Blogs are important: they raise awareness of your brand, your company ethos, they can position you as an industry leader, improve your search engine optimisation and drive traffic to your website.
But that’s only if your content is quality.
What readers are not looking for in a blog is a sales pitch. Even if you are a product-led business and need exposure, people do not want an overt, hard sell.
It’s like when you walk into a shop just to browse and before you’ve had a chance to look at an item, an assistant magically appears beside you asking if you want to try it on. It can be off-putting and leave you running for the exit rather than the changing rooms.
It’s the same with blogs. But that doesn’t mean you cannot sell; you just need to do it in a gentle way.
So how can you sell without being salesy? How do you create quality content that shows how you add value as a business?
1.Provide solutions to client problems.
Around 96 percent of visitors to your site aren’t ready to buy. They’re looking for answers and gathering options to find out which direction they should take. So instead of selling them the tools for how to fix a problem, show them how that problem can be fixed. Essentially, you can sell a feeling. It is up to them whether you are the solution. However, with clear branding and concise content, they will feel encouraged to continue navigating around your site. Audience value rather than brand value is key.
2. Appeal to your audience and make your content product-adjacent
As well as providing your audience with answers to a problem, try appealing to their lifestyle and provide information relevant to someone who would use your service or product. If you sell kitchenware, write a blog about kitchen design trends, healthy eating tips or how to grow your own vegetables. You could do this via a video tutorial, FAQs or news articles. You do not need to be pushy when you educate but you are still selling your brand.
3. Let your clients’ successes do the selling for you
Rather than writing about yourself, let your current clients do the job for you; they will do it far more effectively too. Everyone loves a good story and a client case study could be just the key to selling your product or your services without having to become ‘salesy’.
4. Behind the scenes glimpses
As well as relying on clients to tell their stories, why not tell yours too? A behind-the-scenes look at your business can educate your customers; tell them about yourself and show them what your business stands for, how and why it does what it does and more importantly, why you started the business in the first place. People buy from people they trust so help your audience get to know you a little better.
5. Be conversational in your tone
Being conversational and relaxed in your tone will help you humanise your brand, service or product. People like to buy from people. Be straightforward and approachable as it helps build trust. Being too academic or stuffy isn’t going to encourage further reading.
6. Include relevant links
If an opportunity arises to link to a relevant product, then of course use it. It is not a direct sale but a continuation of the problem-solving opportunity you are offering your readers in your blog. They can still choose not to click it, but it is there just in case. Don’t shoe-horn links in though as this will come across as shamelessly salesy.
7. Limit mentions of your business but include calls to action
There’s no need to mention your company name in your blog; visitors know where they’ve clicked. However, if you have impressed them enough with your content – whether that be a video tutorial, a how-to guide or a post about hints and tips – a simple call to action invites them to connect with you in some way. It can be as simple ‘Call us today to learn more about our products.’ This is the one area that can push a sale without being pushy or salesy in any way.
Cover photo by Artem Beliaikin on Unsplash