Content marketing plays one of the most critical roles in lead generation, building brand awareness and authority, answering customers’ questions, and solving their pain points.
Although content marketing is used mainly as a top-of-the-funnel strategy that will talk to prospects early in the process and attract website traffic, you shouldn’t underestimate its ability to drive sales.
Statistics show that 53% of shoppers always do research before purchasing to make sure they will make the best choice. This means they will check out product reviews as well as blog posts, videos, and other content to make themselves familiar with the product or service they want to buy.
This is where educational content pieces come in to introduce your product and drive sales.
However, to create effective content that will sell, you need to follow certain guidelines. So, without further ado, let’s look into the key aspects of using content marketing to promote your products and drive sales.
1. Don’t Let Your Product Overwhelm the Post’s Main Objective
Remember, your blog posts aren’t your product pages, so avoid shamelessly promoting your products and using a hard-sell approach. This will make your readers feel as if you’re pushing your own agenda, which will, in turn, erode their trust in the sources you provide.
High-converting content is relevant and super useful, meaning that readers can learn something from it and find answers to their questions.
In other words, a successful blog post, for example, should be educational, informative, and entertaining, and it has to add value to the reader. To achieve this, content has to be customer-centric and focused on your target audience’s interests and issues.
Identify the Questions Your Readers Are Asking
Performing audience, keyword, and topic research will set you in the right direction.
This will give you valuable insight into what your audience is looking for on the internet and provide you with a list of their top queries and keywords they’re using.
Once you understand what your readers and potential customers need, it will be easier to create content that gives answers to these questions and optimize its discoverability on search engines.
Figure out What the Purpose of Your Blog Post Will Be
Before you draft your blog post, think about what its purpose will be and how exactly your audience will benefit from it. Ask yourself what they will learn from it and what problem it will help them solve.
Then create a blog post that will fulfill this purpose.
Transparent Labs’ blog post “8-Week Guide to Body Recomposition: How to Lose Fat and Gain Muscle” covers all the bases. It’s a long-form article that doesn’t revolve around product promotion. They do mention their solutions, but only in sections where it makes sense. Regardless of this, readers get the value from the post as it’s comprehensive, well-researched, and packed with practical, actionable tips.
Source: Transparent Labs
2. Make Sure There’s a Logical Reason to Talk About Your Product
It’s only logical that you won’t simply start talking about your product in the middle of your blog post out of the blue.
There has to be a good reason to introduce and discuss it.
The trick is in connecting the dots between your potential customers’ pain points and the solution you’re offering. The narrative has to segue smoothly and naturally into mentioning the product you want to promote.
However, talking about your product shouldn’t be the whole point of your blog post, just as we’ve already established.
A great example of a blog post that tackles readers’ issues and answers their questions is The Muse’s “Make It Last: How to Keep Your Phone Battery From Dying.”
After discussing different ways to squeeze more juice out of the phone battery without investing in tech accessories, the blog post sets the stage for introducing a product it’s promoting. The last paragraph, which suggests purchasing a phone case that doubles as a charger, is a logical continuation of the narrative that fits naturally within the body of the article and doesn’t come across as too salesy.
Source: The Muse
3. Leverage Trends in the Content Space
This point refers not only to the choice of popular content formats, such as infographics or videos, but also to the latest trends in the content space.
Certain topics and pain points transcend the boundaries of audience segments and even industries, so it’s necessary to discuss them in your blog posts and cover pressing issues your audience might be facing.
For example, the recent Covid-19 pandemic changed the way we live and work, and there’s no industry, sector, or individual untouched by this shift. That’s why addressing such seismic changes that are very much in the global consciousness and working your product into the conversation is a great way to subtly promote its benefits.
The right approach would be talking about how your product or service can help companies deal with the crisis and remote work.
One of the biggest challenges of this new normal is tracking the productivity of remote teams.
In their blog post on the topic, TimeCamp offers effective tips for employee monitoring and productivity tracking and provides a list of free tools companies can use for this purpose. Their solution is mentioned along with several others, and such an approach minimizes the risk of being too promotional.
4. Don’t Overwhelm Your Readers with Detail
“1,000 songs in your pocket” sounds so much better than “5GB of storage space,” right?
The former tagline tells customers exactly why the 2007 iPod was such a revolutionary device. The latter is just technical mumbo-jumbo with no clear takeaway.
The moral of the story?
Avoid suffocating your content with a lot of unnecessary technical details that your audience can’t relate to on a personal level. In an attempt to show how awesome their solution is, many brands fall into the trap of discussing features and using flashy industry jargon their audience doesn’t understand.
Instead of talking about what your product or service does, take a different, more customer-oriented approach. Discuss it in terms of benefits.
But, sometimes, it’s easy to confuse features with benefits, so it’s important to clarify the difference between the two:
- A feature is a product’s attribute, functionality, capability, or trait. In short, it’s a characteristic of your product whose purpose is solving a particular pain point.
- A benefit is a positive outcome your potential customers will experience if they use your product.
You can use a simple test to distinguish between features and benefits. Ask yourself: “What is the advantage of using my product or service?” – just like your potential customers want to know what’s in it for them. Focus on clear benefits that everyone can understand.
For a great example, take a look at how Asana presents its Zoom integration by explaining how users will benefit from this joint effort. The blog post mentions things like sharing meeting details in advance, capturing action items without leaving Zoom, and more as the key benefits of the Asana+Zoom integration.
This way, users aren’t burdened with unnecessary technical details, as these specs won’t prompt them to make a purchase.
5. Give Your Readers a Choice
When you’re creating content that promotes your products, it’s essential to offer your readers all the information they need so that they can make the right choice.
One of the main roles of your content is to help potential customers make informed decisions.
This means talking about the benefits of your products or services through the lens of different needs and use cases. Not every customer will use your product or service in the same manner and for the same purpose. So, it’s essential to educate them on the topic and leave the choice to them.
Tell them what your product or service does, who can benefit from it, and how it’s different from other products or services, and provide an explanation of the most important terms and concepts they need to understand.
For example, Amerisleep walks their customers through choosing the best memory foam mattress for every type of sleeper. There’s a simple mattress fit quiz they can take to explore different types of foam mattresses. The brand goes on to explain the difference between their specially engineered BioPur foam and traditional memory foam.
6. Don’t Hold Back on the Detail
Even though you shouldn’t overwhelm your customers with product details, you should make sure you don’t hold back on any relevant information they might use.
Pack your content with high-quality social proof to add a layer of credibility to your claims. 88% of people trust user reviews as much as personal recommendations. UGC is even more powerful when it comes to authenticity, so including what happy customers say about your product or service makes your content more trustworthy.
In addition to that, links to internal and external blog posts help your customers find more relevant content that will allow them to expand their knowledge on the topic.
Answering frequently asked questions about a product or service will add value to your content as potential customers will instantly get the information they need to make a purchasing decision.
KURU Footwear goes the extra mile and even maps certain products to certain pain points their readers may have. This way they help their potential customers learn more about what kind of footwear they should choose based on their conditions.
For example, on their best orthopedic shoes page they have an “Experts Guide” section that lists the types of foot conditions best suited for wearing the shoes.
Source: Kuru Footwear
In Closing: Utilizing Content to Boost Sales
Content marketing is a cost-effective strategy that will bring you lots of new leads and sales opportunities. However, it doesn’t have to be limited to the lead generation part of the funnel, as you can create high-converting content that sells. These tips can help you build authority and develop the best possible way of promoting your products and services subtly without annoying your customers. Make sure you understand your audience’s pain points and create your content around finding the best solutions. Including your product or service within that context won’t be perceived as too pushy.