Image source: Intiaz Rahim / Flickr
Sorry, but first-time visitors to your company’s website probably don’t want to talk to your sales representative. The internet and mobile technology have revolutionized the way that consumers research organizations, and many prospects who find your website through organic search simply aren’t ready to make a purchase. This fact doesn’t mean you need to cut your losses, continue using various blog tricks, and wait for your phone to ring. It simply means you should realize the power of your blog for educating your future customers, and strive to create a reader experience that’s as informative and valuable as possible. Leveraging the experience and proven results of the best experts in the industry, we’ve curated 10 remarkable blog tricks to help you reach your sales goals, without resorting to pushy content:
1. Use Better Keyword Research
89% of consumers use search engines as a tool in purchase decisions. Generating more conversions and sales from your blog requires better targeting, which can be achieved through more effective keyword research. Your keyword strategy shouldn’t revolve around scoring the top position for the easiest keywords to rank for, or beating out your competitors. It should be a natural extension of your customer-focused strategy, enacted by matching content to the key terms your prospects are using to find answers.
2. Answer Customer Questions
One of the most effective ways to target your content and utilize high-potential keywords is to focus your business blog around the questions your sales team most often is asked by potential clients. Back in 2007, marketing guru Marcus Sheridan was the owner of a struggling swimming pool business. He took an unconventional approach to marketing by answering the question he received most often: how much does a fiberglass pool cost? He didn’t provide specific pricing in the blog article, just general insight on options offered and costs, but the article was ranked #1 for relevant search words within 24 hours.
Construction equipment manufacturer Caterpillar utilizes this blog trick effectively, and in the example below illustrates how to use customer questions as a title, and the basis, for content marketing:
Image source: Shanna Kurpe
3. Use Your Content as Educational Assets
Once you’ve published a blog article and promoted it, what happens? Do you forget you ever spent time, or do you keep utilizing it as an educational asset? Your evergreen content marketing shouldn’t be put to rest, and one of the most effective blog tricks for sales is knowing how to generate recurring value out of your most-relevant articles. The following example from the HubSpot blog illustrates how the company is able to promote their content assets, while providing distinct value to prospects, by creating a text call-to-action:
Image source: HubSpot
4. Get the Context of Your Call-to-Actions Right
Using call-to-action buttons on blog content is among the most guaranteed ways to boost your sales, but only if you get the context just right. Promoting an irrelevant eBook can feel like a push tactic to your readers, or simply be ignored. However, using your existing content offers to provide additional value at the bottom of your content body will feel more natural. As Heidi Cohen advises, “once your content gets them primed to find out more or buy the product, lead them to take the next step.”
The example below illustrates a perfect alignment of content and call-to-action:
Image source: Social Media Examiner
If you’re ready for more advanced blog tricks, consider including call-to-action buttons in your editorial calendar, to prepare in advance to provide the best contextual fit possible.
5. Provide True Insider Insight
There’s a great deal of conversation surrounding the concepts of providing valuable content, in order to maximize your chances of earning a top position in search in crowded industries. The best possible block tricks allow you to achieve both better SEO and more sales, by providing information that your prospects simply can’t find elsewhere. As Amie Marse advises, your leading question before publishing should be “does this blog post reveal true insider knowledge of my industry?” It’s a fact that people want to purchase from experts, not individuals who casually dabble in their product or services. Feel free to strut your stuff a bit in your blog content by delving into the hard topics that haven’t been covered by your competitors.
In the example below, Buffer App managed to publish an enormously popular blog article about content marketing best practices by taking the brave step to reveal their own missteps. It’s a given that it received far more attention than something more general, because it’s relevant, honest and written from a position of expertise:
Image source: Buffer
6. Target More Effectively
Has anyone ever said “wow, this blog article was so incredibly general, I just have to share it on Facebook?” Unlikely. People share content which resonates deeply. Marse believes that writing with a specific audience profile in mind is one of the most important components of creating remarkable content. Don’t lose site of your ideal customer in hopes of creating something with mass appeal. It may seem like a counterintuitive blogging trick, but it’s far more effective to target the right person than fail to hit the mark with anyone. In fact, studies by Marketing Sherpa have found that highly-targeted blog articles increase sales leads 124%.
