Monday, April 14, 2008

Episode 35: Tips to Enhance the Selling Power of Your Blog

Is your primary reason for using a blog to drive traffic to your website? Is that the real reason for writing a blog and taking the time to spew thoughts and ideas and tips in a word document and then transfer them to the internet. I almost said, put them down on paper? Boy, would I have dated myself. Except for a personal touch, pen and paper for journals and blogs are really passé in the day of people taking their lap tops on vacations with them just to upload their pictures and journal about their trip.

Well, writing a blog, it is still called that, to drive traffic to your website is a good start and a great reason to get motivated. But it’s sort of like having an ice cream sundae with just chocolate syrup when you could have jimmies and walnuts and marshmallow and m and m’s and Reese’s pieces. You have really limited your selling options.

Blogs as marketing media for your website is only the first stage of what business owners can do with a blog to promote their business and increase their selling power. The most powerful use of a blog is a revitalization of Dale Carnegie’s tactics in the much read book, “How to Win Friends and Influence People.”

If you will take your proverbial heads out of the sand for a minute and think like Leonardo Da Vinci instead of an ostrich you will figure out that doing business on line is no longer about telling people about what you do. It’s about customers getting involved and sharing their experience about a product. People do not want to interact with customer service machines with multiple options at the front end or representatives who have no authority to do anything. Savvy customers now want to interact and become part of the decision making process. Debbie Ducic of Gutzy Women discovered the Dove Cream Oil website where internet users could devise their own commercial and other users could see which commercials were viewed the most. What an interactive marketing idea and great way to get customers to interact and find out what needs and benefits would motivate these internet users.

Your blog can do the same thing. If you thought I was going to tell you how to sell on your blog, you were wrong. You can include a friendly low pressure offer and you can also talk about your latest joint venture, but that should not be the theme of your blog.

Your blogs ultimate goal should be to share knowledge, get people comfortable with you, make friends, and better yet—create fans. In other words, increase your credibility. How many times have you told someone about a great restaurant, mechanic, and hair stylist? Do you actually think it’s any different in the internet world? Actually it works faster, because instead of telling one friend over lunch, a fan can send a link or an e-mail or copy of your blog to ten, thirty, one hundred at one time. It’s called viral marketing.

When you refer to that hotel or garage, restaurant or hair salon, you are making a referral because you have intimate knowledge of how the management or owner operates. It’s the same with your blog, that’s the kind of relationship you want to build with your readers.

Okay so maybe you are thinking, “I already do that with my newsletter, and now you want me to do it with my blog also.” Well, e-mail is a wonderful, inexpensive viral marketing to; nothing comes close to it except “SPAM” Just one wrong word in the title and you can be forever relegate to junk mail.

People are wary of scary e-mails about identity theft, self defense tactics in a parking lot, and how many have you gotten attributed to Kris Kristopherson or Art Rooney? Fake emails abound. With a blog, you are not asking for anything, you are not even asking them to react. Your readers can return on a regular basis to read what you have to say about things and never make a commitment, however once they trust you, they will not only give you’re their e-mail, they will give you their business.

So the first goal of your blog, should be to create trust and credibility and to “warm up your prospects.”

So the first thing that I want you to get out of your head is the idea of blogging to sell but realize that you are blogging to make friends and you will make them and friends will become loyal customers.

Okay, next tip, what do I blog about?

If you are like most bloggers, you will start out with writer’s block. Everyone does, but you will eventually wake up in the middle of the night with ideas or want to pull over in your car to write one down. I suggest carrying a digital tape recorder to record your ideas as you get them and then create an editorial calendar for your blog, just like the newspapers have. If you check out my show Positively Pittsburgh Live, another Talk Shoe hosted show; you will discover an editorial calendar for each month with subtopics. That’s what most successful bloggers and talkcasters and radio shows use. Learn from the giants. I did, wasn’t my idea, it was someone else’s. Please don’t plagiarize but you can learn from other bloggers formats.

Here are some tips to get through your initial confusion about what to write about:

1.Subscribe to other blog feeds about your industry or your target market.
For instance I subscribe to tons of marketing and selling letters for this talk cast. Excellent marketers learn from everyone.

I also have Google alerts set up for this show and for Techno Granny Show which is on at 7 AM before this one. For Positively Pittsburgh Live, I have other positive Pittsburghers sending me their press releases. Result is I know what I am going to blog about or talk about on my shows for months in advance.

2. Read trade magazines in your field. If you are selling a legal product then you should be reading Legal Journals. If you sell pharmaceuticals, then you should be checking out anything that has to do with the medical field. If you sell baby products then please read anything with credibility that you can find on raising babies, the safety of babies, the care and feeding of babies.
3. Keep a notebook or file on your computer. Notebooks get lost for me until sometimes years later so I keep a file on my computer, one entitled future shows, and another entitled future blogs.
4. Milk your content. How many of you are bible readers. When you read a chapter or verse in the bible, it almost always has another chapter or verse you can read. It’s okay in your blog to refer people to content on your website, or a former blog or an archived podcast or talkcast.
5. Product reviews, you could review a product to help people make choices or how about adding testimonials that others have given you about your product. Please be honest. If I am reviewing products on my Techno Granny show, I try to set up a comparative analysis ahead of time.
6. Involve your visitors. When they e-mail you a question or comment, ask their permission to post it on your blog. Then do two things: Share it with your readers and save the return e-mail with their permission to post.

So two tips:

Use your blog to make friends, and use it to create credibility which means knowing about and having a passion for what you are writing about.
I have a friend who I recently referred to Talkshoe—Greg Matthis who has a business called Smells Like French Fries. In his search to do something to increase his credibility, market his business and make friends, he hit upon a format for interviewing Pittsburgh Area Restaurants. This flows naturally as they are his clients in a business where he recycles kitchen fry oil. Also it’s something he is passionate about, eating, and so he has a Talk Show which features Pittsburgh Area restaurants and his blog features a recipe each week from that restaurant owner. How many friends do you think he’s making and guess what? He doesn’t have to worry about content for his blog.

This blog post can be reproduced in its entirety with the following information:
© Joanne Quinn-Smith, Monday Morning Marketeer 412-628-5048
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