Why Blogging is the Greatest Sales Tool in the World Today

by Marcus Sheridan

blogging for salesBlogging works, right? Yeah, sure it does. If done properly, it can create for your business one of the most dominant SEO campaigns on the web, thus driving tons of traffic to your site that will hopefully end up in leads and ultimately sales.

But let’s assume for just a few minutes here that blogging did nothing for SEO. Let’s say it never garnered your company’s website any new traffic whatsoever. Would it still be worth it?? In short, here’s the answer:

You dang right it would be worth it.

I hear companies talking about how blogging and content marketing can impact their bottom line, but rarely do I speak with someone who understands the true vision and impact that a continuous flow of content can have on an existing customer base, especially those that are already in your sales funnel (existing leads).

For example, the other night I went on a sales appointment (for my swimming pool company) to see a lady that I’d met with two years ago but at the time decided not to purchase a pool.  Knowing this would be my second visit with her, I was determined not to let another opportunity to slip through the cracks.

For about 45 minutes, I discussed with the lady what she was looking for and found out that she had subscribed to my company blog during the time of our last meeting and thus had been diligently researching swimming pools for over two years. In fact, because she was so loyal to our blog she was as knowledgeable about pools as a first time buyer can possibly be. Thinking everything was looking great, I gave the lady the total price asked for a deposit, and this is the conversation that then ensued:

Lady: Well, I like your quote and your company but I just can’t make a decision tonight.

Me: Why? (When it comes to sales, I prefer direct questions ;-) )

Lady: To be honest, I have another appointment with another company next week.

Me: Why?

Lady: Because I’ve been told you’re supposed to get 2 or 3 quotes whenever you make a purchase like this.

Me: Hmm, that’s interesting. Who are you planning on meeting with?

Lady: <company X> (names are hidden to protect the innocent ;-) )

Me: Company X? Really? Well let me ask you this. Over the past two years, how many articles of ‘Company X’ have you read that taught you something about pools?

Lady: Uhhmm, well, none.

Me: And over the past two years, how many times has ‘Company X’ bothered sending you any information that showed they really and truly cared about your swimming pool experience, regardless of whether you went with their company or not?

Lady: That would be none also.

Me: And over the past two years, who has sent you two emails every week so as to assure you’re continually learning and staying informed as to the happenings of the pool industry?

Lady: You have Marcus.

Me: Ma’am, where have you essentially learned everything you know about swimming pools?

Lady: (with a shameful smile at this point) Your blog Marcus.

Me: Then why in the world would you be getting another quote when you already know we’re the right company for you?

Lady: I guess it’s silly, isn’t it?

Me: Yep, sure is, crazy in fact, so go ahead and cancel that appointment and the deposit tonight will be $250,000 (actually, it wasn’t close to that but I figured 250k would sound much cooler :-) )…..

Lady: (with a big smile) Sounds great.

When all was said and done and the kind lady had written me a check, she said she was thrilled and relieved to finally be done with the process and have made a decision. But in my mind, there was one reason why we were able to have the above conversation and subsequent agreement:

Great content leads to even greater trust.

So think about this the next time you’re debating on whether or not your company should be blogging. Remember, whether you get huge SEO benefits or not, you should be producing great content for those persons in your sales funnel that are still ‘in the game’ but have yet to actually pull the trigger and make that all-important buying decision. If you do this, I can assure you that you’ll discover blogging and content to be the best sales tool in the world in this new information age we are all a part of.

Your Turn: Has your blog helped you with sales and not just SEO? If your company never received one ‘new’ visit from blogging, would you still do it? As always, let’s have some great conversation here because those lurkers that are reading this article and are on the fence about content marketing need to hear your thoughts. :-)

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{ 81 comments… read them below or add one }

Patricia@lavender-oil February 21, 2011 at

Hi Marcus

Wow you are definitely a marketer who blogs and not a blogger who markets ;-) You can teach us bloggers a lot about effective marketing. And it sure isn’t about getting heaps of comments lol Love your direct approach and it worked :-)

When I was on a small biz course last year, I was surprised at how few of those starting up their own business even thought about having an on-line presence! You are ahead of the game with what you offer Marcus. Way to go.

Patricia Perth Australia

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Marcus Sheridan February 22, 2011 at

Oh Patricia, you’re so very kind with all of the words you leave here with your comments. But yes, I do like to see myself as a marketer first. In fact, I think this is a major key to any successful business. Allow me to give an example.

When I started my swimming pool company 10 years ago, I saw myself as a ‘pool guy’ who sold swimming pools. Sounds logical, right?

It wasn’t until about 7 years later when I realized I had it all wrong. With this paradigm shift I understood in order to be very successful, I needed to become a ‘Marketer who sold pools’. Do you see the difference? It’s HUGE.

BTW Patricia, I love all the design changes to your site. I really looks great. :-)

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Patricia@lavender-oil February 22, 2011 at

I do see the difference Marcus. Cos I started out blogging, I realise I need to get that marketer’s mindset. I have been blessed with some generous marketing friends who readily share their marketing experiences with me.

