A while back I wrote an article for Entrepreneur.com describing how I used to sell my products online using pure email marketing and how I grew my business to seven-figures per year. But what would happen if you didn’t want to go the affiliate route and create a massive opt-in list of email subscribers interested in your product?

You can use several digital marketing channels to generate sales and leads without resorting to paid advertising, but one of the most powerful instruments is to gain credibility with your target audience through content marketing.

In case you’re wondering, “content marketing” is simply the practice of creating and distributing valuable, relevant content to attract, engage and persuade people to take action –– such as buying a product or signing up for a service. Content marketers typically build trust with potential customers by providing them with valuable, engaging content that answers their questions, solves their problems or acknowledges their points of view. When you generate authentic and engaging content regularly, you give your customers the opportunity to trust you as a source of valuable information and a champion of their cause.

Why Should You Believe Me?

If you want to generate sales and leads for your product or service, you need to start by asking yourself: Why should people trust me?

Even before you started writing this article, you were undoubtedly asking yourself this question. After all, you’re reading it now –– an indication that you’re probably not convinced of my answer. But let’s look at the facts.

The Facts About My Experience

My name is Peter Grady. I’m the founder and CEO of GRADY & SONS, an independent agency that helps companies and entrepreneurs grow their businesses.

I’ve been in the digital marketing and sales space for over a decade, and during that time I’ve had the good fortune of working with and being associated with some of the biggest names in business: from Amazon, to Patagonia, to Tesla, to Microsoft, DHL, HP, and more.

I’ve been able to provide marketing and sales consultancy to some of the biggest brands in the world, and have had the opportunity to speak at several international conferences, including the Digital Marketing Summit in London and DMA in Amsterdam. Now, I’d like to offer you a candid look at how I’ve built and grown my own business, and how you can use what I’ve learned to generate sales and leads for your products or services.

How I Built My Own Business From the Ground Up

When I was young, my family and I moved a lot –– from one apartment to another, one house to another. One of the side effects of this constant relocation was that my childhood was spent in a variety of cities and towns. This gave me a unique perspective on life, and I think it ultimately contributed to the formation of my professional identity.

I grew up in an entrepreneurial household. My dad was an entrepreneur, and my uncles started multiple businesses –– some still exist today –– that they own and operate. This was definitely something that I took for granted as a kid, but I always felt a bit of a responsibility towards the businesses and brands that my family and I were associated with.

My first sales job was working for a large online marketing company. Being introduced to the world of digital marketing and sales at such a young age really helped prepare me for the role that I’d soon take on as the CEO of my own agency. It was an incredible opportunity, and I credit my time there for helping me build the foundation of my business.

How To Generate Sales and Marketing Leads

Having a clear vision of what you want and a reason why people should believe in you is half the battle won. Now that you know why people should trust you, you can work on developing a strategy to generate increased sales and leads for your product or service.

You don’t need a lot of money to get started. In fact, you can simply set up a blog for free on a platform like WordPress. As you become more familiar with the WordPress platform and how to use it to its advantage, you can start to build out a small community of bloggers who are interested in your product or service. The nice thing about having a blog is that it’s relatively easy to set up. All you need are basic HTML and CSS skills, and you’re good to go.

If you want to take your blog a step further and attract more qualified traffic, you can use a tool like Google Adsense to start making money off your content. With Adsense you can target your ads to be shown only to people in certain locations or with certain interests. You might decide to advertise on a blog that focuses on hiking equipment, for example, because you know that more people are interested in that topic than in, let’s say, real estate or dating. The key is to find an interest that suits your product and takes into consideration the interests of your target audience.

Another important aspect of content marketing is developing trust with your target audience through authentic and engaging content.

What does that mean? It means that you need to create educational content that is both useful and interesting to your readers. One way of doing this is by offering and promoting value through a combination of the following:

  • Useful information that you’ve verified to be true. (e.g. “If you’re interested in buying a travel mug, here’s a list of the best affordable travel mugs that you can buy.”)
  • Informative interviews with industry experts.
  • Industry news articles.
  • Q&A’s with top industry professionals.
  • Videos explaining various topics.
  • Tips and tricks from experts in the field.

By applying these components into your content marketing strategy, you’ll find that your efforts will start paying off quickly –– and before you know it, you’ve generated a steady stream of leads and sales.

If you put in the time and effort to develop useful content that you know is going to be valuable to your target audience, you’ll find that the results will speak for themselves.