There’s an old saying that you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make them drink. While this statement holds a great amount of truth, you can also hold a powerful influence over your horse and convince them to not die of thirst.
Everyone can use a bit of guidance, right?
Sure, your customers are obviously smarter than a horse. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t inspire your customers to buy, book appointments, or give your company a call. Your blogging voice holds more power than you think, and that voice can help convert casual readers to committed customers.
Small business blogs aren’t just a way for readers to find out what’s new in the world of your company.
Blogs are a sales tool that, if used correctly, can boost business and generate serious cash flow.
Inspire Purchases With Education
Depending on what phase of the buying process that your customer is in, a nugget of helpful product or service information can sway them in your direction. Small business blogging that caters to education—whether it’s product or service based—is key to convincing customers to take action.
Let’s face it: customers generally won’t buy if they are unsure or unaware of the details of your product. This is especially the case if the product in question is new to the market or expensive.
Think about all of the information that homebuyers need before placing an offer on a home. Homebuyers need guidance, and realtors are in a perfect position to blog about everything from unforeseen challenges, to quick tips for sealing an offer. Once a realtor’s client finds their ideal home and feels educated enough to make an offer, they’ll be ready with a pen in hand.
Industries with expensive products aren’t the only kind to benefit from small business blogging. Pet stores or veterinary clinics can blog about pros and cons on different brands of dog food, ultimately leading your reader to making a purchase from your business. An interior designer can offer how-tos on DIY quick tips for spicing up your space, which can lead to a phone call with customers asking you to do the work instead. And a photographer can blog about the best colors to wear for your skin tone during a photo shoot, which can lead to an e-mail inquiry on your session prices.
Education through small business blogging is all about moving the customer another step down through the sales funnel.
Plant The Seed of Action
When you aren’t posting educational information, another focus is planting the seed of action through your blog. This means that you aren’t necessarily asking your customers to buy on every blog post, but you are putting things in motion for a purchase to be made down the line. In general, this is one of the most powerful aspects of blogging—and doing this with consistency—can produce great results.
One method of planting the seed of action is to conduct a blog post series on a particular item or service. You can even turn an in-depth question into a series, and the same goes for how-tos or case studies. For example, a travel agency can do a blog series on how to find your way around a foreign country, drawing the posts out with must-know language-learning tips and guides to finding restaurants.
A small business blogging series keeps your readers in-tune with your brand, and it gives you blog content to consistently keep the action seed growing. At the end of the series, your readers should feel comfortable enough to make a move with your company.
Solve The World’s Problems
OK, so maybe not all the world’s problems; just a few problems that exist in the world of your readers. Your blog can serve as a helpful information hub that offers advice when your readers don’t know where to turn for help.
So, what exactly do we mean by “free advice?” Of course, you have to draw a line at some point, but free advice can come in several forms. An attorney can offer advice at how to handle the beginning stages of a fender bender. Another example is that a dentist can offer advice at how to care for a toothache until the patient can make it in for an appointment. The advice you offer can be general, but don’t make it vague. Vague advice will only frustrate your readers and as they click away from your website.
Above all else, small business blogging advice needs to be helpful.
You might think that giving away free advice is airing all of your inside industry secrets to the world, but it doesn’t quite work like that.
Solving problems converts readers to customers in two ways. One, it puts you in the position as a knowledgeable and reliable professional. Your readers look to you for your expert opinion and guidance, and offering helpful advice on your blog establishes yourself as a go-to source for industry information.
Second, it helps establish a relationship of trust between yourself and your customers. Which brings us to our next point:
Small business blogging is an excellent avenue for building a sense of trust with your reader base. It’s a no-brainer to say that people are likely to buy from companies that they trust. In fact, 81% of US consumers trust information and advice from blogs. With so much weighing on trust factor between you and your customers, you can help bridge the gap by building trust with small business blogging.
So, how exactly do you build trust with your reader base, anyway? There are several approaches:
- Blog consistently. Blogging on a regular basis shows that you stick to a schedule. Your readers will come to expect a blog post on a certain day, and they can rely on you to post information on a regular basis.
- Educate and mentor. Education is priceless. Teach your way to a better trust factor with your readers.
- Answer questions. Pay attention to the comments section of your blog. If any questions pop up, be sure to answer to the best of your ability.
- Be timely. Timely blog posts show that you are in-tune with your industry and provide relevant information.
Converting readers to customers isn’t as tough as you think. The ‘tough’ part is that building relationships, establishing credibility, and getting your blog posts to convert takes time. Dedicating yourself to these strategies while blogging consistently will maximize your business blog’s performance and win committed customers.
Photo credit: © Fergregory / Dollar Photo Club