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Andrew Teoh

Your Hard Selling Days Are Over!

The key here is not just to innovate, but to build a connection between the brand and the consumer.

Raise your hands if you’ve done this as a marketer; where you create content that solely aims to ‘coerce’ people to buy either by countless spamming of emails or during the old days SMS-es (and now via social media messages)

Been there done that.

But these techniques are nearing their end. The reason is simple, the public is having a better judgment now when it comes to understanding content curation that coming their way.

One of the best things that are happening in 2019 is the exponential growth of content curators. With an easy reach for information, just via the palm of our hands, researching things couldn’t be any easier.

Thus, the habit of searching and researching before making any purchasing decision has become the norm for many people out there.

There are 4.39 billion internet users in 2019, that is an increment of 366 million (9 percent) versus January 2018. It seems like more and more people are getting access to the internet. Amazing isn’t it? What a great time for us marketers to live in.

Coming back to me claiming that the hard selling days are over, some people might think that I’m just babbling nonsense. Let’s hear me out. I can assure you that this is something you need to look into regardless of what you initially think of this.

Many are still using and very much believe in the I-show-you-what-I’m selling/offering-and-I-will-make-an-offer-that-you-can’t-refuse kind of magical marketing ideology.

But here’s the thing, I can refuse you. In fact, I can even block and hide your advertisement or even REPORT it if the content or advertisement annoys me to a certain extent.

The way to use the internet is constantly evolving for both sellers and consumers.

As a typical internet user, you pretty much have all the control on the information that comes in your way and out. Moreover, with the rising awareness of data privacy, many of the countries have been reviewing how they can provide better security for the end users.

Laws such as GDPR have been executed to help curb these issues and this further raises the control of the users on the internet. One of the GDPR law dictates that if you’re providing an email subscription, you need to gain a proper consent from the users and provide an easy exit should the user wants to unsubscribe immediately.

With so much power in the hands of the users, now imagine this.

If your content is inclining towards hard selling, pushy, irritating and spammy, what makes you think the end users will not block you off?

If you’re still using these hard selling techniques, you need to STOP and RETHINK your strategies!

First, let me clarify. I’m not saying that a direct approach content to ask people to buy into your product or services isn’t going to work towards your advantage. What I am saying is that you need to change the way you deliver your content to promote your products or services.

While discount or freebie tactics still work, you need to innovate to keep your customers coming back to you.

Take Apple as a reference. They have a great lineup of products such as the iPhone and Macintosh, but with so many uprising competitions in the tech market in terms of pricing and hardware, they need to innovate to stay ahead. That is why their product direction is always aiming to build a friendly and complete ecosystem among their devices that benefit their customers.

You’re obviously not Apple yet again you can make use of the same concept. If you’re selling a toothbrush today, what kind of strategy do you need to execute to make sure people come back for a second purchase?

  • How about a detailed follow up if you’re selling premium toothbrushes?
  • Or create engaging contents that remind your buyers that they need to regularly change their toothbrush for better tooth care?
  • Or set a special rate for return customers?
  • Or if you’re selling it online, set up a profile to keep track of their purchase history and work on a great content-based newsletter to prompt them to buy from you again?

The key here is not just to innovate, but to build a connection between the brand and the consumer.

One of the best ways to retain customers is to create meaningful contents? You can read it in details about how to create it right here, but now, let me give you some context.

Basically, when you’re creating your content, think of this; How can I advocate them towards the importance of using my product or services?

If your clients are invested enough to know the benefits of using your product and services, they will most like come back to buy more. We, humans, are creatures of comfort. If you’re able to provide top-notch service and overall purchasing experience positively, there isn’t any reason why they would not come back again.

Throughout the years, the content approach when I write for my customers is that I will always focus on giving out values that relate back to the product or services they are selling. Something that the people when they read, they can benefit out of it. And to do something like this, a thorough research phase is needed prior to the writing stage.

As I’ve mentioned above, modern internet users are really good content curators. Aside from that, they are very good researchers as well.

Gone are the days where people see an advertisement and they would straightaway believe everything that is being written there immediately. Nowadays, the process will normally involve a lot of Googling work for reviews, Q&A sessions on Reddit, Quora or checking with friends first before making the purchase.

We are living in an era where we market to smart buyers. (I meant really smart buyers)

Many times, a marketing strategy fails due to the ignorance of the brand. I’ve experience working with quite a few of such clients. Thinking that they (the brand) know what’s the best for the targeted audience but ended in utter failure.

Only we know what’s best for us. So, here’s advice from one marketer to another. While it’s important to understand statistics or data, and how can you best use all the available tools out there, it is also important for a marketer to follow the current trends closely.

We need to think beyond the minds of a marketer, we need to think as if we are a customer.

By being ‘them’, try to understand and figure out how much control customers can have over the information that feeds into them. Try to understand how their behaviour shall be once they’ve seen the content and how they decide from then on. Only by figuring out all these, we are able to build a great level of bonding with the targeted audience and eventually sell our products or services.

So the question that all marketers should be asking today is – How can our content offer benefits (and build a cool relationship) with the target audience?

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Andrew Teoh
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Andrew is the Marketing In Asia's Editor for Australia. He is a copywriter and marketing strategist too. Andrew co-founded Simplemind Creative, an agency that specialises in creative content writing and copywriting. Follow him on YouTube and Facebook.

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