How to Use Content to Increase Your Sales

social media expert interviewIn this video I interview Marcus Sheridan, the founder of The Sales Lion and River Pools and Spas.

Marcus shares the content strategy he used to increase sales for his pool business.  He shows the connection between your blog content and your business growth.

You’ll also discover why content is the soul of your business and is the best sales tool you own.

Be sure to check out the takeaways below after you watch the video.

Here are some of the things you’ll learn in this video:

  • How to extend your reach with content
  • Why you should blog about the cost of your products and services
  • How to convert your content into sales
  • How content makes your customers “sales-ready”
  • Why you need to blog about the problems customers have with what you sell
  • Why you need to adopt a different approach as a content marketer
  • Why story is important for your business

Connect with Marcus on Twitter @TheSalesLion and check out his blog: The Sales Lion.

Do you blog about the problems your customers have with your products? How do you use content to make sales? Please leave your comments below.

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About the Author, Michael Stelzner

Michael Stelzner is the founder and CEO of Social Media Examiner, and host of the Social Media Marketing podcast. He also authored of the books Launch and Writing White Papers. Other posts by »




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  • Msjenniferwoodard

    I enjoy your site and the helpful information that you provide, but I do not watch the videos. It is too bad that the information in the video is not made available to people who do not watch videos. Everyone does not enjoy watching videos, I never watch them. I find them annoying and I find it annoying when businesses assume that everyone is interested in videos without providing an alternative, like a transcript to download.

    Just my thoughts.

  • http://www.ryanhanley.com/ Ryan Hanley

    Marcus you kill it Bro… “You see your life as a story…” Inspiration.  Can’t wait to see what you have for 2012!

    Ryan H.

  • http://treasurycafe.blogspot.com/ david k waltz

    I can relate to Jennifer’s comment. I am in a coffee shop right now and cannot play the video on my laptop without disturbing everyon (and interfering with the jammin’ tunes!).

    Sometimes I will come back to the video later, if I have time and if I remember.

    There is also a time factor involved. Video’s are not skimmable the way written work is, so a 7 minute video takes 7 minutes, whereas if it was written down it would take less time.

    One of the great things about the Social Media Examiner site is it’s “skimmability” – there’s highlighted text and small paragraphs and bullets that all make it easy to peruse and focus right where I want to.

    With all that being said, video is a web 2.0 medium and we cannot be fuddy-duddy’s about this stuff either. People are going to use it, a lot of people like it, and it is in some ways easier to create than written work. I  ran across a piece of information that purported that blogs with video get a lot more traffic, so I do not think they are going to go away.

    Maybe the Reader developers can develop something so that when the post is video it goes to a different folder, so we know not to be in a coffee shop at the time.

    Thanks!

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    Hi Jennifer,

    That’s why we don’t publish videos but maybe 3 times a month.  Feel free to read the text around the video if you don’t like watching :)

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    Marcus is one cool and passionate dude

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    Hey David – Some people are highly visual and others are not.  I’m kinda surprised you don’t carry a little iphone headset or something like that you can plug into your laptop.  I know I have one in my laptop bag all the time.

  • http://www.ricardobueno.com/ Ricardo Bueno

    I interviewed Marcus for our company podcast just a few weeks ago. What’s he’s done with his pool business is great and directly applicable to any business really. It’s sound, practical and easy to implement advice. Yet it’s where most businesses/solo-preneurs fall short. 

    Great video interview!

  • Ken Pierce

    Mr. Waltz, are you kidding?  It took you 7 minutes to think about and write this lengthy critique. I am a huge fan of video presentation in order to see the passion in the person. This was a great video.  Marcus is a little over the top, but his enthusiasm showed that he is real and not a professor talking down to us. Keep the videos coming. Ken Pierce

  • Ken Pierce

    Mr. Stelzner, Thank you for the fantastic website and all the content that you supply.  It has helped me immensely. I pass along what I think my readers would like to hear.  Most of our readers are all about golf, because we are in the Golf Training Aids biz. Thank you again.  Ken Pierce

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    Thanks Ricardo!

  • RPhoenix

    Michael,
    Loved this interview – great way to make the connection between good blog/web content and sales. And its refreshing to see how someone makes it work for a business like this.
    thanks and keep the videos coming!

  • http://newhorizons123.com Julie Weishaar

    I am a huge fan of video – there is no way we could “see” the same enthusiasm from Marcus in text. It is really nice to hear about a success story where establishing oneself as a thought-leader via content like Marcus did in his pool industry leads to success. Thanks for posting and sharing your interview with Marcus. It is definitely relevant and helpful in any industry.

