The mini-article “Hosts with the Most” in the Perspective section of the AARP magazine suggests an interesting way blog content writers can use statistics to sell. “Maybe more of us want to run bed-and-breakfasts when we retire than we thought…Americans over 60 are the fastest-growing group to become Airbnb hosts.” In fact, we learn, there’s been an astounding 102% one-year growth in Airbnb hosts age 60 and up, with senior hosts capturing 13% of the total market.
If this little magazine were a blog post written to persuade retirees to become Airbnb hosts, it would tie back to the theory of social proof, meaning that, as humans, we are simply more willing to do something if we see that other people are doing it. In other words, people reference the behavior of others to guide their own behavior. When using statistics in business blog posts, we teach at Say It For You, it’s important to include the source, providing the answer to readers’ unspoken question: “Why should I accept these statistics as proof?”
To be persuasive, statistics must be combined with other kinds of evidence, Stephen Boyd cautions public speakers. You might state a statistic and then give an example reinforcing the number he says, or show what the statistic might mean by comparing it to something with which the audience is already familiar. In offering a dollar figure, for example, say “That amount would be like supporting your child through four years of college.”
The “Hosts with the Most” article does something even better – it paints a picture of results: “Older Americans get more five-star ratings than any other demographic.” When you’re composing business blog content, I tell writers, imagine readers asking themselves – “How will I use the product (or service)?” “How will it work?” “How will I feel?” In other word, the focus of a bog post written to persuade readers to buy must be on the end result from the recipient’s point of view.
To be sure, opening your post with a startling statistic can be a way to grab visitors’ attention, and statistics can often serve as myth-busters. (If there’s some false impression people seem to have relating to your industry, or to a product or service you provide, you can bring in statistics to show how things really are). Statistics can also serve to demonstrate the extent of a problem. Once readers realize the problem, the door is open for you to show how you help solve that very type of problem for your customers!
But my experience has shown me that statistics, even the startling sort, aren’t enough to create positive results for any marketing blog. Why not? The fact that a serious problem exists (even if the searcher suffers from that very problem) is not enough to make most readers take action. And in the final analysis, of course, the success of any blog marketing effort depends on that action. What blogging does best is deliver to corporate blog sites customers who are already interested in the product or service you’re providing! And while statistics may not galvanize prospects into action, they can be used to assure readers they are hardly “alone” in their need for solutions to their medical, financial, or personal challenges
Assuring readers that not only have they come to the right place for help, but that lots of other people have found your solution helpful, will bring who-else-is-doing-it, social proof business blogging success.