Turn your blog readers into customers

Blogging is a huge commitment for most of us…it takes up valuable time and energy to produce your once a month, or once a week blog. And whilst you may write your blog for fun or to purely engage with your audience, there will come a time when you want to try and make money from it. So, what can you do to help make that happen?

Absolutely know your audience  

I find myself writing this all the time when talking about marketing, but it is really so important that you know your audience, especially when you’re writing content for them. Your audience will dictate how you write and what you write…and the language that you use. For example, if you write for a young, gaming audience, you will write for them – you wouldn’t write a blog the same way if it was aimed at a business audience or an older audience.

I’m a marketing consultant so I sometimes have to reign myself in when I’m writing. I love writing about marketing, but when I read my blog back, I have realised in the past that I’m writing for my own peer group of marketers…and that’s not who my audience is! My audience are owners of small businesses who want to increase their own profile online, engage their audiences and of course, sell their products or services. My aim is to teach my readers about marketing, so they have the choice to have a go at it for themselves, and of course, I want to help them with their choice, but ultimately I want my audience to come to me to help them with their marketing and content creation. It’s a fine line!

Just knowing who your audience is isn’t enough – you need to find out a bit more…ask these questions…

  • What age are they?
  • What gender, if appropriate?
  • What is their marital status?
  • What do they do for a living?
  • What are their interests outside of work?

And the biggie…What are the problems and challenges they face?

Once you have this information, you can pull together a profile of your ideal customer and use this to direct your blog content at.

Choose the right subject to write about

You’ve sorted out your ideal customer and you know what problems and challenges they face. Write them all down and work out how you can solve those problems.

Once you have a list of solutions, there’s your content. If you’re helping your ideal customers solve their problems, they’ll know that they can turn to you. The right way of course, is not to provide all the answers, which is something I’m guilty of! But this doesn’t mean you don’t provide a detailed article about how they can solve their problem – you can give information that is useful and actionable, but leave something that they can come to you for.

Call to action

It’s important to leave room for a CTA (call to action) that will draw your audience in, make them want to know more, or ask you for more help. I don’t mean asking directly if they want to employ you. It might be you encourage them to sign up for your newsletter, join your mailing list, download a freebie, listen to your podcast or watch a webinar you’ve set up. This won’t immediately make them a customer, but you’re leading them down the right path, and can help them see how you can add value to their business, or to their life.

For example, say you’re a life coach. You write a great blog post, and your CTA could be you point your readers to your website. You might talk about a particular subject and point them to a free webinar where you talk in more detail about that subject. You might have a free social media group they can join to talk to other like-minded people. Ultimately, this could lead to them booking a coaching session with you.  

Content and the buying cycle 

Think for a minute about your own buying cycle. Let’s take a recent example at my home. I was out on our sit-on lawn mower and it stopped working and made a strange whirring noise. I told my partner about it when he got home. I know nothing about lawn mowers and certainly wouldn’t have a clue how to fix it.

  • So, our first problem was THE NEED to get it fixed, but we’re not sure how.
  • The next obvious step is to find out what could be wrong. My partner goes onto YouTube and investigates the problem. He tries to work out whether it’s worth trying to fix it himself or whether it just needs a new part. This is the INITIAL RESEARCH stage. His research tells him that he needs a new drive belt.
  • My partner now has a solution to the problem. Now we have to find out who sells drive belts and where we can buy it. This is the FINAL RESEARCH.
  • Finally, the PURCHASE stage and we order the drive belt and pay for it.

If you are writing a blog with the idea of getting customers from it, you need to be targeting those that are at the INITIAL RESEARCH stage. Then you can give them the answers they’re looking for. But, it doesn’t stop there – you also want to make your content give total confidence in your product or service, so the blog takes them from that initial stage right through to the purchase…and show that your business is the right place to do just that!

The content needs to be in long-form, so that you have time to engage your readers, gain their trust and ultimately help them to see that you have that perfect product or service that solves their problem or meets their needs.

Content needs more than that…

OK, so you’ve let them see that you’re the perfect fit for what they’re looking for, but not all our readers look at an article in detail, so it’s really important to think about the format of your blog.

If you just write plain text, they might miss the point, so you need to make your content visually appealing.

  • Use bullet points to draw their attention to the important bits
  • Use short paragraphs
  • Use subheadings
  • Make sure that the font you use is easy to read and a decent size
  • And of course, use images to break up the text
  • If you want to draw attention to a particular part, use CAPITAL LETTERS or BOLD text…or both!

