Which feels better? Being sold to or being educated? Which makes a car salesperson and buying experience more appealing and tolerable? When they ram paperwork with a sticker price offer in your face repeatedly, or when they spend as much time as possible with you to make sure you understand every aspect of the cars you're looking at? The answer is obvious in both scenarios. What kind of buyer is more likely to make a positive buying decision? An educated one, or a skeptical/defensive one?
Then why do so many small business owners insist on jumping the gun and selling too hard, too soon? Because they don't think strategically, they think tactically. This is the same reason many small businesses have a hard time grasping the purpose and value of content or education marketing. They think, why should we devote so much time to writing content and getting readership when we just want to sell our products or services? Here's Why...
Online Buyers Educate Themselves Before Making Contact
The chart focuses on B2B buyers, but B2C buyers are even more influenced by online research prior to a sale. As a business, do you want your competitors to be the source of information that your prospects use to determine buying criteria and gain confidence in your type of product or service or would you like to take on that strategic role?
Building Trust and Rapport Is Half The Battle In Sales
Why do so many buyers (myself included) bypass Google for B2C items and go strait to Amazon? Because Amazon has set a standard of excellence, reliability and TRUST! Their buyers TRUST that they can shop on their site and get the best prices available. Their buyers TRUST that they will be guided to the right product through the massive amount of product reviews and Q&As. Their buyers TRUST that if something isn't right, Amazon will make it right through their ultra-simple return/exchange process. Their buyers TRUST that they will get their products on time come hell or high water.
That's why Amazon is the online retailer everyone tries to be. They understand that TRUST is a key determining factor in any buyers' mind, so they've made it a top priority. Here're 3 quotes on trust from Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon.com:
"Trust is hard-earned, easily lost."
"You can’t ask for trust, you just have to do it the hard way, one step at a time."
"That’s how you earn trust. Make a hard promise. Keep it."
When you're meeting with a prospect, face to face, you can build that trust in person. You can show truly "sell" your company's character and the fact that you are the right choice in your industry. Online isn't face to face. You need to build that trust differently. You need to provide value and education to your prospects to generate leads. The best part about doing this, is that they are already convinced that you are credible and trustworthy by the time they've moved down your funnel and are speaking to a sales person.
Education Marketing Generates Leads In The Buying Now Category
Have you ever met a prospect for your product or service, only to find that they just recently switched to one of your competitors? That really sucks doesn't it? You missed an opportunity. Did you miss the opportunity because you weren't there when the prospect was looking but your competitor was? Content marketing, or education based marketing has a huge impact on your website's ability to rank well in search results for your target keywords. Every piece of content you create adds to, what we call, your SEO surface area. The more valuable content you create, the more Google and other search engines will learn about your offering and the better you will rank in engines. It also drastically increases your link-bait and shares in social media, both of which impact your search rankings.
By ranking in the search engines for your target keywords and phrases, you're front and center when prospects are looking for your solutions. These are prospects that are in, or close to being in the Buying Now category. Wouldn't it be important to standout when your prospects are in that phase? Wouldn't be important to be the ones guiding their buying criteria before they reach the buying now category? Content marketing, or education based marketing is your tool to do so, WHILE generating leads.
It's A No-Brainer
Highly effective, measurable and very inexpensive should equate to a common sense decision for any business owner. What other types of marketing offer these attributes, consistently? None. Especially to prospects in the buying now category.
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