1. Calls to Action (CTA) versus Calls to Conversation (CTC).
When talking about creating content, we very often say everything has to have a call to action. However, if you actually want to generate sales off the back of content, you need to be able to think about what's the Call to Conversation. When writing a blog post, what questions are you asking in that post that then give you the opportunity for the readers to contact you and follow-up with a conversation?
If you're posting onto LinkedIn or Facebook, how are you encouraging people to start following up the content that they've read? Just asking people to post in the comments below, so that you may then engage with those comments and turn them into real conversations, can make a massive difference. Because conversations lead to sales. And just posting content online does not (sorry, not sorry!). You need to play to your strengths in terms of how you are best placed as a conversationalist in your work and make sure that your content is enabling that.
2. C, C and C!
Or… Customers, Community and Champions. These are the three groups of people that you're creating content for. Customers obviously, are people that are going to buy. So, they want to be able to find out what it's going to be like to work with you, what your products and services are and so on. Community are the people around you that wants to engage and be interested in your content and have those conversations and connect with each other through your content. And then champions are the people that you're going to connect with and they may then go on to refer you to other people through word of mouth and so on.
Think about these three different groups. If it's helpful, imagine actual people in your working life. Then create personas based on a real person, to fit around each of these three C’s. And then when you're creating content, be really, really careful and make conscious decisions around who you are actually creating that content for. You'll quickly find the thematic focuses your content, will enable much clearer conversations with the person that you're creating it for!
3. Follow ups
Okay, you need to prepare follow-ups to yoru content in order to make the ‘converstaions work’. When you’re creating content for conversations, make sure that you've got a set prepared questions which you can follow-up comment and DM’s with.
For example, if you're creating content that's like, "Hey, I've recently been researching the deeper needs of our industry and I have put together a short report with my findings! If anyone would like to find out more about it, send me a direct message on LinkedIn and I’ll send it to you"
Then when someone contacts you about it, and make sure that you've got - as a part of that content plan- a neatly prepared…
"Hey, thanks for getting in touch. Yeah, of course, here’s a link to report that I prepared. Out of interest, what are you working on at the moment, that this might help with?"
By doing this your ensure you are not finding new ways to ‘recreate’ the conversation every single time. Starting from scratch is a lot of work, if you doing it 5 times a day… so you got prepare these responses ahead of time!.
This leads on nicely to….
Platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram all have direct messaging features built into them. So, the most natural way of continuing a conversation in a more ‘private space’ is through the direct messaging tools within the platform you started out on.
For example: If you're posting to LinkedIn and you want people to engage beyond just the comments and so on, you can say in the main body of you content, “If you want to learn more please send me a direct message." Or even something like, "Say yes in the comments below and I will send you a direct message with more information."
The same applies with platforms such as Instagram, where people can send you direct message direct from your Instagram Stories! So, think about what you're posting in order to create that Call to Conversation, which allows you to make the most the direct messaging feature.
You may of course find that asking people to send you an email is the correct platform. Depending on what you're selling and what conversation you're having, that could well be the right thing to do. But it's not always the one that you should be using. So, don't default to sending emails, filling forms on a website. Think about the platforms that you're using, and make the transition from content-to-conversation effortless.
5. Offer a PLAN
This is something I was taught by my friend Jules White, who is a really, really great sales consultant. Jules taught me the concept of making sure that every time that you're working towards a sale, that you present the person that you're selling to with a plan. This could be as simple as like,
"We're going to have a consulting call and then I'm going to show you an action plan of the work I'm going to do. And then every month we're going to measure my successes against that plan."
Yeah, as simple as that. But if people can't visualize and imagine what it's going to be like to work with you from a structural point of view, they're not always going to necessarily have enough confidence in your products and services, to make that decision to BUY.
So, make sure that you've got that plan prepared. And again, much like the prepared responses tip, make sure that you're not recreating it every single time! Perhaps have a simple landing page on your website, where you host your typical plan. This will allow you to just point people to the link, rather than type it out each time.
I hope this was useful for you! The most important thing to remember, is that clicks and likes don't create sales, conversations do.
Make sure that you're using every single piece of content that you create as an opportunity to then move towards a sales conversation rather than just posting endlessly and then getting frustrated because nobody buys anything.
There is video version of this blog available too! And please don’t forget to share this on your favourite social channels!