When Jim* came to me for a Strategy Session, he seemed to have the PERFECT business on paper: he’s in a super specific niche, with almost no competition, teaching professionals how to use a specialized piece of software.
(*Not his real name!)
He was even getting promoted by the maker of the software (for free) and had grown his list to more than 10,000 ideal customers by offering valuable freebies on his blog and a popular newsletter.
Yet he wasn’t seeing the kinds of sales he wanted.
Something was clearly not working with his content strategy, but he was doing everything “right”: he was blogging every week, sending out valuable content, gathering leads by giving away useful free stuff…
So why wasn’t it working?
If you’re missing this element, you may not see results from blogging
As we dug into his strategy, it turned out that Jim wasn’t using his content to actively sell any of his courses. Unless he was launching a new course, he literally NEVER mentioned his old ones. He was relying on the few people that filtered through his website and found the courses on their own for sales — and because of that, his sales were pretty disappointing.
Jim’s situation is a perfect example of why so many people think blogging doesn’t work — and why you may have wasted hundreds of hours writing blog posts in the past that didn’t convert to sales.
People seem to like your content; you get some good comments or responses, especially when you manage to create something that really seems to strike a chord. But it’s hard to tell if it’s actually accomplishing anything.
(Like, does all that work actually translate into more sales??)
You have to think of your content marketing efforts like a story, and like any good story, they have a beginning, a middle, and an END — which is the sale.
I define content marketing as any conversation you have with your audience as part of building a relationship with the intention of eventually leading to the sale.
And it’s that LAST PART that so many people miss.
In fact, that’s the biggest mistake I see business bloggers make: they aren’t aligning their content with their business goals, and so they end up just blogging into the wind, hoping someone is listening.
The scary truth is, if your content marketing isn’t taking people on a journey toward a sale, it’s not actually doing much of anything for your business. (YIKES.) And if you’re not intentionally leading people on that journey, they’re likely to get lost along the way.
People join your audience at different stages of awareness every day
Jim assumed that the people on his list knew about his other courses, and would therefore buy them if and when they needed the course.
That’s probably true for a portion of his audience, but the fact is, new people are (hopefully!) joining your audience every day. And if you announced that you had something new to sell yesterday someone who joins today may miss it.
Now, if you’re like Jim and you have products or services that have been around for literally years and you haven’t mentioned them… I think you can see where this is going.
This is especially true for business owners who have evergreen products and services that are always available. But even business owners who are launching something specific — with a beginning and an end date — can fall into this trap.
In a mastermind group I belong to, we recently had to lovingly remind one of our members to add calls to action to her social media posts while she is in the middle of a launch! She’s producing incredible content, but she’s not reminding anyone to take an action.
It might be that new people are joining her audience and don’t know she’s got an open offer. It might be that some people didn’t see her announcement post, aren’t subscribed to her email list, or simply didn’t open the email. There are hundreds, even thousands of people in her network, and we can’t possibly know which of them need to see this reminder right now. Therefore, every time she neglects to remind people of the offer, she’s potentially losing sales.
Make the ask, and make it often — it doesn’t have to feel icky
As a human being, you may start to feel strange about adding a call to action to every piece of content you produce. You may start t wonder if you’re starting to sound like a used car advert screaming BUY BUY BUY at everyone.
But the rest of us human beings need to be reminded. We need to be told exactly what to do and when and why. It doesn’t have to be pushy or salesy or inauthentic. It can actually be a very organic reminder to people that if they need additional support or help to solve their problems, you have the solution.
But if you’re not strategically aligning your content with what you have to offer, and you’re not regularly and authentically asking people to take action, guess what?
ˆAnd that is a good example of how you can make an authentic, non-pushy call to action within your content to remind people of what you do and why they might want to get your help.