Most business blogs are lacking in many ways and not at all effective. They’re used for things like announcements and fluffy content that does nothing to capture leads and make sales. And if all you want is a place to jot down your thoughts, then skip this article. But if you want a blog that gets you more leads and more sales with every single piece of content you write, then think of your blog as a learning center first.
Forget about blogging as you know it and instead think of your blog as a learning center. (Jimmy D Brown is a master at sharing his learning center strategies and solutions in this area with us). This learning center will be a hub for all of your website’s most important content. Visitors will be able to find answers to their problems and find information on what they want to know.
You’re going to create content that resonates with your target audience and influences them to make a buying decision. Your goal should be to educate your prospects into becoming customers, and your customers into making repeat sales. And you’re going to do this without advertisements for your offerings.
The problem with ads is they are biased and present only one solution to a customer’s problem. This makes prospects skeptical and loses you the sale.
But when you fill your blog with the honest help your prospects are looking for, then you move from being a sales person to becoming a trusted authority. You are now running a training center that will have mass appeal. And that gets you readers, subscribers and sales.
Your website should be your best salesperson and teacher, working for you 24/7 to build your tribe of raving fans, and to make sales.
I remember years ago when I needed to buy kitchen appliances. I went to a local store and got lucky enough to be waited on by a man who had been in the appliance business all of his life. He didn’t own the store, he just sold appliances, and he knew everything there was to know about every model there on the floor as well as models sold in other stores.
He told me point blank which models to avoid and what sort of problems they had. He steered me away from an overpriced model with good reviews because the nearest service person for that model was two hours away, and if it broke, getting it fixed would be a nightmare.
He told me what was available at the other stores and how much they were on sale for that day.
He knew the factories where each were built, their overall reputations and which brands and models needed the most service calls over their lifetimes.
Keep in mind, this was in the mid 90’s before the reliable online reviews were prevalent. It was the only time in my whole life that I truly trusted the sales person. He wasn’t trying to sell me anything; he was trying to educate me on what would be best for my needs.
I wound up buying three appliances from him and one that he highly recommended from his competitor. And I was so pleased, over the next few years I sent him enough business to sell another 2 dozen appliances. Now, imagine your website could be like that sales person.
Your content is educational and easy to access, just like asking that sales person questions. A visitor comes to your site via organic search and lands on an article giving general information about your niche. They already view your blog as a learning center, ready and able to serve their needs.
Let’s use roof repair and replacement as an example. They search for, “Do I need to replace my roof?” and land on your article, “How to know if you need a new roof.” Inside the article you have links to any terms they might not understand, so they can get immediate clarity. You talk about the reasons a roof might need to be repaired, with a link to another article covering each reason in depth. You also offer information on how to know if replacement is a better option, the different types of roofs available, a cost calculator and so forth.
Everything they need to know about roof repair and replacement is right there. And woven throughout your content you give anecdotes of roofs you’ve repaired and replaced. Here’s what’s happening on the visitor’s end:
- They’re finding the information they’re looking for, and they find it easily on their own and at their own pace. This content isn’t selling them, it’s instructing them, which goes a long way to creating trust in your company.
- Every piece of content offers multiple paths forward, including more specific content and a call to action so they can reach out to you when they are ready.
Imagine someone spends thirty minutes or an hour on your website. When they’re ready to call an expert, whether it’s right then or in a month, who are they going to call? You. Why? Because you’ve set up your blog as a sales machine and that’s very effective.
The key to making this work is to find out what customers are asking, and then answering those questions for them while organizing the content in a way that feels natural and intuitive. You are educating your user through the buyer’s journey.
Homeowners seldom begin with, “I need a new roof.” Instead, they start out on the journey wondering IF they need a new roof, if they can get the current roof repaired, how do they know if there is a problem, who can they trust, how much will it cost, what type of roof should they get… It’s complicated.
And while the majority of websites are telling them “We are the best roofers in town so call now!” you are giving them what they desperately want and need before the buying decision ever happens – information.
You are building massive trust when you give your prospects a learning center, as well as positioning your blog as a sales machine. You are also positioning yourself as the authority in the business. This is when strategic thinking truly pays off!
Even if they eventually buy from someone else – just as I purchased that one appliance from a competing store – they will still recommend their friends start on YOUR site to learn everything they can before making their purchase.
You simply have nothing to lose and everything to gain by converting your website’s newsy blog into a learning center. Or if you like, keep the blog on the side and add the learning center as your main site. Here are a few tips for your learning center:
• Your number one goal is to build trust through helpful, unbiased, honest content. If people don’t trust you then they won’t buy from you. If they do trust you and you have the product they need, they won’t buy from anyone else but you.
• Your trust-building content must be honest, unbiased and transparent. Think of yourself as a teacher and a reviewer, not a sales person.
• Speak in your customer’s language. If your industry uses jargon that customers might not understand, then either don’t use it or be sure to clearly explain it.
• Your learning center can be frequently updated as needed. Explain new solutions, answer new questions, cover new trends and so forth.
• Done right, your learning center will greatly reduce bounce rates and increase user’s time on your website. And because your articles are answering the questions people ask Google, it should also help to bring in organic traffic, too.
• Offer lead magnets that make sense for the content being consumed. The roofing website might offer a lead magnet on the different types and costs of roofs, for example. Or you might even tailor a lead magnet for each page of your learning center.
• Continue to educate your list as well as using anecdotes from your current clients as case studies.
• Use Google Analytics to understand how traffic is getting to and moving through your learning center and use this information to improve your site.
Hopefully, you now understand the benefits of thinking of your blog as both a learning center and a sales machine. An educated customer is a better customer. They have fewer questions and a much better idea of what. Even if your business is one where you close the sales in person or over the phone, you’ll discover that much of your work is already done if your prospect has spent time in your learning center.
I’m Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author, independent publisher, and serial entrepreneur Connie Ragen Green and would love to connect with you. If you’re new to the world of online entrepreneurship please check out my training on how to make your first income online at 3 Day eBiz (Use CODE: MAKEITHAPPEN for a Discount) and learn how to gain an unfair advantage when it comes to building a lucrative online business.