Include testimonials

How many times do you buy something without looking at the reviews of a product? I know I always do, as it gives me an idea of the product I’m going to order. For example, with shoes, some reviews will say ‘buy one size bigger, as these shoes are on the small side’. This helps me to make my decision to buy or not. So, include a testimonial in your blog if you can to sway your audience that your product is the best. Find a testimonial that says why your product is the best.  

Don’t digress

Don’t go off on a tangent and start talking about something else, make sure that you focus on the one product or service that you’re trying to sell or engage your audience with.

By all means, lead up to your point slowly and build a picture, but try not to get too distracted and don’t use too many links, as this will distract your reader.

Buy now!

Try and create some urgency around buying your product or service. I’m sure you will have heard of FOMO – personally I hate this expression, but in marketing it’s an effective tool. The ‘fear of missing out’ on something makes us want to buy it now.

Using language that suggests an urgency to buy can persuade your audience that it’s now or never. Things like:

  • For a limited time only
  • Only three spaces left on my course
  • At this price for a limited time only

You get the idea!

And if you’re building up to a sales pitch, using one of those FOMO phrases…

Start using shorter sentences.

It makes you sound breathless.

It’s urgent.

You need to do this now.

This makes your readers read faster and they’ll feel the urgency.

Don’t be too salesy

Finally, don’t be too salesy. Your audience will know you, they’ll follow your blog because they like to see what you have to say. They don’t want the hard sell all the time.

You need to be giving advice and showing a solution to a problem and that should take up most of your post, but you can weave a subtle sales pitch into the content. Selling your product or service is only a small part of it.

Your readers trust you and trust your content. As my readers, you’ll know that I rarely use my posts to sell my business. Rightly or wrongly, I enjoy writing as it’s my happy place and I’m passionate about helping small businesses to grow. If I suddenly came over all salesy, I’d lose that trust and I’m sure, a lot of my followers.

It’s about getting the balance right. You don’t want to sell so hard that you destroy your reputation and your credibility. Writing a blog lets people know that you are an expert in your field and your followers will be confident that you know what you’re talking about. They may take a while to get to know you, but if they can see that you are knowledgeable and helpful, they will come back, and that will increase the chance that they will buy from you, or work with you in the future.    

The pros and cons of blogging

There are several pros and cons to having a blog and blogging. I’ve had a blog for about seven years and have been writing pretty consistently now for about three years – it was a bit hit and miss at first.

Why do I blog?

I’m a small business marketing consultant and also a freelance writer, creating content for businesses. So, it makes sense to have a blog to give articles that will help educate my audience on how to market their businesses. The information I give is free and I know it has helped lots of people to get on track with their marketing.

I also enjoy writing, so it’s a challenge to find a new subject to write about every week, but I never seem to run out of ideas as my subject matter is vast. My blog also gives potential clients the chance to see that I can write, so they are seeing regular examples of what I can do.

These are my reasons, but what are the more official pros and cons?

The pros of blogging

Blogs are a great source of information and in this digital age, if anyone wants to find out something, they search online first. Blogs can help give the information they need. But let’s get down to the nitty gritty:

  • First of all, starting a blog is easy. I use WordPress and they have several templates to help you when you start. Adding posts is simple and straight-forward and you don’t need to know any HTML or other code to do this.
  • Blogging is a great creative outlet. If you love writing, you can get started immediately and write about any subject you want to. If you love travel, for example, then you could write about all the places you’ve visited, with advice for people who are thinking of going there. If you love food or love cooking, you could start a food blog, giving recipes and adding video to show people how to make something. The possibilities are endless.
  • You don’t have to be an expert – if you’re interested in a certain topic, that’s enough. You can write about what you do know and research the rest. You’ll learn as you go and your writing will improve with every post. The trick is the same as everything else – just get started. Your first blog post won’t necessarily be fabulous, but you’ll grow as you write more and more.
  • A blog is the perfect reason for people to visit your website. Mostly, websites are pretty static and you don’t constantly add or change content. Adding a blog means that your site is constantly being updated, which ensures people come back for more. You can also link to other blog posts that you’ve written in the past from the one you’re doing now – backlinks.
  • Blogging can be good for your business as it can be a way you’re your business to be found on Google. Generally, people will connect more with other people than with a brand, so your blog helps potential clients out there relate to you. It helps them get to know you.
  • Writing a blog will also set you up as an expert in your field. If you consistently publish blogs that are useful or that people want more of, every time you publish a new blog, you’ll get more followers. People will share the blogs they like and then that opens you up to a whole new audience. The key here is to provide valuable and useful content that people need and want.
  • Blogging is really good for those of you who are more introvert. You can write in private and have your content reach thousands of people. If you don’t have the confidence to speak publicly or do presentations, blogging is the next best thing. And the good thing about a blog is that it is there permanently, so if people want to come back to it to refer to the information you give, they can…any time of the day or night.
  • Once you’ve been blogging for a while, you’ll realise that you are constantly picking up new skills. Blogging is a lot more than just writing. You learn how to use WordPress, for example, and how to build a website; you learn about Search Engine Optimization (SEO); Social Media marketing, as you have to promote your blog; Email marketing; improve your written skills and learn about images and graphics.    
  • You can also use blogging to get into freelance writing. Your blog is your portfolio, which demonstrates you know how to write, source images, do extensive research on a subject etc.
  • Finally you can make money with your blog. If you write about certain products, you can sell them through your blog posts. You can also do affiliate marketing, get an income from Ad revenue or sponsored posts. To make money on your blog, you will need to constantly put in the time and effort to keep it going, but it can be very lucrative.    

