A guide to content that sells. Sale the 7 C’s

Its never easy writing your own content, I like to tell customers they are ‘blessed with too much knowledge’.

We have too much to say. We want to say it all at once  and because of that, often end up saying nothing at all. And yet…..

Content is the Wind in our Sales…

A boat with wind in it's sales

Customer and good friend Andy’s Trimaran, linked to his album

Good boats don’t go anywhere without the right environment. But what is good content, how do we do that?

I know! we need a template..

It’s a frequent idea, and a lot of people have asked about good content, so it’s about time I responded. It’s taken me 3 years to get this far!

Yesterday I happened to be in a traffic jam after my friend Graham asked me in a meeting, so I made some notes.

The 7 C’s of successful Content

Here’s a quick list of qualities that we have seen be successful in content (not our own, obviously, it’s easier writing other people’s stuff).

1. Credibility

People can tell if something is true. I don’t know how.

But the companies who consistently do a good job always seem to do better in generating more leads from their website. Perhaps it is because they have most obviously ‘done it before’. The insights they get from repeatedly doing something well, that shines through.

Writing should exude trustworthiness, established reliability and expertise. I got that from the Wikipedia entry for credibility – which also mentions integrity. Showing is better than telling, and so I’m not even sure you could make it up.

2. Concrete Details

I truly love stories, the humanity.

The thing is, I believe in some stories more than others. To understand why, I found and utterly recommend this book, Made to Stick, it is astonishingly good.

When I got to the chapter on concrete details, it was a head smacking moment. The best story tellers always drop some irrelevant detail into the mix, it makes it real. Good sales people do it, and so should content, case studies in particular.

3. Choice

This is more a question of a product marketing , but it extends to how you build out content on a lead generating website.

Marketing in a digital world is communicating at scale. We ‘talk’ to literally thousands of people a month. And, if you lined up just 100 people interested in what you do, it would be a different conversation every time.

Installed or hosted, outsourced or managed service, professional or entry level, basic or advanced. Offering depth of choice works extremely well in search engine marketing. Lots of choice will means lots of content of course.

The way I remember it best is “goldilocks marketing” – I wish I had a better phrase – but offering hot, medium and cool versions will extract more business from those 100 people you have lined up. Modular is good, modular is profitable, you get more return from the same amount of visitors (visitors cost money).

4. Costs

Showing costs is tangible, transparent and trustworthy.

“If you have to ask, you know its expensive”

Which is fine if you are expensive of course. But it’s embarrassing for your prospects to have to ask, especially if they can’t afford top dollar. We should care about that.

And, unless you give an idea of ‘relative cost’, there is a perceived risk they are wasting their time if they can’t afford it. Reducing risk is good salesmanship, and customers know the game, it probably won’t be the final cost if everything is included.

Service based businesses are the worst for this, but they probably have most to gain. Can you try a service before you buy it?

  • Whilst I’m at it, we offer a website telephone service that tracks the keywords that generate phone enquiries for £75 per month, plus calls. There, I feel better, less hypocritical.

5. Creativity

A new web visitor (new business) is like being in a job interview, you’re selling yourself, and caring about your appearance is a good sign. Design is a clue, a critical non-essential. I’m not sure if suits are still required these days for interviews, but showering is good, make it clean.

But creativity is more than design.

  • Magnetic words
  • Textures that delight people
  • Demos that blow minds

These things change the way people feel about your company – the most important people, your own people. People don’t contribute to things they don’t enjoy being a part of.

6. Charm

Likeable Experts get more business. In an age where Big Business, Banks, Politicians, Journalists and the Police have all been stuffing up, there is little enough trust to go round. And I’m pretty sure the economy reflects the level of trust in the world.

No trust, no business.

And on the Internet, you could be anybody. Literally. I’m not quite sure how it works, but I trust people I like. Mostly. I tend to buy from them.

7. Care

A many textured word, I’m not sure I’ll do it justice. But here’s what I know about people who care…

They show it in what they do, and in what they say. They show infectious enthusiasm, which often inspires action. They look happy when things go well, and sad when they don’t.

Lastly, only people who care can be creative and do good content…. they get the job done.

Don’t tell Jess I did this, I hope she won’t notice.

Footnotes:

  • If you have trouble with content, it doesn’t mean you don’t care.
  • Thanks to Andy for the picture of the boat
  • You may now all point out more words I could have used, please..

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Comments

  1. says

    Great stuff Matt!
    Echoes what I’ve been mulling over the last couple of weeks. As I look around me at my little Team I see many of the qualities that you mentioned – enthusiasm, (joy?), belief in what we do and how we do it, care (hopefully dentistry is still a ‘caring’ profession) and an in depth of knowledge of their subject…..all of which, of course, we try to emulate/reflect with our web presence…if clients come from website and find that the website is simply a digitised version of the real thing – this results in a high lead conversion at the clinic end.
    My 8th ‘c’ would be Congruence :-)
    [obviously a great service + a great site is not enough, people have to find the site first…which is where the 9th ‘c’ comes in ‘Conversationware’ ;-)]
    Anyone for C no.10?

  2. says

    I stumbled across your site and love your ideas, we seem very like-minded. I agree that ‘congruence’ matters and so does ‘connection’. After all, people only act when they feel something. We shouldn’t be afraid to be emotional in our content, even in the B2B world!

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