For the article "Tips From The Inside", Inc. Magazine interviewed the purchasing agents of several mega-corporations, asking how each preferred to be sold to by suppliers and vendors. I was fascinated by the answers, realizing that every one of those tips should be helpful for business bloggers in converting online searchers to customers and clients.
Three of the agents stressed the importance of vendors gaining an understanding the needs of their companies before making the "pitch":
From Valero Energy:
"It adds some credibility when you’ve invested time researching Valero and learning what role you might play in it."
"Show you understand what our pain points are and then try to address those."
"The first time we hear from you should not be at bid time. ..Come in, spend the time with us…"
Researching and understanding your target market is one of the ABC’s of all selling, and blogging to a target market is crucial to success in engaging readers. Read, read, read is my best advice as a professional blogger and business blogging trainer. From local business newspapers to your competitors’ blog posts – it all helps hone your own message.
"We always tell people that, if they want to compete, they need to support customers regardless of geographic location."
One observation that I read in a white paper from Compendium Blogware really stuck in my mind. CEO Chris Baggott explained that, at the end of the day, all search is local. In other words, each customer needs to find value "where they are" (both geographically and in terms of their unique needs). From an SEO standpoint, one tip Baggott offers bloggers is to, whenever possible, mention locations in page titles. "Location is one of the most important signals your blog provides to a "crawler", he explains.
From Northrup Grumman:
"Be as specific as possible when describing what you can do for us. Don’t be shy. If you have a capability, highlight that capability."
One concern business owners express to me is they don’t want to come across as boastful or self-serving in their blog. At the same time, it’s crucial for the blog posts to outline compelling reasons for prospects to work with them rather than with the competition. Being very specific and highlighting your unique capabilities (whether in the realm of above-and-beyond service, the product itself, experience, or specialized expertise) – being specific is a way to let the facts do the boasting!