A Simple Formula for Effective Content: They Ask, You Answer! Marcus Sheridan on Marketing Smarts [Podcast]

Marcus Sheridan on Marketing Smarts [Podcast]. When companies started asking how Marcus had turned River Pools around, he founded The Sales Lion—a sales, marketing, and personal development business—to help others master the content marketing approaches that had made River Pools so successful. I invited Marcus to Marketing Smarts to discuss content tips from his new book They Ask, You Answer: A Revolutionary Approach to Inbound Sales, Content Marketing, and Today's Digital Consumer. It doesn't matter what you do—B2B, B2C, service products, big/small, local/national, there are three reasons why [businesses] don't [disclose]. The issue with that is very simple...If I came to you and I asked what would drive the cost of a project up, you would say 'I can explain that.' "The second reason why we say we can't [disclose] is 'well, I don't want the competition to see my pricing.' If I ask anybody worth their salt in business, 'Do you have a good sense of what the competition charges?' "And the third reason we justify that we can't...talk about cost and price is because we'll scare people away. I'm not asking you to put a price list on your website, but the fact is that everybody wants to know what you're charging just like you want to know what they're charging when you research something.... You do need to explain the marketplace, and if you do, you're going to start to win trust and win traffic." Use content to help your sales team address common questions (19:45): "I do a whole lot of sales training.

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Necessity is the mother of invention, as the proverb goes. And in 2008, Marcus Sheridan needed to improve business at River Pools and Spas. The economic downturn had crushed the pool business, and the company could no longer afford huge ad buys or traditional media. Faced with a looming crisis, Marcus turned to a new channel to drum up business: blogging.

He sat down at his kitchen table and typed the answer to every question he’d ever been asked about pools. Through content, Marcus transformed River Pools and Spas from a struggling small business into a thriving company. He also built the company site into the most-visited swimming pool website in the world.

When companies started asking how Marcus had turned River Pools around, he founded The Sales Lion—a sales, marketing, and personal development business—to help others master the content marketing approaches that had made River Pools so successful.

I invited Marcus to Marketing Smarts to discuss content tips from his new book They Ask, You Answer: A Revolutionary Approach to Inbound Sales, Content Marketing, and Today’s Digital Consumer.

Here are just a few highlights from my conversation with Marcus:

Stop trying to hide your pricing (seriously) (06:10): “Here’s where businesses go off the tracks. They say three reasons [for not disclosing pricing]. It doesn’t matter what you do—B2B, B2C, service products, big/small, local/national, there are three reasons why [businesses] don’t [disclose].

“The first reason is ‘well, I have a very customized solution…every job is different, my prices vary, and I’m not selling a widget here.’ The issue with that is very simple…If I came to you and I asked what would drive the cost of a project up, you would say ‘I can explain that.’ And if I came to you and I said what would keep the cost of a project down. You’d say, ‘Sure, I can explain that.’ And then if I came to you and asked…’Why are some [vendors] so expensive and some so cheap, and what is the difference between the expensive and the less expensive products or vendors in your marketplace,’ and then again you’d be able to understand that. So that’s the…

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