CONTENT MARKETING - 4 Ways To Sell Your Product In A Noisy Social World
Posted on September 5th, 2019
3 min read
Here’s the problem with traditional advertising strategies: They’re super annoying.

TV ads, billboards, and door-to-door sales people are annoying because they interrupt your day in order to get something from you.  

What if instead of asking you to buy something you don’t even want, people just gave you awesome stuff for free?

That’s what Content Marketing is all about.

Content Marketing is a long-term marketing strategy that focuses on attracting your target customers by giving them valuable information for free.  

Here’s why Content Marketing works:

     ●When you show that you’re a credible source of information on a topic, people will keep coming back to you when they have more questions.

     ●The longer people keep coming back to you, the more they will trust you.  

     ●When people trust you, they’re more likely to spend their hard earned cash on your products and services.

Here are four real-world examples of successful content marketing in action.

Example #1: Ramit Sethi Tells You How To Stop Being Lazy
How do you stop being lazy? You can ask your entire network of family, friends, and coworkers for advice. Or you can ask Google.

Each month, 5,400 people enter “How to stop being lazy” into Google Search.

Here’s what it looks like when you enter that search term into Google:

And here’s what you’ll see when you scroll down a little bit more:

As you might notice, the Featured Snippet (the box at the top of the page) and the #1 Search Result both display the same blog post: 

When a webpage ends up in a Featured Snippet AND the top of Google’s Search Results, most people will click on that webpage.

In other words, the person who wrote that blog post has a captive audience of thousands of people who asked Google how to stop being lazy.  

What’s the best way to capitalize on that opportunity? That depends on what your goal is.

As it turns out, this particular blog post was written by Ramit Sethi, the founder of a personal development business called I Will Teach You To Be Rich (IWT).  

IWT makes money by selling courses on networking, getting your dream job, starting a business, improving your social skills, being more productive...basically any skill that’s associated with successful people. (Fun fact: One of Ramit’s blog posts also holds the #1 search result for “How to be successful.”)

We can guess that Ramit wants at least some of the people who read his blog post to buy a course.  

But if he makes a sales pitch without providing value to his readers, he’ll be lucky if even one person buys something.

Imagine this:

     ●You enter “How to stop being lazy” into Google Search.

     ●You click on the first search result.

     ●You end up on a webpage with a giant flashing sign that says: 

“Want to stop being lazy? SPEND THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS ON MY HOW NOT TO BE LAZY COURSE!!!!”

Would that sales pitch work on you? Probably not.  

That’s why Ramit’s blog post is filled with thoughtful, actionable advice and insights on how to overcome laziness.  

But for readers who agree to sign up for his mailing list, Ramit offers something even better--a free 27 page ebook called The Ultimate Guide To Habits. This ebook includes:

     ●A video interview with a Stanford University psychologist about the science of behavior change

     ●A guide to systematizing and automating your habits...so you can stick to your goals without even thinking about it

     ●Examples of how Ramit stuck to his own goals

If a potential customer is actively seeking help for overcoming laziness, offering a free ebook is one of the best ways to get their attention.

But how do you make sure people don’t simply read the ebook without ever coming back to your website?

Here’s the critical component of Ramit’s strategy: You have to sign up for his mailing list to get the free ebook. Once you’re on his mailing list, that gives him the opportunity to send amazing content straight to your inbox, all of which will increase your level of trust in his expertise.

Picture this: 
Ramit sends you daily emails with free information that’s relevant to your life and your goals. You look forward to opening them, and before you know it, he becomes one of your most trusted sources of information about personal development...and you’re more likely to buy one of his paid courses.

As the success of IWT demonstrates, the number of people willing to buy Ramit’s courses is large enough to generate millions of dollars in revenue.

That’s the power of content marketing. Here’s a quick summary of Ramit’s content marketing strategy:

     ●Spark interest by providing outstanding content.

     ●Offer even better content in exchange for an email address.

     ●Send consistent emails that dazzle people with information while building their trust.

     ●Once you’ve built trust, make a direct sales pitch for your best and most exclusive product/service.


Example #2: How Positive Reviews Of Your Competitors’ Products Can Grow Your Business
It’s January 1st, and you’ve just committed to eating better and working out more. You have two friends that you can go to for advice:

     ● Friend #1: Owns a company that teaches group fitness courses. He claims the only way to be healthy is to do his company’s workouts and eat a kale-only diet.

     ● Friend #2: Also owns her own fitness company. She believes her company’s workout and diet prescriptions are optimal, but she also understands that they aren’t for everyone. She’s happy to make honest recommendations for people who want to try something different.

Friend #1 sounds insane, but Friend #2 seems like a useful resource. And because you know she’s honest and level-headed, she’s going to have an easier time selling you her fitness products.

Businesses should strive to act like Friend #2, not Friend #1.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at a unique content marketing strategy from one of the world’s most successful skincare brands, Paula’s Choice.

Paula’s Choice operates Beautypedia, a website that reviews skincare products from a variety of brands. Many Beautypedia reviews are on the first page of Google for popular search terms.

For example, if you enter “drunk elephant reviews” into Google Search (Drunk Elephant is a luxury skincare brand), Beautypedia’s collection of Drunk Elephant product reviews should come up as the #6 result.  

Drunk Elephant is one of Paula’s Choice’s biggest competitors. Both brands have the same target customer--a discerning “skincare nerd” who is willing to pay a premium for the most well-formulated products.  

The most obvious difference between Drunk Elephant and Paula’s Choice is the price--a typical product from Drunk Elephant costs about twice as much as a typical Paula’s Choice product.