Of course, as well as a host of reasons why you should be blogging, there are some cons. It’s always good to know, so you can make up your mind as to whether it’s right for you.

The cons of blogging

  • You need to be very disciplined to stay on top of your blog, especially if you are going to be doing it for a living. I blog once a week as it suits me and is an aid to my business. I don’t use it as an income, but if you intend to, you will need to write much more frequently and consistently. It takes a lot of time, effort and perseverance to be noticed and is a very steep learning curve. If it was easy to do, everyone would be doing it. It does take months, years even, to really get noticed and to have enough content to prove your expertise.
  • Because of the reasons above, time etc., you’re not going to make money overnight. And if you do make money from your blog, it isn’t going to be a regular income – it will fluctuate month on month.
  • Blogging is also a lonely life – you spend hours at your computer and it can be quite and isolating existence. You won’t have the interaction with colleagues face to face like you do in an office, but it does also give you freedom to pop out if you have to. It’s swings and roundabouts!
  • You need to be good with change and be prepared for technical issues. Sometimes servers crash, there are glitches in your website, which you need to sort out. You could have internet problems, so can’t get online. And of course, the algorithms for the various social media channels that you’ll link to, plus algorithm changes on google can impact who sees your blog and who it is shown to. The General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) that changed back in 2018 had an impact on being able to just send your blog out on email – your audience had to sign up and give their permission to receive it by email. These things can change at any time.
  • You need to be organised and have a plan, so you know what you’ll be writing about and how for at least a few months in advance. And you need to invest money into your blog, so you have the right apps to promote it, use paid ads etc. Your website will also incur hosting costs, keeping up with the latest training costs money too. If it’s really successful, you might even want to employ a VA to help you getting your blog onto all the various social media sites.

So, now you have all the pros and cons, you can make an informed decision – to do or not to do a blog!

If you do, please share the link with me and if you have any further questions or need help, feel free to drop me a mail.

The Sunshine Blogger Award

Hi everyone,

A few days ago I was nominated for a Sunshine Blogger Award. It’s a different kind of award to the big industry awards in that it is an award by bloggers to other bloggers. What a fab idea to bring a bit of sunshine into our lives when everywhere around us is doom and gloom at the moment!  I was very honoured and so happy to have been nominated by someone I don’t personally know,  Debby Winter, as it means she has come across my blog, liked it and nominated me. That means a lot!

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Debby and tell you a bit about her. She is an SEO blogger (Search Engine Optimization) and offers a range of low cost SEO services. She likes jogging, swimming and skiing and, if she could go back in time to any century, she would love to go back and sing with Homer and chat with Cleopatra! If you’d like to find out more about Debby and what she does, swing over to her website… https://debbyseo.wordpress.com/seo/

I have been blogging for a few years now, doing just a fun blog to start with about my new life in France with my partner. Then, when I started as a freelance writer, decided to start a blog about marketing to help small businesses.  

For those of you who don’t know me, I’m a Freelance Writer and Marketing Consultant for small businesses and I am based in France, although have clients in different places around the globe! That’s the great thing about an online business, I can write for anyone, no matter where in the world they are! Writing has always been my passion, so I’m lucky to be able to do it for a living. My blog articles cover marketing tips for anyone with a small business, from SEO to website pages, branding to social media.

Sunshine Blogger Award

My Nominees: Of course, the Sunshine Blogger Award isn’t an official award, but it’s a fun way of spreading motivation and inspiration. To get the flow going I have selected a handful of nominees and left a message on their blogs. If you read this and like to get involved (and why wouldn’t you?) don’t be shy and consider yourself nominated!! My nominees are

Wordstostoriesofficejockeystraveladdictedunicornjocajicsocialmediaandcoffeelittleconquestasociallyfataleoftooawkwardhistorymaniacmeganscatteredthoughts  

OK, now to answer Debby’s questions…

1) Are you familiar with SEO strategies? Have you optimized your site yourself? Did you do off site or on site SEO for your blog or website and are you happy with the results?
I am familiar with SEO strategies and I built, designed and optimized my website myself…both on-site and off-site SEO. I am happy but there is always room for improvement!

