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Blog your way to sales leads!
“Start a blog.” We have heard this advice numerous times now from marketing experts. It sounds simple, but without a focused approach and measurable goals, it’s easy for the blog to suck time, with uncertain returns for your efforts. Many small business owners get into blogging with unrealistic expectations. Your blog should not be used to make sales pitches or directly promote products. If you publish blog posts titled “New product XP312 Pro Edition $99 buy now” with a link to your order page, the results may fall short of your expected sales.
Instead, a blog is an excellent longer-term lead generation tool. It opens the door to conversations with your customers. It educates your prospects. It conveys your company values and puts a human face on your brand.
Stick with these three recommendations and you will get better lead generation results from your blog:
1. Design a post around solutions to issues your customers face.
Not sure specifically what your audience cares about? Use Google Keyword Tool to pull data on the exact phrases or words commonly entered into Google by your audience. Work backwards from here to provide valuable solutions and information to your readers. Directly answering problems your prospects are already trying to find answers to in this manner will build loyalty and customer satisfaction about your company even before a sale!
2. The blog should mirror the customer’s story.
People want to buy things from people they can relate to, and people can most easily relate to others who are like them. Starting from scratch with no established blog audience? Use your friends, family, and business customers! Write a profile article or do an interview with a favorite client, respected peer in your industry or supplier. Take common questions asked by the customer or solicit them for new ones. Elevate others and they will elevate you. Expand your network by finding people to work with in online social media groups or forums.
3. Craft your blog as a driver for your social media world.
In the pre-social media era, blogs were often used as a means to entice prospects to subscribe to your e-mail list. While e-mail still matters, the social media world is the next logical target for your blog traffic – try to draw them in with great blog content, and then maintain the relationship via social media. For the business-to-business sales realm where my company is focused, we use a LinkedIn group that we created – “Manage Your Leads,” which now has 6,000+ members – as an entry to our sales funnel. Invite people to engage on social media. For example, you can mention a conversation you participated in recently in social media (including the links). Or you can identify trending topics on social media and pull from this data for blog article ideas.
Fundamentally, to be successful generating sales leads from your blog, you must participate and allow others to participate in a two-way process. Initiate a dialogue, and respond to customers’ priority issues that they are trying to solve. If your company gets comfortable with both of these aspects of blogging, your blog will help you capitalize on lots of new sales opportunities.