Content Marketing – Educate, Don’t Sell

Do you grumble that the visitors to your site ignore your banner ads? If so, it’s time for a shift in strategy. Instead of trying to sell to your prospects, try educating them. If you’re not convinced, consider the following:

Imagine you’re out in your local High Street in search of a new washing machine.

In the first shop you enter, you encounter a brash looking man in a loud suit. Before you can open your mouth, he starts telling you he has exactly what you want. But you’d better act fast. Tired of his spiel and with his barking resounding in your ears, you escape to the shop next door.

Here a soft-spoken man listens attentively to you as you outline your situation and requirements. Then he explains exactly what you need and most importantly, tells you why. He responds promptly to your queries and provides all the information you need to make your decision

30 minutes later your leave, having ordered a spanking new washing machine you’re confident will be just right for your family. From the next-door window, the man in the loud suit glares at you.

In the online world, the first example can be compared to a banner ad flashing ‘buy now’ as soon as you arrive at a site.

The second is how content marketing works. It begins with getting to know your visitor and her problems. That allows you to educate her as to her purchase. You then presell by outlining options and benefits thus empowering her with the information she needs to make the right buying choice.

Which would you prefer to experience when shopping online?

Most people would opt for the latter. This is strange, as the former seems more prevalent on the web. That’s good news for those ready to do the hard work needed to become educators.

How to Decide on Content Themes and Topics

Create personas to understand your target market.
Check your stats to see what keywords brought visitors to your site.
If you have a blog, check the comments for signs of confusion or lack of clarity.
Check social media for any questions from your target market.
Visit answer sites such as Yahoo Answers and

In other words, get to know your prospect thoroughly.

content marketing

Types of Content for Preselling

So what are the best kinds of posts and articles to help presell your visitors?

Essentially you need content that demonstrates the value and relevance of your solution and proves it’s right for them. Content such as FAQs are very effective in addressing any objections, doubts or reservations your prospect has.

Particularly effective is content that shows your product in action solving a problem your prospect typically has. These include stories and case studies. Reading how your product solved a problem for someone will sell far more effectively than the most exciting banner ad ever could.

About Nathanael Vanderkolk

Nathanael Vanderkolk is the Director of the Smart SEO Company, a SEO Agency in Sydney, Australia. Smart SEO Sydney has a keen awareness of the latest approaches to online marketing. Follow him on , Facebook and Twitter.
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