Have you noticed the big shift and discussion about the effectiveness of content marketing as a sales tool?

If you aren’t sure what exactly “content marketing” is, here’s a definition that I think explains it well;


“Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content (information) to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”


What is “Content”

What “content” actually consists of, can vary. It might be a downloadable PDF report or a white paper. Increasingly, it could also be a video or, a how-to article, or an e-book.

Blog posts like this one, webinars or posts on social media or any form of communication that distributes valuable information, are all examples of content marketing.

The key ingredients for success are relevance and usefulness to the audience being targeted. The objective is for your content to be treated by the recipient as editorial, i.e., something that they choose to view, as opposed to advertising.

Traditional marketing methods are becoming less and less effective for building sales

Traditional marketing methods like press advertising and tele-sales are becoming less effective for companies that use these tools to build sales. Why is that?

We live in a world where there has never been so much “marketing.” All of us, and that includes your prospective clients, are bombarded with pitches, or as they might see it, interruptions, every day.

And those interruptions are occurring in increasingly busy and pressured work and personal lives where people screen their calls or access their news and information digitally, when and where it suits them to do so.

Additionally, ad fatigue, a symptom of massive sales or marketing exposure, often leads to scepticism and inertia. Even among children. My youngest daughter, when six years old, commented;

“Dad, those people are always having a sale!”

A well-known furniture company was advertising yet another “great sale” on TV and this was her response to their message.
So what do you do to market your business in this kind of environment?


“Instead of pitching your products or services, you are providing truly relevant and useful content to your prospects and customers to help them solve their issues.” Content Marketing Institute


How to use content marketing to grow sales for your business

Instead of being focused on selling, think about using the information within your business to inform prospective customers and to develop their trust.

Trust is built by providing real and tangible value. The person reading or watching your content, should get value from the information whether they buy something from you or not.

Although this seems to go against the grain of normal sales thinking, it is actually a very powerful way to build new business.


Persuading exhibitors to buy from your business rather
than a competitor’s

You don’t deliberately argue that anyone should use your business versus a direct competitor.

The case for using your business is built by instilling confidence both in your expertise and in how you do things. A marketing plan that’s targeted at the right audience is essential. You can’t be great to everyone, but you can be great in a defined sector.

Including testimonials and case studies that illustrate your expertise and your care of clients, are very persuasive sales tools when used in a targeted campaign.


Why promoting the personality of your business is so important

Content marketing is a very powerful way to engage with the exhibitor marketplace. It allows you to promote the strengths and values of your business so that you attract clients that need and value what you offer.

This is a very different approach to straightforward advertising, where your company is placed in a “sales” position within a magazine or website space.

With content marketing, your company appears when searches for specific types of information are made; when products or services like yours are actively sought.

Content marketing also generates new business when it alerts exhibitors to new ideas and new ways of doing things. When exhibitors are informed about the options that are available to them.


Content marketing promotes your differences to the people most suited to valuing them


When you attract business based on your expertise rather than price, you win clients rather than customers. The difference is significant because you build a much stronger base for the long-term health of your order book and your business with ongoing clients than you do with one-off customers.


“We need sales, not airy-fairy marketing ideas”

Make no mistake, Content marketing is not airy-fairy, marketing theory. It is a proven way of winning new business and of retaining clients on a long-term basis.

As a form of marketing, it fits well with the shift in how consumers now buy products and services. The information age means that first-hand experiences and peer to peer recommendations are widely available and referenced by prospective buyers.


Will you need to change all of your current marketing plans?

Not necessarily, but you will need to think differently. The approach must be customer focused. You are there to help solve their problems rather than make sales.

You can utilise or re-purpose much of your existing marketing collateral. You won’t need to throw out everything you have produced. In fact, you are probably sitting on lots of unused, valuable content right now that could be put to good use. You just need to see it that way, harness it into a plan and start using it.

The views and opinions expressed in these blogs are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of ESSA, its members, board or staff. Our members represent a broad range of views within the event industry, and we have provided this section of the website for their opinions to be openly heard and discussed.

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