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.