  • http://twitter.com/TheSalesLion Marcus Sheridan

    Hey Jennifer, I appreciate the fact you are not a big fan of video. What’s interesting is that a study recently came out stating 60% of people are visual learners. More and more, because of technology, Youtube, etc, we are becoming a visual over textual society. I’m not here to say this is good or bad, it’s just the trend.

    As a blogger myself, I also know it’s tough to transcribe videos with the amount of effort that already goes into each article/video. In other words, I know SME, as well as myself, want to please all parties, but sometimes it’s simply too difficult and time/cost prohibitive.

    Either way, thanks for being a reader of the site here Jennifer and I hope your 2012 is an exceptional one.

    Marcus

  • http://twitter.com/TheSalesLion Marcus Sheridan

    You’re a heck of a guy to say such kind words Ryan, I really appreciate it bud.

    To stories and inspiration…

    Marcus

  • http://twitter.com/TheSalesLion Marcus Sheridan

    David, nice points man and I appreciate you bringing them up.

    There is a clear trend to video. For every person that dislikes it, there is another that prefers it. A tough balance indeed, but as a SME fan myself, I love when they do video occasionally because there is always a lack of ‘feeling’ when it comes to transcription, if you know what I mean.

    But like you, I’m often times a skimmer, and it’s nice to have that ability as well.

    Either way bud, hope your coffee started the day off right and you’ll have a chance to watch the video later. And a wonderful 2012 to you David. :)

    Marcus

  • http://twitter.com/TheSalesLion Marcus Sheridan

    Over-the-top Ken? Dang man, be careful not to sit in the front row of my next seminar, as I make everyone wear blue ponchos. ;-)

    Seriously though bud, I hope you got a little value out of this small piece and I hope your business has an exceptional 2012 Ken. :)

    Marcus

  • http://twitter.com/TheSalesLion Marcus Sheridan

    Appreciate that a ton Ricardo, and loved chatting with you man, that was a lot of fun.

    To a tremendous 2012 bud!

    Marcus

  • http://twitter.com/TheSalesLion Marcus Sheridan

    So glad you liked the video. I think many businesses and industries often times think they are the exception to the content rule, but the principles of great teaching and earning trust through that teaching are not unique from one industry to the next.

    Thanks again for the comment and have a wonderful 2012!!

    Marcus

  • http://twitter.com/dinodogan Dino Dogan

    Nice work, guys.

    Marcus, you are crazy, dude. I loved your energy :-)

  • Jen BrownMangulabnan

    I don’t normally watch videos but I’m really glad I watched that one. I love the idea that your life & business is a story & that once you get that, content starts ‘appearing’. Thanks for posting this! 

  • Terry Melancon sr.

    Transcription is easy and inexpensive check this out http://www.speakertext.com We use it all the time, solves all the problems mention here!

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    Hey Dino – Haven’t seen you around here in ages

  • http://CMC-Insurance.info/ C. Michael Croston

     Another practical post. Thanks. I am very interested in the use of SocMed tools to establish a business locally. There are great ideas here.
     Now, my 2 cents about video. I don’t care for them. I agree with David Waltz, 7 min. is 7 min. A good portion of that is fluff. That being said, there is nothing wrong with fluff in it’s proper context. This video reminded me more of a testimonial. It wasn’t scripted. It told a story (mission accomplished, Marcus). It conveyed emotion that the written word couldn’t do. It was a good example of the proper use of video. When you hit that start button you make a commitment. If there are only ideas conveyed without enthusiasm to move you to action, you might as well be able to read the info. I think it a lesson about vid use. Too many of them are poorly done.

  • Peter

    Watching video with engaging pictures is one thing. I’m wasting my time listening to someone talk when I can read the content in a fraction of the time.

  • http://www.ethosbusinessconcepts.com/ Roger Deveau

    Oh man Marcus… that was an awesome interview. You are so clearly passionate about what you do. I love that you prove the point that your business doesn’t have to be ‘sexy’ for you to be able to connect with people in a real way through good content.

    P.S I love videos. I like to be able to switch to another page and keep listening to the audio at the same time :)

  • http://LouiseM.com/ Louise Myers

    “blog about the problems customers have with what you sell” = pure gold. Thanks for the great interview!

  • http://wordsdonewrite.blogspot.com Words Done Write

    Michael, total bonus points to you for introducing Marcus to your readers! I went to Marcus’ session at BlogWorld and became an immediate fan. He has great ideas and delivers them with an energy that is contagious. No matter if you’re a newbie to all this or a seasoned pro, you can always learn something from Marcus!

    – Amber

  • http://domainate.com Steve Jones

    Inform/educate your customers, help them make better decisions, address their potential concerns with buying your product or buying specifically from you, and ultimately show them that you know your stuff. Content has become one of the most important marketing tools, especially now when so many people will simply proclaim themselves as experts without backing it up. When you display your expertise, there’s no doubt.

