Mythbusting Content Marketing: Storytelling Doesn’t Create Sales

“People do business only with those they know, like and trust.” So just tell compelling, transparent, authentic stories about your brand and watch the sales roll in, right? Wrong. Hope is not an effective strategy. Some B-to-B brands use content marketing to soft sell, essentially disguising what they’re really up to. Others have fallen victim to the “telling a good story” myth-where somehow customers start buying based on emotional pixie dust. The truth is if you want more leads and sales from content marketing, what you publish must ultimately cause customers to become so confident in themselves (as buyers) that they ask you for the sale.

“People do business only with those they know, like and trust.” So just tell compelling, transparent, authentic stories about your brand and watch the sales roll in, right? Wrong. Hope is not an effective strategy.

Some B-to-B brands use content marketing to soft sell, essentially disguising what they’re really up to. Others have fallen victim to the “telling a good story” myth-where somehow customers start buying based on emotional pixie dust. The truth is if you want more leads and sales from content marketing, what you publish must ultimately cause customers to become so confident in themselves (as buyers) that they ask you for the sale.

Create Confidence, Not Content (Nor Stories)
There are a handful of ways to approach effective B-to-B content marketing (that sells). The two big strategies are solving common problems and giving away mini-samples of experiences that relate to your product or service. Yes, yes, content marketing gurus… you can tell a story as part of this formula; however, that story must be meaningful enough to provoke a response that gets “the conversation” going in a direction you can do something with.

My focus today is showing you a way to publish blogs, videos, download-able applications, etc. that creates confidence in buyers’ ability to buy.

Let’s avoid over-thinking this and disconnect from your work life for a minute. Instead, think about the last time you made a purchase-one that you had to really think about. Really… stop reading for a second and think of one. Now, consider the process you went through to arrive at the final point of purchase.

Give Customers a Reason to Believe It Can Happen
In the beginning, you probably had a handful of questions that needed to be answered before you were comfortable enough to see yourself parting with money in exchange for whatever it was. Or you needed to actually experience a little bit of whatever it was you were considering investing in. Those questions-or that free taste-probably had a lot to do with a particular goal you had. Or a fear or worry you had.

Buyers always have questions and are seeking guidance. Or they’re yearning for a sample that gives them a reason to believe (become confident) that it can actually happen for them. They want to be confident. They want to believe that someone (you) can make something they want actually happen for them.

Well, social media gives your brand a chance to be the guide-to answer important questions OR solve problems for customers that relate to what it is you sell. You just need to do it up-front, in ways that give customers something they value. That something is confidence. In exchange, you earn the chance to guide them toward, or away from, your products and services.

You see, this is a system-a logical way to create leads and sales that doesn’t rely on telling a story and walking away. Hope is not a strategy. Best of all you know it works because it’s how you, yourself, often go about the purchase-making decision.

Do Me a Favor?
“People do business only with those they know, like and trust.” How many times have you heard this phrase from consultants and social marketing experts? Now consider how often you hear experts talking about concrete, practical ways to capitalize on this idea using social marketing. Well, that’s what this bi-monthly column is all about-filling that void!

I’m asking for your help. The best way to making my mantra of “make social media sell for you” real in people’s lives is to bring success principles into clear focus. I do this through success stories and lately I need more to profile.

You see, I want to make sure social media sells a lot-for as many businesses as I can reach. It’s why I blog here at Target Marketing. I love helping people make social media sell. This is my business and I literally feed my family by helping people create wealth for themselves.

You also might feel passionate about bringing products or services to market too-or know someone who does. Someone like Rachel Farris of PetRelocation, who I profile in the upcoming December issue of Target Marketing magazine. Or Amanda Kinsella of heating and air conditioning provider, Logan Services.

Do you know someone who is quietly using social media to generate leads and sales using problem solving approaches to business-to-business blogging? On the bottom of this page (in comments) I’d like you to tell me-tell all of us-where you are seeing remarkable successes in B-to-B selling with social marketing. And please let us all know of your success with applying what you’ve learned. Toot your horn! All the best to you, continued success and see you in comments!

Author: Jeff Molander

Jeff Molander is the authority on making social media sell. He co-founded what became the Google Affiliate Network and Performics Inc., where he built the sales team. Today, he is the authority on effective prospecting communications techniques as founder of Communications Edge Inc. (formerly Molander & Associates Inc.) He's been in sales for over 2 decades. He is author of the first social selling book, Off the Hook Marketing: How to Make Social Media Sell for You.Jeff is a sales communications coach and creator of the Spark Selling technique—a means to spark more conversations with customers "from cold," speeding them toward qualification.

One thought on “Mythbusting Content Marketing: Storytelling Doesn’t Create Sales”

  1. Excellent piece. While I agree that the art of a fascinating engaging story is the right medium, the goal is to foster the reader’s confidence, not blow our own horn.
    "People do business only with those they know, like and trust."
    Trust is paramount in healthcare. Cleverness or a great story is never a substitute for fostering trustworthiness. Nice article!

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