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Blogging Through the Sales Funnel

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By James Pruitt, Senior Staff Writer

The blog format can provide a standardized template for beginners in web design. In a professional context, the sales functions of a blog can engage viewers and possibly start the slide through the sales funnel.

A blog can inform in a manner that can speak to shared interests with the reader. A blog can facilitate a meeting of the minds. SEO (search engine optimization) can even lead common travelers into your line of thinking and lead to fruitful business arrangements.

The best advertisers know their audience. That connection can travel for miles when shared needs raise the prospect of a business relationship. Bloggers blog to people they understand, with shared hobbies or backgrounds or struggles. This shared connection may coax the writer and their audience into a synergy that can propel them through their tightest economic needs.

Should bloggers try to trap visitors into the sales funnel, and send them slipping into what has become a rabbit hole? Of course not. The point is to establish a mind-meld that can open a hatch into a prospect’s economic, business, and personal life.

First, bloggers can blog about ways to use their products. Perhaps your widget has more than one function in varieties of contexts. The shared connection between the blogger and the reader might, for example, be hiking, or electronics, or gardening, or cooking. Perhaps some hiking device can be used for both warmth and as an emergency flare. Maybe some electrical components can fit into various devices. Maybe that fertilizer can be used for several kinds of plants, and maybe that cooking device is good for both frying and baking.

Bloggers should demonstrate their familiarity not only with their products but with the uses of their products. New small business owners should establish themselves as members of a community. Hence, they can establish collegiality with other members of that community and show they are marketing to peers with whom they relate and respect.

Second, bloggers should use discretion with calls to action and refrain from “hard-sell” tactics. For the most part, blogs should provide information. 

Sales pitches should arise where and when appropriate. Consumers are smart and can distinguish between an informative discussion and a crass attempt to shove a pitch down their throat. Assuming a new entrepreneur starts their small business adventure within your community of shared interests, you should not fall out of character. Blogs should come from a place of sincerity, as should the resulting sales pitch, in order to ring true.

Third, remember to iron out technical issues. Blogs should work equally well on desktops, tablets, and phones. In some cases, that vacation trip is just when your potential clients realize the need for that special portable gadget. Also, on a technical note, remember the importance of themes when using website-building applications. A good choice in themes, along with associated plugins, can prevent a scrambled online display in any one type of device.

In short, blogs can help draw customers through the sales funnel, but the customer’s journey should remain a fun slide rather than a trip through a rabbit hole. Entrepreneurs who become bloggers should remember the origins of their ideas and remain members of a community rather than stalkers of hapless prey.

VAMBOA, the Veterans and Military Business Owners Association hope that this article has not only been valuable but provided some unique perspective.  We work hard to bring you important, positive, helpful, and timely information and are the “go-to” online venue for Veteran and Military Business Owners.  VAMBOA is a non-profit trade association.   We do not charge members any dues or fees and members can also use our seal on their collateral and website.   If you are not yet a member, you can register here:  

https://vamboa.org/member-registration/

We also invite you to check us out on social media too.

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/vamboa

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/VAMBOA

Do not forget that VAMBOA members receive significant discounts on technology needs.   Check them out here: https://vamboa.org/dell-technologies/ 

 

Three Golden Rules to Get People to Read Your Newsletter

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By Debbie Gregory.

LinkedIN Debbie Gregory VAMBOA VAMBOA Facebook VAMBOA Twitter

 

 

Is sending a regular newsletter at the top of your marketing to-do list? No?

 

Regardless of what type of business you have, in order to keep customers coming in your door, ordering on your site, or calling, you need to stay in their minds and in front of their faces. Your past customers are or were interested in what you do.  They care about what you have to say, and they care about how your business can impact their lives.

 

Email is the easiest, fastest, and cheapest way to keep your business popping into their heads when they need your services. A good email newsletter can help you by:

  • Generating leads
  • Keeping your customers close
  • Keeping you in their mind when they need your products and/or services
  • Opening a dialogue
  • Offering more for your customers
  • Gaining a loyal following

 

The challenge is getting the customer to actually open and read the newsletter. So how can you ensure that they do? Below are three “golden rules” to follow that will greatly improve your newsletter’s impact:

 

1.) Grab Them with A Great Headline

Leave out boring email subject lines such as “ABC Company Newsletter” and be a bit more creative. Take something from the newsletter content and make a fun title out of it. You need to make the reader WANT to open and read the email.  You need to engage their interest.

 

2.) K.I.S.S. (Keep It Short & Sweet or also known as Keep it Simple Stupid)

Newsletters are a place to grab attention to direct the customer to perform an action such as to call you, click a link, buy from your catalog, etc. Keep the actual newsletter content short and the send the customer (via link) to the longer article on your blog or product page on your site. Make sure that the tone is tailored to your audience and that you include colorful and high-quality visuals.  Additionally, make sure you educate a bit (without being too pushy).

 

3.) Quality NOT Quantity

It doesn’t matter how many people you have on your list, if only 1% is actually looking at the newsletter. Make sure that your content is compelling and tailored for the audience you are sending it to. It is better to have 10 people who truly read the newsletter and click your links than 1,000 that trash it without even opening it. Also, be sure that you aren’t OVER emailing people.

 

Try to think about how much email you personally receive and look at the types of emails you click on, which ones you read, the links you click to read or learn more about something. Think about what entices you to read and click and apply similar methods to your emails.

 

In today’s hyper-connected world it can be difficult to engage and have users stop for a moment and pay attention to your marketing message. Follow these “golden rules” and you will definitely see better results from your newsletter campaigns.

By Debbie Gregory.

Have you ever put an item in an online shopping chart, then changed your mind about buying it, only to find a follow-up email in your inbox offering an incentive to complete the transaction? That is an example of great email marketing.

Email marketing is one of the most cost-effective and environmentally friendly ways to reach your clients/customers. At least 91% of consumers check their email on a daily basis, which can’t be said of any other communication channel.

Targeting inboxes with email automation allows your business to send personalized, timely, and engaging emails to customers. The most important thing to keep in mind is that you need permission to email your prospects and customers, so make sure that you have an opt-in form in place.

The best way to grow your email list is by attracting people with a compelling offer, often called a lead magnet. This can consist of digital materials like PDFs, MP3 audio files, infographic or videos that you can create yourself at minimal or no cost. It can be absolutely anything you want, so long as it provides value to your visitors for free.

Once you have a healthy email list, using an email platform such as Constant Contact, MailChimp, etc. to send your emails gives you access to templates that you can customize with your company’s logo, and corporate look and feel, strengthening your brand recognition. Your email subscribers want relevant, timely information and updates about your business, since they subscribed to your mailing list; you know that you’re targeting a receptive audience. Make sure they know about up-and-coming products, timed promotions, and seasonal updates.

Email list segmentation is the process of breaking your subscribers into smaller groups based on specific criteria so that you can send them more personalized and relevant emails. This results in higher conversion rates.

Be sure to monitor the performance of your emails to identify areas that need improvement. Then A/B test some of your changes in order to make improvements.

Don’t get upset about unsubscribes, they happen. But ask yourself why people subscribed to your list in the first place, and are you delivering on that promise? Is your content of value to the segment it is being sent to? Are you sending too many sales emails with too little value?

Keeping your loyal customers is much more cost-effective than acquiring new ones. Therefore, rewarding your email subscribers with exclusive offers is a powerful tactic for increasing the chances of them sticking with your business longer than they would have otherwise done.

Veteran and Military Business Owners Association, VAMBOA,

 

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