Soft Selling vs. Hard Selling in B2B Content Marketing Strategy
Content marketing strategy are the backbone of any marketing initiative. Since it defines the “substance” in communication made by businesses. Many marketing materials ask the reader to do something, such as pick up the phone, call a sales rep, or place an order. This is known as a “call to action,” and it’s an important in B2B content marketing strategy concept. It’s often said that all marketing materials should have a call to action.
What’s the best way to incorporate a call to action in B2B content marketing strategy? Before we answer that question, let’s compare the hard sell and the soft sell.
The Hard Sell
Hard selling is when aggressive techniques are used to try and persuade someone to make a purchasing decision.
For example, if you’ve ever been to a car dealership, you might have experienced an aggressive salesperson who wants you to make a deal immediately.
If you say you want to talk to your spouse, the salesperson might try to pressure you by saying, “OK, but we can’t guarantee this car will be here tomorrow because someone else is showing serious interest in buying.”
The Soft Sell
Soft selling, on the other hand, is when more subtle forms of persuasion are used. Instead of asking for the sale directly, a soft sell might let someone know what the next step is — and encourage the prospect to take that next step only when they’re ready.
For example, if you’ve ever been offered a free sample at the grocery store, you’ve seen soft selling firsthand. The grocery store hopes you’ll take the free sample, like the product, and decide to buy it.
Which Is Better for B2B?
Most prospects hate experiencing the hard sell. They feel like they’re being pressured — and worse, they often feel manipulated.
That’s why soft-selling techniques tend to work better in a business-to-business environment. B2B buying decisions are not made overnight — in fact, many B2B sales cycles last several months to a couple of years. Your prospects want to take their time, do their research, and get buy-in across many members of their organization before they make a final decision.
And that’s why trust and long-term relationships are so crucial in B2B marketing. Soft selling does a better job of building trust and nurturing a professional relationship.
How to Use Soft Selling in Your B2B Content Marketing Strategy
Here are some good options for incorporating the soft sell in your call to action:
- Give your prospect a phone number where they can talk to a representative
- Provide a website where they can get additional information
- Offer to send the reader an information packet if they’re interested in learning more
- Provide instructions for them to sign up for a seminar or consultation
- Give them an address in case they want to visit your office in person
Any one of these calls to action can help your prospects know what to do next. And because they’re all soft sells, you don’t have to worry about coming across as aggressive, scaring them away, or jeopardizing a promising business relationship.
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