How Content Marketing Can Help You Achieve Your Growth Goals
Making sales in the modern, digital environment can seem really hard at times. You have to email tons of prospects, hoping that a very small percentage of them will open your email and reply to it. And that’s just step 1!
Even if a prospect hits reply, how many of them will actually hop on a call with you? And how many of those leads will become customers? When you take a step back, this whole process can seem really daunting. Well, think about this – what if you had a secret weapon for supercharging your cold outreach sales that you weren’t even aware of?
That secret weapon is content marketing! Rest assured – because we get most of our sales through cold outreach, and we actively provide content marketing for others in addition to using it ourselves, you can trust us that the methods we’re about to break down for you work!
Why Content Marketing Is the Perfect Combo with Cold Outreach
You are never selling to a business. Have you met a business in real life? I sure haven’t. I’ve never sold to a business either. But I HAVE sold to PEOPLE. Human beings. Living things. Why is this such an important distinction to make? Well, it’s pretty easy in this day and age to just look at prospects as another email in a list. And in one sense, that’s true.
But you forget that those emails are being opened by human beings. This blinds you to the relationship building side of sales somewhat. And as you know – it’s much easier to sell to people when you have a relationship established with them. Now, think back: how many of your close relationships in life started out with the other person aggressively asking you for something? Not many, right? So why would you expect cold email to be any different?
Remember back in preschool, when the teacher told you to share with others if you want them to be your friends? The same lesson applies to sales: when you offer value up front before going in for the pitch, you’re going to be much more financially successful in the long run. And one highly leveraged way of offering value to others is to give them useful content that helps them solve their problems and pain points.
Why Giving Through Content Marketing Is the Key to Making Sales With Cold Outreach
We’ve assembled a trio of experts to make our case that giving gets you more sales. Listen to their wise words and you’ll find that your mindset around making money is supercharged. Then, when we give you the specific tactics to go with this mindset, you’ll be all set to make your business that much more successful.
Give, Give, Give, Then Ask With Gary V
The first expert: Gary Vaynerchuk. As one of the first innovators to use content marketing in a wildly successful way with his family’s wine business, he used those lessons to start an insanely successful content marketing agency, Vayner Media. His philosophy is called Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook which translates as give without expectation x 3, and then go in for a strong pitch. That may seem counterintuitive, until you try it. Here’s Gary V’s advice as stated in an article on his blog titled: 5 Core Values of Business from Gary Vee:
…truth is, people like people. We’re wired for it. And people do business with other people. So when you learn to generally give to those people without expecting them to do something in return, you win. You’ll perceive the world differently, and be a better person because of it.
Then you right hook:
The fact of the matter is you have to go right in the for the kill. You don’t bashfully tread around the question. You don’t try to rephrase it or be cute about it. Just. Freaking. Ask.
Giving Invites Getting with Robert Cialdini
The second expert: Robert Cialdini, offer of the bestselling psychology book (and sales bible), Influence. In this extremely influential book (pun intended) Cialdini outlines 6 principles of persuasion, one of them being social reciprocity. In a nutshell, reciprocity means that when you perceive that someone has done you a favor, you feel psychologically motivated to give back to them in return.
This inclination to do a tit for tat probably has evolutionary roots: we wanted to make sure that we are strengthening relationships with those who helped us survive. However, this principle is extremely useful in the modern age of business as well. Watch this two minute video to learn more:
Successful Pitching Through Giving with Bryan Harris
The third expert: Bryan Harris from Video Fruit, and creator of the 10,000 subscribers course. In an epic post on Hubspot, Ginny Mineo, the Manager of Content Marketing Strategy for HubSpot’s Marketing Blog and podcast, detailed how Bryan made a successful pitch to Hubspot for a few reasons, but one of the main ones being that Bryan provided some free content marketing with no strings attached in his pitch.
