After meeting with me, a number of people and organizations have told me they intend to start their own business blog. Several have called me and written to me, asking how to generate sales leads from their blog. So, rather than continuing to repeat myself, I will outline the process here. It’s actually easier than you may think.
The truth is, here’s this free powerful tool that the public is saying, “if you write something worth reading, I will read it.”
What more can you ever hope for as a business or individual, than having the privilege of people choosing to read what you have to say?
Blogs can be used to generate profits for nearly any kind of business, including those that provide real services in the offline world.
This often means generating sales leads for a service or consulting business. This is how I use my marketing business blog, which accounts for most of the new clients who call me these days.
Okay, sounds awesome. People read your blog and then call to hire you, right?
Well, not quite.
Which are you selling? A product or a service.
The distinction between the two is critically important and whatever you do, don’t mix em up!
When you’re selling a product, the process is straightforward. You offer the product, explain the benefits, make a CTA (call-to-action), and people make a buying decision.
When you’re selling a service the process is a little more involved. Prospects first inquire about the service, (not everyone is ready to become a customer the moment they first land on your website) usually comparing you with other providers. If the service is expensive, people are even more careful about their decision.
I’ve had clients take months or even years before they finally made the decision to hire me. It’s common for people to start a phone call or email by saying, “I’ve been reading your blog for quite a while now. Do you have a moment to talk about a marketing project?”
So if you provide a service, such as freelance writing, HVAC, social media marketing, graphic design, coaching or consulting, wedding photography, event planning, translation, or whatever, you can use your blog to attract prospects and begin the process of selling them on your services.
The Unrivaled Guide to Generating Sales Leads from Your Blog
Start By Creating Your Online Sales Funnel
Pro sales people often talk about filling their “sales funnel.”
Perhaps a first-time visitor who found your site via a blog post isn’t ready to contact you, but would be ready and willing to register to download a bigger piece of content, such as a newsletter, or special report or PDF guide. Then some gentle email marketing can convince them to attend a teleseminar, where they have an opportunity to experience your company’s subject matter expertise to the point where they’re convinced that you can help them. That funnel, blog reader -> downloader, -> email subscriber -> teleseminar attendee -> lead/customer, is a lot longer than “Contact Us NOW!” but a heck of a lot more effective.
To keep things simple, I like to think of the sales funnel as having just 4 simple steps.
#1. Generate Inquiries
This means getting people to raise their hand, to contact you. Typically this is done by offering something of value in exchange for contact information.
For my business, I offer a free newsletter and I also offer a free eBook. For both, the newsletter and eBook, they have to give me some contact information before they get the freebie delivered straight to their inbox. I also provide a Contact page with my email address for “hot” leads who are ready to talk business.
#2. Follow Up
After you’ve delivered the freebie or provided whatever information you have promised, it’s time to schedule your follow-up, usually either by email or phone.
Because you are responding to someone’s inquiry, it’s a warm contact not cold. You have a valid reason for touching that person and have an opportunity to qualify that person. Are they just gathering information? Do they need your services immediately? Or are they somewhere in between?
Note: The most serious are your sales leads. Everyone else is a prospect. Commit more time and resources on sales leads than prospects.
#3. Court and Nurture Leads
This is the step most people are tempted to skip because courtship is a process. But armed with this insight, you can transform them into customers.
Like every other business selling a service, you want to make a right away sale. But while a few people will hire you immediately, most will not. So you must give them time, give them information, and give them attention.
You should store all contact information in a database, which could be a simple customer relationship management system like excel or a CRM tool.
Regularly communicate with your leads. Over time, you’ll develop that like, know and trust factor where they’ll be more comfortable with the idea of hiring you. People always prefer the friends over the strangers.
There are many ways to nurture leads. You can send news or information they might be interested in, make additional offers for low-cost or introductory services, connect with them socially, and even seek their advice from time to time.
#4. Close Sales
As my friend, Sales Coach Thomas Ellis would say, “Nail the deal done shut. Deal Done!” You provide a quote or estimate, answer questions, overcome objections, and eventually close the sale.
This is your end goal, to move your service at a profit. And if you’ve set up a good lead generation system and kept your sales funnel consistently full, it will actually be the easiest step in the process.
Questions: What questions do you have about business blogging? What else would you recommend?
About the Company: Indispensable Marketing, a strategic marketing consulting company helps small to midsize businesses develop a solid marketing foundation to generate more leads and close more sales.