Monday, April 9, 2012

Content Marketing: Striking the Right Balance Between Selling and Connection

As I prepare for the "Using Content to Capture New Career Clients" teleseminar on Monday (90 people are currently registered!), one of the points I want to emphasize is the use of content for list-building -- and the importance of not just selling, but giving something of value to the people who connect with you.

Email marketing often involves a tightrope walk between selling and connection. If you sell too much, you'll lose your customer's interest and burn out your list. Focus too much on connection and not on selling and you won't generate enough revenue.

What's the right balance?

Between 10% and 20% Selling

Generally the right amount is somewhere between 10% and 20% selling, with between 80% to 90% of your content being focused on quality, solving the customer's problems and making a connection.

That means, for every five emails you send, four should focus on great content. As they start to get emails from you, they'll know that emails from you will be of a high quality.

Having 80%+ of your content be connection-based also does one other thing: it essentially buys you the right to sell to them.

When someone gets immense value from the emails you're sending, they won't feel resentful when they read a sales message. In fact, they'll read your sales messages with an open mind, knowing that there's a good chance they might get value from the product you're offering.

If you oversell, people will resent being sold to. If you consistently provide high quality content, people will look forward to your next product and eagerly read your sales message.

The 5-to-1 Email or the "At the Bottom" Style

There are primarily two different ways you can split your selling and connection content.

The first method is to send only emails that have connection and problem-solving content, then every once in a while send a 100% sales message. (That's the method I'm talking about above.)

If you use this method, make sure that your sales messages also provide value. Even if you regularly send out quality content, you still can't just send out a spammy ad. Instead, you have to provide value even as you're selling them.

By sending only one sales message every 5 or 6 emails, you keep up with the 10% to 20% rule.

The other method is to sell in each email you send, by putting an advertisement or one or two promotional sentences at the bottom of every email.

This method works very well, because instead of trying to get a home run of sales in one email, you're getting a steady flow of sales with every email that you send.

Try to tie in your sales message with the email itself. For example, if your email talked about all the most common obstacles jobseekers run into when looking for new positions, then pitch your product or service at the end. This could be an ebook you're selling (maybe one based on Pass-Along Materials), a free resume critique, a resume update, or interview coaching.

Walking the fine line between over- and underselling in email marketing can be a little tough. As a rule of thumb, sell between 10% and 20% of the time to maximize customer connection while still pulling in strong revenues. For more on content marketing and its role in getting you new business, be sure to sign up for the free "Using Content to Capture New Career Clients" teleseminar this week.

1 comment:

  1. And since email marketing is faceless in nature, subscribers will be more inclined to be honest with you. If you send an email asking for feedback from subscribers on how to improve on your product, expect valuable input from these people.