Can content help you sell a 5-figure client engagement?

As a kid, I loved He-Man.

The cartoon and the film.

I had all the action figures, too.

But I didn't realise until recently that Mattel, the toy company, owned and launched He-Man.

I don't just mean the toys. I mean the whole thing.

That started with comics, quickly followed by animated shows.

On the back of the humongous success Star Wars had with toys in the 70s, Mattel wanted to release their own line of action figures.

Inspired by Conan the Barbarian, they came up with He-Man.

The comics, TV shows, and movie were created to sell the toys, not vice versa.

So, here's my question...

Would Mattel have sold the toys without the shows?

I doubt it.

At its peak in 1982, Mattel sold $400m of He-Man toys.

The shows drove awareness and demand for the characters.

But here's a different question...

Did Mattel sell $400m of toys because of shows?

Well, they wouldn't have made $400m without them.

But Mattel also know how to design toys.

How and where to manufacture them.

They have a distribution network, a marketing team...

The comics and TV shows were fundamental to success, but they weren't solely responsible for sales.

And the same is true with content marketing

It cannot directly lead to a sale for people like us.

Consultants and agencies selling expensive services.

Maybe you can sell a $150 course on the back of a 5-part email series, but it'd be naive to think we could use the same content model to sell our engagements.

The types of decision-makers we work with aren't dropping $50k with an agency on the back of an ebook they downloaded from your site last week.

No single piece of content has that kind of impact.

But content can attract and help convert ideal-fit leads that do spend that kind of money.

It's part of an overall inbound system. The system delivers and converts the leads, not the individual cogs.

Not as straightforward as some LinkedIn experts would have you believe.

They talk about content as if it's an easy, magic formula to attract hundreds of thousands of dollars.

It's not.

That's relationships

I don't believe in magic formulas.

Except in the case of relationships.

Ask any consultant, agency, or studio where their last projects came from.

For most, it'll be referrals, word of mouth, or repeat business.

Relationships.

The more relationships you have in your industry and the stronger they are, the more sales you make.

From a purely marketing perspective, your commercial success is defined by the size and quality of your network.

And that's where content comes in...

It's a network builder

You won't sell a $50k engagement directly on the back of content.

But you can start or rekindle a relationship.

That could be a DM on LinkedIn from an old colleague who loved your recent post. She didn't realise you were now running your own firm.

It could be a reply from a subscriber who's been reading your emails for the past 6 months and wanted to thank you for what you've been publishing.

It could be someone replying to a question you asked in the P.S.

With each article they read and podcast they listen to, the person on the other side feels closer to you.

That's the goal

Without content, the breadth of your relationships is limited to your existing network and your ability + appetite to actively network.

But with content helps you make connections you wouldn't otherwise make.

It helps you expand your network in a way that scales.

The goal isn't to sell via content.

It's to start conversations that, at some point, migrate to in-person or Zoom calls, with the intent of building relationships, not sales.

Because when you've nailed your value proposition and you're speaking with the right people, sales are a by-product of relationships.

And what makes these 'content initiated' relationships even more valuable, in a business sense, is when the people following your content:

  • Like what you have to say
  • Like the way that you say it
  • Suffer the specific problem you solve
  • Already have some interest in what you do and how you do it

But that only happens when you're creating the right kind of content

Because inbound enquiries and relationships only ever lead to sales when you write about a very painful problem experienced by the person you sell to as it relates to your offer.

If you don't do that, you might attract attention, but it'll either be from the wrong people or the wrong kind of attention.

And for agencies and consultants, that's the make and break of your content.

"Who needs to see this, and what do they need to hear to understand what we do, get curious, build trust, and then reach out?"

Can content help you sell a 5-figure engagement? Have you got experience of it working (or not working). Or, maybe a hypotheses?

Email me and let me know (liam@liamcurley.co.uk).

Over reliant on referrals and word of mouth?

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