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How understanding content marketing can improve your proposal win rate

Content marketing isn't something new, it's something vital

Watching TV growing up and seeing thousands of advertisements every day has ill prepared people for content marketing. They practice sales in writing when they should be doing marketing. People only procure contracts for services and solutions from companies they trust. Content marketing is about earning trust. Sales requires trust. See the difference? 

If you want a high conversion rate at closing sales, don’t make your pitch until you’ve established that trust. The way you earn trust remotely and in writing is by publishing things that are helpful and prove that you know how to deliver. Sales makes claims and promises, and instead of concluding with something insightful that influences the customer’s decision, sales ends with a call to action.

Each has its place. Content marketing fills the funnel with leads. Sales ends the funnel. It’s not about which is more important, it’s about having both at the right time and place. Practice sales too early in your content marketing and you destroy your credibility instead of building it.


Content Marketing vs. Sales
It's not about you, it's about the reader It's not about you, it's about what the reader is going to get
Conclude with something insightful Conclude with a call to action
Never describe yourself Features, benefits, and qualifications
Proves you know how to deliver Promises delivery
Earns trust Requires trust
Differentiates Closes
Aids customer's decision making Solicits a decision
Easy to view and share Direct and targeted
Attracts readers to browse and consider Drives customers to the call to action
Influences Persuades
Fills the funnel Is the funnel
Inbound and presales Outbound


Because content marketing for contracts is really just relationship marketing in writing, you can learn a lot from understanding it that can improve your proposal writing. Proposals sit in between marketing and the close of the sale. Proposals sometimes have to earn trust and sometimes have to sell.

In content marketing, you shouldn’t describe yourself or your offering. Maybe you can slip them in as an example, but never as an introduction. In content marketing, your description is a footnote at the end of a piece, which someone can click to learn more if they are so inclined. In sales, it’s all about your features, benefits, and qualifications. In proposals, it’s about avoiding describing yourself and presenting your features, benefits, and qualifications from the customer’s perspective. 

First you must understand the subtle distinctions. Then you must perfect your timing. This applies whether you are practicing marketing, sales, or proposals.


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Carl Dickson

Carl is the Founder and President of CapturePlanning.com and PropLIBRARY

Carl is an expert at winning in writing, with more than 30 year's experience. He's written multiple books and published over a thousand articles that have helped millions of people develop business and write better proposals. Carl is also a frequent speaker, trainer, and consultant and can be reached at carl.dickson@captureplanning.com. To find out more about him, you can also connect with Carl on LinkedIn.

Click here to learn how to engage Carl as a consultant.

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