A lot of micro business owners make the mistake of trying to sell through their business blog.
And whilst it is possible (and it is the theme for today’s post), that can’t be your only intention.
That’s because if you push the hard sell, you’ll alienate readers. And the reason is because what reader’s expect a blog to deliver.
Readers value blogs for a number of reasons. They like things such as:
- A fresh supply of up to date, relevant information
- To get free insights and ideas from thought leaders
- To get answers to their questions
- For bite sized, quick to read information
- To be entertained, informed or inspired
To name just a few.
You see readers don’t associate a blog with a sales pitch – so save that for your sales letters and advertising and instead use your blog for a more subtle sales approach.
Let me explain…
As you know micro business is all about people. After all, in business we buy from people and we are more likely to be able to convert a prospect into a customer if you’ve earned the know, like, trust factor. Put simply this means you need to:
- Be known: By demonstrating your authority, knowledge and expertise in your specialist field
- Be liked: By expressing your personality and allowing your audience to build a connection with you
- Be trusted: Gain credibility and respect from your audience and peers
But to sell the products and services offered by your micro business, it’s not enough to earn each one of these in isolation. That’s because the real sales magic happens when the three combine. And the good news is you can achieve all of these through you blog.
So when you think of selling through your blog, you need to do it indirectly. And instead of seeing your blog as a hard sell approach, use it to build authority, likeability and credibility among your target audience.
And here’s how…
- First you need to figure out what you want to be known for and that means identifying your niche. For example are you a Vet Marketing Specialist, A time saving guru for micro business mums or a traditional upholster specialising in a particular style of furniture.
- Next write content tailored specifically for your niche. This involves getting super clear on the questions your niche are asking and writing content designed to address these needs.
- Then promote your blog posts. Use Twitter. Interact within LinkedIn groups and forums. Post links to Facebook. Add a link to your latest blog in your email signature. Put your blog address on your business cards. In fact, take every opportunity you can to direct readers to your posts.
- Blogs are a great way to showcase your personality. Through your blog you can allow your unique tone to shine through. It can take a while to find your voice and often business owners fall into the trap of believing they have to adopt a posh, professional voice when writing. The key with your blog is to keep it conversational, try to write as you speak and your personality will naturally shine.
- Include your photo and a short bio to allow people to build an instant connection with you. You’ll notice the Hub always includes a photo of the author as it turns a faceless name into a real person. Google authorship is also achieving that and helping certain author’s stand out in the search results.
- Respond to comments and interact with your readers. This shows you are approachable and personable and can make a big impact in helping you to build relationships and get to know your audience.
- Arguably social is the new search which means you need to use your social share buttons to your advantage. Display them on your blog and make it super easy for readers to share your articles. You could say that the more tweets, Facebook likes and Google +1s your posts clock up, the more credibility your blog gains. So harness this opportunity to display social proof and use it to grow your audience.
- Interact with your audience on social media platforms such as Twitter and keep an eye on who is tweeting and talking about your work. Positive comments and feedback by authorities can help to boost your authority and direct more traffic to your blog.
- Include testimonials on your blog. You can’t beat 3rd party validation for what you do and say. If you have some cracking feedback from your audience, include it on your blog. Even better, if you can include a photo and a website of the person who is vouching for you.
How to sell through your business blog
Earning the know, like trust factor is an essential step.
But there’s more to selling through your blog than doing just that.
You also need to blog about the right type of stuff. And here are some top tips to help you with that:
- Don’t be afraid of giving away information for free. Many micro business owners can feel uncomfortable about giving away their “trade secrets” for free. But think about it. The web is swamped with information and you can pretty much discover anything these days. If you hold back while your competitors blog away, who is going to create the best reputation in the eyes of your potential customers?
- Deepen the relationship through permission marketing: One of the most powerful ways to use your blog is as a tool to grow your list. Once you have permission to interact with people who have shown an interest in what you have to say, link them to an autoresponder sequence. Send out more useful, relevant information but in addition weave in links to your products and services and start warming up the leads.
- Include anecdotes and examples from your work: Case studies can work really well to help you sell through your blog. Where relevant, incorporate examples of your own clients and customers (you don’t have to mention specific names) to support a point you are making. This is a great way to show readers how you are adding value, and can work especially well if you show how you are solving the problems and issues your audience face.
Your blog is a powerful content marketing strategy. Make the decision to publish useful, relevant and interesting content and in time not only will you achieve the know, like trust factor, but you can also help convert prospects into customers.
Today’s Micro Action
Has your blog helped you achieve the know, like, trust factor? Have a think today about how you could use some of the tactics and strategies discussed in this post to sell through your blog.