Blogging Commandment 5 – Thou Shalt Sell Something

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lemonade-standSome might want to take me to the woodshed for this commandment:

Thou Shalt Sell Something.

The notion of using social media and content marketing to sell products and services doesn’t sit well with the “I hate marketing crowd”. But you and I know better. Businesses and non-profits run best when there is cash in the bank. Instead, It’s a better use of time to understand how your blog can create sells rather than burying your head in the sand.

By now you are probably wondering – How do I sell something on my blog?

That my friend is one of my favorite questions.

Here is a quick primer on (schmuck-free) blog selling

1. Build Trust: First time visitors trust you as far as they can throw a cheesecake underwater. Most visitors arrive with their fists up and jaw set. ¬†They are looking for the favorite station WII – FM (what’s in it for me) and will leave in a hurry if they don’t find it.

If you are just starting a blog, pull up a calendar, flip to the date 6 months from now, and pencil this in “Make my first product offer.” Don’t think about selling anything until that date. Spend the interim working your butt of building trust and…

2. Show Unique Value: The best way to build trust is to share specific, timely, and relevant information. Oops, let me throw one more adjective at that – “consistent”.

Your job is to “wow” your new visitors every chance you get. Give them tips they can’t find anywhere else. Connect the dots for your readers by helping them see new ways to solve their problems and/or achieve their goals. Be as helpful as you can afford. At the end of 6 months your readers will be happy to something to reward your generosity.

3. Take it Inside: Blogs are not suited for direct sales pitches. Selling on a blog is like inviting an Amway salesman to Thanksgiving dinner. It might turn out well, but someone is likely to get offended. Instead, invite your readers to join your email list. People who join your list and raising their hands, saying, let’s take this relationship one step further.

Continue building trust via regular substantive emails. From here make an offer when you have something incredibly valuable to share. These days I send about 2 months of pure, knock your socks off, information for every offer I make. You’ll have to test to see what works best for you.

4. Get Your Head Right: I don’t mind making offers to PS fans because I sincerely believe that is what they want me to do. I feel that I’m cheating people by NOT making an offer.

Consider this… If you have a highly effective method for repairing relationships between teenagers and their parents, why wouldn’t do everything you can to get your material in their hands of every parent that needs it? If you are the best, you have an obligation to share your product at a fair price.

Also, remember that steps #1 – 3 focused on creating trust and offering value at every opportunity. If you’ve done your job right, your customers will be anxiously waiting for your offer!

I’ve helped many people and businesses make an income from their blogs. In every occasion, the biggest obstacle to selling online has been the business owner, not the audience! They were afraid that their product wasn’t good enough, or they weren’t knowledgeable, or the market wasn’t ready for their ideas. In every occasion they were wrong and lost money and time in the process.

Get your mind right. Your readers and soon to be customers are waiting you to make a move.

One more thing…

It’s easy to scan this blog post and think that I’m advocating pushy, snake-oil, con-man tactics. Stuff like fake scarcity, spamming, writing junk content, stealing other people’s ideas, kicking puppies, and stealing candy from babies.

You know me better.

Build trust. Nurture relationships. Be Bold. Cool?

Talk to me in the comments below.

About Stan

Stan Smith is the Managing Director of Pushing Social a content marketing consultancy for aggressive, results-focused organizations.

10 thoughts on “Blogging Commandment 5 – Thou Shalt Sell Something

  1. Pingback: Why Methinks Creative Content Will Forever Remaineth Thy King

  2. Stanford Post author

    Great question Melissa. I recommend having a focused, well curated list of products that are complimentary to your theme. You should use your reader’s passion and interest as the guide. In the lifestyle and fashion space readers are interested in EVERY quality product they can get their hands on. So the real limit is what you set. Just make sure that every pitch is relevant and builds on the overall content of your blog.

  3. Melissa LeBato

    Thanks for the read! I agree that I do not mind when blogs I have a common interest in refer me to buy something. I usually trust their opinion and would be interested in buying things they find useful. If someone has a lifestyle or fashion blog, would you recommend they pick a limited number of sales pitches? Maybe even pick one company or product that they are passionate about? I am just wondering if you think there should be a limit, even to pitches that are not “in your readers’ faces?”

    Melissa LeBato
    Tulane University

  4. Marisa

    Hi Stan, I am just getting started with my blog, and your insights are a GREAT help! I really like the suggestion to “not even think about offering anything until after six months”. I also listened to all four of your video presentations….THANK YOU SO much! I am glad I got this information while I’m just starting out. I believe that it will help me avoid some major blogging mistakes.

  5. Tyler Hakes

    Thanks for this post.

    It’s important to always keep in mind that at the end of the day, we *have* to sell things to justify the hours or work we put into social media, blogging, et al. Otherwise, why do we exist?

  6. Cornelius Mabin

    Congrats on making the Social Media Examiner Top 10 List. I discovered your material from that listing as I was doing research on social media for a presentation that I’m making. I am a fan of podcasting and would love more resources on how to access platforms or software on that subject.

  7. claire axelrad

    Great post Stan! I work in fundraising, and one of my mantras has always been “I will make no ask before its time.” What you counsel re sales through a blog is similar. Don’t rush it. Offer value. But absolutely DO make the call to action when the time is right. Otherwise, everything else is pointless.

  8. Pingback: Marketing Day: March 1, 2013

  9. Stanford Post author

    Thanks Lou. You can’t overvalue relationships with people who are focused and fired-up. You are blessed if your readership is filled with these types of folks…

    And I consider my self blessed ;)

  10. Lou Rodriguez

    And from working with you Stan, I can attest to the fact that you follow the advice you preach, which is to build trust and nurture relationships! It’s exactly how I want to build my relationship with my readers as well.

    Love the Podcast on the post too – I’m all over that! :)

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