Marketing isn’t selling, but if you don’t sell then you don’t have a business.
I had the good fortune this morning to sit down with a young entrepreneur over coffee. he’s got an exciting offering, he’s butting up against a challenging industry, and he has big dreams.
But there’s one thing that raised red flags for me. They’re the kind of red flags that would stop me from investing anything into the venture — time, or money.
He’s not selling.
His venture has been around for six months. He talks the talk. He’s been out of the building, talking to people. He’s already pivoted a few times.
But he’s focused on things that don’t touch the customer: Partners, and marketing.
This is a key failing in many young businesses, run by people of all ages.
Look, I get it: Sales makes people run screaming. I could tell it made this guy uncomfortable, because his body language changed. When I pushed him a little bit, he admitted to me that he’d been frightened of it.
‘What’s worse?’ I asked. ‘Getting itchy about it now, or being in a situation that is dire and not being able to make a sale? Turn your discomfort into excitement. The learning approach alone will make you more attractive to buyers, because you’ll ask more questions.’
That was when he began writing notes.
Then I pointed out to him that even if he gets partners, even if he can spend money on “marketing” (sigh), he’s still going to have to sell every single day. Sales never ends.
When you view your content and content publishing activity as “marketing”, instead of being a useful interaction of some kind with your audience (which becomes part of either your service or sales pathway) then you’re already fighting a losing battle.
Spend money where it touches your customer. Use every aspect of your marketing — which, yes, encompasses your content publishing activity — to drive sales.
One of the things you might consider doing is putting your marketers (if you have them) on a sales beat and seeing how they perform.
If they can’t do it in person, how can you expect them to sell in any other format? Linking ads together is great knowledge! Learning how to craft a pitch, inside an ad, that is totally irresistible, is an altogether different skill-set. Your sales guys will probably do it better. You could even put your sales team in a marketing role, and see what kinds of ideas come out the other side.
This is the kind of thinking that underpins any strategic content activity:
1. Ask, where does this fit?
2. Ask, what is my offer?
3. Ask, who is buying?
It’s a short step from there to working out what your strategic content publishing landscape looks like. But until you can do it, double down on your sales, because that’s where everything stops.
Case studies are the one piece of content that becomes a smart spend. A well-crafted case study:
1. Answers prospects’ questions
2. Illustrates your offer, without you begging
3. Draws in people who are like the ones in the study.
In other words, it’s a spend that touches your customer.
You can learn more about this and why they’re the smartest content spend you can make, at http://brutalpixie.com/case-studies/
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