How to Create Content That Converts

It’s time to stop creating compelling content and start creating content that converts. The “create compelling content” mantra has failed us. We’re awash in a sea of ineffective, self-centered articles, videos, ebooks and whitepapers that fail to create leads. So follow these three handy success principles to create content that converts.

It’s time to stop creating compelling content and start creating content that converts. The “create compelling content” mantra has failed us. We’re awash in a sea of ineffective, self-centered articles, videos, ebooks and whitepapers that fail to create leads. So follow these three handy success principles to create content that converts.

3 Guiding Principles of Content That Converts
These are the three success principles powering today’s content marketing success stories like HubSpot and a handful of others. Now it’s time for you to apply them and create content that converts for you.

Content that converts does three things. It creates …

  1. Action: Customers cannot resist DOING stuff with it—including signing up to become a lead.
  2. Results: It doesn’t just impart knowledge; it increases the success rate of prospects (for free).
  3. Confidence: Buyers ultimately convert based on trust created by positive results.

Create Confidence
For years we’ve been told “create compelling content!” So we got busy. The goal was clear: get customers to consider, select and buy from us.

But for most of us, videos go unnoticed. Blogs aren’t shortening the sales cycle. Well, you’re not alone in taking your eye off of what works, and that’s confidence.

The difference between content that converts and all the other crap out there is simple: It gives prospects a free sample or “taste” of actual success. Real results.

Content that creates leads and sales uses results to manufacture confidence in buyers.

I know, I know. It isn’t very sexy. We’ve been engaging transparently, branding authentically, telling compelling stories … and let’s not forget the customer advocacy we’re fostering. But the truth is nothing works as well at creating leads as confidence.

Why Customers Will Ask You for the Sale
Let’s say you apply an idea from this blog post and have success with it. Maybe you take action on the three success principles and start getting more (and better) leads with your blog. Because of this experience, you sign up for my free training course where you learn more and experience more success.

Would those positive results be powerful enough to make you crave more? If I helped you change the way you’re blogging (to the degree you started getting more and better leads) would that be powerful enough to make you reach out to me?

Might you write an email to me saying, “Jeff, you’ve helped me see things differently and start to improve how I’m blogging. I’m actually getting leads now. Thanks, Jeff. This is so cool. How can I turn up the volume on this? What’s next?”

In other words, could I somehow convince you, through experiencing a steady stream of my content, to ask ME for the sale a few weeks from now?
Answer: Yes, a significant percentage of people who read this blog post will, likely, convert for me.

Move the Needle
My goal for you, right now, is for you to finish reading this post, apply my tips and experience an increase in success. Period. Forget about you liking me or even sharing my content. That’s not my goal. First I need to get you confident. I need to move your needle.

If I truly deliver results, you’ll share the good news (advocate for me). You’ll likely consider and possibly even buy from me. Why? Because I just proved myself.

This is how you use social media and content marketing to create leads. By creating a little bit of success in people’s lives through what you publish—helpful blogs, ebooks that guide, videos that teach, checklists that speed things up, whitepapers that create curiosity, tutorials that help people learn, etc.

Why Give Away ALL of Your Best Advice
Let’s get real. I’m not getting paid to give you my best tips and advice in this article. So why would I?

Answer: Because I don’t have time to worry about if you are actually my competitor, hoping to steal my material. I’m not losing sleep wondering if you’re going to take these instructions and do it yourself—without ever buying my coaching program. Neither should you.

You need to get customers’ success to increase—because of you. You need to get them confident. You need to get them doing something meaningful with knowledge that is truly new, insightful, powerful.

Because ultimately the knowledge WILL be given to them. They will discover the details of “how to do _______,” which you would prefer to sell them. Some customers will do it themselves because they can’t afford it otherwise.

Others will be able to afford to hire you, try it, fail and return to the market as a highly motivated buyer.

The only thing for you to decide on is who they will return to. Because the most likely selection they’ll make is the business or person who gave them the instructions.

So how did I do? Do you now feel an urge to DO something with what I shared? Because I now want you to do something that moves the needle. I don’t care if you see me as a thought leader or want to follow me. I want to sell something to you if it’s right for you. That’s why I gave you my very best tips and insights. Let me know how I did in comments or shoot me an email?