If Paula’s Choice and Beautypedia had a team of average marketers, they would compete with Drunk Elephant in one of two ways:

     1. Write negative reviews of Drunk Elephant’s products: “They’re overpriced garbage--buy our stuff instead!”

     2. Perhaps if they want to be more subtle, they would write decent reviews of Drunk Elephant’s products, but with strong caveats: “Their products are pretty good, but no one can afford them.”

Yet Beautypedia’s reviews of Drunk Elephant’s products are overwhelmingly positive--only two out of eighteen products have less than a perfect five star rating.  

Why would Beautypedia write such positive reviews of a major competitor’s products?  

Paula’s Choice’s claims that you can objectively assess the quality of a skincare product based on its ingredients. They even have an ingredient dictionary: a detailed list of hundreds of common ingredients in skincare products, with a rating of each ingredient. 

*Here’s what makes Paula’s Choice different--they only use the highest rated ingredients.*

Most of the time, Drunk Elephant also uses the highest rated ingredients--that’s why they almost always get perfect reviews on Beautypedia.

Here’s why Beautypedia’s positive reviews for Drunk Elephant, and many other brands, are an effective marketing tool for Paula’s Choice:

     ●They show that Beautypedia (owned by Paula’s Choice) is an honest, objective source of information about skincare products.
  
     ●Since people know Beautypedia is honest, they will trust all of their reviews, including reviews of Paula’s Choice products.

Would Beautypedia be a convincing marketing tool for Paula’s Choice if it trashed every competing brand? Probably not.

Example #3: Mark Manson Answers Life’s Most Difficult Questions
Remember how 5,400 people per month ask Google how to stop being lazy?

Well...people go to Google with even more difficult search queries.

Here are some examples:

     ●“How to get over someone” (27,100 searchers/month)

     ●“How to attract women” (4,400 searchers/month)

     ●“What is my purpose” (2,900 searchers/month)

     ●“How to know when to break up” (2,400 searchers/month)

     ●“Why get married” (2,400 searchers/month)

Every single one of these search queries leads to the same website: markmanson.net. It holds the #1 organic search result for every single one of these search queries.

Mark Manson is a personal development blogger, and more recently, the author of two New York Times best sellers: The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F*ck and Everything Is F*cked: A Book About Hope.  

Given how successful Manson’s blog has been, it’s amazing that it took him so long to get signed with a major publisher.  

Signing him should have always been a no brainer--he’s had a world-class content marketing operation in place for years, which means a publisher would hardly have to do any work to make his books fly off the shelves.

What is it that’s so great about Mark Manson’s content marketing operation? The answer is simple: he’s one of the rare content writers who consistently adheres to Moz’s 10x Rule.

Moz’s 10x Rule: The best way to secure a spot at the top of Google search, and ultimately convert website visitors into customers, is to create content that’s at least 10x better than the competition.

What is it that makes Manson’s content so much better than everyone else’s? This is also a question with a simple answer: he’s an outstanding writer.  

If you’re an aspiring content writer, Mark Manson should be your measuring stick. I don’t know of anyone whose writing captures the attention of an online audience better than his.

By being an outstanding writer and using the 10x rule, Mark Manson has developed an active and engaged following, which includes a huge mailing list. Like Ramit Sethi, he produces tons of valuable content for free, and when he writes a book, people line up to buy it. 
Example #4: Gary Vee’s Enthusiasm Is Contagious
Gary Vaynerchuck might be the most well-known and successful content marketer in the world--it would take much longer than one section of this post to explain all of the amazing things he’s done.  

So instead of giving an overview of Gary Vee’s entire career, I’m going to focus on one of his earlier content marketing projects: WineLibraryTV.

The idea behind the Wine Library YouTube channel was simple and intuitive, but only someone as talented and hard-working as Gary Vee could have implemented the idea so effectively.

The idea went like this: If you want to sell wine, create the best wine review video series that the internet has ever seen.  

Flip the stereotype of the boring, stuffy, wine snob on it’s head, and show that wine tasting is something that makes you absolutely ecstatic. Be so enthusiastic that even people who don’t care about wine will want to keep watching.

Once you’ve got the viewer’s attention, dazzle them with your expert knowledge on wine. Show the viewer how nuanced and interesting wine tasting can be.

Once you’ve impressed the viewer, find a discreet way to let them know about your online wine shop, which also happens to be called Wine Library.

There’s nothing original or counter-intuitive about the idea behind Wine Library; there are plenty of ecommerce stores that also post video reviews of the products they have for sale. Many of those videos are quite good, but I’ve never seen anything as entertaining or engaging as WineLibraryTV...and I’m not even much of a wine drinker.  

So what does Wine Library demonstrate, exactly? It shows that going the extra mile to produce stellar content pays off. Most other marketers don’t take the time to produce the world’s best content--and most other marketers aren’t wildly successful like Gary Vee.

The Final Takeaway
A lot of business owners scoff at the idea of giving away free stuff. But the world’s most savvy marketers know that providing free, valuable content is one of the most effective ways to attract new customers and grow your business.

Good Content Marketing makes customers feel that they decided to purchase your product on their own, instead of feeling that they were convinced to purchase something after hearing a sales pitch.  

While there’s certainly a time and a place for more direct forms of marketing, we firmly believe content marketing is a critical component of any successful online marketing strategy. 

Does your small business need help implementing an effective Content Marketing strategy? Get in touch with us by requesting a FREE Digital Marketing Consultation! We’ll do a deep assessment of every aspect of your online marketing, including your Content Marketing...and provide you with expert advice on how to take your business to the next level.

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