your audience and help your audience. Avoid talking about how great you are. Teach them how to solve some their problems, which will both establish your credibility and make you likable.

The second piece of being likable is finding your voice. Some tips to finding your voice are:

  • lose the marketing voice
  • write as if you are talking to one of your good clients
  • think about helping your audience as you write
  • write about topics that you believe in
  • write like you talk

How to build trust and start selling

Be trustworthy. Remember that the goal during this stage is building enough trust that people will buy something from you. Push past their anti-sales walls. We all have a wall when it comes to sales people. I’ll bet that when someone walks up to you in the store asking if they can help, you respond, “I’m just looking.” This same thing holds true of marketing copy on your website.

Be trustworthy by avoiding:

  • offers that are too good to be true
  • overly strong icons
  • yellow highlights on your sales page

Be consistent. Imagine looking at a company’s blog and realizing that it was 4 months out of date. What would you think? Would you worry more? I always wonder if they are still in business. I click that red x and start looking at other companies.

Make low risk offers. Here you want to make either low risk offers or use a lot of risk reversal. You might consider some sort of free or low cost product. The trick here is to avoid becoming known as a low cost option. You want the free product to clearly be a sample. Another option is to offer a higher cost product and use risk reversal techniques. Risk reversal is when you take on the risk. This commonly takes the form of guarantees.

Make high value offers. If you offer a free white paper or introductory coaching session, you need to Wow your customers. Take time to make sure that the experience is better than expected. White papers must give out great information. Introductory sessions, classes or meetings should be designed to be comfortable.

If you get this right, you have the start for a system to turn leads into customers, but we’ve missed something important.

If you don’t get this one thing right, you’ll miss out on a lot of customers. We’ll get to that next time.

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