The 3 Habits of Successful Social Publishers

Publishers who represent non-fiction authors and experts can use social media to drive sales of books and information products by following the three habits of successful social publishers. Successful publishers who know the difference between wasting time with social media and selling with it rely on developing three habits.

Publishers who represent non-fiction authors and experts can use social media to drive sales of books and information products by following the three habits of successful social publishers.

Successful publishers who know the difference between wasting time with social media and selling with it rely on developing three habits. These are:

  1. Getting back to basics by solving readers’ problems on social media.
  2. Designing to sell, provoking responses from prospective buyers in ways that connect with authors’ books, coaching and other products.
  3. Translating, discovering customers’ evolving needs and desires, using them to induce sales transactions.

You can immediately begin selling books and other info products on social media platforms by applying these three success principles. Let’s look at each more closely and make them actionable in your everyday work life—let’s make them habits.

Habit No. 1: Solve Problems and Create Experiences
Here’s how the idea of solving problems to create sales works for non-fiction books, reference kits and informational products like webinars, DVD collections, etc. The main idea is to use social media platforms to:

  1. Provide answers to potential buyers’ most common questions in ways that provoke more questions (that your books answer!);
  2. Make it easy for the prospect to take action—to actually do something that puts them on the path to understanding why your book/product features THE hands-down expert/knowledge; and
  3. Give prospects a chance to actually begin to experience the power of your publications’ wisdom/method/solution through a small sample of the real product.

This is the best way to effectively coax or nurture prospects toward buying books, webinars or any kind of published information products. The objective with social media is to convert visitors to a lead. Then it’s up to you to nurture this lead into becoming a buyer of your books and information products.

But good news: This is easy work if you follow the formula.

Habit No. 2: Provoke Response and Earn a Lead
Blogging using this technique helps buyers discover answers to specific problems in search engines and make subtle yet direct, controllable connections with what you want to sell them. You see, when readers type specific questions into Google or Bing, your blog (or your authors’ blog, assuming you’ve coached him/her on this technique) will pop up and direct them to experts and authors with terrifically useful answers—yours.

The trick is to supply prospects with answers (within the blog post) in limited, short-form ways that provoke them to interact more with you/your author… so they can more clearly understand the thought you just provoked.

The key to selling more books and products is to answer potential buyers’ questions in ways that allow distribution of small samples of the more comprehensive solutions your books or products provide. To accomplish this, simply give prospects a clear pathway to “get more of that kind of thinking” into their heads/companies; give prospects something to sign-up for.

Help prospects act on their impulses by giving them a way to “get more” of what you just sampled. Mix in a direct response marketing element—a clear, irresistible call to action.

Habit No. 3: Begin a Courtship, Not a Drive-By
It is best to not ask prospects to trade their email for a whitepaper or access to a single video. Yes, most B-to-B marketers do this, but please don’t do it yourself. Don’t do a drive-by!

Grabbing at email addresses (just because you can) will reduce both the take and conversion rates. Ultimately, prospects likely will not connect taking the offer with your lead follow-up routine. They will feel spammed and unsubscribe.

Think about it in your own experience. Ever download a paper only to become part of an irrelevant sales follow-up call? Compare this to opting-in to a series of logical email messages that helped you get clear on something or learn a new skill.

Bottom line: You don’t need prospects’ email addresses to deliver a single piece of knowledge. Instead, when you give prospective buyers a way to act on their impulses, just be sure to set the context.

This (action your prospect takes) begins an educational process or journey for them. This approach will make it easier to connect your ultimate product pitch to that journey in ways that create more conversions.

Don’t Quit!
If you’re feeling overwhelmed join the club but don’t quit. Social media marketing is heaping on more work—and you’ve already got too many to-do’s on your list, I know. You may even be skeptical that social media can help publishing companies create sales. It’s tough moving beyond being liked, followed or re-tweeted.

Successful publishers know the difference between wasting time with social media and selling with it relies on developing three habits. These are solving readers’ problems on social media, designing it to sell (by provoking responses from prospective buyers in ways that connect with books, coaching and other relevant products) and translatin—discovering customers’ evolving needs & desires, using them to induce sales transactions.

