Great online content is a powerful marketing tool.
You know that, and I know that: but your clients might not.
If you’ve had the experience of picking up a client with no knowledge of web marketing, you understand how frustrating it can be to try to sell someone who knows nothing about online content on the actual benefits and investment of content.
Even though you’re certain that online content is an effective way to market a business, your client might not be. Luckily, you (and they) don’t have to be stuck in content limbo forever.
These simple tactics will give you the edge you need to convince a non-content marketer about the value of content.
Read on to learn more.
online content conversion

Converting Them to Online Content: What Makes it Difficult?

While many marketers are more than willing to embrace content marketing as a whole, some haven’t turned the corner just yet. These clients may be unfamiliar with the world of web marketing or simply wary about the expense and effort associated with developing a content marketing strategy. For some people, content just seems unnecessary (even though you know it’s not). While dealing with these clients can be frustrating (especially when you’re well aware of how useful content could be to them), it’s critical to understand where they’re coming from.
So much of building a successful client-agency relationship is compassion. By being compassionate about how your customer feels and understanding why they hold the beliefs that they do, you can tailor your approach to suit their needs better. This, in turn, helps you go the extra step and make them into content believers not only because you told them they should be, but because they’ve seen and understood the benefits of content on their own. This creates longer-lasting relationships and a more productive client-agency partnership.

5 Practical Tips to Create Content Evangelists

1. Create a comfortable environment

Imagine walking into a room and sitting down with a total stranger. Before you’ve had a chance to so much as sip your water, said stranger starts pitching you on the value of including space rock dust in your marketing strategy. You’ve never heard of such a thing before, but the stranger keeps pushing and pushing. “You need this!” they insist. Before long, you’re running from the room, screaming as you go.
Sound dramatic? Maybe. But this experience isn’t all that different from how a new client will feel if you fail to create a comfortable environment based on mutual trust before you start pitching. People tend to be resistant to new ideas. According to the Harvard Business Review, this can be due to factors ranging from uncertainty to a perceived loss of control. Regardless of where your client’s resistance is coming from, the only way to overcome it is to build a foundation of comfort and trust right off the bat.
To make your client comfortable, be respectful of their time and don’t get overly complicated with your solution. While content is a large and multi-faceted thing, simplifying it for your client is the best way to help them warm up to the idea without feeling like you’re trying to sell them snake oil.

2. Back yourself up with some serious stats

If you can’t provide data to back up your claims about why your client should be using online content, you’re sunk in the water. In addition to helping you come off as knowledgeable and authoritative, good data can give your client the objective proof they need to take the dive into content.
For examples of great statistics, consider the following:

  • In 2015, 67% of all B2B companies reported that content marketing was within their top three priorities
  • Implementing an inbound marketing strategy (that includes content) can double a website’s overall conversion rates – taking them from 6% to 12%
  • 41% of all marketers say that content marketing has a positive ROI
  • 44% of B2B marketers have developed a documented content strategy
  • When it comes to reach and engagement, blogs and social media platforms reach 80% of U.S. internet users and account for approximately 23% of the time users spend online
  • 61% of customers are more willing to make a purchase from a company that creates custom content for them
  • Marketers who blog are 13x as likely to earn a positive ROI than those who don’t
  • 70% of customers report that they’d prefer to become acquainted with a company via helpful articles and blogs rather than ads

The good thing about trying to convince someone of the power of content is that there is a ton of online material out there to back you up. Great stats roll in every year, and it’s easy to find solid data to back up virtually any claim you’re making about the power of content marketing.
Two top sources that keep track of the real ROI of online content, perfect to help your case for convincing are Hubspot and Content Marketing Institute.

3. Show your client where content has worked in the past

If you’ve got a customer who is notably reticent about the idea of adopting content, you might need to demonstrate to them that other companies have had success with content.
One great way to do this is through case studies. For an example of a compelling case study, consider one that Content Marketing Institute recently released.
profile-photo-Eloqua-96x96The case study focuses on Eloqua, a marketing automation company. Before implementing a content marketing strategy, Eloqua had been in business for ten years and had built a good reputation. As the popularity of marketing automation blew up, however, the company started to feel pressured to keep up with their competitors, so they opted to implement content marketing to meet their goals. Specifically, the company wanted to create a new branch and build hype around the launch of a new product.
They planned to do this by developing content and building relationships with their customers. They worked to develop a distribution schedule for their content, utilize cross-platform functionality, and reach out to their audiences more effectively.
Soon after they launched their new marketing program, they had 20 new staffers managing Twitter accounts and 3 people writing the Eloqua blog. (That’s serious content investment!)
Thanks to these efforts, they earned:

  • 12,000 new blog visitors
  • 35,000 new downloads
  • A 21% increase in views of their demo
  • And a bounce rate that decreased by 14%

How’s that for real ROI from online content?
While this is just one case study of many, it’s an excellent way to demonstrate to a customer that content is effective and capable of producing great returns.

4. Appeal to your client’s emotions

Remember Don Draper from Mad Men? You want to be Don Draper when it comes to selling your customer on content. While it’s helpful and necessary to help your client understand why and how content works, it’s also important to show them how it can work for them, which can only be done through effective storytelling. Instead of merely pitching your client, focus on telling them a story that helps them see how content can relate to their particular brand.
Maybe your story revolves around the potential experience a client could have on their website or maybe it involves the power of targeted, customized marketing emails. Regardless of the story you want to tell, appealing to your client’s emotions is one of the best ways to ensure their business.

5. Simplify the process

Again, you could drown your client in complex marketing stats and flood them with data that doesn’t pertain to their company, product, or mission. You could, but you won’t. While there’s no denying that content marketing as a whole is a complicated and involved industry, your job is to make it as simple as possible for your client.
This means paring down your message to include only what the client truly needs to hear, focusing on what pertains to your client’s specific goals or missions, and doing away with jargon and complex language to ensure that your customer actually understands what you’re saying. By simplifying the benefits, process, and payoff of content for your client, you make it easier than ever for him or her to say “yes.”

The Case for Content

Regardless of what industry your client works in, content can do something for him or her. Whether the customer wants to generate more leads, become more visible online, build a community, or establish authority in a particular niche or industry, content is the answer. Unfortunately, your client may be slower to come to this conclusion than you are.
Many times, a client needs a fair deal of coercing and support to understand exactly how content can serve them and why they should be focusing on it. Your job, of course, is to help them get there.
By building a comfortable relationship with your client, using data and case studies to back up your arguments, using storytelling elements to appeal to your customer’s emotions, and simplifying the experience of content for your client, it’s easy to help even the most reticent clients understand how content can benefit and support their brands.
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