I’d like to address a very important problem that I notice in almost every niche out there.
I am not going to take credit for this insight. Because the guy who introduced me to this was Marcus Sheridan.
The importance of this applied to online marketing and online business lies in the fact that most of us strive to be that one, unbiased, go-to source for a collection of information.
Regardless of what you’re trying to do:
- Amazon Affiliate sites
- Email list building
- Affiliate marketing
- CPA marketing
- many, many more.
There is that one thing you can’t forget:
THERE IS A HUMAN ON THE OTHER SIDE!
Woho, believe it or not, you ain’t talking to a machine, it’s a person that has a job and is about to spend hard-earned money for something they think will improve their life in some way.
Trust me when I say this: Get this wrong, and you will be looking at a much harder way to do business online (or anywhere as a matter of fact).
If you do this wrong, you’re creating competition where there are none.
Content is the best sales tool in the world — but it must be transparentMarcus Sheridan
Trust me, the end of this video will be a true eye-opener for you.
What you will learn
- What are your audience or customer looking for (really).
- The three keys to better customer relations (and more sales)
- What type of content you need to produce.
- Power of Assignment selling
- How to think around content length and sharing.
What visitors are looking for
Taken from this website, a client to Jason Huges, stated the following in an email to him:
As you’re no doubt well aware, it’s a desert wasteland when trying to find information on pools…. Sorting through the internet for useable information is difficult in the extreme. Of the few forums, I’ve found, most devolve into trolls arguing gunite vs. fiberglass vs. vinyl liner – over and over and over and over.
What would help a great deal is to find some kind of unbiased information that explains each pool in detail and then backs off – letting me (or the customer) make the final decision
Let’s take a moment to review the above quote. And pay close attention here, because this will ease your hunt for the perfect review site or the way you market to your email list.
There is a problem (no unbiased information) surrounding pools. To that problem, the customer is asking for a solution (unbiased information that explains each pool in detail and then backs off). Ultimately, giving the customer a tool to make a decision on whether to buy a product or not.
Did you see how easy that was?
Your content has to be the number one, unbiased, solution to a problem. The filler to an information gap.
The three keys to better customer relations
Mr. Sheridan talks about three keys in which we need to be absolutely transparent.
- Transparent Content
- Transparent Approach
- Transparent Selling
We can call them the three T’s, or 3T for short.
So, what’s Sheridan talking about here?
He means that you want to be the most transparent teacher in your industry, the go-to expert. He talks about marketing as being “ostrich-marketing”.
It puts it head in the sand. (Which by the way is a myth — about the animal, that is.)
To marketing, this is how it translates:
If a visitor to your site does not find what they are looking for, they leave. But not without an impact. They will leave your site, they will also leave you with a higher bounce rate and a higher rate of disgust in the eye’s of Google.
What people are looking for online
When a prospect lands on your site. They are looking to buy. They have that buying intent.
How do you nurture that intent and get them to purchase?
You do that by understanding WHAT and WHY they are looking for something. Ultimately, you need to answer and write about five key points:
If you can address these 5 bullets within your content, sales page, copy or website — you will see more sales. Marcus Sheridan says that he had more than 2,000,000+ sales thanks to answering these bullets transparently.
He means that he is not the ostrich and he is creating transparent content.
An Example of a Transparent Approach
Look at this car ad from CarMax. Let’s break down to clearer understand how the transparent approach applies.
Car dealers are the type of workers who want to deal and negotiate with you on a used car. The worst part is that car dealers are usually far better at negotiating that we are.
So, what CarMax did is that they went out and said: here is how we are going to deal cars. I.e. they took a transparent approach.
- First of all, they have their “no-haggle price”, which means that you cannot negotiate a price. They’re transparent about the cost and what you have to pay for the product.
If you run an affiliate site and you want people to purchase from you, you got to tell them how much.
- CarMax usually has (although not on this particular car) a money-back guarantee. And a lot of online marketers have this too.
It’s great because it takes the risk out of the deal. Meaning, if you don’t like it you can return it with no questions asked.
- They provide their prospects with a full and complete checklist of what they will get.
A client knows they will not get some utter crap. they can look at 1 page and tell whether or not they want this in their life. Same goes for your affiliate site or email marketing. Say that you’re going to create an Amazon Affiliate site and review cameras.
