Seven Ways Blog Content Supports The Sales Process
Does your website have a blog? If so, are you using the platform as a consistent communication tool to strengthen bonds with your ideal clients?
So many times, promotional products professionals publish blog content and then forget about it. Ignored, the articles collect some proverbial dust, and business owners think that blogging doesn’t work.
It’s not that blogging doesn’t work; it’s how blogs are used (or not used) that doesn’t work.
Blogging Is A Sales Support Tool
To take advantage of all the benefits blogging offers, you must incorporate the content into your sales process. This doesn’t mean that a blog post will close the sale by itself (although some buyers may click through and purchase on the spot).
However, using blog content to support the sales process gives prospects the opportunity to know, like and trust you enough to place the order. How? There are seven primary ways. Let’s dive in…Using #blog content to support the sales process gives prospects the opportunity to know, like and trust you enough to place the order. How? There are seven primary ways. #contentmatters Click To Tweet
1. Provides Legitimacy
When you have a problem and need a solution, what do you do? Fire up your favorite search engine and start scouring the internet for answers, of course.
Your ideal clients are the same. Let’s say they need branded merch for an upcoming event or they want to build in ROI to an ongoing marketing campaign and they think a selection of promotional products will help. Time to jump online to see what’s available.
During their search, they come across two companies that appear to be a good fit. All things being equal, which company will this prospective buyer choose to contact first?
Company A, who has a nicely designed website with appropriate details on the products and services provided, a selection of happy client testimonials and a photo portfolio that showcases previous branded merchandise campaigns created for some well-known brands…
Company B, who has an equally nice website with capabilities, testimonials and case histories PLUS a robust blog that offers product ideas, marketing tactics and strategic advice?
I’ll argue all day long that Company B wins a majority of the time. Why? Because the blog content provides more information from which buyers can make a decision. This additional info allows buyers to be comfortable and confident that they have found a legitimate, qualified and reliable marketing partner for the job.
The question is: Are you Company A or Company B?Blog content gives buyers the information they need to be comfortable & confident that they have found a legitimate, qualified & reliable #marketing partner for the job. #bloggingtips #contentmatters Click To Tweet
2. Demonstrates The Breadth And Depth Of Your Expertise And Experience
When developing a content strategy, the blog posts you publish should naturally align with your core competencies and speak to industries where you have experience and/or markets where you want to grow your clientele—all while showcasing the type of projects you love doing.
For example, let’s say you have a ton of experience working with schools, colleges and universities, and you love selling merch to support campus clubs and organizations while also creating meaningful programs to support and recognize boosters and major donors. Then it’s natural to develop a significant portion of your blog content around these topics to both support existing clients and attract new buyers in this market.
Because you have so much experience working within the education market, your passion and excitement show through. Buyers are drawn to this kind of energy, and content that connects their wants and needs to your expertise makes closing the sale so much easier.
3. Answers Questions So Prospects Can Self-Qualify
Not everyone is your customer. Nor should they be. Some may not have the budget to pay what you’re worth. Others may want services outside your zone of genius and traditional scope of work.
Let’s take the example above. If you specialize in the education market and a construction firm visits your blog, it’s quite apparent that you may not be the best fit. And that’s good! Spending time, energy and money on customers who aren’t a good fit is costly on many fronts.
Saying “yes” to those who take up more time means that it costs more to service them and, thus, you make less profit. And because you have less time, you’re now saying “no” to customers who could be ideal—and more profitable.
Your content should let readers know not only what you do, how you do it and who you do it for, but it should also SHOW (not tell!) why you’re the right company for the job.
Any promotional products distributor can say their creative ideas are excellent. That’s the telling part of “show vs. tell.” A more effective strategy is to show readers (aka prospective buyers) creative ideas in terms of product selection, marketing themes and case histories, then let them determine if they’re excellent or not. Excellent ideas speak for themselves, and you don’t have to tell buyers anything.
Hard truth: It doesn’t matter if you believe you have excellent ideas. It only matters if your customers believe it. That’s when they buy.Your #content should let readers know not only what you do, how you do it & who you do it for, but it should also SHOW (not tell!) why you’re the right company for the job. #ROI #contentmatters Click To Tweet
4. Provides Support Materials
Blog content can easily be integrated into the sales process by using it as support material for introductions, pre-consultation prep, sales meeting visuals and post-sales-call follow up information.
Continuing with the education market example, let’s say Student Life is putting teams together for intermural sports between the dorms and they need a selection of t-shirts for each dorm team. “Great!” you say, since you just published a blog article that features sporty and retro-inspired tees that college students are posting all over social media. Send the link over to the client to check out before the Zoom call, and you have an easy way to start the conversation.
During the sales call, the client mentions they’re also considering including sports bottles and a tote bag to package all items in the campaign. Sweet! Share your screen and hop over to your blog where you have posts on both drinkware and bags. You can scroll through the featured items and get immediate feedback to help narrow down what the clients wants. Instant sales tool!
