Blogs can be used for many different purposes, including sales. They started as a simple tool to share thoughts, ideas and opinions online, since then they have evolved significantly and now they are being used in many different ways. Companies are using them more and more for marketing purposes and they are seeing the benefits. A study from HubSpot indicates that businesses that blog get 55% more website visitors . Blogging for sales is another effective way to leverage blogs and I will explain how to go about it in a 6 step process.
- Find a large enough group of people to talk to. Marketers are always looking for new segments to penetrate with their products and blogs are a great channel to communicate with them. For example, if you sell executive suites to small businesses, you will probably want to target prospects based on geography and perhaps service firms. That will give you a large group of people to talk to but this group will probably be composed of several smaller groups with similar interest, so don’t stop there.
- Learn what is unique about each smaller group. Within that larger segment you should create a variety of content that speaks to what is unique to each one do those smaller groups. Following the example above, it could be interesting to create content that talks about the importance of first impressions, the role of branding in finding new clients, the most successful stock investments strategies or the latest high-end entertainment events in the area.
- Share with them and build trust. We all know that people like free samples, gifts, give away, free content, free research, extras or free trials. Use those to start building your brand and relationship with them. Once you have built that trust and created that first impression, it is really hard to lose it – unless you really screw it. When blogging for sales you must honestly want to share knowledge and tips without expecting something back immediately, you must have patience.
- Be patient and keep sharing. This is key as the game has changed for marketers and sales people, if you go aggressively for the sale without really knowing where the prospect is in the purchasing process, you will create a lot of enemies that could have been clients down the road. More than 95% of your blog’s visitors will not be ready to buy so you must be softer and broader with your message to appeal to a larger group that is most likely looking to simply educate themselves. However, make sure to make it easy for those that are shopping to contact you or purchase online.
- Embrace your visitors and their networks. As people comment on your posts, bookmark them, share them on social networks and subscribe to your blog, make a task for you to develop each one of those relationships and ideally try to take them offline if appropriate. Don’t try to sell them until they are ready and ask more about your product or services. Developing those relationships will also help you reach a much larger audience than you can reach yourself.
- Keep improving your sources. The content that you put in your blog is the fuel that will get your lead generation machine going, so make sure to create an editorial calendar and follow it religiously. If you have trouble coming up with your own thoughts or ideas, you can comment on research reports, studies, do book reviews, interview other experts, etc. Don’t ever run out of gas.