— December 15, 2018
How to Cast a Wider Customer Net and Find More Qualified Prospects
Would you like to:
- Drive targeted traffic to your website and social pages
- Grow your subscriber base
- Build ongoing relationships
Ultimately, these ongoing relationships turn into sales, especially if you sell high-ticket or complex products. The sales process for these has changed over the last decade. Your customers will get the 411 on your brand and products long before they contact you. In the past your sales reps may have been the first contact point; not so much anymore.
The Proof is In the Posting (and Sharing)
This approach is massively successful. We’ve used it many times for ourselves and clients. It’s never failed. For example, I interviewed 6 influencers for our post Using Content Marketing to Amplify Your Digital Footprint. It was shared hundreds of times on social, bringing in hoards of new, targeted visitors. My Social Media Today article 9 Social Media Leaders Reveal Brands’ Biggest Social Content Mistakes was reTweeted over 925 times and shared hundreds of times on LinkedIn, leading to massive exposure and new client opportunities for us. Yes, it was a few years ago, but their points are still highly relevant now.
Using Prospective Customers’ Behavior to Your Advantage
Try taking a page from professional sports teams’ marketing manuals. You’ll put one of the most powerful traffic generating techniques to work growing your company’s blog or website, and leveraging others’ cred to boost yours. Even if your org is already a market leader, more reach and credibility with your target audience is always better.
One thing about professional sports teams, the best are consummate marketers. After all, they can not only make you part with your afternoon, and the better part of $ 100, but be happy to do it, too. You’ll even talk about it and share your experience on social to your friends. They’re thanking you for the attention, even now!
Their brilliance lies in that they can do this even if the gods of winning have been less than charitable of late. Witness the late ’70’s New Orleans Saints. Their on-field performance was so atrocious that fans wore bags over their heads while attending games…. but attend, they did!
If your business or website delivered anything so sub-par, you’d likely not keep people coming back, much less get them to show up in the first place. Most likely, your reputation would precede you.
What manner of marketing wizardry do teams employ to circumvent human nature, and get customers through the gates… even when the product stinks?
One of the most important things you can do for your business to keep your sales pipeline full is do what these teams do…. create a following.
Easier Said Than Done?? Well…
There are many strategies pro sports teams use to create strong followings, but one of the best is to have heros. The athletes who, in the face of daunting adversity, perform seemingly super human feats night after night. Athletes who make amazing plays de-rigueur, then are humble in the presser, generate rabid followings, and the team benefits from that. Even those who aren’t so humble spread that attention around on media, both social and conventional.
How to Create Followings for Your Brand and Business?
To start; blogging. Blogs are excellent relationship building tools. Your company blogs and social channels can, and should be a powerful way to stay connected with customers, prospects, and business associates.
Building a cadre of regular readers may seem like a daunting task, however, especially at the beginning. You’re probably not blessed with a network TV deal, and a phalanx of writers on blogs, websites, and newspapers generating exposure.
You may be an unknown in your niche, or at the very least, haven’t the following of someone like Guy Kawasaki, Steve Pavlina, or Tim Ferris. When starting their blogs or websites, those three benefited from what publishers call a “platform”, meaning they were fortunate enough to have a built-in audience and following to help their blog or website rise to the top.
Leveraging Hero Power to Grow Your Company Blogs
Have no platform, and aren’t a niche or market hero? Fine, most people don’t, and aren’t. That doesn’t mean you can’t use this strategy. If you run your company blog, you’ll just have to use leverage to move mountains. It is one of the most powerful business principles, and perfect for this application. It’s a proven growth strategy for both businesses and promotion.
Use others hero status and platform. There’s no hiding behind your keyboard for this one. You’ll have to reach out and form relationships with established bloggers, influencers, and authors in your niche. Even the most popular are often looking for other promotion and exposure avenues that will showcase them to a new audience.
What Are You Aiming For?
You are targeting guest posts and interviews, but not on just any old blog. There is a certain way to use guest posting for maximum effectiveness. With guest posts, you’ll go at it from both sides. Guest post on others blogs in niches related to your business. You’ll benefit not only from backlinks, exposure and traffic, but from the relationships you’ll begin to form with both the bloggers and their readers. I’ve written gust posts that still deliver solid traffic years later, and opened mine, or clients’ blogs to whole, new audiences..
Blogs to Target
Find rising bloggers in your niche or closely related ones. It helped me greatly that some of the blogs were fairly small when I did the guest posts, but are now well established and receive high traffic volumes. Just how are you supposed to know which will be successful, and which will forever languish in obscurity?
