Don’t spook your audience with a hard sell. Keep them under your spell instead

You’re no doubt familiar with the pushy sales email or video – the one that promises to solve all your problems, but only if you ‘buy now before time runs out’. It’s called a hard sell – and you might be tempted to use the same technique yourself.

But there’s a problem.

Your customer is familiar with the hard sell too – and because of that, it doesn’t work as well as it used to. In many cases, it can even scare your prospective customer off.

Unfortunately, the hard sell is becoming as transparent as a ghost and with audiences getting smarter, it’s no wonder people can see straight through. With estimates suggesting we are exposed to 6000 to 10,000 adverts every day, a hard sell campaign is likely to go ignored.

So, how can you differentiate your content and brand from all the noise? The answer is to be as authentic and human with your message and content as possible. Aim to educate and add value rather than pressuring prospects into buying straightaway.

Adding value certainly requires more effort, but from our experience, generates more reward.  We hope these three tips help you conjure up meaningful and engaging content.

1.     Look behind your audience’s mask

Creating valuable content is about delivering the right information at the right time. This starts with knowing your audience. You need to uncover the person behind the mask.

The best place to start is to utilise analytical tools such as social media and google analytics. Find out what content your current and prospective customers are viewing and interacting with. Find out their age, job function, location, gender, interests, beliefs and more. Consider creating specific audience profiles and then ask yourself questions about what that sort of person would want to find out. What problems do they have? And how can you, your knowledge and product or service solve them?

2.     Treat, don’t trick

People don’t respond to hard selling because it feels fake and forceful. Instead of telling your audience just how fantastic you are, show them.

Case studies, customer reviews and testimonials can be a brilliant way to establish social currency and trust in your brand and product or service. 90% of consumers read online reviews before visiting a business, so don’t underestimate the value of positive affirmations from real-life people.

Likewise, treat your audience to educational content. Content that is high-quality, interesting and most importantly, genuinely useful.

Both these methods establish a continuing relationship with your current and prospective customers, helping retain engagement and loyalty.

3. Don’t keep your audience in the dark – craft killer copy

Instead of a short snappy sale, opt for longer-form educational blogs and articles – both of which are effective for SEO and establishing your credentials as a thought leader.

Writing educational and valuable content can seem daunting, but it becomes simpler when you take a structured approach. Aim for the three pillars of good copy and ensure that your writing is clear, concise, and compelling. People don’t want to put effort into reading what you have to say if it’s confused, irrelevant or lacking in focus.

When writing copy ask yourself the following questions:

  • Does the headline grab the reader’s attention and communicate the article’s focus?
  • Is the topic useful and worth reading?
  • Is what I’m writing understandable for someone who doesn’t have pre-existing knowledge about the product, service or sector?
  • Are the sentences and paragraphs short and easily scannable?
  • Is the copy creative and thought-provoking?
  • Does it provide a solution or a strong call to action?

With this magic mix, you can be sure to pull your readers in and keep them under your spell.

So, this spooky season, don’t let the way you communicate be what scares your customers off. Consider mixing up the content you’re putting out there and redirect energy used for hard selling towards crafting high-quality and relevant content that keeps your audience gripped.

For more marketing tips from experts in our team, download our Marketing Planning Guide.