“You’ll NEVER sell it with an advert like that!”

Toby Moore Avatar

Toby Moore - Founder & Director
August 22, 2017

I look at adverts, blogs and online content every day that are designed to SELL something, but almost always fails. We THINK we know why this is, because we look at the data and analytics, then we tweak our words, pictures and messages accordingly. But really it comes down to a lack of harmony between sales and marketing. So, let’s look into why it happens and how to fix it…

Digital marketing isn’t about views and clicks. It’s about the relationship between content and customer

Too many marketing teams focus on the wrong goals. Views and clicks don’t sell products and services, all these numbers really do is tell you what percentage of your audience did not buy from you. At the start of pretty much any workshop, presentation or consulting I do now, I explain how I believe the best way of selling is face-to-face… which is a bit counter intuitive for a digital marketing consultant you might think!? But it’s true, great products and services are easy to sell face-to-face. However, we just don’t have the time, energy, capacity or quantum reach to physically introduce ourselves to everyone who could buy our stuff. So, enter the purpose of content; the means of meeting, greeting and growing trusting relationships with potential customers, before you make your sale.

Have we forgotten about the WHY of advertising?

Early day advertisers knew one very true thing, which we more ‘modern’ digital marketers seemed to have forgotten. This is that advertising is designed to change buying behaviour at the consumer’s point of purchase. For example, in the heydays of billboard, poster and newspaper advertising; commodity brands such as cleaning and household products would use images, colours, coupons and slogans to grow consumer familiarity and confidence in a product. In the hope that when the consumer goes to the super market, that’s the brand they choose. Many online marketing teams these days take the approach of trying to get a visitor to their website, then sell the something to them there and then, with little or no thought as to how the visitor may choose how and when to buy things.

There are brands however, who manage these customer/content relationship very well. Made.com for example, do not always advertise the products that sell. They advertise products that make consumers buy into the aspirational lifestyle of a wealthy and trendy person, who’s house is full of Made.com bought furniture. Firebox.com is another great example. They used to list and market outrageous products like futurist oceanic floating homes for £100,000,000 and replica iron thrones from GOT for £20,000. NO ONE buys this stuff, but boy does is say something about their brand and gets you involved. Then when the time comes for you to buy that stylish new arm chair or geeky birthday present, you know where to go.


*You will probably never live in James Lockwood’s perfect house and you will never own a sculpture made of old school chairs. But you might click on it.

Today, the WHY behind your content and advertising is to replicate the relationship and trust building you would otherwise do face-to-face, so that when that ‘point of sale’ moment comes along… the hard work required to get a customer to choose YOU, is mostly done.

There are quick changes you can make to improve this

Let’s look at some of the positive, practical things you can do to get better at this within your own business. Here’s a few good ways to start improving your advertising success

  1. Design relationships across your content

Content for the sake of content is the biggest sales killer to ever come from the marketing team. And it is born from those “Hey, let’s write a blog about <insert wild, thoughtless and unobjective idea here>! moments. Focus on the bigger picture changes you want to see in your customer base; come up with hero content to make this happen, then create your dozens/hundreds/thousands of pieces of blog, advert, infographic and webinar (etc.) supporting content around it in order to help make that change happen. Every piece of content you publish should have a relationship with another piece of or family of content, which then work together to achieve an overarching goal.

  1. Measure the right stuff

Views and clicks, is an okay* way to prioritise how you focus on understanding what’s working. However, it is not a good enough indicator of what is working and why, which is the real data you’re looking for. What you need is a way to measure your reader/visitor behaviour such as; checking out product specs, filling in forms, leaving comments, adding things to baskets, reading about pricing and services or downloading files… all interesting things that tell you what potential customers are trying to achieve from engaging with your brand. So, make sure you know what these things are, then monitor them and find how people get to them.

*it’s not okay.

  1. Learn how your product REALLY sells

Whether it be yourself or a completely different part of the business, whoever sells your product, go to them and ask them questions. You want to work out what do the absolute very best sales conversations look like, then unpick the conversational qualities that make them happen. What language is used, what sort of relationship is formed, what jokes are told, what questions are asked and what knowledge is exchanged? When you find this stuff out, don’t see it as a list of things to just put at the point of sale online but as an experience to replicate as best as you possibly can using content. People don’t necessarily buy because these happen, but because of HOW they happen. So, get to the frontline of your sales; observe, understand, question and capture the whole thing and start working this into the purpose of, and experience created by your content.

If any of this sounds useful or prompts a few questions. Please do just get in touch with us for some extra help, or join Content Club, our community of content makers!

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