Content marketing versus selling, in the flesh or on-line

 

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Death of a Saleswoman

I was at a business show the other day and saw that a well known software company was running a presentation entitled “How to increase revenue into your practice”. Naively, I thought that this would be a useful exercise in sharing knowledge as many of the other sponsored presentations were. I found myself sitting in what would amount to a 45 minute sales pitch for the software from a no doubt well-meaning lady. It didn’t because I didn’t hang around.

I listened for a while, but about a third in to the presentation I left, and many had crept out before me in the first fifteen minutes. I don’t know about you, but I do not want to be sold to, especially when I don’t think I am in the market to buy in the first place.

The road to nowhere

It is much the same sort of situation when you click on one of those links such as “How to get 100,000 followers on Twitter by next Tuesday afternoon”. Well, you know the sort of thing. You find yourself on one of those incredibly long web pages designed to sell. You keep scrolling down past large numbers of outrageous claims of success and testimonials from “satisfied customers” who you think are either invented or are paid stooges who have at the very least been given free access to whatever program or course the seller is offering.

You get to the end of this incredibly long web page where the “Buy Now” button is and you are no wiser as to what you would be buying or whether you would have as many as half a dozen extra followers even by next Tuesday fortnight. And you have learned nothing useful because someone has just wasted your time.

Why buy?

Now I don’t believe in buying Twitter followers, but I have bought marketing programs. Why did I buy them? Well, because the vendors showed their knowledge on their subject in useful articles on their website.

Who buys from me? Many of my clients are those who have found my articles useful and they appreciate that I know what I am talking about.

Many people and businesses make errors in believing

  • that giving away free knowledge means that no one will buy. Wrong!
  • that the hard sell is the only way to get new business. It is a pretty redundant method now.

Sharing the knowledge

Giving away valuable information convinces your prospective purchasers you know your stuff and they will buy from you. No one will become an expert from your web content and actually a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. The knowledge you give away will boost your credentials though.

As for the hard sell, does anyone really think it is effective now? Purchasers have such a huge choice, and surely no one puts up with pushy salesmen any more?

I think it is clear enough that whether we are on-line or in person it is far more valuable to educate than to sell. What do you think?

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