Blogs were initially conceived as online diaries, with the traditional view of them being a place where people could vent, confess or inform. These days, blogs are seen as an essential tool for any e-commerce business and are there to be taken advantage of. They can direct website traffic, rank your page higher in the all-important search engine results, and optimise keywords for even better visibility. In years previous, blogs were penned solo by people who just had to get something out into the world, anonymously or not. In 2017, online businesses are spending considerable resources to get their blogs in tip-top form. In other words, if you’ve got an e-commerce site, you’d better start putting blogging to good use, because you can be damn sure your competitors are!
One of the most important things you can do when selling a product or service through your blogging is to be up front and crystal clear at all times. This is the foundation rule that you should follow across every facet of your online operation; break it at your peril! The internet is full of scams, tricks and snake oil salesmen, all who work alongside and present the same face as the folks being sincere online (and there are plenty of those too, of course). Essentially, if you give your potential customers any reason to distrust or be suspicious about you, they probably will, and they’ll move on quicker than you can say ‘secure Paypal checkout’. Prevent this by being clear and transparent about your business up front, and don’t try and trick your visitors into clicking on links.
The flip side of the authentic coin is being smart about how you tie your products into your posts. You can make connections between the content of your blog posts and your product; this is smart e-commerce. Just make sure that these connections are legitimate and clever. In other words, authentic. Don’t write a post about something completely unrelated and then just try to jam your product in at the end. Choose a topic that’s going to have some synchronicity with what you’re selling, so that you can work in links easily and efficiently. Your readers and audience will thank you for it, and if you do it often enough, they’ll start to respect your tips and advice. Make your audience discover you for your post content as well as your products; then, if you link the two together in an authentic and natural way, you’ll create a dedicated and loyal following through your blogging.
Another important thing to remember is to not lean too hard on ‘sales’. In fact, before you start introducing your e-commerce aspirations into your blog, try and establish it as an entertaining diversion in and of its own right. If you’ve got people who are interested in what you’ve got to say and the stories you’re telling, some of them are going to be equally interested in what you’ve got to sell. But you don’t want to oversaturate your readers with offers or links; no one appreciates the hard sell. Instead, look to incorporate your product into every second post at most, leaving one between the selling to focus on other issues relevant to your business. This means you’re not ramming your wares down your readers’ throats, and also means they’ll pay more attention when you do bring up your own product.
Also make sure to keep your blogging as breezy and humorous as possible, depending on the nature of your business. Letting your own distinct personality shine through serves two purposes. Firstly, it means that you separate yourself from the masses of similar bloggers and e-commerce sites out there. This is crucial in 2017, and will only grow in importance as business in all sectors continues to migrate to the internet. There are lots of businesses just like yours who are looking to get their product out in the world, so you really need to differentiate yourself to stand out in the crowd. Secondly, it gives your blog a unique voice, which will make you seem personable and relatable to your readers. In other words, they’ll imagine a person on the other end of the computer, which is important when you’re trying to appeal to and ideally hook readers and customers.
Lastly, when you do want to sell in a post, make it easy and straightforward for your readers to transfer to your product page! Once you’ve hooked them, make sure they can access the all-important page from an easy-to-spot link. Don’t send them round in circles; they’re likely to lose interest very quickly (this is the internet, after all). Blogging is going a long way in the modern online world as a selling tool. Make sure you and your business are taking full advantage of this powerful e-commerce weapon!