A master of the Japanese tea ceremony was once challenged to a duel by a samurai swordsman for some perceived but unintended slight to his honour. Having no training with a sword, the tea pourer asked his lord for advice.
“Just prepare for your duel in the way you prepare my tea,” said his lord.
So on the day of the fight, the tea master prepared himself for the fight and for his expected death with the same focus he normally reserved for preparing a cup of tea for his lord. Watching him, the Samurai apologised and withdrew his challenge, realising that anyone who applied such focus on a simple aim cannot be beaten by mere technical skill.
In my previous blog post (on writing blog posts) I looked at some of the issues that stop people writing their own online content.
As we emerged from the holiday period, even I accept that online content is well down on the list of jobs to be done. To be honest, I’m mainly writing this to get out of another game of Monopoly with the kids.
However, unworthy that reason is, it’s still an objective, and that’s what I want to discuss now. Unless you’re name’s Samuel Pepys, your online content should be more than a historical record for posterity. Everything you write must have an aim: but what should it be?
The dominance of online marketing
Take a look at these figures from the US marketing publication Adweek:
- 81% of shoppers research online research before they make a purchase.
- 61% read online reviews of a product before they buy.
- 60% of shoppers now use a search engine to find what they want to buy.
There’s only one aim worthy of the precious time of a busy businessman or woman. Everything you write must be focused on making sales.
Advertising is so 20th Century
I don’t mean that every blog post should be a shrill advert. Squeezing your name into every line isn’t going to endear yourself to modern internet surfers; it’s not very sociable behaviour for social media and there’s already much too much of that on the internet.
Instead of shouting at people, engage them with interesting and entertaining content about your products, your services and yourself, but with a view to coaxing people along the road to a sale.
The road to a sale is paved with good blog posts
Advertisers have worked for more than a century on the assumption that people go through certain stages of thinking and feeling before they’re ready to buy.
So, if we’re clever with our blogging, we can make sure our content smoothes the way so that, by the time it comes to a phone call or face-to-face meeting, they’re already most of the way to being sold.
Using those stages, and keeping the final destination in mind, makes blogging easier in several ways:
- Writing flows more easily when you’re focused on a goal.
- It will help you generate ideas for blog posts.
- You have a better idea of who you’re writing for, so you can set the tone accordingly.
There are many different models for the route people take to a sale, some more detailed than others, but here’s a fairly typical one to illustrate my point.
People need to know you exist, they need to know they have a problem that needs fixing and what happens if they do nothing about it.
Blog in a general and entertaining way to get the maximum number of visits to your post (it helps with your position on Google) but make sure you only appeal to a specific group of genuine prospects to take the next step.
Now your reader knows they need something, they’ll want to find out more about your solution (and your competitors). Tell them all they need to know about the benefits and features of what you offer.
It’s getting emotional now, so use case studies and testimonials to build trust and show what your product can do.
Write about why you do what you do and tell them your back story. This is when the consumer gets to like you and what you do. Your product needs to hit the emotional buttons too; how will it transform their life, business, health?
What makes your product better than everyone else’s? Talk about your USP and maybe compare other brands. If you have any favourable independent reviews, use them.
Overcome remaining objections in the prospect’s mind. Build on the trust but also use any bank of FAQs you’ve built up, to make sure any final doubts or questions are answered. Talk about quality, guarantees and your customer care.
That’s your job really. By now, your prospect is going to need to get in touch, so ensure you make the most of the ground work you’ve done with your blogging.
- After care
This is often left out of the purchasing models but don’t ignore existing customers. Tell them about new services and developments; make them feel part of your community.
Don’t forget your call to action
Every blog post you write must contain a call to action that directs readers to the next stage along their road to a sale. This is where you can set up specific landing sites for your website to help that process along.
Write like a ninja
You’re a busy, focused businessperson. If you approach your content writing the way you do your business, then writing for your website becomes a lot simpler and quicker to do. Your content will complement your overall business strategy and work towards your success.
If you’d like to learn more about filling your website with content to turn people into prospects and clients, I’d be happy to talk with you. Email me on firstname.lastname@example.org or ring me on 07981 269162.