5 Blog Topics That Will Drive Traffic, Leads, & Sales
Written by: Chad Treadway
Can you think about the last purchase you made, one that you did any research on?
Recently, I bought a new carry-on backpack. First, I knew I wanted a backpack, I also knew I wanted one that had good handles, one that I could carry like a briefcase, and it had to have shoulder straps. A waist belt would be a plus, and ultimately it would fit in an overhead bin as I didn't want anything I had to check on an airplane. I spoke with a friend of mine who recommended "this one." It sent me down the buyer's journey/research into the bag. I looked at the reviews, "best of" lists, and comparison videos talking about problems, pros and cons, and I compared the costs.
Now, if I did this for a $100 backpack, do you think your customers are doing the same for your product or services?
Consumer buying patterns have gone through a monumental shift over the past decade. Approximately 70% of the buying decision is made before a prospect talks to the company. If we have a question, we go to the internet to “Google It.”
This brings me to the overall point: If this is true, why do we want to hide information from searchers and our prospects? By hiding it for whatever reason, all we are doing is frustrating them! Frustration is the F-word of the Internet!
A close second is friction. If you can remove the friction from any step in the process and build trust then the rest of your job is easy. The quickest and easiest way to do that is to answer the searchers questions no matter how “painful or awkward” it is for you.
According to Marcus Sheridan, the guy who literally wrote the book on it, there are five subjects that move every buying decision, in every industry.
Thus, the Big Five!
1. The Big Five: Cost
Now you are now probably thinking we can’t list our prices on the website, our competitors will know how much we charge, or we can’t price something we are a “value based business.”
Think about this - when was the last time you went online to research a product or service before you made a purchase? Maybe you bought a car, hired a plumber, or you were tasked with researching a new copier provider. At any point in your research, did you ask yourself what is the price of “this?”
If you're like 99.9% of internet searchers out there, you did. In the process of your searching, were you able to find pricing? If not did you call the company thinking oh they are a value based business? Or did you go on to find pricing elsewhere? I care to say you moved on because that site frustrated you! How did you feel about that company? Did they convey trust?
Take a great restaurant for example. You sit down with your date or significant other and you have heard that the lobster is to die for. But there isn’t a price listed, it just says market price. Do you risk buying it or do you go with the entrée where you know what the price is? More than likely you are going with the organic free range chicken dish because you know its price!
The same goes for your prospects. That lobster dish you wanted may have been cheaper than the chicken but you don’t know because the price wasn’t listed! Are you doing the same to your prospects? Companies are reluctant to talk about costs on their website for a variety of reasons, but they are all wrong!
Do any of these excuses sound familiar?
a. Our product/services are custom-designed to individual situations
1. But then our competitors would know what we're charging
2. It might scare away prospects before we can explain the reasons
b. But then our competitors would know what we're charging
1. I have a harder time with this excuse in this day and time. If they don’t have an idea of what you are charging, they will at some point.
2. At this point there is a fork in the road. Look at their site, if they are discussing pricing, then you have to, if not then you can get ahead of them.
c. It might scare away prospects before we can explain the reasons
1. By not answering the cost question you are using the F-word and driving them to your competitors.
b. It goes back to the earlier statement; we want to do business with those whom we trust. Honesty and authenticity is the best way to get there.
2. The Big Five: Problems
There are two major types of problems articles you should be writing about:
1. Their Problems
Everything boils down to solving problems, the prospects problems.
Prospects may only know the symptoms of their problems and may not have any clue whatsoever that you have the solution. Therefore, you need to have content that addresses the symptoms and let them know the options to solving the problems.
If you're a plumber, you can answer questions like, “why is my water heater not working.”
You can have articles about how to perform some basic checks and reasons they may want to talk to a plumber.
They have a problem: cold water or lukewarm water = You have solutions: a water heater inspection.
2. Your Problems
These types of articles talk about problems with your solutions.
So let's say those folks who started their journey searching “why is my water heater not working” discovered that their old water heater just has to go. It's shot. No chance of repairs. Done.
Part of their research will dive into different types of water heating systems: conventional storage tank water heater, tankless water heater, or solar powered water heater.
While vetting their options, they'll look up searches like, “problems with a tankless water heater.”
“The most effective way to immediately show you’re unbiased is by discussing who your product or service is NOT for” — Marcus Sheridan
It's a tough pill to swallow, but your tankless water heater won't always be the best solution for them. Maybe they don’t have access to natural gas or propane, or maybe they can’t vent it properly. Be honest think of all that research that they can do without you as a way to weed out the bad fits.