  • Glen Kohlenberg

    Marcus great interview!! Keep the videos coming. I am in the home improvement business in Florida and love to find guys like you in our business and how you use your content etc to improve your business.

    I went to your site and signed up for more! Thanks

    Glen

  • http://www.fitnessweightlosscenter.com Douglas Millington

    Great interview – Marcus is full energy and ideas – a fantastic combination.

    The first thing that really hit home with me is talking about the cost of your product or service. Whenever I find myself on a site evaluating a product or service and they want me to fill out a form for a “quote” on the price I leave immediately. If you can’t talk about price, even if you mention ranges and not specifics, on your site I only think one thing – this is going to be too expensive.

    The second thing is that faced with an enormous drop in potential customers in 2008 Marcus went to blogging. I bet not many small business owners would go that route, but he has turned his content into sales. And more specifically turned his customer’s questions into sales. Brilliant.

  • Josh Gordon

    This is an excellent video. Cudos to Michael who dug in and got, the often poorly told story, of how content actually moves sales.

    Josh Gordon
    Selling With Content  

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  • Yvonne Herbst

    I love the Google map on your home page showing all the pool installations you have done — great social proof!  Do you get your clients to sign a release first giving permission to reveal their address on your website?  Wondering what kind of privacy issues you might have encountered and how you have addressed them ..

  • http://twitter.com/TheSalesLion Marcus Sheridan

    Dino, what’s up bud? Great to see you and I appreciate the words my man. :)

  • http://twitter.com/TheSalesLion Marcus Sheridan

    Thanks so very much for commenting here Julie :) I agree that text simply cannot translate the same enthusiasm and emotion, and so it’s nice to ‘mix it up’ on occasion.

    Have a great 2012 Julie!

    Marcus

  • Marcus Sheridan

    Hey Jen!! So very glad you were able to watch this and you got something out of it as well. Like I said, content does have a magical way of appearing, again and again, if we’re just open to the opportunities.

    Thank you!!

    Marcus

  • http://twitter.com/TheSalesLion Marcus Sheridan

    Thanks for the feedback and keen observations Michael. SME doesn’t do many videos, but the few they do are of high quality and do push emotions…at least that’s the idea, right ;-)

    Thanks again Michael,

    Marcus

  • http://twitter.com/TheSalesLion Marcus Sheridan

    Gold is good Louise!! Best of luck to you in 2012! :)

    Marcus

  • http://twitter.com/TheSalesLion Marcus Sheridan

    Thanks so very much for saying that Roger. ‘Sexy’ is the most overused phrase in the world when it comes to business in my opinion. People ask me all the time how pools can be sexy, but the truth is this— saving money, and being informed, is always going to be very, very sexy.

    Thanks again and have an awesome 2012 Roger!! :)

    Marcus

  • http://twitter.com/TheSalesLion Marcus Sheridan

    Check is in the mail Amber :)

    (you’re too kind !!)

    Have a wonderful New Year my friend!

    Marcus

  • http://twitter.com/TheSalesLion Marcus Sheridan

    Love it Steve, with you all the way man, as you’ve hit the nail on the head. :)

    Have a wonderful new year!!!

    Marcus

  • http://twitter.com/TheSalesLion Marcus Sheridan

    Wow Glen! I just love hearing that, especially from a fellow ‘blue collar’ guy like yourself :)

    Good luck with your content in 2012 Glen and have a happy New Year!

    Marcus

  • http://twitter.com/TheSalesLion Marcus Sheridan

    Thank you Josh, so glad you liked the vid and yes, that Stelzner guy is pretty good at getting value and knowing what people need to hear. :)

    Have a great new year Josh!

    Marcus

  • http://twitter.com/TheSalesLion Marcus Sheridan

    Douglas, I’m so grateful you stopped by and made these observations.

    Yes, when people can’t find out about pricing they move on to the next website that will give  them better answers. That’s just how it works.

    And with more content, the more the magic can happen.

    Thanks again Douglas, hope your 2012 is an exceptional one!!

    Marcus

  • http://exotikcar.com location voiture agadir

    Watching video with engaging pictures is one thing. I’m wasting my time
    listening to someone talk when I can read the content in a fraction of
    the time.

  • eDigitalAus

    Great interview Michael and thanks Marcus for sharing the experience with unique and relevant content creation :)

  • Yvonne Herbst

    Marcus, I would also like to hear your thoughts and opinions re: Facebook as a content marketing tool for your business – do you integrate Facebook into your content marketing strategy?  In your actual experience, does Facebook help you make more sales?  

  • http://ohhi.co.uk/ Thomas Gamble

    Good Day! interesting post keep the good work.i’ll be back for more

  • Ravi Shukle

    Great video @mikestelzner:disqus  – find it a bit strange he did not mention any social media networks when talking about content and how this can be integrated.

