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.
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.