A very smart thing to do is to include all of the 5 key components listed above and take the transparent approach of giving away all the necessary information.
Transparent Approach and Competition
One of the biggest reasons we don’t go full-scale transparency is because we are afraid that our competition will seek us out and analyze us. Let me tell you a secret: they will regardless.
Another, many times even bigger fear is the belief that it will scare away customers. I can’t help it but giggle when I think about this. Why on earth do you want to be afraid to scare away customers?
First of all, if they haven’t bought from you, they ain’t customers — they are freeloaders. Secondly, if you scare them away, they were probably not your target audience anyway.
This is inbound marketing we’re doing here, it needs to be transparent.
Example of Transparent Selling
This is a guy I know you’ve heard a lot about, and I’m of course talking about Pat Flynn. The man of the hour.
He has taken the transparent approach into blogging.
He has done much of the same approach that CarMax has. Don’t be surprised if you go to SmartPassiveIncome.com and you find a paragraph, with a link and next to the link it says: “this is an affiliate link.”
When Pat did this, I know of people who frowned upon this and said “aah, man don’t disclose all your affiliate links, that means people will just Google the product and circumvent your link.”
Jonathan Fields did a study (although it is considered pseudoscience, it still holds lots of value) where he found out that 76% of his readers choose to go with the affiliate link over the normal link, given the option to choose. Why?
Because of several reasons but the one most clear being:
To disclose, meaning to take on transparent selling means that you instill trust in your readers. They will trust you more if you do. And guess what?
Trust equals more sales.
Don’t believe me?
Then lean back and think about how it is that Pat Flynn runs a six-figure business…
So how do you become transparent and inject trust into your content?
It is easier said than done, but it is obvious that longer content is more trustworthy. In my own experience I’ve noticed that when I go buy a book on Amazon, I tend to always look at page count. If the topic is “How to become a pro baseball player” and it’s only 53 pages, I know that this book won’t cut it and is not worth my time. However, if the book is 450 pages and covers all of the above 5 bullets, I am more inclined to purchase it and give it a go.
You always hear “Quality over Quantity” and it’s true, but quantity does not equal short. Being concise is an art in itself, but you must write as much as needed to convey unbiased information to your audience.
Buzzsumo has done a study that shows that longer content tends to get more shares. In our knowledge and information economy, a share is many times a driving factor for growth.
Additionally, SerpIQ did a test and showed that the top 3 ranking pages in Googles top SERP have an average content about 2,450 to 2,400 words. If you try to hit the 3,000-word mark, you should be, statistically within the margin of safety.
Given that you have transparent content, with 3,000+ words you will be set up for success in terms of ranking in Google and more likely to be shared on social media.
Now, before you let your horses run wild, you have to keep in mind that ranking is not only due to long content. But in order to optimize a page for SEO and to strive for a page one and a top rank you first need something to rank with (a stellar piece of content).
Secondly, the reasons someone will share your article depends on what niche you’re in and what type of content you have created. Not all content are shared equally, which essentially proves the shares:word length ratio a worthless indicator.
We all love to share images and funny pictures. Likewise, I love to share a funny video to my friends. But I am not very likely to share an article that does not tell the full story or is not transparent enough. Why?
Because the article can stir up a discussion among my friends and those I share it to, and I don’t want to be in the center of it all if the article I’m sharing holds a lot of personal and biased information.
You see where I’m getting at?
If an article talks about stocks (an interest of mine) but it also sells questionable tactics for picking stocks, I am not going to share it. I don’t want to be associated with that. What if a close friend of mine purchase the tactics and then lose a lot of money?
The decision was his, but ultimately I led him towards that purchase — not cool.
Educate your audience (assignment selling)
Here is the twist on why you want longer content —
LONGER CONTENT CONVERTS BETTER
Marcus Sheridan said that if a visitor had 30 page views (on their pool site) they were 80% likely to turn into a paying customer. So when they had this number, they changed their approach. They now focused on getting visitors and prospects to read 30 pages, how simple is that?
This is why it’s called “assignment”, because they drip feed content to their readers and then, once the day comes to promote their products (pools) they know how educated their prospects will be, where in the buying cycle they are, and how likely they are to purchase.
This is the reason why you see 2,000-word sales pages or 2-hour long webinars packed with content and a 10-minute pitch at the end.
Dare to think outside common paths, put yourself out there and you will see an increase in your business.