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3 Mistakes that Are Keeping Your Readers from Becoming Cash Customers

Image via taxcredit.net

Image via taxcredit.net

This is a guest contribution from Sonja Jobson.

You’ve been told that blogging is a great way to grow your business online, snag leads, and ultimately make sales.  And so far, your blog is helping to boost your traffic, spread the word around on social media, and build up an audience.

But leads? Customers? Money? Not so much.

There is a difference between blogging and blogging for business and, if haven’t been seeing much return on your blogging investment, you’re probably participating in the former.

But don’t sweat it – you can easily turn things around and start transforming your blog readers into cash customers and clients by avoiding three common mistakes and counter-acting them with simple changes to your blogging strategy.

Mistake #3 – Never mentioning your products or services

We’ve all been warned that, when it comes to marketing our businesses via social media platforms, we should avoid “pitching” our audience at all costs. That being promotional and sales-y will just turn people off and leave you shouting into an empty void.

Look, over-promoting your business is never attractive. If you’re constantly trying to make a sale – at the cost of being helpful and human – then you’re going to alienate your audience. Content and social marketing is all about being of service, providing value, and giving before getting. But there is a limit to this rule.

We can get so caught up in avoiding the “pitch” that we become media producers instead of business owners. 

You have to find a balance between producing really helpful content that your audience will get value from (which is very important) and educating your audience on your business and what you sell.

If you leave the last piece out, you may attract an amazing, engaged audience – but you won’t make any money.

Mentioning your products and/or services in appropriate places, at an appropriate frequency is not an offense, it’s a smart business move.

#2 – Creating content that appeals to peers, not prospects

A blog isn’t going to help find valuable business leads unless you are attracting the right readers. It may sound obvious, but a lot of people miss the mark on this one.

It’s all about the subtle differentiation between creating content that would attract your peers (or other industry leaders) and your prospects (people who are ideal for your product or service).

Let’s say you’re in the career coaching business. Your prospects probably don’t care about the latest development in career coaching techniques – that would be your peers. Your prospects would much rather read about how career coaching can help them get the raise they’ve been working so hard for or the five simple steps for figuring out what type of job they should pursue.

When writing blog posts that would appeal to prospects, it can sometimes feel like we’re writing about “dumb” stuff. Topics that surely everyone knows about. But it only seems that way because you spend all your time immersed in those topics. You’re the expert. Your prospects aren’t.

#1 – Not focusing on the opt-in

The number one reason most business blogs aren’t converting readers into customers: a lack of strategy for moving blog readers through the sales funnel.

A blog in and of itself isn’t a direct selling tool. It’s powerful way to grow awareness of your brand, build the “know-like-trust” factor with your prospects, and educate people about your business, but on its own it doesn’t generate sales.

A blog can get people ready to become a customer, but you need to have a strategy that goes beyond the blog to convert readers into buyers.

And that strategy is all about your email list. Once you get an interested blog reader to opt-in to your email list, you can begin the sales conversation.

Directing people to your email list should be one of your top blogging priorities. Include opt-in forms on your blog (the side bar and below each blog post are good locations) and prompt readers to subscribe often.

Once you get people on your list, you can deliver more great content to their inbox (like your latest blog posts) as well as sales messages.

Wrapping Up:

Remember that it’s OK (and smart) to mention your products and services on your blog when appropriate. Don’t get super self-promotional, but don’t hold back from including a link to your newest product or mentioning your helpful service if it fits naturally into the context of your post.

Your content should always be written for your ideal prospects, not your peers. Even if something seems obvious to you, it might be just what your prospects were searching for.

A blog all by itself won’t convert readers into customers. You need a follow up system: aka your email list. Make growing your list a top priority when blogging for business.

Sonja Jobson helps small business owners and entrepreneurs become incredible on the internet with content marketing. Grab her free, weekly biz training series and profitable marketing guides for even more business-growth goodness.

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Comments

  1. Priya Ranjan says:

    Very sharp and to-the-point tips. My take away from this post:

    Don’t promote too less – it will not be informative enough.
    Don’t promoting too much – it will show desperation.

  2. shawn says:

    Thanks for providing these tips,they are really useful. I appreciate the time and effort you spend behind this wonderful post for us.

  3. The term OPT-IN you used hits my mind and yes this could be a real asset and a technique to make regular customer on our website…..

  4. This is really an incredible article. But I would like to ask, what if I aren’t selling any product or aren’t offering any service, then is it possible that there will still be readers to my blog? I am asking this for myself.
    Thanks!

  5. Paul Back says:

    Hey Sonja

    I agree completely with many bloggers forgetting to do everything in their power to grow their subscriber list – opt ins are meant to make things as easy as possible for your reader to subscribe as once they are going they usually never come back.

    I also feel that a lot of bloggers fear selling their products and services, they don’t understand that if people are choosing to read and contribute – they appreciate the work and would love the chance to at the very least consider buying a product form someone they trust and respect.

    I personally think a blog should sell a service or product from day 1 – you don’t have to shove it down peoples throats but promotion is a part of business.

    Paul Back

  6. Thanks for posting…I am in the midst of switching from TV to online and can use all the help and info I can get…marketing yourself is a tough gig!

  7. Debarpan says:

    Yes,you’re absolutely right.I just make a service page on my blog so that people could get informed more about my services.

  8. Tom says:

    Great post Sonja. I really liked mistake #2 – “Creating content that appeals to peers, not prospects” I see many blogs doing just that. Do you this this is because people find it easier to communicate with peers?

  9. Thanks for sharing useful tips. My perspective is content plays crucial role in the online marketing success. If content is quite relevant to the prospective readers, they are naturally compelled to buy your offers.

  10. Robin says:

    Good stuff. I remember the first time people seemed real appreciative the moment I told them about something they could buy.

    At first I had this vague notion of doing something ill. But the reality was I was sharing stuff that I would and did spend money on. And when it helped me then, it turns out, other people WANTED me to let them know!

  11. Benaya Paul says:

    Nice Content, thanks for sharing

  12. Fernando Biz says:

    Great ideas and tips to make the blog more reader friendly and attract the audience. Thanks for the sharing.

  13. Hey Sonja,

    Thank you for this informative post. This post includes more great info about how to convert readers into cash……
    Thank you sharing this great post….

  14. As with many things in our lives, we need to play a tightrope-balancing act on this front of our business. Not promoting at all is as big a problem as sounding desperate with over-promotion. One just needs to find the right balance.

  15. Ramsay says:

    Thanks for this. I like the idea of targeting “up” to your peers rather than “down” to make a sale. If you are speaking to an audience who is already interested in the topic you can get more attention. The potential buyers/subscribers will see something to grab them.

    I also like the idea of promoting the opt in. For me that’s what it’s all about.

  16. Diane says:

    Great tips and really useful to remember.
    I have stopped myself writing something because I think people might already know it but I think I need to move beyond that for sure.

  17. Mivhael Chaffee says:

    Perhaps a more appealing, less common approach may be self-hosting your full blog and spreading in-part articles linking back to your main site where you peddle your wares, services, etc.. This would help avoid over-use of ads in each individual post and bring your customers to your house, as it were, instead. I am personally more likely to explore a site if it is referenced in an interesting post or article. From my perspective, this is a best practices top ten for book and magazine sales, so why not everything else too?

    • Michael Chaffee says:

      Curse me for responding from my phone. My name is Michael, not Mivhael. This is also a sign of poor blogging practices. :S