Selling happens after the learning. How good are you at helping your customer find the best information they can to decide on a purchase?
If marketing is an A-frame house, content and Social Media are the opposite sides of that house, each supporting the other toward one goal – increased sales. The content your store produces and shares on the various Social platforms communicates the message you want your customer to know about you. When your goal is to promote your company, getting your content liked, commented on and shared is how you achieve that today.
The great marketing guru, Seth Godin has been talking about content marketing for years. He says, “Smart marketers do not interrupt. They sell by permission.” When someone likes your Facebook page, follows you on Twitter or reads your blog, they’ve given you permission to market to them. They’ve identified a value in your brand that compels them to connect.
Seth saw that permission marketing was successful because consensual relationship selling, mixed with tested copy and demographically-targeted stories, boosts response significantly. For car dealerships (and many other businesses) this is just starting to make sense at the operational level. For others who grasped the idea and ran with it, they’re reaping the benefits. Even though there is no “first-mover advantage” anymore, taking action now will move you swimmingly past your competitor.
Think about and define who your customer is and what they might be looking for in order to make their most informed choice. Create content around the frequently-asked questions your customers have. Ask your front line personnel to give you 3 FAQs. If you have 10 salespeople and 3 service advisors, that’s 30-40 blog posts. Nearly 5 months of content! And think about how smart you’ll be after those 5 months. You’ll have worked a lot of kinks out of your strategy, you’ll be delivering quality information, and your staff will be energized.
How about going a step further. Create content beyond your customers’ specific pain-points. Many of them don’t know what they don’t know. Do you realize how much impact you’d have by teaching them instead of selling them?
I’m in the “non-automotive world” a lot these days and when people hear that I managed car dealerships my entire life, they always have a story or a suggestion about what dealers can do better, especially involving the customer experience. So many people are at a disadvantage when it comes to the things they need to know before they purchase a car.
What would happen if you wrote a series of blog posts or created a white paper on the top “need-to-knows” before buying a car? How about a series of Facebook updates with short videos from your lead technician on the key components of keeping your car healthy? That is how you impact your customer.
Brian Clark, the founder of Copyblogger, wrote a post back in 2006 about teaching, not selling. He advocated a simple idea: create educational content to begin relationships that lead to sales. This strategy places a blog at the very center of your online marketing efforts, since good tutorials not only sell but also generate traffic.
6 years later, content marketing strategy builds on that foundation of educating your customer – helping them buy. And in some cases (hopefully many), they buy from you.
There’s a lot of noise out there. Noise that drowns out quality content if you don’t utilize Social Media platforms successfully to promote it.
It’s not effective to talk about yourself anymore. Between Google updates and audience exhaustion, people thirst for ways to cut through the noise to find the jewels that help them. Facts have become dubious in all parts of our culture so if your customer is looking for content to help them decide on a purchase, do the one thing that will impact their lives: give it to ’em.