When you talk to most people about online marketing, the most common suggestion you get is: “You need a blog!” However, many people would answer that they don’t have enough to write blogs and creating one would just require too much time.
Some may believe that just because everyone is doing it, doesn’t mean I should do it too. However, having a blog has proven great results for many businesses and it needs to be part of your strategy.
Many hobbyists blog because they love to write, but this might not be the case for business owners trying to attract sales. You’re probably not a writer and content just isn’t really your forte. However, this shouldn’t stop you from having a blog and using it to generate sales.
1. Promote a Product
According to research from Technorati, blog posts are the third most influential digital resource that customers use for making purchases. They outrank every social network and even news sites as valuable information sources for customers.
Many bloggers connect their content to an e-commerce site, leaving a trail of digital breadcrumbs from blog post to transaction. Try these blogging success tips for building your own product promotion blog:
- Answer customers’ FAQs. Consider questions customers might have regarding your product, including questions about how to use it, how it’s made, and how it compares to similar products. Show videos of your product being made and used, or include testimonials from satisfied customers.
- Invest in high-quality photography. If your product is something that photographs well, fill your blog posts with beautiful, high-resolution images. Use social networks like Pinterest and Instagram to drive traffic to your blog.
- Do something offbeat with your product. Most products are built for one primary purpose, but they can do other things as well. One creative orthodontist wrote a blog post about alternate uses for toothbrushes — splinter removal — and using a Waterpik to clean Legos.
2. Build a Community
Many businesses use blogs to promote products indirectly by creating community around what the product can do. The blog itself might make money through advertising and letting brands post sponsored content.
For example, the Hello Healthy blog has four sections — Eat, Move, Live, Learn — filled with content for people who use the MyFitnessPal app. App users get useful blog content, chat in message boards, and even create their own blog posts to share with the community. New customers might stumble across one of these blog posts online and download the app, but the blog’s primary purpose is to keep people coming back to MyFitnessPal.
3. Generate Leads
Some products, such as books or electronics, are easy to order online. Other products or services, either because of expense or complexity, aren’t suitable for one-click ordering. Instead of generating quick sales, a blog for products like this should generate leads for the sales department. HubSpot, a maker of marketing automation software, has one of the best lead generation blogs on the Web.
HubSpot writes blog content angled toward people who might use their products, including marketers, sales professionals, or agencies. The blog posts offer valuable advice and persuade readers to download additional free content. HubSpot uses their blog as a way to collect reader contact information in exchange for the free content and then uses email marketing or direct sales to nurture the leads. The blog’s content helps marketers and sales professionals to do their jobs better — while persuading them that buying HubSpot would be the biggest helper of all.
4. Get Event Signups
Creators of conferences, workshops, or other events need to persuade people to register and attend. They also have to maintain interest in their events year-round to make people eager to come back for more.
The World Travel Market conference in London attracts over 50,000 travel professionals per year, including a large number of travel bloggers. The WTM Blog, with its year-round posts about travel industry trends, generates interest in the conference and helps attendees to stay connected when they aren’t in London.
5. Cross-Promote Other Conversion Channels
Some professionals and businesses use podcasting, Vimeo channels, or books as their primary audience building tools. Then, they use blogs as secondary solutions for drawing people toward their primary channels.
One good example is Todd Henry, author of “Louder Than Words,” who creates blog posts about creativity, productivity, and leadership. The blog cross-promotes his books, his podcast, “The Accidental Creative,” and his speaking and consulting services.
Tell Readers What You Want Them to Do
Once you’ve chosen a conversion goal for your blog, include clear calls to action letting visitors know exactly what you want them to do. After you have a strategy, getting your blog from mediocre to money-maker is just a matter of time and experimentation.