Does your content marketing actively help you sell your products and services? Does it attract ideal clients? If you need help with either of these, Nikki Rausch has some tips to help you.
Nikki is the Founder and CEO of Sales Maven, an organization helping business owners facilitate strategic and effective sales conversations. She’s got more than 25 years of sales experience under her belt, has written three stand-out sales books, and is the host of the Sales Maven podcast.
She joins me in this episode of The Content 10x Podcast to share actionable tips and advice for selling successfully without being pushy. We also talk about how to reach your best clients and craft content that smooths out the sales process.
Hit play to listen to the full interview with Nikki…
Check out the highlights in this video…
Or read on to learn more…
How to use content as a sales tool (without being salesy)
Content creators can sometimes get swept up in the “give value” part of content marketing…I know, I have done this myself. But it’s really important to remember that your content has another function too. It should point people toward your products and services.
If you’re an avid Content 10x Podcast listener, you’ve probably already heard my top tips for using content as a sales starting point in episode 191, Is Your Product or Service Your Best Kept Secret?
I wanted to get Nikki’s thoughts on how to use content marketing to generate sales.
In our conversation she said that the best way to weave your products/services into your content is to “plant seeds”. The seeds should get people thinking about what it’s like to work with you and what the results may be…
How to plant seeds in your long-form content
Nikki says that the key to great sales content is being helpful. You want to help your audience reach their goal and you need to show them how you can be a part of that.
She shared three ways you can start planting seeds in your content to get them thinking about how you can help them.
When you’re sharing a tip or a piece of advice, give a real-life example of someone who faced the same challenge and how they found success and ask if the reader/listener/viewer has ever been in the same position. This will help your audience position themselves within your narrative.
2. Bring real people into the conversation
If you can get your audience to experience what it’s like working with you, that will help them decide if you’re a good fit for them. It’s a great way for them to pre-qualify you!
Nikki does this by hosting real on-air coaching calls on her podcast. People can listen to the way Nikki coaches and decide if her approach and advice would be right for them. This type of content gives listeners a direct insight into what they’ll get if they invest in your service/product.
3. Share success stories
If your business doesn’t lend itself to content like on-air coaching calls, Nikki suggests another way to plant seeds is to share success stories.
A client success story should let your client shine so that others can see themselves in their shoes – but also explains how you helped them achieve their goals.
This could be an interview with a client, sharing their story in your content, or a case study (check out our case study here as an example).
When you’re creating your podcast episode, video, or other type of long-form content, consider how you could incorporate these different styles, and if they’re a good fit for your business and content.
How to plant seeds in your short-form content
For short-form content, like social media posts, you can of course use the same methods as above. But there’s one thing you crucially cannot forget to include.
A call to action.
Short-form content is easily skimmed and forgotten, so you need to help people take action when they see/watch/hear it. Give clear instructions for what to do next to help them find out more.
Nikki also suggests leaning into sales in a way that includes your audience. For example, which way is better to start a social media post?
- What’s the most exciting thing going on in your life right now?
- I am so excited about my newest big contract!
Number one, of course! Nikki advises looping your audience in with questions about them and their life so that you can then share a little bit about yours – in this case, a business win.
These are all tactics Nikki uses on her own podcast, Sales Maven, that she launched just last year (and I’m a fan, I tune in every week). Her podcast is already doing so well, but I wanted to find out what made her get behind the mic in the first place…
How to generate better clients
Nikki actively tracks what content brings in her best clients. She started to notice more and more people coming to her through podcasts. People would approach her and say, “Nikki, I love binging your podcasts!”.
But there was one funny thing about that – Nikki didn’t have a podcast!
Nikki was, however, a regular guest on other people’s podcasts. People would listen to Nikki, really enjoy hearing her words of wisdom, and then look for more by searching her name on their podcast app.
This was Nikki’s lightbulb moment. Her personal motto is “pour gasoline on what’s working”, and podcasts were definitely working!
After launching the Sales Maven podcast, Nikki says it’s been “phenomenal”.
“I will honestly say that the clients that listen to my podcast and then come and work with me are even better clients than the ones who heard me on other podcasts before, because they already know what to expect.”
One of Nikki’s key objectives with her podcast is to both attract her ideal clients and repel those who aren’t suitable.
Podcasting is a powerful way to do this, as I discussed with podcast guests Martin Huntbach and Lyndsay Cambridge
in episode 155, How Content Can Attract Your Ideal Clients. If you want tips for how to attract and repel your audience using content, do give that episode a listen.
Content that weeds out time wasters is a brilliant way to ensure that you’re only talking to people who are serious and excited about working with you. It makes each sales call you have far easier and more enjoyable!
Nikki pointed out that her podcast also establishes trust that continues throughout her relationships. She says:
“Paying clients who come from the podcast are really engaged, they stay longer, they implement more of my tactics – because they trust me.”
What type of content generates more sales
Podcasting isn’t Nikki’s first venture into content marketing. In fact, she’s had varying levels of success with different types of content in the past. I asked her what she found worked well for her and what didn’t.
The most impactful: her weekly newsletter.
The least impactful: paid advertising on social media.
Nikki said she’d had marginal success with advertising on various social media platforms. But it didn’t touch the success she’d found with organic content marketing, such as her weekly newsletter.
Although it was time-consuming, Nikki says her weekly sales-tip newsletter was instrumental in building strong relationships with her contacts. People found so much value in it, they would save her emails to a special “Nikki folder” every week!
This is what content marketing is all about for Nikki (and should be for everyone) – building relationships.
With those foundations already there, selling becomes much smoother. In fact, Nikki calls her signature sales approach “relationship selling”. When it comes to generating more sales and better clients, this approach clearly works!
She details more sales tips and actionable advice in her eBook, Closing the Sale: Simple Tips to Increase Your Confidence. Nikki was kind enough to share an exclusive link for Content 10x Podcast listeners to get this eBook completely free! Get it here.
My interview with Nikki was packed with so many great sales tips, I couldn’t squeeze them all into this one post. So, to find out more about relationship selling, the best sales mindset, and more do give the episode a listen.
Just scroll to the podcast player at the top of the page and hit play or check out the episode on The Content 10x Podcast (you’re looking for episode 196). It’s available on all the usual podcast apps.
To learn more about Nikki and how she helps people improve their sales skills, visit her website.
Are you thinking about launching a podcast? Diversifying your content marketing strategy? Or need some help with your content repurposing? We’re industry leading experts in content repurposing and can help you create more high-quality content that generates more sales. Check out our services to find out how.