Basically, Bryan pitched Ginny on doing video content marketing for HubSpot, and as part of his pitch, he included a short example video of the kind of content he would create for HubSpot. Ginny writes:
From the screenshot above, it’s not evident how much work Bryan put into this pitch. Let me fill you in: He created a custom, minute-long sample for us of the type of video he’d create. You can check it out here. That’s not easy — it’s not like whipping up 500 words on a topic. You’ve got to write the script, shoot the video, edit it, and upload it. That’s a lot of effort for potentially zero payoff. But because the topic was spot on and video was very, very well put together, I was sold. He went more than an extra mile — maybe as far as an extra 5K — and it paid off.
One Disclaimer: Your Content Marketing Has to ROCK
In a minute, we’re going to give you 5 ways you can combine content marketing with cold outreach to get more sales. However, we have to give you a word of warning first: if your content marketing isn’t super high quality, none of these tips will help you. In fact, they might even HURT your chances of making a sale.
Think of it this way: let’s say you meet a new friend at a housewarming party you are having, and they give you a gift of wine. However, the wine comes in a box and it has the price tag reading $4.99 still on the label. It also tastes like grape juice. We have nothing against cheap wine – but the wine has to provide value. Just like your blog posts, because those posts and other forms of content marketing are going to be one of the first lasting impressions your potential customers get of you!
Your Content Marketing Has to Produce ROI
As a final note before we get into the nitty gritty – if you’re going to be producing content marketing that is super high quality, you’re by definition going to have to spend a considerable amount of time and/or money. Don’t view this as a cost. View it as an investment. And the way you get ROI from content marketing is by getting email subscribers and new customers from your content marketing. To make this happen, make sure that EVERY piece of content you produce has a call to action sprinkled throughout. We would argue it’s best to focus on one action per piece of content. A few examples include asking people to sign up for:
- A sales call
- A free trial
- Your email list (entice them with a content upgrade) so that you can then ask them to do a call or free trial after building the relationship further
The worst mistake you could make would be to put up a bunch of content marketing without any calls to action and think It’s OK – I’m building brand awareness and customer trust!
Coca-Cola can do that strategy. Nike can do that strategy. But unless you’re a big enough company to the point where you’re a household name, you NEED to follow the lessons of the direct marketers of old… Make sure you’re driving people to take action with each piece of content you produce!
5 Ways You Can Use Content Marketing Along with Cold Outreach
#1: Post Content on LinkedIn and Reach Out Through Inmail to Create Warm Leads
LinkedIn is one of the best places to make sales in the B2B space right now. If you’re not doing outreach on the platform, you should reconsider your approach. LinkedIn is also a great place to post content marketing. Not only are you getting more value out of your blog posts by syndicating them on LinkedIn, but you are humanizing your company as well.
Because you’ll also be posting this content marketing to your personal LinkedIn page, your company will have a literal face that will make building relationships with potential customers much easier. Just imagine this: Using LinkedIn, you reach out to a promising lead using a short and sweet InMail that contains a link to useful content marketing you’ve produced. You say something like:
Hey Janet! Since you’re in charge of new customer acquisition at XYZ Company, I thought you would appreciate my new post on how to 10x your customer acquisition through content marketing. You can read it here on my LinkedIn profile: If you have any questions about the article just let me know!
BOOM. Relationship started – and on the right foot. That’s a relatively long term play through an indirect first step. If you want to be a little more right hook than jab in your first message, you can say something like:
Jan, I’m in charge of sales for Content Pros marketing – we make content marketing easy for B2B companies. I thought your company was a great fit for our offering – here’s a blog post we wrote about new customer acquisition (I thought you would like this) to show you how we do things: Can we setup a time to talk for 10 minutes about how we can make your life a lot easier through content marketing?
#2: Include Links to Your Content Marketing in Your Automated Outreach Campaign
Unless you’re dealing with a highly targeted list (and even then) you’re probably using automation to accomplish the early steps of your email outreach. Putting a link to useful content marketing you’ve produced into your automated outreach sequence is an easy win. The logistics will vary according to your strategy. For example, maybe you don’t want to link out in the first email because you’re trying to get a reply above all else.
