Say Hello to Your Virtual Front Office Staff: Your Blog
When you have an online business, it can be challenging to convey a personal connection with those who enter your online store. Whether you’re selling high end clothing or virtual coaching services, you need a front office staff that lets your customers get to know you. After all, personal connections go a long way when you’re trying to make sales or retain clients.
If your brand exists exclusively online, you need every page of your website to welcome visitors to connect with you at a deeper level. And you need a central location where visitors can engage more deeply to get answers to questions and learn more about the products and services that you offer. This is where your blog comes in.
It’s helpful to view your company blog as your front office staff. Here are some ways that your blog can act as your virtual receptionist and sales staff, so you don’t have to do all the heavy lifting on your own.
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Say Hello to Your Receptionist
For many visitors to your site, your blog is the first place where they’ll be introduced to your brand. Sure, there’s a lot of hype about custom landing pages, but in truth, there are still loads of customers who will visit a company blog before interacting further with the brand.
It’s critical that your blog acts as an attentive receptionist to capture new audiences and guide them to the pages that’ll answer their questions. Just as a receptionist in a physical office location gives direction and helps field simple questions, your blog can operate as a gatekeeper for your brand.
In addition to providing basic information to get customers where they want to go, a receptionist also helps you to sort out which potential customers simply aren’t compatible with your brand. This is a good thing.
Many brands assume that because they’re online, they can try to capture a larger audience than a physical business would ever have the opportunity to grab. In a way, this is true. However, it’s very easy to let this concept morph far beyond the scope of what it should be, namely: companies try to grab parts of the pie that were never theirs to begin with.
You want your site to work for you to weed out potential customers who don’t actually need your products or services. This saves you time and energy later on, and will keep you from the frustration of working with clients who are incompatible with your products or services.
Attract Your Audience
A good receptionist knows when to schedule a potential customer for an initial meeting and when to kindly avert unwanted business because he or she knows your brand. In online marketing terms, this is akin to knowing your audience and building content that will draw in the right clients.
You want your blog to be cohesive and work to pull in potential customers who can both identify with your brand and who are going to benefit from using your products or services. Thus, your blog should both tell stories (give your readers something to identify with) and establish a sales funnel (establish mutual benefit for you and those readers who will convert to clients).
To do this, you need a regularly updated blog with a collection of well-curated posts that draw readers from your desired audience(s). You can keep track of your posts by type and length by maintaining an editorial schedule for your blog.
If you have trouble curating the content your brand needs to function as a well-informed receptionist, don’t hesitate to reach out for help to keep your brand in tip-top shape. It’s far preferable to have an up-to-date blog than to let it sit unattended and chase away your potential clients.
Will the Real Salesperson Please Stand Up?
Most blogs function as a sales portal to some degree. Blogs that utilizes side panels, CTAs, keyword placement and other metrics act as sales funnels for converting the casual reader into a paying customer.
When you design your blog to function as a sales funnel, think of it in some of the terms you might consider if you were to draft a job description for a salesperson for your company. Sales are a pivotal part of the online marketing flow, and it’s your job to determine what works best for your brand.
We’ve all been in situations where a sales strategy was painfully incongruent with the product we were trying to buy. We’ve sat at intersections with people waving big signs to direct us to a nearby store or in front of a parking lot with one of those giant inflatable tube men blowing around in the wind. And while you might expect to run into one of those off-the-beaten-path sales strategies at a brake shop, you certainly don’t expect to see balloon creatures in front of your accountant’s office.
In the same way, your blog sales flow needs to be congruent with your brand. To do this, you must again consider your audience – after all, they’re the people who are most likely to actually buy your product or service.
Think back to a positive sales experience that you’ve had in a physical retail establishment. How did the salesperson you interacted with speak to you? How were they dressed? What sales techniques did they use to close the sale without making you feel pressured or uncomfortable?
Now think about ways that you can translate these “real life” qualities to your blog.
Tone it Up
Your tone, for example, is akin to a salesperson’s manner of speech. The writing style you use for your blog will do much to influence the overall tone of your sales pitch.
There’s a lot of talk about being relatable and personable in an online customer-facing environment, and you absolutely should take this into consideration. However, you know your customers best.
If something the marketing “experts” are saying isn’t congruent with your brand, then don’t implement it. For example, if the gurus are saying that an informal writing style and second person voice are in vogue but you’re appealing to a professional audience, it might be better to stick with a more professional tone and avoid use of second person voice or informal colloquialisms.
Dress for Success
Similarly, your blog’s appearance should represent your brand and stay consistent with company messaging. Think of this in the same way you might a salesperson’s uniform.
If you’re using an informal tone, you’ll want a less formal design to match. This doesn’t mean that you should neglect important marketing details when choosing design elements (remember, your site also acts as your product packaging), but you do have a bit more freedom to use bright colors and quirky styling. Think of this as a salesman in a hoodie and jeans: he’s laid back and knowledgeable – perfect for selling sporting goods or organic cold-pressed juices.
On the other side of the coin, you have the formal sales force dressed in a uniform of button down shirts and ties or well-tailored dresses. Perhaps they’re selling financial products or legal services. Or your ideal customers are well-educated professionals and experts in their fields. If the well-groomed salesperson best suits your brand, then your blog ought to reflect that.
This means that you’ll want to stick with more of a traditional design, logical flow and neutral colors. Of course, your products and branding will influence the flow as well, so if your professional brand rocks hot pink as one of its theme colors, then let your blog reflect that.
Close the Sale
Even the best dressed, well-spoken sales person won’t win you new clients if he or she can’t close the sale. This is where closing strategies come in.
Ideally, your blog should both inform your readers and act as a sales funnel for drawing in new clients. When you’ve got the look and feel down, you can focus on directing your readers’ attention to taking action.
There are many ways that companies implement blog-based sales funnels, and we don’t have room to get into great detail here. However, there are some big point to remember when considering your sales funnel.
First, you want it to flow naturally with your branding and image. If your salesperson is laid back, you want your sales funnel to follow suit (although you don’t want it to be too laid back – you want to make sales, after all). If your salesperson is in your face and that jives well with your brand, then you can be much more aggressive in sales language and CTAs.
It’s all about striking balance. Finding the best balance for your blog means incorporating marketing features that draw attention and inspire readers to take action.
Build Your Front Office Dream Team
Your blog has to do a lot of heavy lifting as your front office staff. It needs to be well-designed and have a cohesive styling and tone that resonates with your target audience. It also needs to be regularly updated and able to act as gatekeeper to usher ideal user through the sales funnel.
If you’re starting a blog from scratch, keep these factors in mind as you plot your design and layout.
If you’ve got an existing blog, consider ways that you can improve your blog’s design to correspond better with your company’s overall branding.
In either situation, use an editorial schedule to stay on track with blog posting dates, and include a variety of posts to reach your readers. Remember, regular blog posts and maintenance are important for establishing your credibility and commitment to your readers.
If you need assistance in designing (or redesigning) your company blog, or don’t have the time to commit to regular blog posting, contact us to learn more about how our web design services and copywriting packages can help you staff a dynamite front office blog presence.
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About Rystedt Creative Services
At Rystedt Creative, we believe your web experience should be simple and straightforward. Whether your life’s calling is to make custom lawn gnomes or host conferences for pushing the boundaries of scientific knowledge, we can help you handle the details of maintaining your online influence.