Don’t Take “Selling” Out of Content Marketing

Notice how discussions about content marketing are full of words like engagement, helpful, sharing, nurturing and community building. These are all great at soft selling without irritating the customer. No complaints there.

However, have we gone too soft with content marketing when it comes to selling industrial products and services?

May be it’s time to inject a healthy dose of reality into this warm and fuzzy picture. And that is…content marketing must deliver a real business value.

Let’s not kid ourselves; business is war, especially in today’s hyper-competitive global marketplace. A touch of Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War” couldn’t hurt.

Even though it applies across the board in B2B content marketing, I’ll stick to my domain of expertise – industrial and manufacturing marketing. At the end of the day, every content marketer must help sell more industrial products and services. It is as simple as that.

Trying to prove ROI with data about traffic, page views and number of subscribers to your free content won’t cut it. The owner of a small manufacturing firm or the CEO of a large industrial distributor wants proof of content marketing’s direct contributions to sales and revenues.

Sounds familiar? I thought so.

If you want the client or your boss to support a content marketing strategy, show them numbers that they care about the most. Talk about:

  • The number of sales qualified leads generated
  • The percentage of quotes that converted to sales
  • The ratio of opportunities to wins
  • The cost of acquiring each new customer and their potential lifetime value

I am not suggesting that you turn your blogs and social media outreach into complete sales pitches. No, there is a fine line between selling and selling out. (See my earlier post, Content Marketing: Think Like a Publisher, Act Like an Investor)

I’ll admit that it takes time and resources to learn and plan before one can create content that doesn’t come across as too “salesy.”

Read my post 3 Business Blogs with Proven ROI from Industrial Companies for examples of content marketers who consistently strike the right balance between talking to engineers and industrial buyers in their own language while generating leads and driving sales for their companies.

I would like to hear your thoughts on using content in industrial and manufacturing marketing to drive sales. Go ahead let’s be social here!

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