If you want to sell products or services, you can use your blog as a lead generation machine. For example, if you’re a freelance web designer, you can write on topics of interest to website owners who might hire you for your services. You don’t need to “sell” your services in your actual blog content, but you can have a sign-up or contact form for those who want to hire you.
The way to do this successfully is to consider your reader’s buying process. You then align your content to each stage of the buying process.
The stages of the buying process include:
Awareness – This is the stage where the customer is first aware of your product or service. At this stage, they recognize a problem or pain point, gain a deeper understanding of their needs, and then become aware that there are solutions. Content that addresses this stage helps the reader identify problems and introduces and explains various solutions.
Evaluation – At this point, the customer is exploring features and benefits to see how they solve the problem at hand. They’re looking for more detailed information on the solution. They also may be evaluating testimonials and reviews. You can create content that educates the customer about the product and it solutions.
Purchase – This is the stage where the person is ready to make a purchase and this is where you can make an offer. At this stage, the customer is looking for free trials, discounts, or other special offers.
The best blog posts speak to the problems that a reader faces. These are the problems they are seeking to solve by searching the internet. You need to know at which stage your customer is, so that you can respond with the right kind of content.
There are four steps to make money by selling to your readers directly through your blog. These match up with the reader’s buying process.
Write content that provides a great deal of value and engagement from other readers. Follow the steps in the previous modules and promote your content on social media.
Convert your visitors to subscribers. As we mentioned also in the previous module, put a clear call-to-action on your website with a high-value offer and get visitors to sign up. Once subscribed to your blog or email list, you can build a closer relationship with them. The incentive can be a “lead magnet.” This is a small information product you use as an enticement to get readers to sign up. The lead magnet is only available to subscribers and should directly address your reader’s pain points.
Send your subscribers content to build trust. Offer high-value content that’s exclusive to subscribers. Create a schedule for sending out emails. A sample schedule that also includes promoting a specific product or service early on might be something like this:
- Email 1: A confirmation email. This is an anti-spam email that is used as a double opt-in to ensure that the email address is correct. This is automatically sent by your email marketing platform.
- Email 2: A “thank you” email that offers access to the lead magnet for download.
- Email 3: A “get started” email with basic instructions, tips and tricks, and ideas to get started once the reader has consumed the lead magnet. These are the next steps.
- Email 4: An overview to your solution and how it helps to alleviate the pain you’ve identified through the lead magnet and previous content.
- Email 5: The benefits of your solution, testimonials, and proof that your product or service will solve the reader’s problem.
- Email 6: A special offer, free trial, free hour of consulting, free webinar, or other promotion.
- Email 7: Additional resources such as information about your products or services aligned with the opt-in, or more information on your special offer.
- Email 8: A “check-in” message, which is a personal message to touch base and ask for questions or feedback from the subscriber.
- Email 9+: Weekly emails with additional information that’s relevant to the lead magnet and core topics of your blog, including your blog updates and additional recommendations of products and services.
This is just a sample of the type of schedule you might create if you are selling something specific. Depending on your market, you may want to add multiple ‘nurture’ emails early in your schedule with lots of tips and helpful information before introducing your own solutions.
Sell Multiple Products or Services Your Audience Wants to Buy.
You can sell multiple products or services through your blog, but the strategies for doing so are different. A good way to sell multiple products is to start with your highest-priced products first. This is called a reverse funnel.
The strategy is to blog about the specific problems your audience faces, get them to sign up for your email list, build a relationship with them there, and finally lead them to a recommendation for paid products. But start with your most expensive offering first.
The idea behind offering the highest-priced product first is the Pareto Principle, which states that 80% of your results come from 20% of your efforts. In other words, most of your revenue will come from a small customer base, so it’s best to focus on the few customers who will account for the bulk of your income. For example, if you have 100 subscribers, there may be between 2 and 20 of them that will buy high-priced items. As you focus on the highest-ticket items, you’ll also sell lower ticket items to your other customers along the way.
If you are going to take this approach and focus on a high-priced product, you need to make this product as valuable as possible for your target market. Look at all of the products you offer and figure out a way to make this product extra special. For example, if you are a business consultant offering a consulting package for $10,000, guarantee for the client a specific outcome. You could guarantee that your client will save $15,000 over time by investing $10,000.
Another strategy is to sell products through free webinars. Offer exclusive free webinars to your subscribers where you give them high-value training or other information. During the webinar, you can also pitch your high-value product. If you design it well, your webinar can offer a taste of the quality of your premium products, which could be coaching calls, membership sites, consulting, coaching programs, or online courses.