BTW I hope you received my reply to your comment on my latest post. Had some problems getting the reply published!

I was happy with the design changes too. I just made some suggestions for how I would like it to look and left my techie friends to sort it.

Learning heaps visiting here. Thanks Marcus. Appreciated.

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Bollywood Images September 19, 2013 at

I have read so many article of this site in which some of them were very intresting and inspiring.This article has good title with good description

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Joe @ Not Your Average Joe February 21, 2011 at

Thanks for the great sales related content, Marcus. Nice responses to objections from a prospect that clearly wants to hunt for better pricing. But you showed her value of what you offer, and took what is a major decision off her plate. Of course, not every sales scenario is this cut and dried, but you gotta be ready for the ones that are!

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Marcus Sheridan February 22, 2011 at

Thanks Joe. You’re right, each sales situation is different. In this case, I knew the lady liked us and knew she’d been reading my blog. If she continued on her road of getting quotes, some slick-rick may have persuaded her to go against what she already knew to be true—that we were the right company for her.

Sales, combined with this content revolution, is such a fun thing. I must say, I love it.

Thanks so much for your comment Joe.

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Robert Dempsey February 21, 2011 at

A big yes to this! For my web development business I had a customer that spent 6 figures with us follow for a year before contacting us for a large job. And all of that blogging was done without any SEO in mind – it was all for the customer.

Granted, I used other methods to drive traffic to the blog in the first place, namely PPC and a lot of online networking. However, it was the continuous message of “we know what the hell we’re doing and we are showing you that” that allowed me to land many clients past that first.

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Marcus Sheridan February 22, 2011 at

“we know what the hell we’re doing and we are showing you that”

This statement just about sums it up Rob, with the key word being ‘show’.

Business owners can’t show jack if they are not producing great content. Whether it be via blog article, or video, consumers need something to put their eyeballs on as evidence of the fact that ‘yes, this guy has a clue’.

Big props to you Rob for truly understanding the big picture when it comes to blogging and content marketing, and thanks so much for your comment.

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William Tha Great February 21, 2011 at

Hey Marcus,

Thanks for the inspiring article!

I don’t blog for SEO although it’s great to get a little of that traffic! I blog, because I love having a way to spread my word all over the world with a click of the button. I also don’t blog for money or sales, even though that would be a nice benefit ( :

I blog for the respect. I desire respect more than anything, because I want people to repect my work ethics. I get happyeverytime I get a response for my community, or a private email telling me someone enjoys my work. All I have ever wanted was to get my respect. That is all I need to keep me pushing along.

Thanks again!

God bless,
William Veasley

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Marcus Sheridan February 22, 2011 at

I think that is one awesome reason to blog William—Respect. Good for you brother.

And once that respect is achieved, trust enters the picture as well. And once trust enters the picture, you can ask for the business.

Love it William. Seriously man, that was great.

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Dave Marciniak February 21, 2011 at

Awesome way to overcome that objection, Marcus. Wish I would’ve had that in my pocket last week, might have landed one on the phone. Someone was researching planting screens (for around a new pool, go figure) and came across my blog and was reading my articles about it, then decided to call me. We talked, but rather than agree to book an appointment she said she was going to talk to folks at the home show at Dulles this coming weekend. That little nudge could’ve made the difference.

I love having a blog. For lukewarm referrals, it’s the best soft sell ever. When someone has a friend or colleague who they feel would benefit from my services but it’s still kind of a cold lead, I tell them to have the person visit my blog, then check back in a week and ask if I can call them. In some cases, I get a call right away.

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Marcus Sheridan February 22, 2011 at

It’s the best soft sell ever.

I think I’ll happily hijack that statement Dave and pretend I said it first ;-)

But you are so spot-on here brother. If someone is willing to read your content—ie become informed– then they are the type of customer you want.

If they couldn’t care less about great content and information, then they’re about price, and as you well know, it’s then time to run as fast as you can in the other direction.

So to add to the above, maybe the title of my next post should be ‘Why Blogs are the Best Sales Qualifier in the World’. :-)

You’re awesome Dave, and your support is very much appreciated.

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Sheila Atwood February 21, 2011 at

Marcus,

I like how you controlled the sale by providing the information before hand. You hit the button on the nose. The time spent building the relationship pays off. The time spent in real communication does make it just that slick to make the sale. It is not in the close, the sale is in the communication.

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Marcus Sheridan February 22, 2011 at

That’s right Sheila, exactly. I used to spend hours in homes teaching people about swimming pools. Then, out of the blue, I realized I’d been an idiot and was going about it all the wrong way.

That’s why today I don’t ‘teach’ in the home. Sure, I’ll answer questions but I go into home to sell….My blog does all the teaching. Put the two together and it’s one heck of a system.

Thanks for your constant support Sheila with comments and tweets, it’s very much appreciated :-)

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Murray February 21, 2011 at

This is definitely spot on Marcus,

You couldn’t believe how many people have contacted me out of the blue from content that I’ve created for my blog. How many have done so from me not writing? Zeroooo.

