Recruit a Virtual Sales Force With Your Blog
Put the internet to work for you and drive sales by connecting with your customers online.
Catching a virus is the best thing you can do for your business.
I'm talking about viral messaging--the kind that rolls through the media with sonic speed and that you cannot control. And unlike virtually every other aspect of your career, that's a good thing.
Case in point: I write a blog, Unconventional Thinking , that's rated No. 6 among the world's marketing blogs. Visitors to my firm's website, MSCO.com, sign up for the blog every day and night of the week, and in doing so hear my messages weekly and become part of my family. There is no cost to MSCO and no cost to the blog subscribers, who receive it automatically after signing up.
I keep my clients and my prospects close to me without any lapse in communications. I send them an unusual type of business message, an "unconventional" one, and they write back to me about how helpful it was to them.
But there is even greater power in a blog. And that's where the uncontrollable component comes in. The blog readers are, to a great extent, people whom others passed the blog along to, introducing them to Unconventional Thinking. Hundreds of thousands of people read my blog, and then serve as virtual salespeople for me--suggesting that their friends and colleagues come into my universe and read the blog, too. I don't control this growth; I don't want to and, in the viral world, letting the growth flow unfettered is where the real power lies.
How does a blog pay off for a salesperson? Well, it's one of the interconnected ways that you can put the internet to work for you. I will deal in depth with this connectivity in future columns that are a part of this series on viral marketing.
As you write and post your blog (virtually any IT person can help you get started on the tech side; you just write), and as people read it and become members of your virtual family, a number of them will reach out to you for products or services. Hundreds of times a year, people I don't know and whom I had no idea were reading my blog show up on the MSCO website for our services.
Salespeople can work their client/prospect communities one at a time, or they can broadcast their message on the internet and reach thousands in the same time (and for less than) they did in the old one-off process.
To be effective, a blog must be:
- Educational as opposed to commercial. You don't want to sell. You want to inform (which, it just so happens, is always the best way to sell).
- Compelling. People already have an overabundance of content to read. They will make room in their lives for you only if you are diligent in writing truly impactful blogs.
- Frequent and timely. I think once a week is ideal; but whatever your schedule, keep to it. A blog is a periodical of sorts. It must be available on the expected pub date.
Some will tell you that there are already too many blogs in the world. And they are right. The catch is there aren't enough great blogs.
Make yours one of the great ones. It will begin to put the internet to work for you. And it may well prove to be your most powerful sales tool.
Mark Stevens is the CEO of MSCO, a management and marketing firm based in New York, and the author of Your Marketing Sucks and God Is a Salesman. He's a regular media commentator on business matters including marketing, management and sales. He's also the author of the marketing blog, Unconventional Thinking.