There are currently over 300 million blogs on the internet. You might be saying to yourself with so much competition for attention -
Why would I want to use a blog to market my products and services ?
The simple answer is, using a blog to provide authoritative, relevant, content can be one of the most effective ways to market products and services whilst educating customers and clients about your offer.
The difficult challenge, and why so many entrepreneurs dreams and blogs end up in the fail whale bone yard, is it takes time, effort, and consistent hard work to create excellent content and attract customers.
But you would not be an entrepreneur if you did not want to work smart and hard, would you ?
However, if you are determined and use the right approach a blog will prove to be an extremely effective way to build a lucrative sales funnel.
Most importantly, it is a way to show potential customers and clients you know what you are doing, are trustworthy, authentic and credible.
There is a wealth of information on the internet about marketing products and services online. There are thousands of individuals and organisations who will teach you the tactical elements of crafting and delivering a message to attract the right target group.
For free and a fee.
This fact aside however, without a clear vision and strategy in place that is carefully thought through from the beginning, it will be difficult to achieve the results you anticipate.
Be under no illusions – blogging is definitely not the easy route to the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
Despite the challenges, you can create a blog that provides a base for you to engage people, build a community around your content, and attract the people who will turn into your 1000 True Fans.
Here are some key areas to consider when developing your vision for how you will market products or services and communicate using your blog.
The primary goal of a blog is to communicate. From the design, type of content, language used, and writing style, to the way you respond to enquires or comments. All these elements and more communicate your overall brand identity to your target clients or customers.
What do you stand for, are you corporate, a hipster, uber – cool, or uniquely outside these definitions and stereotypes? What is your product or brands magic formula that makes it different - do you want to be remarkable and an example in your market? How will you demonstrate professionalism and knowledge?
Being absolutely clear about your meaning is critical. Without a deep understanding of what drives you and underpins your business philosophy, explicitly, there, will be confusion in your mind. Understanding your reasons will be the key to staying motivated and focused through the ups and downs that will inevitably affect your business.
Crucially, understanding what values, principles and philosophy underpins and drives your meaning will give you the ammunition to make sure you do not confuse visitors to your blog.
What is the overall product or service concept you are trying to communicate? Does your product or service meet customers needs and help them solve problems? Or are you promoting a cause, creating a movement, and trying to engineer and deliver a change in society your community? Or do you just want to sell within your specialist area?
Analyse the idea for its unique features and benefits and make sure it is something people will want to buy, support, promote or join. Without a clear understanding of what problem you are trying to resolve, there will be no valid reason for people to buy your idea or continue to visit your blog. People may not buy what you are selling, but they will spread an idea worth spreading and that may be more valuable to you in the long term.
Research has shown 90% of communication is achieved through sight. How will your blog look? What will the primary design communicate? Will you opt for vibrant, bright, or subtle colours that go outside, or conform to what is expected in your industry or area of domain expertise? Making sure your design is user friendly, optimized for selling, and creates a positive emotional response is vital. When customers land on you home page you want to make an impact, ideally that exceeds all of their expectations.
How are you going to cut through all the competition so your message stands out amongst the clamour for customers and clients that is a typical feature of online marketing? What unique approaches, projects, initiatives, services, partnerships and affiliations will you develop that ensure your voice is heard above the noise? How will you use social media, and emerging platforms such as Namesake and Quora to raise your profile, and attract clients who need your expertise?
How will your customers contact you? Will you use email marketing to sell your services, contact forms to qualify clients and comment boxes to generate conversation on your blog? How will you ensure you have mechanisms in place to gather critical information about visitor and client behaviour, and use this continually to develop, improve and renew existing services and create new ones?
Your primary objective is to communicate but communicate in a way that leads to developing a relationship so you get the opportunity to present an offer that sells.
These are just some of the many areas to consider when deciding how to use your blog to market your products and services. Your primary concern should not be to provide definitive answers for each question or issue that needs considering.
This will quickly overwhelm you with information and activities and, as a small business, you may not have the time or resources to provide answers or solutions for immediately.
But have a vision and strategy, develop a system, answer some of these questions from the outset. This will give you a firm foundation to build on.
Having these foundations allows you to evolve and improve your offer as you move forward – something that every successful business understands.