Blog Smart: 6 Ideas To Move Beyond The Sales Pitch

In my last blog post I talked about the importance of blogging. But what should you put on the page? Obviously you’re going to want to talk about your business and offerings, but in order to keep readers coming back you’ll want to blog about a variety of relevant topics. Below I share several ideas to help keep readers engaged, and content flowing.

Whether you’re starting a blog, or want to blog more often here are 6 ideas to help you keep it vibrant:

  1. Ditch the sales copy, or at least use it sparingly – Just like you wouldn’t subscribe to a magazine that had only ads and no articles, most people will be able to quickly spot if your blog posts are nothing more than an ad for your products. However, there are still easy ways to discuss items you sell, without resorting to bland copy:
    • Employee Review – Have an employee eagerly anticipating the arrival of a new product? Or one who really takes the time to look at products to have a better pitch to the customer? Let them post a review! You’ll get away from the marketing copy with the words of a real user.
    • Artist Inspiration – From fashion design to fine art to food a good question to ask is “What was the inspiration behind this?” This information is a fun tidbit for customers, while still allowing you to talk about the newest works.
  2. Inspire – It’s one thing to see something in a store, but another to see how it deserves a place in the home. Answer this question with blog posts. Display new décor items in a photo right before the seasons change so that customers can get excited about redecorating. Take photos of models or employees wearing the latest fashions or jewelry, combining different pieces for a fresh look. Think about how some objects could be repurposed to get clients to think differently about everyday things.
  3. Be a guru – Customers have questions, and chances are that you have answers. Whether you can spot seasonal trends in questions, and answer proactively, or have recently had a number of clients asking similar things you can be a source of information.
  4. Humanize – Do you have a great team? Talk about them! What are their interests and what strengths do they bring to the company? Your employees will love the acknowledgement, and your customers will enjoy getting to know a little more about the people there.
  5. Don’t hide your involvement – What causes or charities does your business support? Are you participating in fundraisers or did you make a donation? Let customers know when you’re holding events to raise money for your cause, tell them why you are passionate about it. If nothing else, you may encourage generosity in somebody else.
  6. You’re not an island unto yourself – Look at your product. What do you sell, and what else might your customers be interested in nearby? If you’re an art gallery that attracts out of town visitors discuss the museums in the area that customers might enjoy. A boutique who specializes in handcrafted beauty products might recommend a spa for relaxation, and a restaurant might recommend a tour of a local winery.

There are endless ways to move beyond mere sales copy. How do you engage your blog readers? Do you do something else? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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Would You Like More Potential Customers?

B2C companies that blog generate 88% more leads per month than those who do not and B2B companies that blog generate 67% more leads per month than those who do not – Hubspot

If you’re not blogging then you’re missing an important opportunity to connect with customers and expand your business. In fact, increased lead generation is only one of a multitude of benefits to maintaining a regular business blog. As the number of posts and followers grow, so does your traffic. You are also helping your search engine optimization efforts as Google, Bing and Yahoo all love fresh content, and plenty of relevant content to help in searches.

In addition to merely blogging, the frequency of your posts can also dramatically impact your business. According to HubSpot, 56% of blog users who posted once a month acquired a new customer. However that number skyrocketed to 92% when there were multiple posts per day.

Blog readership is also on the rise. More than 50% of the people who use the internet on a daily basis read at least one blog per month, and a large percentage of those read blogs more than once per day. In fact, of those who read blog most read between 5 and 10 blogs on a regular basis.

Just as important as the statistics is that blogging provides a valuable opportunity for you to connect with customers. Your blog is accessible 24 hours a day with information, answers to questions and more. It expands on the information available from your web copy, and comments allow for a measure of interaction.

In my next post I’ll help you break into blogging by providing ideas to keep your blog vibrant.

A blog isn’t just part of a website, it’s a powerful resource for both you and your customers. 

Visual Cues: 3 Best Practices For Images

Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and even Twitter; what do they have in common to this blog post? All are either purely image based or becoming increasingly reliant on photos and other visual posts. Posts with images on Facebook get more engagement overall, and according to a Hubspot study, even links attached to photos get more clicks. With a new timeline design, photos now appear inline, a photo posted to Twitter receives up to four times the engagement of a text-only post.

So, what should I look for in my images?

Continue reading

Marketing Strategy #1

Case Study: How To Market the Energy Biz

I went to lunch with a new friend from a networking group recently. She is a Feng Shui consultant and, like many small biz owners, she’ wondering how best to market herself. She asked me about content marketing in which you pay a content company to write for your biz. The idea here is that you save time or money because you let the company research, write and stay up to date with industry trends.

I told her that for some biz’ this does very well. Given that blogs are now the primary way that people are finding out about a new biz and that businesses that blog more often enjoy a higher lead to conversion ratio, it’s a great idea. Whether it is updates or blogs being written, or even your marketing emails. To take this a step further, your content can be tailored to your biz or general for your industry (which can save you money). Continue reading

Nurture Your Social Following

The 80/20 ruleIn our last email we emphasized building a following and then making updates constant and consistent to keep yourself and your brand fresh in fans minds. But what sort of content should you be sharing?

The 80/20 Rule

One of the essentials to a successful social strategy is to not promote so much that your followers stop paying attention. Instead you want to give your fans something to look forward to when they click that button to receive your messages.

The 80/20 Rule is a loose guideline to help you determine how much of your content should be fun, informational or interesting versus how much you should self-promote. In a nutshell, you should try to ensure that no more than 20% of your updates are focused on selling or self promotion.

Captivate and Engage

Grow your following organically when your fans want to share and interact with your updates. Stunning photography, inspirational quotes and even quirky jokes can all help keep your brand in the fore of their minds while not promoting a particular product.

You also want to engage your audience. Ask questions, interact with them and, of course, answer their questions in return. If you can, give them a stake in the outcome. It can be as simple an option as what to name a new item, or as complicated as what they would like to see in the future. Either way they feel as if their opinion is being considered..