Q&A with Content Marketing Expert Jeff Molander: Selling with Content


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jeff molander social selling content marketingSince our 150 blogs in 50 days content marketing experiment we’ve made some great connections with really great content and inbound marketing experts. One of the foremost in the field is Jeff Molander. Jeff is the founder of Molander & Associates Inc. and publisher of MakeSocialMediaSell.com.

We were a guest on his webinar series a couple of weeks ago. He’s joining us for a webinar later this year as well.

Jeff was kind enough to answer a few questions about content marketing, social selling, and how to get leads with both.

Awesome. Read on.

Why do most companies fail at content marketing?

I define failure, or under-producing, as “not generating sales leads.” Some marketers are not defining (or would prefer to not define) content marketing that way. So let’s assume we agree on what failure is. Most are struggling to create leads with content because they’re measuring content over structuring or designing it. In other words, they see content as a means to build brand, gain attention and influence. Successful content marketers see content differently.

They see content as a means to change the success rate of customers.They see it as a means to do something with the attention content generates—capture a lead, nurture it and ultimately sell products/services. They see content as something that can ‘move the needle’ for customers in ways that create tangible outcomes. The “results in advance” (created by content) give buyers confidence in themselves. This confidence rubs off on them as trust. This is the formula that most who are using blogs, video, etc. are missing. Successful content changes the success rate of customers in exchange for the chance to enter into a courtship (lead nurturing).

Can you give us a few quick tips on making your blog a selling machine?

1) Use stories to illustrate, not influence or motivate. Point blank: There are way to many ‘experts’ telling people to blog about stories. For example, this is why so many people are frustrated with nobody reading their blogs… and so few leads being produced as a result. Stop telling stories that customers don’t care about.Start writing about problems customers need resolved, questions customers need answered and experiences customers are craving. THESE are the topics that get found in Google, read and create leads.

The real story is the customers’. Take them on a journey toward goals and remedies and use stories to illustrate your point—not as the point.

2) Give your best content away free. Give away tips, tricks, shortcuts and/or samples of what they need to achieve things or avoid risks. Get readers confident in themselves. Make them believe they can achieve something they want by giving them the tools to do it. For example, empower them to make better decisions or teach them a new skill. But then plant a seed: give them reason to think, “hey, could there be more to discover about ___?” This makes buyers hungry for more of what you’ve got and primed for your call-to-action.

3) Toward the end of the blog post create a call-to-action that says to customers, “here, let me help you DO ____.” Play on their hunger to get more confidence. Exchange downloadable guides in exchange for their email and name. Help customers get something done faster, better, smarter, cheaper. For example, help customers decide on “best fit” for their needs … or checklists that guide buyers toward better (personalized) decisions … or short video tutorials that teach customers a skill or short-cut that is relate-able to their goal and what you sell.

Where does someone start down the path to creating a blog, and making content work for them (sell for them)?

Start by listening to your target market’s pain, suffering, fear or aspirations. Then answer them. Give remedies, short-cuts and such. Start responding to what potential customers need or crave in your blog. Keep it super practical. This system makes it easy to (in time) connect what you sell to your blog posts. Start by asking yourself, “Which questions do our customers need answered before they’ll buy?” or “Is there a skill I could teach them that would make them feel (and act) like a smarter buyer?”

Remember: Don’t restrict the questions to those about your product—think like a buyer.

For example, are there myths prospects believe in that prevent them from understanding an important consideration point?

Do they fear getting ripped-off or talked into a situation that doesn’t serve them? Is there an experience they’re craving?

To get ideas, listen to potential customers as they express: fears, hopes, aspirations, objectives, problems or challenges. Listening is easy on the Web. You should conduct search engine keyword research but here are other places to find your buyers’ questions—FAST. LinkedIn Groups, Webinars, Monitor www.search.twitter.com (for expressions of pain or un-met needs around what it is you’re selling… and complaints about your competitors) and, of course, Google keyword research.

My free training program is a great place to start doing this. It comes with a worksheet to get you started on this exact process www.makesocialmediasell.com/free-training

How does a sales team us social media to sell?

I’ll be blunt: This talk about “social selling” is pure nonsense. Tune out the “experts” who claim that this is new and revolutionary. It’s not. The buying process is NOT changing. The fundamentals that drive how people are buying are NOT changing. The way buyers buy is becoming faster and non-linear. Translation: A sales team should use social media to sell the same way it would use any other communications device.

Find the pain or desire, earn consideration (discussion), prove your product/service can deliver the needed result (in advance of the purchase) and ask for the sale.

The most exciting part of social media (and especially content marketing) is how customers will sometimes ask YOU for the sale first. If designed to, content can do the heavy lifting for a sales rep. Videos, educational PDFs, worksheets and checklists ‘dripped’ (released slowly, over time) to prospects using email allows sales people to invest time closing prospects rather than warming them up. That part becomes the job of your content.

How many (few) sales people are using social media and content to sell effectively right now? (10%, 40%)

I have no idea! But I suspect there is more success happening in business-to-business sales and marketing.

Why don’t more do it?

In a nutshell: Most sellers prefer to believe simple lies rather than slightly complicated truths.

The lie: Tell a good story, engage and sales will somehow materialize.

The truth: Nobody cares about your story. But they do care about their own selfish priorities (problems, fears, goals, aspirations) and how you might be able to help them avoid (problems) and achieve (goals).

Good copywriting has always been designed to create an action. Successful content marketing is no different.

Read our 150 blogs in 50 days experiment.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

McKay Allen
LogMyCalls is the next generation of call tracking and marketing automation. The award winning product from ContactPoint, LogMyCalls provides lead scoring, conversion rate tracking and close rate mapping. For more information visit LogMyCalls.com and call (866) 811-8880.


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