Selling products is an exercise in subtlety.
You can’t shout a person into making a purchase, nor can you scare them or trick them. More often than not, a successful sale is the result of the subtle use of informational content. Pieces of content that have been designed to offer an answer to a specifically searched question or query that just so happens to promote a product as the perfect solution to a problem.
This isn’t something particularly new, as there has always been advertising based around the concept of introducing a problem and providing a product as a solution. However, as the internet grows, new forms and the creative expression of creators has led to new and innovative ways of selling products through informative content.
By looking at a number of different types of informational content, we’ll discuss how your business can use it to promote and sell products to inquisitive audiences.
The beauty of blogging is the versatility of the format. Blogging can be anything from on-page content on a company’s website to affiliate marketing material on an independent, home-business platform run by respected experts.
Framing your written content around a question can be one of the best ways to attract readers looking for a quick answer, who will then be more inclined to read the article for detail, leaving them susceptible to content advertising. Expanding your understanding of search intent and what people are thinking when they type a question into Google is crucial for achieving these aims.
Whether long or short form, blogs with some authoritative or expert opinion behind them have become a crucial element of the conversion pipeline. Say a customer is looking to research the best multi-purpose DIY tool. A comparison blog listing a number of different available tools or highlighting one particular industry leader is a great way to not only promote the product, but also consequently the brand associated with it and writing about it.
Writing about the qualities of your own product may sound like shameless self-promotion, but it’s an effective way of communicating key traits about your products.
One of the most important things to consider when writing blog posts is the format. Certain types of content will serve particular aims better. Listicles, for example, are a great way to address lots of different products and work well for customers who want options. This is particularly effective for seasonal gift guides.
Long-form, authoritative content can also help position your brand and people within it as thought leaders on certain topics, which can enhance the effectiveness of product content down the line. This type of blogging helps build a relationship with the audience.
When creating informational content, always make sure there is a clear conversion purpose. Calls to action throughout the article are a must. It’s not enough to keep the audience on that blog; you have to be able to move them throughout your website and onto product pages.
Video has emerged as one of the most popular forms of content on the web in recent years.
Many platforms and outlets came under criticism for what may have been a misinformed “pivot to video”. However, it cannot be denied that video is one of the best methods of communicating an idea to an audience while making your informational content memorable. With new innovations such as personalized video that play to particular customer preferences emerging in 2020, there are no signs that video is slowing down.
Ideas that are presented visually are often easier to get across, and video is able to combine that with authoritative and assuring narration. Video gives your products a visual form and offers you the opportunity to show them in action. This is significantly more effective for convincing audiences than leaving it up to their imagination with text and images.
It’s easier to be different with video. Viral sensations such as Dollar Shave Club created videos that are equal part informative and entertaining. The crux of the ad that draws in new audiences is the subversive humor, but intertwining that with brazen facts about the business, product and special deal supplants that in the audience’s head and makes the brand more appealing.
In short, video is a more overt method of getting ideas and important product features across without lecturing the audience. If you’re a creative enterprise looking to do something unique, it’s one of the best avenues to approach to sell your products.
As touched upon in regards to video content, visuals make it easier to get complicated ideas across. There is no truer way to do this than with infographics.
Traditionally used to communicate theories and data, infographics are a subtle way to tie in products with informative content focused on studies and research. They allow you to address a theory, present the data, and offer products as a solution to the problem.
Infographics make data easy to digest for even the most uninformed audiences. These images are like blogs distilled into bright, colorful formats. They allow you to put prominence on particular issues, without having to completely restructure your blog or break with typical video format conventions. It’s a much more appealing way to present ideas that will feel like a much-needed break after an hour trawling through walls of text.
Again, it’s another creative way of presenting your brand and key product features. There is no set style for infographics, giving you complete creative freedom to design something that fits your brand and works the data into a format that suits you. Using recognizable faces, icons, and brand names is another way to make this content grab attention. This inventive example from LinkedIn uses food groups to create a striking comparison to their services, which is both memorable and easy to understand.
Once marked as a niche or alternative to the mainstream, new media innovations have exploded into popular culture. Podcasts, in particular, have gone from largely independently produced enterprises appealing to small audiences to some of the most regularly consumed media on the planet, spawning hit series and production companies developed entirely with producing podcasts in mind.
This presents brands with not just another avenue for them to disrupt product information and innovations through, but also one they can have full autonomy over.
Making it big in podcasting doesn’t require huge financial backing or mass media support. While that is helpful and many podcasts that do have such support infiltrate the market easier, there is nothing stopping a business, marketing team, or individual from starting a podcast and getting into the same spaces as mainstream hits.
Podcasts present a great avenue for passing on information about products and services, as they give audiences direct access to the brand’s voice and have such a loose format that can be molded to suit your business’s criteria. With quality production and genuine hosts, you can come across as a business that cares about your products and make sure the key messages don’t get diluted through the typical filter of mass media.
Of course, there’s nothing stopping you from appearing on other podcasts. This can, in fact, be a great way to infiltrate other audiences, much in the way advertising through an influencer would—just in a more informational sense.
Podcasts are a unique form of content, as they act less as a crucial part of the conversion pipeline and more as a seed that plants in the heads of their audience. You’re not looking to sell the person on the product then and there, but rather to make them aware of your brand and align the product with a perception of quality.
Tips for optimizing your content
Optimized content doesn’t come naturally; it’s a skill you have to learn. To create the kind of content that entertains to the point where audiences want to invest in a product, you need to adhere to certain principles of the web and add your own spark.
Learning about the principles of writing for the web should be your first step to optimizing content. Headings, short paragraphs, and a writing style that can be skimmed for key information are essential for making sure consumers get the most out of your content before moving further into the sales channel.
This website features a brilliant example of how to break down concepts that might be difficult for many consumers to understand: buying a fuel card. Precise information makes it easier for a customer to find the exact answers they were looking for when purchasing a Circle K fuel card. These same principles can be applied to other forms of informational content. Headings and short paragraphs can be used throughout infographics to make them more visually appealing and easy to read. The structure of an article can be applied to the format of your video content, offering an easy, actionable outline that’s simple for even uninformed viewers to understand.
Think about what is more visually appealing to your audience, and let research guide this. Online content can benefit a lot from the use of heat maps that analyze the habits of visitors. If your audience isn’t spending a lot of time on your blogs about the “10 Best Products in Your Range”, then try adding some images of them in action that will hold their attention. Visual content gives people something to hold onto when they’re doing research and get tired of pages and pages of text.
Most crucially, you should aim to build around keywords associated with your brand and products. Incorporating the right keywords will dramatically improve your visibility in search results, boosting your website ranking and giving you the appearance of an authority on the subject. In terms of content creation, keywords give you an anchor to build your piece around, giving it something to tie back to that you know there is tangible interest in online.
The essential parts of your content you need to optimize with your keywords are the page title, meta description, and content itself, ideally featuring the keywords early in the article. Make this look natural though, as keyword stuffing can harm your content. Tagging visual and video content with the right keywords can help it appear in search results on platforms such as YouTube and Pinterest.
If you have content that is out-of-date but feels like it could be salvaged for a new project, don’t be afraid to update it with new data and industry knowledge. This can save you significant time that would have been spent working on new content.
Informational content might not feel as natural a method of selling a product as slapping a discount on it or upping your ad spend. However, it is a great way to both inform and entertain audiences in a manner that helps them understand the product and not feel like they’re being pressured to buy.
The post How Your Business Can Use Informational Content to Sell Your Products appeared first on Home Business Magazine.