The One Thing LinkedIn Experts Won’t Tell You That Always Nets Sales and Interviews

Making LinkedIn generate more job interviews (sell your personal brand) or leads for your business is all about how you think about what you already know-not new information about social media. Contrary to what “the experts” say, knowing how to set up an engaging LinkedIn group or rock solid profile isn’t the end game. Nor is pushing content marketing (blogs, webinars, etc.) out onto LinkedIn going to create results. The key to success is actually rooted in creative thinking-something most of us have accidentally shoved aside.

Making LinkedIn generate more job interviews (sell your personal brand) or leads for your business is all about how you think about what you already know-not new information about social media. Contrary to what “the experts” say, knowing how to set up an engaging LinkedIn group or rock solid profile isn’t the end game. Nor is pushing content marketing (blogs, webinars, etc.) out onto LinkedIn going to create results. The key to success is actually rooted in creative thinking-something most of us have accidentally shoved aside.

The Excuse
I know, I know … “Jeff, I don’t have time to get creative with social media. I’m being deluged with information about social media. I can hardly come up for air between getting it done (blogging, posting, updating, monitoring) and keeping up with what’s new … it’s taking up all of my time.”

I hear you. I felt the same way. That is until I met people who think about this challenge differently. People who are successfully generating leads and sales on platforms like LinkedIn using an unusual strategy: Taking a breath and getting creative. This approach even helped me recently recover my stolen wallet!

The Proof

If you read me regularly you know of the success stories-B-to-C and B-to-B companies like Logan Services, AnchorBank and others. I often present their success principles in the form of specific strategies. You’ve heard me say things like, “The best next step to getting the most out of LinkedIn is to surround yourself with what you already know about customers and find ways to leverage what you are already doing (outside of social media) that effectively creates and nurtures leads.” And some of you have written to me saying, in essence, “Great, I’m sold… what’s the next step?”

The Next Step: Simple, Fun & Empowering
Ignore the din of LinkedIn experts and start valuing fundamental marketing principles that you already know work. This is the path toward tapping into your own, personal creativity. Yes, for many this is a leap of faith. Yet faith is the starting point for accumulation of all riches (thank you Napoleon Hill!).

We marketers are too reliant on short-cuts and quick fixes when it comes to strategies like content marketing on LinkedIn. We don’t trust our instincts and end up taking the half-baked advice of experts pitching juvenile ideas like being “more human” or “likeable.”

How I Generated Sales on LinkedIn Last Week
I recently posted a handful of stories and interviews on my website discussing how home improvement businesses are using social media to create leads and sales. I then joined related LinkedIn groups. Within a few days I spotted a discussion on a Kitchen Cabinet industry group where I could answer a question in a way that demonstrated the specific valuable answers I was offering … in a way that tempted Group members to both email me for more details and click onward to my site to acquire the knowledge. The results rolled in: Lots of industry-specific leads and a handful of sales!

I got creative. I created valuable content (answers), then looked for people demonstrating need for it and finally provided answers in ways that created cravings for more of what I had to share (encouraged interaction).

How I Found My Stolen Wallet
I recently had my wallet stolen out of a gym locker-the guy stole my pants while I was in the shower! Gym management didn’t care or help. So I started thinking creatively-like a criminal! I immediately realized that my adversary would unload those jeans first. Hence, my trip to the dumpster alongside the building produced my jeans-sans wallet. But I wasn’t done. I wanted my wallet and was sure the thief was after my cash (only). A trip to the local train stop (my thief’s mode of transportation, I wagered) and a glance in a trash can revealed my wallet. All of its contents with the exception of my cash, which I had already kissed-off anyway, were intact.

What did creative thinking get me? I found my charge cards, debit card, drivers license and even a train pass intact! All because I stopped reacting and started thinking about what I already knew was likely true. This guy didn’t want to get caught with my stuff!

Rise Above the Drones
It’s worth mentioning that my local police department was of little help during this upsetting event. In fact they didn’t think my dumpster-diving ideas were worth pursuing! Again, lack of creative thinking. How has creative thinking spurred success in your business life? How can you start using your ability to think creatively right now to create results in LinkedIn or on other social platforms?