5 Content Marketing Best Practices I Learned from Cold Calling
Frustrating, isn’t it? You struggled to succeed with content marketing. But you’re still not getting the results you hoped for.
What’s happening with your content? Are people reading it? What are you doing wrong?
At least with cold calling you can pick up the phone and call someone. Even if they hang up on you then you know where you stand. Old school tactics like cold calling may be stressful but they’re not all bad. In fact, I once earned $30,000 in a single month thanks to cold calling.
Let me share some outbound content marketing best practices that can improve your inbound blogging.
Best Practice 1 – Master Your Target Market
You’d have to be crazy to call someone without knowing who they are. You’d look like a fool. When I cold called in the past I used a targeted prospect list that saved me time and made each call more effective.
Further, I wrote each prospect name on a 3′ x 5′ card so I had important information about them right in front of me. It may seem obvious, but when you phone someone they know that your message is intended for them. This is not the case with blogging.
While blogging lets you reach a mass audience, your prospects may not realize your blogs are for them. And your ROI could end up being worse than cold calling.
Instead, start with a buyer persona. Then you can imagine you’re talking to a prospect on the phone when you create your blogs. To make your blogs even better, you could imagine they’ll hang up on you if you don’t have anything worthwhile to say.
A cold calling script helped me stay laser focused on a prospect’s problem when I was speaking. I’d often use stories to illustrate my points and got instant feedback on what worked. And I was able to improve my script with each call.
But this is difficult to do with blogging. There’s usually no feedback at all. Most content is a guess at what the audience wants. Then marketers work backwards from traffic stats to see what worked.
In addition to a buyer persona, telling stories will improve your blog’s impact. Stories about your company and customers or even personal stories will make your messages more interesting. Stories are how people make sense of things.
You may not get direct feedback from blog readers, but there are steps you can take to make your blogs more effective.
Best Practice 3 – Follow a Repeatable Process
I used my calling cards to collect customer research. This included writing down names, best times to call back and telephone extension numbers. By the end of the month I’d collected a ton of a valuable research. I used this on my follow-up calls the next month.
A blog development process can help you in the same way. Collecting and curating research as you go is an efficient way to improve your blogs.
Over time you’ll gather a large amount of targeted research, understand your customers better and get more control over your blogging results. Make the mistake of not doing this and you’ll be starting from square one forever.
Best Practice 4 – Make a Compelling offer
I had a strategy for each prospect I phoned. The goal was to get them to know me, like me and trust me by building value. Then I’d make them an offer they couldn’t refuse.
My offer was to visit their office and help them analyze their costs. Unfortunately the meetings took up an entire day and didn’t always result in a sale.
With content marketing you don’t have to drive out to see each prospect. Instead, you can offer them a free EBook they can download from your website. You’ll get the same results without losing any time.
Best Practice 5 – Keep Following Up
After completing each call I moved the card to the back of deck. By making 25 calls a day I worked my way through the entire 500 cards each month.
It took an average of 4-5 calls (so 4-5 months) before a prospect became a lead. The amount of follow-up was exhausting. Like cold calling, you must make a cumulative impact with multiple blogs before you’ll see any results. But once they subscribe and download your EBook then your email newsletter can do all the follow-up.
With an email list there’s no limit to how many prospects you can email at once. You can send everyone the same blog even if you have 100,000+ subscribers. That’s not much different than conference calling 100,000 people at once.
Blogging can save you a massive amount of time over outbound marketing. And it keeps adding up. With more subscribers, you get more leads and ultimately a lower cost per sale. But people can unsubscribe as fast as they sign-up. Unless you build a relationship with good quality content you may as well be cold calling.
Let’s face it, cold calling is a tedious stressful job no one wants to do. Your smartest people need to make the calls to any get results, too. Unfortunately, prospects aren’t picking up the phone as much as they used to and your smartest people are too smart to cold call.
Content marketing is here to stay. While it’s true I once earned $30,000 in a month thanks to cold calling, I could’ve done better with content marketing. By now I’d have a huge email list and my lead generation would be effortless. Needless to day, I’ve switched from cold calling to content marketing.