How does content marketing help increase product sales?
In this dense digital age, we are surrounded by social media (Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram), digital platforms (YouTube, Google) and direct digital engagement via messaging apps like Messenger and WhatsApp. It can be difficult to choose the right platform to focus your advertising, especially if you’re limited by resources and time!
We’ve mentioned in the past that a marketing editorial calendar can help you organize your content to reach the right users at the right time. This is a great organizational tool, but I hear some of you asking: how do you use this tool to directly increase product sales?
Let’s go back to basics – What’s your marketing strategy?
Before deciding on a platform (the “how” of marketing), you need to understand why you’re reaching out to users at this stage. Where are they in the customer sales cycle?
The customer sales cycle can be broken down into three separate categories: Awareness, Consideration, Purchase. Every piece of marketing content that you create, should fall into one of these three categories.
- Content catered to Awareness should cater towards reaching the greatest possible amount of qualified readers. Choose a wide-reaching, topical piece of content and cast a large net with your promotion in order to get as much awareness about your brand at this stage.
- Content catered to Consideration should educate your readers about the benefits of your product or service, over those of your competitors and close substitutes. Your reader should already be aware of several brands, and you are trying to win them over at this stage.
- Finally, content catered to Purchase needs to be laser-focused for your reader to take an action. Read our article on reducing barriers to entry for more information on how to do so.
In order to increase product sales we have to consider your audience as a closed network of individuals that already knows who you are. The chances of you being able to connect with a completely new visitor (who’s never heard of your brand before) and for them to buy your product or service on the first visit, is a very ambitious project and sometimes an unrealistic expectation. Don’t kid yourself!
If you want to increase product sales, you need to focus on the Consideration and Purchase stage. If you’ve been properly executing content marketing, you should already have a network of individuals who knows who you are.
At this point in time, you need to quickly educate your users on the benefits of your product over those of your competition, then entice them to buy (in that order)!
The ideal platform to do so is through one Earned platform (usually a social media channel like Facebook), followed by one Owned platform. We won’t go into details about the theory, but if you’re interested, here’s an article about Paid, Owned and Earned for your reference.
Put Theory Into Practice
Here are some action items you can take away and use, today!
Part One – Engage Without Selling
- Develop a strong article detailing your product/service’s best strengths and benefits
- Compare your benefits to those of alternatives, or bring in a topical news article or trend in order to help contextualize your strengths
- Take your platform or community with the most engagement (this can be Facebook, LinkedIn, or any industry-specific forum that you frequently post on) and promote your article, tagging relevant users and brands*
- Generate lots of great engagement – without pushing for a sale, straight away.
See, as human beings our brains are wired to be defensive when presented with urgency during a stage of discovery. “What’s in it for them? Are they pushing me?” is often associated negatively with a brand that’s “trying too hard” to push a sale. Avoid that! Aim to genuinely help your customers with a problem that’s been on their mind.
Part Two – Lead To A Natural Conclusion
Do you know why Costco offers free samples? Or, why certain stores give out free gifts?
The principle of reciprocity means that the more willing you are to help someone, the more willing they are to help you in return.
Taking advantage of this, now is the time to naturally lead your subscribers to the best solution – you! You’ve already helped them out, so you’re going to do them one last favor by giving them a discount, a free sample or a buy-one-get-one (BOGO) offer.
Use email marketing to make a specific ask
If you don’t have an extensive list of email addresses to work with, you can consider a retargeting campaign to speak to those same users that you’ve helped in Part 1. We guarantee that by providing value in the first place, before attempting to sell your product, you’ll experience better conversions on your product sales campaign.
Last but not least – rinse and repeat! Learn from your successes and mistakes. Take your strategy and iterate it, improving it over time and adding to your editorial calendar.
Do you have any problems? Contact us!
What if you don’t have an existing audience? How do you organize so many campaigns at once? Are you following best practices with your marketing? Where do you even start?
It can be overwhelming to tackle content marketing with a small team – which is why our marketing agency is here to help. Contact us today and we’ll be happy to lend you a hand!