  • http://internetconsultantindia.com/ Soumitra

    100 % agree on this

  • http://internetconsultantindia.com/ Soumitra

    1.When we read, we can choose, in vdo, no option but to listen only

    2. Many times , it takes enormous time to buffer

  • http://www.dailytrader.com/ Global Wholesale Suppliers

    There are two ways to explain yourself and targeting markets through your content. One way is hiding your strategies and just explaining your product qualities. The second step is exposing your business wisely. In both ways you may target traffic but most effective way is second way. So, your content should be open for business review and each thing should be clear in it that how you make your business successful.

  • http://internetconsultantindia.com/ Soumitra

    The “Creation of a story from earthquake incident” is superb.

    And very truly true, everything in business & life is a STORY.

    someone wants to listen to ; and internet is THE media.

  • http://www.redpageconsulting.co.uk/ Michael

    Great post – honesty delivers trust. Trust delivers credibility. Credibility delivers word of mouth. Word of mouth delivers perception. And perception is a core influence of consumer choice. Great stuff!

  • Marcus Sheridan

    Thanks Yvonne, it is an incredible social proof and I didn’t have any issues with customers making that happen.

    Hope your 2012 is a great one Yvonne!

    Marcus

  • http://twitter.com/TheSalesLion Marcus Sheridan

    Appreciate that Michael, thanks so very much for the kind words, thrilled you got something out of it. :)

    Marcus

  • http://twitter.com/TheSalesLion Marcus Sheridan

    Good question Yvonne. I think the effectiveness of FB depends very much on the industry. Just as hard-core blogging isn’t the answer in every field, neither is FB.

    For example, because most of my pool customers were “one and done’ customers due to the nature of the product, the constant contact/communication benefits of FB were lessened.

    Knowing this, I didn’t center my efforts of FB, but instead focused on the blog.

    I’m a big believer in mastering one social media platform before become a jack of all trades.

    Hope this answers your question somewhat Yvonne!

    Marcus

  • http://twitter.com/TheSalesLion Marcus Sheridan

    Which networks are your referring to Ravi? I’m happy to answer your questions.

    I would note though that in the pool industry, Twitter and FB are not strong for location based installation companies, and I barely used the platforms to rise to the top of the industry.

    Notwithstanding, with The Sales Lion, I very much utilize FB and Twitter due to the subject matter.

  • http://twitter.com/TheSalesLion Marcus Sheridan

    Yes, I certainly agree. In fact, I call that ‘transparent marketing’, and it’s really the key to all success I’ve had with content.

    Thanks for the comment,

    Marcus

  • http://twitter.com/TheSalesLion Marcus Sheridan

    Exactly Soumitra, well said! :)

    Marcus

  • http://www.i95dev.com/ecommerce-magento Henry Louis

    Hi Michael! I have enjoyed a lot by watching this video. Lot of useful and interesting points have been gained by watching this video. Thanks for sharing.

  • http://www.marketbusinessonline.com/ Shefiu

    Thanks for sharing your story on video…Marcus.  Great info!   Producing content to a target audience is no longer an option, it’s paramount for every business online. Content is certainly a soul of any business to build trust and credibility.

  • http://www.certifiednurseassistantz.com/ Billie

    Bottom line is, “Content is King” rule still strongly valid and we should also write unique and quality content.

  • InventistMedia

    We’ll be honest, in the first 30 seconds we were about to hit “Stop” as Sheridan’s enthusiasm almost scared us off.  But we have to say, this dude is spot on.  It is the first time we’ve ever heard anyone say what we’ve been saying for almost three years now, “Everything is story”.  We have an aviation client who actually gets it!  Their content marketing program is just over a year old and is their best sales tool.  Its nice to know someone else gets it.  Great job Marc.  And, by the way, your enthusiasm doesn’t scare us anymore, look forward to more.

  • http://www.apricotlaw.com/ Nick Kringas

    Marcus, your passion is contagious!  Great interview – it made me follow you on twitter.

  • http://brandyousocial.com/2012/01/04/how-to-get-people-to-like-your-facebook-page-in-2-steps-and-facebook/ Brand You Social

    Not really a fan of videos much. However, I did watch it and I definitely think content can make a change when it comes to increasing sales. By knowing the benefits/advantages of a product, they can easily market their product to anyone who may be interested online. Not only that, they can reach a bigger audience with good content.

    http://brandyousocial.com/2012/01/04/how-to-get-people-to-like-your-facebook-page-in-2-steps-and-facebook/

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  • Talk2me

    Marcus – I teach teenagers that have dropped out of the system – we always cover Social Media Marketing as it gives them a chance to get on Facebook and also relates to the technology they are familiar with – AND i always play them this video. They get it every time. THANKS

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