The following example from Digital Agency Couch is a perfect example of targeting content to a clear audience, which happens to be pharmaceutical marketers:
Image source: Couch
7. Illustrate Worst Case Scenarios
The intersection of psychology and marketing is a fascinating science, and one of the most interesting studies encountered recently reveals a pretty shocking truth: people will fight harder to avoid losing a dollar, than to earn a dollar. According to Derek Halpern of Social Triggers, the phenomenon is known as loss aversion. One of the most effective blog tricks you adopt could be focusing on more than just how your product or service benefits your customers. Take a deep, honest, data-backed look at what prospects have to lose if they don’t become your customer.
8. Naturally Showcase Your Product or Service
No one – I repeat, no one, likes reading a blog article that feels like awkward or forced product placement. We’ve likely all encountered content marketing which feels like it solely exists for the purpose of SEO or pushy sales. However, you can showcase your product or service in action on your blog without making anyone feel like they’re being sold to. Cohen recommends that you “make it easy for your customers to imagine owning your product by seeing it in use.” This can take the form of case studies or visual content, including user-generated submissions of Instagram pictures or Vine videos:
The example below from salad restaurant SweetGreen illustrates these blog tricks with the effective usage of a customer’s photograph of their product:
Image source: SweetGreen
The lesson? Blogging ad nauseam about your products, particularly if your language seems lifted straight from the manufacturer’s descriptions, won’t do you any favors. Alternatively, showcasing how your product fits into the context of your prospect and customers’ lives are perfectly classy blog tricks for sales.
9. Don’t Be Afraid of Your Competitors
It may seem almost counterintuitive, but directly addressing your competition could be one of the boldest, and most effective, blog tricks you adopt. Comparison shopping is easier – and more popular – than ever in the digital age, when accurate pricing information and user-generated brand reviews are always a click away. When contrasted with the statistic that 96% of first-time visitors to your company website will never pay a second visit, it becomes clear that it’s important to maintain their interest and capture their contact information.
The most effective blog trick is to combat comparison shopping and truly impress your prospects with your extensive knowledge, by addressing your competitors directly on your blog. Provide all the information they need, include comparisons of their products and services against your own. Don’t inflate your reviews or throw shade on your competition, which will only cause you to lose credibility. This blog trick only works if you manage to position yourself as a resource.
Sheridan achieved remarkable results, which included first-page Google rankings and measurable ROI, by providing reviews of his competition:
Image source: The Sales Lion
10. Justify Your Brand
The world’s most brilliant salesmen are always prepared to address prospective customer’s objections. If their product is more expensive than a competitors’, they’re able to eloquently address why they provide more value for each additional dollar. To effectively blog for sales, it’s critical to know your buyer personas’ most-common objections, and be prepared to address this in your content marketing. Sonia Simone of Copyblogger advises content marketers to “give people the facts and figures they need so they can justify the purchase to themselves.” Emotional appeals could work, but well-researched and logically-presented articles are likely to be far better blog tricks.
One of the best examples we’ve seen of addressing customer objections through content marketing comes from luxury accessory manufacturer Louis Vuitton. Their sales-driven blog tricks feel perfectly natural in a fresh series of videos that showcase the craftsmanship behind their products:
By taking a common objection to their product, which is cost, by the horns, Vuitton was able to educate and persuade their prospective buyers.
Blogging for business could be one of the most effective sales tools your company adopts. While it’s critical to leverage all blog tricks possible to reach your goals, remember that your primary mission should always be to provide value. By mapping your content strategy to customer questions and objections, you can leverage content to achieve your end goals.
What blog tricks did you use to utilize content marketing to reach your sales goals?