Having blog content published for all the major product categories you sell gives you the freedom to immediately look at curated ideas with products you love without having to do additional research or schedule a second call. It better serves the client, and you look professional for having material readily available.
5. Keeps Your Brand Message Consistent
Do you find that your brand message changes somewhat depending on who creates a sales proposal, designs an email campaign or writes an RFP? You’re not alone. Message consistency is a common problem many promo pros face.
There are a number of tools to help guide consistent communication (an internal style guide + templates, for example), and blog content can be part of this toolbox.
If your salespeople use the same published language as what’s in a blog post, for example, you save time when writing about common topics because you’re not reinventing the wheel for every client interaction.
Blog content is also more conversational, educational and less salesy. And while clients want to buy, the don’t want to be sold. Language that’s professional yet is like talking to a friend is a more engaging and approachable way to support the sales process.
Additionally, pulling messaging from blog posts keeps your overall brand message consistent—which makes ya look legit.While clients want to buy, the don’t want to be sold. Language that’s professional yet is like talking to a friend is a more engaging & approachable way to support the sales process. #writingtips #contentmatters Click To Tweet
6. Eases The Burden Of Social Media Content Creation
Creating content for social media can be a total time suck. Ugh. Where do you start?
With so many potential options, you end up procrastinating because you don’t have a strategy in place. Now with even less time to create meaningful content, you say the heck with it and push out another post about a shiny new product. Even though it’s some rad merch, the post only gets three likes. Why? No real value.
Sharing blog content gives readers value. And the content is right there, on your website, ready for the taking. On average, you should be getting anywhere from four to six (even up to 10!) social posts from one blog post. Maximize your content ROI by turning blog content into social content that creates even more brand awareness and drives traffic to your site.
7. Provides Value
There’s fear in the promotional products industry about sharing ideas. I’ve heard people say, “Oh, I can’t write about marketing ideas or share a client case history because my competitors may take the idea or try to steal my customer.”
This kind of scarcity mindset keeps businesses small. (For more on scarcity vs. abundance mindset, check out this post by Tonya Leigh.) I believe 100% that when you share value, you get waaaaay more back in return.
While we collectively talk about ourselves as the promotional products industry, we’re really part of a much larger advertising marketplace. But there’s a significant difference in how traditional advertising agencies are perceived vs. how promotional consultants are viewed.
In many cases, advertising agencies get paid the big bucks while promo pros are haggling over a nickel on the price of a pen. This is the creative vs. commodity economy.
Ad agencies charge a premium for their creative services, and the ad buys are a commodity. Conversely, our industry typically gives the creative away then tries to survive on the low margins of commodity products.
Of course, publishing blog posts isn’t going to fix such a complex issue. However, by elevating the way we talk about promotional products and branded merchandise, we can start adding more value and begin changing the conversation.
Because ad agencies are perceived as providing high value, does that make their creative better? No way. I’d argue that a lot of the creative ideas coming from promo pros is far superior to what some ad agencies are selling. Just look at the TV ads lately. Terrible!
So why the disconnect? It comes down to perceived value. Ad agencies do a heckova job positioning themselves and talking about what they do. There are a number of publications for the advertising industry, and they’re all full of profiles about successful campaigns. Agencies don’t shy away from sharing their ideas; they aggressively look for ways to have their work showcased on their own websites and in the media.
I can tell you from my time as editor of PPB, it was sooooo hard to get a case history from anyone. While it’s gotten a bit better in the last decade, there’s still no comparison with how agencies talk about their work.
But we as an industry can change how we talk about what we do. And it can be done one blog post at a time.By elevating the way we talk about #promotionalproducts & #brandedmerchandise, we can start adding more value & begin changing the conversation. #writingtips #contentmatters Click To Tweet
Strategically Incorporate Blog Content Into Your Sales Process And Reap The Rewards
When it comes to how brands purchase promotional products, there’s a lot of competition. Blogging can both help you get noticed and differentiate you from competitors.
But blogging only works if you do. By integrating blog content into your sales process, you maximize your content investment while simultaneously serving your ideal clients more effectively and efficiently.
Takeaway: Content matters. Make sure yours represents your brand and delivers value so you have a strong foundation for converting prospects into customers.#Blogging only works if you do. By integrating blog content into the sales process, you maximize content investment while simultaneously serving ideal clients more effectively & efficiently. #contentmatters Click To Tweet
What’s Next: Interested in launching your blog or building a blogging program but don’t know where to start? Don’t go it alone. Our Signature Blogging Program is the easiest way for promotional products companies to elevate how they showcase branded merch. And it’s easier than ordering your latte at Starbucks. Contact us here to get started.
Feedback: What did you think of this article? Do you have a blog? If so, how are you using it to support the sales process? We’d love to learn more about your experience as well as what spoke to you the most. Drop us a line here and let’s get the conversation going.
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