How Can You Tell Where They’re Going?
Unless you’re Silvia Brown, there’s no way to tell for sure which blogs will go big, and which will go home. There are some things you can check to give you a better than average shot at knowing who’s up and coming, however.
1. The Writing – Can they consistently pen informative, highly engaging content? If so, you’re on the right track.
2. Looks Matter – Their overall blog’s appearance Have they gone the extra mile to show they’re committed? Do they have an attractive, clean layout that’s not cluttered with ads? Did they invest in a professional header graphic and/or logo? Those are signs they are in it for the long haul.
3. Post Frequency – Do they post consistently? If they regularly post at least twice a week, that’s a good indication. After all, you want them to be building great relationships with their readers and have them coming back for more, week after week. You’ve noticed the posts here aren’t dripping with regularity? Yeah, do as I say, no as I do. We’re busy!
4. Social Media Profiles — Are they active in Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn (depending on the niche), plus any other social media and bookmarking sites that may be important for their particular niche?
5. Comments – Do their posts get comments? They may get only a few now, but do they consistently get them? Also, do the bloggers in question promptly answer them? Prompt response is a sign of good interaction and a focus on relationship building.
6. Relationships – Do they build relationships with other bloggers in their niche?
How they score on these six factors gives you a peek into a particular blog’s possible future. Those are the one’s you’ll want to target in your guest posting strategy. You’ll have the opportunity to grow with them, and help the other blogger by giving them a break from their hectic posting schedule.
Finding Great Guest Posting Opportunities
Now that you know what you’re looking for in a guest posting opportunity, how do find them among the millions of blogs strewn throughout the Internet? After all, most blogs, even in your niche, are just not going to be good guest posting candidates, for any number of reasons.
Here is a great way to zero in on those that are, so you can apply the rules above and get to work.
How to Search for Opportunities Using Search Engines
Never forget Google, either. When looking for guest posting opportunities, simply enter the search string “your niche” and “write for us”. You’ll obviously replace “your niche” with your actual niche. You can also try searching with the string “guest post by” and your niche. Both typically return excellent guest posting opportunities.
Guest Posting Isn’t a One Way Street
It’s not only about guest posting on other blogs. You’ll want to invite other bloggers to guest post on yours, too. It’s important they share it with their social media followings, and give their guest post some pub on their blog, also. If they don’t, you’re losing significant juice, so strongly encourage it.
Publishing guest posts gets a new perspective for your blog, and most likely some engaging, informative articles. If the guest blogger brings some of their followers over to see what they hath wrought, there’s a chance those new folks may like what they see and become a regular on your blog in the future.
Interviews: Grab the Mic and Go Big
Another great way to use leverage with other heroes is to interview them on your blog. Excellent candidates are authors, bloggers, and company executives from companies in your or related niches. Sure, you can do an actual interview, and podcast it, then post the transcript, or create a podcast. That may take you out of your comfort zone, actually talking to someone. Are you one of those who have text or Snap convos with someone in the same room, rather than vibrating your vocal cords? You’ll love this!
Relax, you usually don’t have to. Instead, master the art of the email interview. Many interviewees like email better, because it gives them the chance to answer the questions on their own terms and schedules. Just email them the question list and they’ll send you back the answers. You can follow up on any of the answers to complete the interview.
2 Big Email Interview Advantages for Bloggers
Email rocks the interview. It has 2 things over a live one, obviously without the real time back and forth.
- Minimized Content Creation Time. Just put the email through some minimal editing and you’re done. If you’re a busy blogger or community manager, that’s pure gold. It’s also easier to repurpose into other formats.
- Accuracy. You have an accurate record, straight from their email. No chance of messy or embarrassing transcription errors. Those can be a PR disaster.
Most of the time, even with a live interview, they (or their “people”) are going to want to see questions ahead of time, so taking the time to write them down and send them on over is something you’ll have to do anyway. When the interview is posted on your blog, make sure they link to it from their blog or website, and share it on their social media networks. You’ll obviously include links to their social profiles, website, or whatever they prefer.
Those are 3 great ways you can use another’s hero power to boost your brand’s traffic and following. You may not pack the stands every night, but in time, you may have a plethora of subscribers, hanging on your every word, or at least anxious for what’s in the next post.
It’s a way to take a page from sports teams’ mega-marketing manual and build some goodness for you, your business, and your brand. You may not have Ruth build your house like the Yankees did, but others might be happy to lend a hand.