The magic comes in when you really know your target customer and you’ve accumulated a large body of content on a wide variety of their pain points and solutions to them. Then, you can tweak your automated templates according to the company (which you are probably doing already); but take it a step further by including content that is highly relevant for the specific company you are reaching out to. You can also include case studies in your outreach campaign or email signature.
#3: Once You Get a Conversation Started, Use Content Marketing to Knock Their Socks Off
The name of the game in cold outreach is to get a reply. The reason is simple: once your prospect has replied to you in some way, your chances of converting them into a customer go way up. Hopefully, once a customer replies to you, you stop with the automation (although you might still be using templates successfully) and you’re manually emailing back and forth with leads. This is a great stage to share some super relevant content.
You can use your content marketing to make sales 10x easier. When you link to amazing content you’ve produced, you:
- Establish more credibility and authority with your leads
- Give value, starting off the reciprocity principle (you give to me, so I want to give to you)
- Help them solve current pain points
If you do this well, your leads will be so wowed by your above and beyond efforts that you’ll make the sale.
#4: Publish a Post Citing Some of Your Industry Influencers and Then Ask Them to Share
This is a strategy we got from Sujan Patel – basically, you write a post where you cite someone in your industry that you look up to, and then you message them saying: hey, you’re great! So we included a link to your work in our new post. Would you mind giving it a few shares today? 🙂 It’s as simple as it sounds! Here’s a template that Mr. Patel shows in his article, The Secret Weapon to Content Marketing: Outreach Emails.
While you aren’t directly getting new customers this way, as you’re emailing an influencer instead of a prospect, you are potentially getting a lot more reach and exposure on your content marketing efforts through cold emails. And in the long run, that will certainly lead to more customers if your content is useful to your prospects. Here are a few mistakes to avoid however:
- People like being complimented. However, they don’t like to feel like you are trying to persuade them through flattery. SO don’t cite someone in a post unless it makes sense to do so and it adds value to the content in a natural way!
- Keep your emails short!
- Don’t just hope that people will share your content. Ask them directly and clearly for a share!
#5: Do a Case Study of One of Your Current Customers and Then Send it to Targeted Prospects
Case studies are one of the best forms of content marketing that you can produce. They’re essentially the upgraded version of testimonials! Why are case studies so effective in content marketing? Here are three reasons:
#1: They tell stories. Humans love stories and are more easily persuaded by them than most types of information. As the book, Great Leads: The Six Easiest Ways To Start Any Sales Message states:
In the early 2000s, Raphael Marketing compiled a list of 101 of the best print advertising headlines ever written. As a group, these ads sold hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of products and services. (That would be tens of billions of dollars today.) While most of the actual ads are lost to history, a quick examination shows that a good 35% of the headlines are story-based.
#2: They provide proof that your company’s offering actually works.
#3: They are specific; nitty gritty details persuade people more than ambiguous statements. All you have to do to make this strategy work is to make a piece of content marketing about one of your best customers. Be prepared with a professional case study interview discussion guide. Write a case study about their story before and after meeting your company and what happened in between to create the change. Then, email this piece to some prospects that are very similar (or look up to) the company you produced the content marketing about. Here’s a sample template:
Hi Jim, I’m emailing to let you know that one of our recent customers (Company ZYS, you probably have heard of them) just had some amazing results with our (insert service offering here). We published a case study about their results that I thought you would find useful: (insert title of blog post here and link to URL) Let me know what you think of the article! Obviously we would love to help you achieve some similar results 🙂
Ready to Crush It?
You now have 5 new ways to grow your business and make more sales – just in time for the New Year! Are there any new strategies you’ve been using for outreach that involve content marketing that we missed? Let us know in the comments!