3. The Big Five: Comparisons
Comparisons are one of the most important pieces of content you can create and is also one of the hardest. When consumers are comparing your product or service they are in the final stages of the buyer's journey. The last thing they want is buyer's remorse!
Who wants to make the wrong decision? No one, especially if it's costly!
You have a golden opportunity to talk about each of their options, how they compare in different categories, the pros and cons of each, and which ones are better under different circumstances. Having an article on your website that honestly compares your product to your competition in detail will build trust.
Check out these examples if you are looking for inspiration:
4. The Big Five: “Best of” Lists
Think about the last purchase you made, one that you researched? Maybe searched for “best of”. Maybe you used words like “best” or “top” as part of your search terms?
Well, you aren’t alone it along is one of the most common ways people search.
As the old saying goes “build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door.” This isn’t because they want a better mousetrap it is because they want a piece of the marketshare you have and ultimately will be your competition.
Even if you are in a niche market, you have competitors. Currently, I have a client that operates in a niche of a niche market, they even have competition!
Why You Should Write About Your Competitors
You may be saying, I can’t list my competitors on our website, that defeats the purpose. Or maybe you think your prospects don’t know who they are? Maybe really own the space for your niche?
While these may seem valid and talking about your competition seems counter intuitive but its really not.
If you talk about your competitors on your website and someone finds that list, it just means that your site is doing its job and putting you above your competition.
The bottom line is this; your prospects are smart and informed. If you treat them with respect and honesty they will appreciate you and your company. If you are the only company willing to address the elephant in the room, it will get you major brownie points.
Here are several additional reasons to have this content on your site:
-It shows consumers you’re honest, respectful, and transparent. By educating them vs trying to “hard sell them” will go along ways.
-You become an industry thought-leader.
-Most prospects are not accustomed to being so informed from a single source.
-By doing so, they’re more than likely curious to see what other topics you have.
-This also helps you build their trust through your guidance and expertise.
-You can get traffic that would typically go to the third party review sites or your competitors.
-Chances are these prospects are in the final stages of making a decision and simply want to see who else is out there before making a judgement call. By listing your competitors, they may find your site and realize you’re in the same field.
-By showing that you are willing to address your competition and there are others who may be able to help them with their problem you take control of the conversation.
-Be careful to remain unbiased, but you can still choose what you say about them.
-The number one No No is to not include yourself in this list. What, I don’t include myself in the list? Nope, here is why. You want to build trust, and the quickest way to lose it is to put yourself on the list. The reason being is it looks and sounds self-promotional, or in other words braggy. No one likes a bragger.
-Need more proof as to why not to do it? Well, they are already on your site and engaging with your content. That Google search is what more than likely brought them here, mission accomplished.
Check out these examples if you are looking for inspiration:
Can you share a list of do’s and don’t do’s with your visitors? Could you do a demo on the best way to use your product or service?
Take these sites for example, they do an excellent job of showing some best practices in their fields.
5. The Big Five: Social Proof
Social proof comes in many forms. According to Bailey Richert, a business coach, there are at least 12 forms.
For most businesses the easiest to get are reviews and user testimonials. User testimonials come in the form of quotes or case studies about how great or successful they were by using the product or service. Reviews are similar in a good review can move you to the top.
-Placing the logos of business customers on a company website can increase conversions by as much as 400%, according to Voices.com.
-The average consumer reads 10 online reviews before making a purchase decision.
-57% of consumers will only buy or use a business service if it has at least a 4-star rating.
-88% of consumers trust user reviews as much as personal recommendations.
Before I leave this topic, I want to expand on that last statistic. Going back to my search for a good carry-on bag. One of my best friends (pictured) whom I have known for 15 years or more now, travels several times a year. Dana and his wife are passionate about not checking bags at the airport and utilizing carry-on only. He has always been my go-to person for any travel advice. Dana suggested a bag as I mentioned earlier and couldn’t recommend it highly enough, and that he was on his second one in 30 years! Now that is saying something about a piece of luggage! However, in the process of my research, I found that through the reviews that people said the backpack straps lacked padding and recommended another bag, which was the one that I ultimately went with as that was critical for me.
I tell that story to say, I myself took the words of strangers over my friend whom I have known years!
There you have it, The big 5 content topics every business site should have. If you take the time to ensure you are answering these questions, you are guaranteed to drive more traffic, leads and sales!
Written by: Chad Treadway
Chad is our business development manager. He will help you survey your business needs, ensuring you are educated on your options before suggesting any solution. Chad also has several certifications through HubSpot to better assist you with your internet and inbound marketing.