Signs They’ve Found the Right Place

they've come to the right place

“How can you be assured your hundreds – or thousands – of dollars have been well spent?” James R. Healy asks, writing in the AARP Bulletin about finding the right auto repair shop. Reading through those 9 “signposts” Healy suggests shoppers use as guidelines to quality assurance, it occurred to me how very relevant those are to blog marketing.

Just as consumers would not be searching for the right auto shop unless they already felt the need for one, online searchers who land on your blog are already interested in and have a need for the type of products or services you offer. Several of the signs attesting to the competence of the auto repair shop are those you can stress in your blog content that will serve as “signs” to those readers that “they’ve found the right place”…

People you trust say good things.
Testimonials from clients and customers are a powerful form of social proof; we are more likely to follow actions others have already taken,

The shop has the right stickers in the window.
What needs to come across loud and clear in business blog writing is what preparation, training, and effort it takes – on your part and on the part of your employees – to be able to deliver the expert advice, service, and products customers can expect from you.

The shop shows pride in its appearance.
The main message of a blog is delivered in words, of course. Where visuals come in, whether they’re in the form of “clip art”, photos, graphs, charts, or even videos, is to add interest and evoke emotion. You should take pride in your blog’s appearance, ease of navigation, and correct grammar.

Management will stand by its work.
Blog content writers need to need to keep up on what others are saying on the topic, what’s in the news, what problems and questions have been surfacing that relate to that industry, and use the blog content to show how this practitioner or business owner has stood by his/her work.

Not all these things can be accomplished in any one blog post. But, if you’re consistently creating content that’s helpful for your target customer, it’ll help establish you as an authority in their eyes, and prospects who have reading your blog posts will typically enter the sales process more educated about what you have to offer.

Welcome blog visitors by offering signs they’ve found the right place!

 

Facebooktwitterredditlinkedintumblrmail

Guest blog post: The Buyer’s Guide to Choosing a Differentiator

 

Today’s blog post was contributed by networking colleague Karen Sullivan, founder of Sullivan Solutions, which helps entrepreneurial companies augment their in-house marketing. Many of the insights offered here are useful for blog content writers…

In a world of so many choices, shopping can be harrowing. Whether you are shopping for the perfect pair of athletic shoes or for the best professional service provider for your growing business, you have so many options.

The shopping experience as education

Shopping is essentially education. Of course, in the case of an afternoon at the mall or a late-night binge on Amazon, it can also be largely entertaining. It’s exhilarating to find something that we didn’t know we needed. Maybe we buy it on impulse or make a mental note to consider it in the future.

In the case of buying professional services for your business, it’s often hard to understand the differences between providers. You don’t shop for bookkeepers or web developers very often, so you may feel you need to educate yourself by interviewing several. You might be frustrated because you get a different sales pitch every time. It’s never an apples-to-apples comparison.


The buyer has the biggest role in identifying a differentiator

In the age of the internet, there’s no reason not to do your homework before you start your shopping. You’ll find a wealth of good information with a simple and thoughtful Google search. Don’t be afraid to ask even casual business colleagues for some guidance or referrals. There’s no need to start from scratch.

1. Do start with a budget.
Don’t worry, your budget can be a broad range. However, you’ll waste everyone’s time, especially your own, if you start shopping features without some budgetary guidelines.

2. Identify your 3-7 key deal breakers.
These are only the absolute must haves. Keep them simple because these are the first things you will use to qualify or disqualify candidates. Don’t forget some deal-breakers may be soft-skills like “prefers to communicate by phone rather than email”.

3. Your short list probably should be more alike than not
When you finally invite sales pitches, your candidates should look pretty similar. They should certainly all be capable of meeting your deal-breakers. If they are vastly different in features or benefits, you may not have done enough homework.

4. Transparency is two-sided, too.
Don’t come to the table with the intention of getting free consultation buried in the pitch. That may be a pleasant bonus. However, healthy relationships are built on mutual respect. Be honest and open with your expectations and your budget. At the same time, you have every right to expect the same honesty in the pitch.

5. Ask for clarification.
Proposals shouldn’t surprise you. If you receive competing proposals that look significantly different in terms of deliverables and costs, consider whether you’ve been misunderstood or simply over-sold. Regardless, if you don’t ask for clarification, you may miss your best choice and your best, unsolicited learning opportunity.

Karen Sullivan may be contacted at Karen@sullivansolutions.com

Facebooktwitterredditlinkedintumblrmail