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Teach Before You Sell to Fill the Funnel


By Joe Harrison

Web
Long before they become active customers or donors, prospects are in the market for information. That’s a unique opportunity to earn their trust by using publicity (what an objective third party says about you) and content marketing (creating or curating and then distributing your own information), to teach instead of sell, priming the flow of future leads to your sales or donation funnel. Both can play a role in your promotional marketing mix.

Before you start, set clear goals to keep the messaging on track and help measure success. Then create a detailed audience profile to capture their interests and preferences, so you can define the information you’ll share and the ways and places you’ll share it.

1. Select your spokesperson. Small and mid-sized companies have multiple individuals with unique perspectives on the business and its customers. However, not all can translate their knowledge to the written word or be tapped to teach at live events.

2. Create quality content. The golden rule of content marketing: it’s not about what you can sell, it’s about what your audience wants to know. Business prospects are generally looking for ways to do their jobs more efficiently or cheaply. Prospective donors might be asking, “How can I make a bigger difference or direct my giving more effectively?” For consumers, it’s often how to save time, increase convenience or balance their personal or family budgets.

3. Vary content format. Prospects may have different attention spans or reading preferences, so tailor messages accordingly. Long-form white papers demonstrate a firm grasp of subject matter to those who are ready to become deeply immersed. Deliver brief excerpts in Tweets, blog posts, forums or on social pages to capture the fleeting attention of busy readers.

4. Make it visual, too. Successful content cuts through clutter, so think beyond just words. Use videos, slide presentations, infographics and other rich media to attract interest and share your information in a visually entertaining way.

There are many ways to teach. Let us help!