2) What is the most embarrassing clothing item you have ever worn?
A brightly multi-coloured shellsuit in the 1980s when I was a young Mum. I thought I was the bees knees at the time, but looking back, it was just awful!…and so was the overly big hair!

3) Have you ever intentionally broken the law? When? Where? and how?
No, I haven’t broken the law – I would have been too scared when I was younger of the wrath of my Mum and used to be married to a policeman, so it wouldn’t have gone down well! But now that I’m not……!!! 

4) If you were given $750 to spend on anything you wanted, what would you buy?
I would treat myself and my partner to a holiday in the sun when all this lockdown is over! And spend some of it on my lovely grandchildren!

5) If you had enough money that you never needed to work again, what would you do with your time?
I would still have to write, but would try all different types of writing and go to exotic places just to get the inspiration. My partner and I have said if we had loads of money, we’d buy property all over the world, so we could live in permanent Spring time!

6) If you could start over your life and change one thing, what would you change?
I’d have started my own business when I was a lot younger and found it easier to learn new things!

7) What do you consider your greatest strength, your greatest weakness?
My greatest strength has to be my sense of optimism, and I always try to see the good in everyone. Even though I’ve had my fair share of knocks in life, I always manage to get up, dust myself down and start all over again.
My greatest weakness is that I have a tendency to let my good nature be taken advantage of. And chocolate…I love chocolate! 

8) What have you tried lately that is new and exciting?
It’s not something I’ve tried yet, but I’m working up to it…doing live video and recorded video on my website and social media pages. I hate being in front of the camera but am both scared and excited at the same time.  

9) What was the greatest adventure in your life so far?
I went to India on a four week work assignment for my company’s charity arm. I worked with an NGO in Chennai – The Banyan, who help take mentally ill women off the streets and rehabilitate them. I worked with the NGO’s communication team, training them and pulling together a workable plan to communicate with their 100 employees across three different locations and in 16 different Indian languages. It was a huge challenge, but I loved every minute, absolutely fell in love with the country, the culture and its people and I have so many fond memories of all the people I met and sights I saw. I had never flown long haul before then and never thought I would have such an adventure, travelling by myself – it taught me a lot about myself.  

10) What makes you happiest and when you think about it you cannot help but smile?
My children and grandchildren. I miss them all so much and the lockdown means I probably won’t see them for a long while yet.
And I love singing with my partner, who is a musician – it’s lovely to have a hobby in common and something that you enjoy doing with your OH. 

11) Are some people’s lives worth more than others? Why or why not?
This is highly contentious! Generally no, I think we should all be equal and a life is a life and should all be cherished. But what about the people in the world who choose to rape, murder etc? Are their lives worth more than their victims? I’ll leave that one with you! 

My favourite articles:

My favourite articles on this blog are the ones around SEO and Hashtags and also the articles about GDPR. Risk was something I did a lot in my previous job and so this is something I’m very interested in and know a lot about. Not many people know but it is mandatory to have a privacy policy on your website (certainly if you are in the UK or Europe), so I also specialise in writing those pages. Check out my marketing services to see how I can help your small business get noticed and my writing services , where you can find out the services I offer.

Sunshine Blogger Award

My Questions:

  1. What social media channels do you use and why?

  2. What is the scariest thing you’ve ever done?

  3. What is your favourite pizza topping?

  4. What’s the number 1 thing you need most help with in your business right now?

  5. If you had enough money that you never needed to work again, what would you change?

  6. What is the weirdest smell you’ve ever smelled?

  7. What secret conspiracy would you like to start?

  8. What are your strengths and what are your weaknesses?

  9. What’s your favourite music album of all time?

  10. What has been your greatest adventure in life so far?

  11. What makes you happiest and when you think about it, you cannot help but smile?

THE RULES

* Introduce yourself

* Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link back to their site
https://cindyfreelancewriter.com/

* Provide a link to a favourite article on your blog

* Answer the 11 questions the blogger asked you

* List all rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award in your blog post.

* Nominate 11 new bloggers and their blogs. Leave a comment on their blog to let them know they received the reward and ask your nominees 11 questions.

That’s all for now folks, if you liked this post don’t be a stranger and feel free to take a shot at it yourself, and remember to comment, like and share!

With love

Cindy Mobey