- Oct 7, 2013
- By Emily Inman
- In Marketing Strategy and Planning, Content Marketing
Can Posting Blogs Really Turn Into More Sales for My Company?
When I tell people what I do for a living (create content strategies for a digital marketing firm right in beautiful downtown Cincinnati), I usually get a lot of strange looks.
“I blog” gets me at least a nod of recognition. And usually a comparison to whichever writer or website is most popular out there in the blogosphere.
“So, like Mashable, right?”
No one quite understands how blogging can be part of an effective marketing strategy. Some of our clients haven’t even quite understood it. At first.
To Blog or Not to Blog, That is the Question
Blogging is the first thing that new clients want to throw by the wayside when we’re hammering out a contract. Do we really need to post twice a week? Can we just do one? In fact, why do we even need to bother with a blog at all? We have a Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn.
Even clients who have come to us looking for help in improving their digital footprint want to know how blog entries translate into more leads. That’s why they signed up with us after all.
After a while, as their traffic steadily increases and they begin to get more leads, they start to get it.
Blogging has proved particularly effective for the retirement communities and other clients that we work with.
The process looks a little something like this:
Provide information --> Drive traffic --> Generate leads --> Delight Customers --> Create ambassadors
Inbound marketing is different than its print counterpart. It’s not about being the loudest or the flashiest. It isn’t about putting yourself out there and waiting for people to find you. In fact, it isn’t really about you at all.
Blogging—and inbound marketing in general—is about providing a service to your customers and potential customers. You aren’t standing on the street corner in silly costume spinning a sign. Or plastering your slogan across a billboard. Inbound marketing is far more subtle than that—and that’s why it’s so effective.
Yes, blogging is meant to attract attention to your website, but you don’t need to do it by intruding on an uninterested audience. Not when you can take advantage of a pool of interested viewers that is looking for someone just like you. No neon colors or flashing lights necessary.
These days, consumers check, double check, then check again before they ever make a purchase, and according to fact tank Pew Research, search engines are one of the first stops for fact checking. In fact, 92% of adults are avid searchers, says Pew’s findings.
Your blog plugs into this resource by providing searchers with a casual source of educational content on topics on which they are looking for information.
Sure, you can turn visitors into leads by pointing them in the direction of your tireless sales team—who are, after all, you lead handling experts. But wouldn’t you rather give your team qualified leads?
Well, your blog can do that by honing down your audience to those readers who would be interested in the products or services you offer.
When you’re creating a content strategy, think about who it is that you’re trying to speak to. Ask yourself questions to get into the mindset of your target audience (i.e. potential customers):
- What kinds of things do they want or need to know about your industry?
- What are some of the most common questions people ask about businesses like yours?
- What other information can you provide that they haven’t asked for yet?
Once you’ve established this baseline target, start a dialog. Write posts that engage their interest then create offers that draw them in.
If you’re a retirement community, like some of our clients, you can start by offering a how-to or topical guide that offers in-depth information on a subject they want or need to know more about (Medicare, and healthcare in general, really, are topics that seem opaque to the average American).
They probably don’t want to be blasted with information about your services at this point, but once you perk their interest with relevant information, you can lead them down the sales funnel with targeted ever more content and personalized offers (looking for a retirement community? Take a tour!)
And that is how your blog turns into sales.
Delight Customers and Create Ambassadors
At this point, your leads have been turned over to your sales team who has turned them into satisfied customers, but your blog doesn’t stop doing its work.
If your blog continues to provide a service (the information they want and need to know) that delights readers even after they’ve become customers, they’re going to tell people about it. They’re going to tell their friends and family about you. They’re going to share your blog posts on Facebook and Twitter.
Basically, they’re going to do your advertising for you.