How to define the customer your blog is aimed at, before you start writing the post
In Inbound Marketing, start by defining what your potential customers look like
Inbound marketing. The very name tells you what has changed. The seller is no longer in charge – it’s the customer who rules. As it should be. When you have something to sell, you don’t go to the customer and tell her or him about it – you find a way to let the customer know where you are and, if you do a good enough job of that, the customer comes to you. So, how are you going to let the customer know you’re there?
There’s no point in writing a blog post until you know what sort of person you want to read it. And don’t tell me you want anyone to read it, because that is pointless. If a lot of people find your post, stick around long enough to read, and then click through to other pages and external links then, even if they’re not going to become customers, it’s good SEO and you’ll rank better for the keywords on that page.
But people who aren’t going to become customers almost certainly won’t stick around, read the post, and click, because they aren’t the people who are interested in what you have to sell, and they are therefore not the people you want to attract. Because, when they reach your post and immediately click away from it, it will be your bounce rate that goes up, and not the respect that Google has for you.
What you need to do, is to find out why people buy from you, so that you can find more people like them.
A sobering experience
Years ago, when I was in the IT business, we held a seminar in the north-east of England. The audience was made up partly of existing customers and partly of prospects who we hoped to turn into customers. I had prepared a presentation full of stuff about R&D, leading-edge technology, and understanding what customer needs were before the customers themselves knew they had those needs. I was in full flow when an IT director who had been our customer for a number of years stood up and interrupted me. He turned to the audience and said, “Listen. This is all very well, but I’ve dealt with these people for years, and I don’t buy from them for the reasons John Lynch is telling you about. I buy from them because they don’t give me any hassle.”
He sat down. I had to recover, obviously, so I pulled my shirtsleeves up one by one and said, “Ladies and gentlemen, this man is not my father, I have nothing up my sleeves, but I thank him for what he has just said about our service levels.”
The seminar proceeded as planned and came to an end and that evening three of us sat over dinner and addressed the question that the day’s events had raised: was it possible that we didn’t actually understand why people bought from us? The conclusion was that, yes, it was not only possible but in fact likely. And that evening was born the marketing campaign we ran with for the next two years. We called it hassle-free purchasing.
We defined hassle-free purchasing as meaning that, when you place an order with us, you get:
- What you want;
- Where you want it;
- When you want it there;
- Working when it comes out of the box.
The result of that campaign? In the previous two years, we’d grown the business by 20%. In the next two years – the hassle-free years – we increased sales revenue by 50%, and the number of customers by 40%.
And we realised something else: that not only had we misunderstood why people bought from us, we’d also failed to understand what we were really good at.
What does this mean for blogging?
I’ll say it again: you have to give potential customers a reason to visit your site. When you’ve done that, you have to give them a reason to stay. And then you have to give them a reason to buy.
One of the things creating the reason to stay is the blog post, which is why cheapo blog posts by people who aren’t native English speakers are worse than a waste of money – visitors recognise them for what they are and they leave. You need the best blog posts you can afford. But don’t just tell the freelancer who writes them what key words you want in there. What the freelancer needs – and needs more than keywords – is an understanding of exactly what sort of person to write for. Age. Educational background. Interests. Things that will turn the potential customer on – and off.
If you’re looking for a freelance writer good enough to take your raw material and turn it into a blog post designed to make inbound marketing a reality, fill in the form and let’s talk.