Content Selling: The Secret For Quick Online Business Growth

By Sweta Patel

Content selling is the next big phase in content marketing. Whether you are trying to sell your expertise as an industry thought-leader or trying to raise money for a fundraiser, content selling will help you achieve your marketing initiatives faster this year.

What Is Content Selling?

Businesses are using content selling as an above-the-funnel activity, filmmakers use it to sell video content to their online community, and creators use it to sell their expertise online.

San Diego-based marketing entrepreneur Sweta Patel.
San Diego-based marketing entrepreneur Sweta Patel.

We are moving towards a decentralized web experience. Communities are best built through your own website. If you built your community on a social network, then you are simply renting the community. Content selling means being able to make money from doing things that you love. It means getting the most relevant sales materials into the hands of the prospects at the right time.

For selling video content, Gbox is one of my favorite back-ends. The technology is user-friendly, simple, and easy to promote. This phase of the marketing funnel should be used to build awareness and curiosity around your brand. In other words you are “social nurturing” the audience so the sale is already made before the close.

Here are some content selling tips you can use right now:

  1. Enhance the buyer experience by having buyers pay to watch a video of your sensory overloaded production. This can show them details about the product, its end result, how to use it, or how it can enrich their life. Then let them know in the beginning that they can put the “pay per view” money towards the item they are purchasing. This will reduce the cost of the product they purchase and educate them at the same time.
  1. Exclusive content helps us differentiate between solving simple problems and complex problems. Sometimes exclusive content can be used for entertainment purposes as well. For example if you find a film that is really popular with your audience then go ahead and make it exclusive. Above that, create 50 Twitter coupons to give away to receive FREE access to the most popular film.
  1. Consumer retention is the most important aspect when it comes to building an online community. This does not mean you have to force your consumers to be involved. When you charge for content you are charging because content is the real asset. The strategy will drive and manage the asset. You want to start small and start manually to build your audience and then scale up.

Best Practice: Tie your organization or brand to a cause. Borrow a list that has already raised money for the cause, build recognition for your brand, and sell content all at the same time!

The Content Selling Funnel

The content selling funnel starts with hyper-engaging with your audience. Think about it for a minute: why do people watch video? Usually the video formula goes something like this:

Capture attention → Branding → Keep them watching → Provide a call to action.

Yes, it is really that simple. To capture audience attention, the video should have elements of: social proof, scarcity, authority, commitment and consistency, reciprocity and commenting.

Here is an example of a basic content selling funnel that should be the foundation of your online business. Start with an opt-in page from your video — perhaps you’ll link to your opt-in page in the description of your video, or make an annotation within the video. The offer can be anything from a downloadable report to a strategy session.

Then schedule an auto-responder series with a “thank you” email along with the free downloadable. When the prospect receives the downloadable they should be sent another email with a mid-range offer, i.e. a complement to your core offer that’s valued at $5 to $20. For example, if you are a scrapbooking company you could sell an art kit valued at $15 for a minimal price of $7. Another example is the FB Lead Finder tool given away at $7 right before the core offer.

Now that your audience has made a micro-commitment, then deliver the mid-range offer. If they decline then send a follow-up email series, which extends to a long-term series if they keep saying no. Of course if they accept any of the emails then you deliver the mid-range offer.

Best Practice: Most of us are visual people, so plan and draw your funnel using Lucid Chart.

Content Metrics to Measure  

The magic moment in building an online business is when you first make money from it. So marketing ROI is vital for the business.

First, assess what sales materials are effective. The content strategy should rely heavily on effective sales material, so track and measure how many times the sales content is used.

The second metric to watch is the content that is consumed by prospects. If we see that our consumers are most engaged with video then we produce more videos as our main channel.

The third metric is what content generates desired outcomes. Customers respond differently to different types of messaging. Create a marketing attribution model to measure the behavior of your target audience.

Lastly, measure the ROI of your content. You spent money to create videos and other types of content, now let’s measure their effectiveness at each stage of the selling process through a CRM such as Salesforce or Infusionsoft.

Best Practice: Test and track every type of content at each stage of the selling process. Use 3-4 types of different content in the beginning to see which type is resonating best with your target audience. We usually start with one part of the sales process at time.

Content marketing isn’t as simple as you thought it was? It will be more feasible as you see your content working and engaging your audience. You will not have to focus on creating so much content as you do on engaging the community. That is the fun part! What questions do you have for me?


Sweta Patel is a San Diego-based marketing entrepreneur whose company is Global Marketing Tactics.

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