So, you’ve got clients.
They’re buying content and are, at the very least, satisfied with your services.
But there’s a problem.
While you’re getting clients to purchase, the content they’re buying is always of the general variety. The type of stuff where the margins are low and the stress is high.
You and your staff are constantly grinding out huge quantities of content.
Your writers are getting burnt out, you’re getting burnt out, and you may even be wondering if all the stress is worth it.
And while this is a scenario that plays out for agencies around the world, I want you to know that it’s possible to turn things around.
It’s possible to go from an agency grinding out low margin content to one that consistently earns content orders with high margins and happy clients.
How do I know it’s possible?
Because it’s exactly what we’ve done at Express Writers.
And I’m going to show you the strategies we used to do it.
How to Sell Your Clients on Buying Better Content (Higher Level Experts, Higher Spend)
1. Provide Immediate Value
One of the most difficult aspects of selling content to clients is the fact that, no matter how good your content is, a long term approach is necessary to maximize success.
Unfortunately, not too many businesses have the patience to commit to a long term marketing strategy.
Your clients want value in the short term AND long term. But how can you accomplish both?
As HubSpot contributor Karla Cook points out about providing immediate value,
“Nobody is going to invest additional resources in your agency until you’ve proven that you can deliver tangible results for their business. To set yourself up for a long and mutually beneficial relationship with a client, you should focus on providing quick wins as soon as possible.”
But how exactly are you supposed to prove that you can deliver tangible results and quick wins if your clients are ordering general content?
Well, at EW, we do it by offering free content strategy sessions.
Anyone, from business owners and agencies to entrepreneurs and bloggers, have the opportunity to book a call with our Content Strategist.
When they do, clients receive:
- Advice on the direction their content strategy should take
- Assistance identifying realistic goals for their content
- Answers to their content related questions
- Guidance on what type of content will help them achieve their goals
And not only does this session provide immediate value and a ‘quick win’ for the client, but it helps cultivate the trust necessary to develop a long term relationship.
If you’d like some other ideas for providing immediate value to your clients, check out Tim Dearlove’s guide on How to Develop a Quick Win Approach for New Client Relationships.
Takeaway: Provide your clients with ‘quick wins’ that will make them more apt to invest in better content.
2. Help Clients Accomplish Current Goals and Work to Build Bigger Goals
When a potential client comes to you to buy content, they’re likely to be at one of the following stages:
- Beginner to Content Marketing. This client has recently become convinced that content marketing can yield real results for their business and are ready to give it a go. It’s likely, however, that they don’t really know how or where to get started.
- Semi-Experienced. This client has been blogging for a few months but is getting frustrated at a lack of results. They know content marketing can work, they just don’t know how to make it work.
- Experienced. This client has been participating in content marketing for over a year and knows exactly what they want. They’re looking to free up time in-house by outsourcing their content to capable writers.
Knowing that these are the types of clients that you’re going to be dealing with, it’s important to know how to handle each situation for the benefit of both sides.
Because, as we’ve already identified, nobody is going to invest additional resources unless you’ve already proven to them that you can deliver tangible results.
But there’s also another element to this. As the authors of Marketing Metrics tell us,
“The probability of selling to a new prospect is 5-20%. The probability of selling to an existing customer is 60-70%.”
With this information, we can conclude that the best way to sell better content to clients is to first turn them into a customer and help them accomplish their initial goals.
At EW, we do this by making sure that we understand their current goals and only offer content that helps them accomplish those goals.
Let’s take a look at how we might do this when encountering a beginner to content marketing:
1. Set Them Up On a Call With Our Content Strategist. We’ll discuss their goals as it relates to content and provide suggestions for a strategy that can help them accomplish those goals.
2. Talk to Them About the Types of Content We Offer That Can Help. We’ll continue communicating with them after the call, via email or live chat, and identify the types of content we offer that can help. For example, if they’re looking to use content to build an email list, we might point them towards an ebook that can be used as a ‘freebie’ on opt-in forms.
3. Continue Offering Support as Needed. We’ll continue offering our support and suggesting content services that are relevant to their goals.
As this relationship continues, and they begin to work their way towards their goals, they start to see us as a partner rather than a business that’s selling something to them.
And, at this point, we’re now in prime position to help them identify bigger goals that allow them to further scale their business through content marketing (which therefore leads to us being able to offer better content to help them accomplish those new goals).
While we may take a similar approach with semi-experienced and experienced clients, they’re much more apt to have goals that require better content in order to accomplish them.
So, if their goal would be to generate more organic traffic, our content strategist may identify that accomplishing it means consistently publishing expert level blogs.
And, as our relationship grows and bigger goals are identified, accomplishing them may mean moving from expert level to authority level content.
Takeaway: Focus on helping your clients accomplish their current goals first and, as time goes on, help them identify bigger goals that require better content.
3. Offer Social Proof & Present Case Studies
At this point, the strategies outlined have been focused on a long term approach.
And while it’s important to understand that developing long term relationships is key, offering social proof is a strategy that can expedite the process.
Let’s revisit Karla Cook’s quote from earlier where she mentioned,
“Nobody is going to invest additional resources in your agency until you’ve proven that you can deliver tangible results for their business.”
While this is true, social proof presents an opportunity for you to prove that you can deliver tangible results for their business without actually doing it for their business.
Research shows that people are influenced by similar people.
So, if you’re able to prove to potential clients that other, similar people, have had a successful experience with your brand, you’ve now proven that you can do it for their business as well.
At EW, we provide social proof two ways. The first is through testimonials from people that are similar to our target clients:
When they see the success we’ve had with other similar agencies and businesses, they come to us with a ‘I want what they got’ mentality.
And, since our most successful clients generally order expert content, it puts us in a position to offer better content from the start.
The second way we provide social proof is through a case study of our own business.
Since our target client is agencies that need content for clients or their own site, and we’re an agency ourselves, they’re able to relate to our story about how we used high-level content to build Express Writers.
And, in addition to our own story, we feature case studies of other agencies that we’ve helped.
For example, take a look at our case study with Marketing Labs:
This type of social proof, from an agency similar to our target client, helps us prove that we can help other agencies achieve the same results.
Takeaway: Once you’ve helped other clients achieve their goals with high level content, use case studies and testimonials for social proof to convince new clients that you can do the same for them.
Focus on Building Long Term Relationships
If you want to convince your clients to buy better content, it starts with a focus on building relationships first.
Position yourself as a partner that’s helping them achieve their goals instead of a convenient business where they can make a one-stop purchase.
At the end of the day, that’s the key to selling better, high margin content.
If you’re an agency that would like help creating high level content for your clients, get in touch with our Agency Specialist. We’ve helped dozens of agencies increase their revenue and would love to do the same for you.