Blog marketing is a revolutionary new way of promoting sales of your products and services on the Web. The premise of blog marketing is that if you offer your customers something of value for free, they will come back again and again until they are loyal followers, purchasers, and promoters of your brand.
The draw for customers is that blog marketing provides them with interaction with the company itself; rather than being a cold, one-way process it is a dialogue between two like-minded individuals. A blog continually provides fresh, new content for customers to interact with, as opposed to the standard, unchanging websites common among corporate America. With word-of-mouth greatly surpassing all other means of promotion, every business owner needs to build the kind of relationship that brings loyalty.
There are three keys to blogging as an authority and increasing your sales?
1. To blog as an authority, you must be an authority
People want to buy their products from an expert. They seek advice from experts. And they are only willing to pay for expert help. Are you truly an expert?
If you want to establish yourself as an authority in your field, your best “proof” is in the testimonials of happy customers.
Ask every customer for a testimonial, ask permission to post their real name (even if just first name and last initial) and location, and if possible post a small photo of them. If your products or services have been used by another professional and/or a well-known individual, all the better! Making the testimonials real, with real people whom other customers can see, will speak volumes to your expertise.
If you’re just starting out, you may need to offer discounts or even freebies in order to gain the level of experience and the number of testimonials you need to establish yourself as an expert.
Another way to establish your credibility is to continually offer great value to your customers. If they are visiting your blog for financial tips, they are not interested in reading about what you did on the long weekend. Nor do they want a “fluffy” piece about why budgeting is a good thing.
Clients come to you expecting “meat,” and they are not likely to stick around if they’re not being well-fed. It is more important to provide content of excellent quality than it is to post frequently. So if you only have one substantial (meaty) financial tip per week, post once per week and do it well.
Talk like an expert:
Have you ever listened to a public speaker that made you feel uncomfortable? Not just uncomfortable, but embarrassed – for them? Perhaps they apologized profusely for a technical glitch that you hadn’t even noticed. Maybe they stumbled over their words and came across as less-than-confident. Did their sardonic sense of humour begin to come across more as low self-esteem than as funny?
Avoid self-deprecating phrases and tone. Don’t say, “I’m no expert, but…” Do not write in a tentative or hesitant voice. Be forthright, authoritative, encouraging, and honest. If you have had success in your field, at whatever level you are currently at, you are an expert. Be confident in your abilities and wisdom. Trust yourself, or no one else will trust you.
2. Start at the beginning – the title.
With each blog post you write, you have one opportunity to draw people in. Your title will be the determining factor in whether the reader clicks “continue reading” or not. While it may be fun to provide witty titles full of analogy or allegory, such titles just don’t let your readers know what the post is about.
Blog post titles should be one-hundred percent clear in outlining the purpose of the post. For example, if you sell home improvement supplies and write posts that help your readers learn how to DIY (do it yourself), a post entitled “The pot of gold at the end of the Rainbow” will garner significantly less hits than one called “Why Using a Rain Barrel can Save You Hundreds.”
3. Extend your reach.
The broader your reach, the bigger your readership grows. The more readers you have, the more influence you have. Influence translates into authority and sales, without fail!
Use social media:
Do you have a Facebook page? A Twitter account? Are they separate from your personal accounts? And do you use them?
The secret to using social media effectively is to not use them as promotional tools. That’s right – I just told you that not promoting your business will grow your business. Too much self-promotion just turns people off.
Social media tools are there to create avenues for interaction. They are additional methods for you to create brand awareness and loyalty, through the building of relationships. If your social media use is 80% interaction and 20% promotion, you’ve got the formula just about right.
Give stuff away:
Another counter-intuitive thought – giving stuff away is profitable. Product giveaways are not difficult to do, and can often be used as a tax deduction for your business. You don’t have to be excessive, and it doesn’t have to be expensive.
A classic example of this can be seen on Author blogs. When an author comes out with a new book, the Publisher will usually provide him or her with 100-500 free copies of the book. If the author hosts a giveaway each month for 3 months, where 100 copies can be won, that book’s chances of making both Amazon’s and the New York Time’s best-sellers lists increases significantly. Just think of the thousands of people who entered the contest but didn’t win; chances are good that more than half of them will go out and purchase the book on their own.
Blog marketing is an excellent way to build your business in our Internet-driven society. The key thing to keep in mind is this: it’s not about you, it’s about them. If your focus is on the customers and how you can provide them with as much value as possible, you will develop a loyal following that will begin promoting you as an authority in your industry, thus increasing your sales.