You might be wondering exactly how blogging can grow your client list. Sure, if it helps your SEO, more people will see your website and read your content. And blogging can also improve your reach and visibility on social media. That’s all well and good — but how does it get those people to buy in and sign up for one of your services?
By encouraging ongoing engagement.
This is the third reason to blog: to move from a superficial level of connection to something a bit deeper. A bit more meaningful. To build a relationship and get to know your audience.
Once you’ve started doing this it’s much easier to grow a bond based on trust, because people won’t buy from you if they don’t trust you.
Blog to Build a Connection
Your very first goal when building engagement is to get people to interact with your content again and again. Ideally, that’s on your website you need them to revisit your storefront — not just your social pages (unless your social page IS your storefront!).
You wouldn’t expect a dog to give up a valued resource to you the very first time you met him, would you? People are no different! Marketers say that it takes 7 exposures before someone is willing to purchase something. There doesn’t seem to be any hard data on that number — but it stands to reason; few people would be willing to hand over significant hard cash to a complete stranger.
The Power of Email
The most effective way to start building connections with people is to get them to subscribe to your email list. To do that, you offer them something valuable in return for their email address. You can read more about how to do that with download incentives here and here.
Once they sign up, you’re in a position to build a relationship. You know about them and they know about you. If someone’s not on your list, they may be reading some of your content, social, and blog posts but you have no idea they exist. Once they subscribe, however, you can start building that relationship!
Now you have control of the interaction. Rather than you waiting for them to revisit your site — if they even remember who you are and what you do — you can reach out to them.
Not only that, but you can learn about their needs and interests. Google Analytics can give you some indication of which pages and posts are popular but it doesn’t tell you who is reading what.
However, you can get this info by tracking which links in your emails people click through to read. Called list segmentation, this is super powerful because now you can target the information you send to the topics they want to know about.
So now you have people signed up to your email list. What next?
Blog Posts that Give Extra Value
If someone has trusted you with their email address, it’s only fair you give them ongoing valuable material. And that’s where blogging for ongoing engagement comes in.
Many businesses make the mistake of only sending out sales information to their lists. Yes, you need to promote your classes and services, but that shouldn’t be the only stuff you send. If you’ve ever signed up for an email newsletter (in exchange for a freebie) and then been inundated with emails saying “buy my X, Y and Z!!” for the next month, you’ll totally understand this. How long did it take you to unsubscribe? Not long, I bet!
Instead, you need to hold up your end of the relationship by providing repeat value for their continued interest. The more times a person interacts with your business — by reading your content or watching your videos — the more trust you build and the more likely they are to buy from you.
(You can read more about Content Marketing here.)
Get More Buy In From Your Readers
So, a fair percentage of what you regularly send your subscribers should be purely beneficial to them, not sales heavy.
But there’s more to this than just providing value to people. It also gives you a way to ask them for a small investment — of time or effort. (And small investments often lead to bigger ones…)
You can do this by producing blog posts that go into a topic more thoroughly, which simultaneously give more value AND encourage your audience to invest more.
How does that work? Let’s say you have a “5 ways to stop your dog jumping on visitors” post. It lists 5 management quick fixes for jumping. This would be great for both social shares and SEO but might not hold the attention of your more seasoned audience.
However, a follow up post “Stop your dog from jumping on visitors ever again” that teaches them how to build a stationing behavior, would do the trick.
It gives both deeper value — a more sustainable solution — and requires them to put in more effort and time to get the desired result.
Here are the most common ways to make your posts more valuable:
- Give more how-to information, not just “what to” information.
- Make posts longer and more detailed.
- Include a longer video to watch.
- Give instructions for something that will take more than 5 minutes to complete.
- Give them something to practice over a longer period of time before the results become apparent.
If at this point you still have some objections running through your head, let me put the two biggest of those to rest.
Objection 1: I Teach That in Class
Maybe you’re concerned about giving away material you teach in classes so people will decide they don’t need to sign up? Don’t worry!
It’s extremely unlikely that someone will learn everything they need to know to fix their problem from just a blog post or video. How long did it take you to learn to be a great dog trainer? Did you do it by accessing nothing but free material like blogs and YouTube videos? Probably not!
If someone does manage to completely fix a problem from your blog, that’s great! You now have a new fan waiting for the opportunity to learn a whole bunch of other stuff from you. And that opportunity may be by signing up for your next class or course.
And if they don’t? Well, they were probably never going to be a paying client anyway.
Objection 2: If the Method Fails They’ll Think I’m Crap!
The flip side of objection 1 is that if people try your method but fail to see results, they’ll blame YOU, not their training skills.
Partly you can avoid this by adding some caveats to your post. Consider statements like:
- Don’t try this if your dog….
- You might have less success with this if…
- Sometimes this method can require tweaking for individual dogs. Get in touch if…
State that the method takes time and practice. If it needs a prerequisite skill be sure to say so in your post.
And remember, if someone is the type of person that will blame their failure on the information given rather than first looking at their application, well, do you want them as a client? You might be better off without them!
Go Forth and Blog!
Now you know all the reasons why blogging is super important to your business success. You know how to use it to improve your SEO and social presence — and how to build an engaged audience that keeps on coming back for more. With time and application, your blog can grow into a great business asset and be a fabulous resource for old and new clients. What’s not to love?