Sales strategy has changed dramatically over the years. As the online consumer is getting more overwhelmed with the growing web, digital selling has become less about driving direct sales and more about creating processes and funnels that would consistently generate organic conversions.
In this article, we’ll discuss three major strategies to drive sales without selling:
1. Focus on Your Brand
Brand building is something digital marketing have been talking about for ages now. Yet, it has always been very much misunderstood and neglected. Most business owners and entrepreneurs fail to see any tangible benefits in investing in such an abstract concept as the brand.
Put simply, brand awareness is the likelihood that potential customers have heard of your (business or product) name. Obviously, people are more like to buy and promote your products if they seem to recognize you.
On average, 5 to 7 brand impressions are necessary before someone will remember your brand. And this number is slowly growing as more businesses use digital channels to get their name out there.
What this means for your marketing strategy:
- You need to be everywhere. The more channels you use, the better. It’s ok to cross-promote the same content across multiple channels. But being in many places at the same time is the only way to build a recognizable brand
- Implement social media customer service to always be there to answer questions around your brand and products.
- Invest in brand-building ads. Don’t try to drive direct sales from all your social media advertising. Your social media ads should be about re-targeting and re-engaging your past visitors to tie them closer to your brand through opt-in lists:
2. Leverage Content Creation
Getting attention to your content first, and the using your subscribers and followers to drive sales is one of the most essential digital marketing strategies. It helps both community building and brand awareness.
Sales-driven content marketing requires a lot of planning but there’s one trick that almost always works: Tell the stories of your product in action.
Many successful product promotions have been done by showing people what the product would do for them (and what it already did for other people).
This helps demonstrate why it’s good to invest in the product, resource, or tool and shows them that they could get the same, or even better results, but with a fraction of the effort and time.
Create Lead Generating Content
You can also use content marketing to generate leads which then can be nurtured and converted. Rather than sending a sales email, invite your potential customers to a webinar or a live podcast show.
You can set up webinars using ClickMeeting which is a robust platform that handles all aspects of webinar marketing including hosting, branding, invitations, reminders, etc. It also supports live streaming to Youtube or Facebook:
You can use presentations or whiteboards to walk your leads through steps, as well as interact with them through comments and private chats.
ClickMeeting has also just launched their Webinar Flywheel™ concept that allows you to use automation to build a cycle with complete defined stages, instead of pursuing a linear funnel approach:
Together with building leads, this technique helps boost your influencer marketing results. It may a good idea to invite your niche influencers to be your show guests. This builds an association between your brand and influencers and hence further establishes your brand.
Once that relationship has been built, you’ll be amazed at how much easier it is to land their business.
Leverage question research
Questions make it easy to understand and analyze your niche demands and struggles. Addressing questions in your content (including articles, product pages, blog posts, etc.) is an effective way to increase on-page engagement and build brand loyalty.
Text Optimizer is the semantic analysis tool that helps you get a better understanding of any topic by generating the list of related concepts and entities. It also has a separate section for question research that allows you to identify popular questions behind any search query:
Become THE source in your industry: Turn your site into the destination using question research.
Content marketing is the huge topic that deserves a book of its own but here are a few resources to get you started:
- Writing checklist to hand to your content creation team
- 3 Tools to for content planning and execution
- Content marketing strategy: A complete guide for SaaS companies
3. Invest in Influencers
Influencing the influencer is a great way to drive both brand awareness and sales. Think through the following:
- A Linqia survey in 2017 found 92% of marketers using influencer marketing said that it was effective in reaching audiences.
- According to the Altimeter Research study, 71% of marketers believe that the most effective form of influencer marketing is ongoing ambassadorships.
- Nielsen Catalina Solutions conducted a case study for TapInfluence. They found that content created and shared by influencers provided 11 times more the ROI than an average display ad run for a year.
Influencer marketing is not easy, especially when it comes to SaaS and B2B businesses.
Reaching B2B decision makers has always been very difficult, even more difficult than it is for consumer brands. B2B influencers are well educated, sophisticated, and often skeptical about marketing and sales.
The most effective way to get past their skepticism is to use trusted third parties, i.e. influencers. Building and seeking common connections is the most efficient way to build your community.
Finding the Right Influencers
The key to this process is to identify the right influencers. Many marketers however use a single data point to decide which influencers they should engage with, and it’s normally “reach.”Although reach is in itself a good metric, there are others as shown below:
- Resonance: When an influencer creates content, consider if others are engaging with it. This metric separates real influencers from the ones that have no engagement, although they may have large communities.
- Relevance: How often does an influencer reference keywords and topics that relate to your business?
- Reach: How big is an influencer’s social community across all digital channels, e.g. social media, contributed posts, RSS subscribers and blogs? Reach is crucial if you want to know if influencers can actually get content delivered to their followers’ feeds.
Agorapulse is a great tool allowing you to identify influencers you are already networking with. These make great seed influencers that can become your brand ambassadors and naturally engage more influencers bringing them on board.
Simply connect your social media channels to the tool. It will monitor influencers users that interact with your content by liking, commenting, retweeting, etc.:
It is also a smart idea to identify social media influencers who engage with your site. PayKickstart’s Demographics section giving you a lot of insight into your current customers, including their social media accounts.
Further reading: Learn more about Gathering Customer Demographics & Intelligence
These three marketing strategies lay at the foundation of a successful digital presence. There are many more tactics and tricks to build sales without directly selling.
However branding, content marketing and influencer networking are the most basic ones. Set up these systems first before researching more options.
Ann Smarty is the Brand Manager at Internet Marketing Ninjas, as well as co-founder of Viral Content Bee. Ann has been into Internet Marketing for over a decade, she is the former Editor-in-Chief of Search Engine Journal and contributor to prominent search and social blogs including Small Biz Trends and Mashable. Ann is also the frequent speaker at Pubcon and the host of a weekly Twitter chat #vcbuzz