Content matters because it lets people find you, hear you, absorb you and make a connection which could lead to a business deal. Even if it doesn’t, you’re still in a person’s mind when they go else where because those that speak up and give information are ones more likely to become an authority on the topic.

Awesome job at landing the deal yo!

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Marcus Sheridan February 22, 2011 at

Ah thanks Murray, kind words brother.

You’re a great example of a ‘giver’. I’ve read other people online talk about how you are so willing to give of your time to answer emails or chat or whatever–simply to help that person get over whatever ‘hump’ they may be dealing with. Your kind acts of service, combined with the tremendous content you’re always pumping out on your blog, is what is giving you such a well-known name on the web….and it’s deserved, I’ll say that.

So kind of you to support the TSL community here Murray. Thanks man.

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Murray February 22, 2011 at

Thanks Marcus; very kind words :)

People need a bit of spark to help others; we all have it waiting but need the little nudge to finally make those connections. We all have something amazing to say.

It can be through blogging, Twitter, Facebook, face-to-face – simply put: do whatever you can to share with others because giving away value is where it’s at.

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Jk Allen February 21, 2011 at

This is a great story capturing the power behind blogging. Providing solid information offers transparency, transparency generates a trust, trust shifts to loyalty, and loyalty turns into a purchase…and referrals!

I don’t blog for SEO. In fact, I don’t think it would take long for a novice to learn that my site is so far from being optimized that it’s crazy. But, being that I have a goal of reach people, it only makes sense that I lend some focus to it – because it’s a fundamental to bring in the traffic. But, if SEO wasn’t around…I’d still do it – because for the past 7 months SEO hasn’t been a focus what so ever.

But, I’m learning – quickly (and often from TSL) that it’s all about content. Without it, traffic is pointless and won’t convert to anything meaningful anyway. Within my direct situation I liken my product to getting RSS Subscriptions and my new readers (who I subscribe) as prospective customers.

If I were to get 1000 new visitors in a day, but my content was weak and didn’t offer my prospective customers an experience that they wanted to experience again, then they would subscribe yielding their visit pointless. Content Rules!

“Content is the ultimate gift that keeps on giving”-some guy named Marcus

I’m learning A LOT from you Marcus. You’ve been tearin’ it up in 2011, and we’re only 7-8 weeks in. Wow!

PEACE

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Marcus Sheridan February 22, 2011 at

You know how to make a man feel good JK. Seriously, I think it’s a God-given gift you have. I mean other people are great too, but it’s different with you man. Hard to explain….but very appreciated.

I’m digging what you said at the top:

Providing solid information offers transparency, transparency generates a trust, trust shifts to loyalty, and loyalty turns into a purchase…and referrals!

That’s it in a nutshell brother. People make it out to be this complex mega-science…but it’s not. It’s trust through information.

Thanks again brother. :-)

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Mitch Mitchell February 22, 2011 at

That’s a great story. I have to admit that I am blogging for SEO (at least on this blog), mainly because I feel my SEO efforts will end up helping me gain prospects in the long run. It’s working on the first front, so I’ve got hopes it will eventually start to pay off.

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Marcus Sheridan February 22, 2011 at

Hey Mitch, welcome to the TSL community. :-) So kind of you to stop by.

There is nothing wrong with blogging for SEO. In fact, if done right, great content will naturally lead to great SEO. I get thousands of visitors each month off of organic search results, but they all stem from the content.

Good luck with your prospecting Mitch, and I certainly hope we speak again. :-)

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Paula Lee Bright February 22, 2011 at

Marcus. I hate to be the dissenter in the crowd! I love your writing, and I love your advice, and I love all that I get from you. But this one makes me feel funny. I’m not sure that’s what I would have done. Because I’ve found if you persuade someone not to pursue something…they always wonder if they should have.

Yes, of course she is devoted to you, and so on and so forth. But if your deal is truly the greatest, wasn’t she going to come to you anyway? Or no? I’m really asking! Not playing devil’s advocate.

Everything you write hits me in some place that’s right. But this one doesn’t. If I’ve got it wrong, please teach me? Maybe I’m not into the guilt/you owe me/I’ve done right by you and who the hell are they mold. Dunno. Just not comfortable with this one single post.

Looking forward to hearing from you, and I’m certain I’ll be dissuaded! ;)

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Marcus Sheridan February 22, 2011 at

Paula, I’m so offended!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Nahh, just kidding, actually I’m thrilled you spoke up. Go girl!! ;-)

Here is the thing: This may sound bad Paula, but I know my company is the best pool company in our area (area meaning east of the Mississippi ;-) ). I know it like I know your name is Paula. I also know that the company this lady was going to talk to has a bad product and a completely different focus when it comes to service.

You see, there is this silly myth out there that you must get two or three quotes when you buy something. I think that’s ridiculous. In fact, I rarely do that myself. What I do is I research, do all the leg-work, and then make a logical decision.

Remember, this lady had been researching over 2 years. She had developed a tremendous relationship with me through my writings, and the only reason why she was getting that second quote was she was feeling ‘pressure’ from the outside world.

This is also why she was so relieved when she gave me the deposit. She already knew we were the right company for her. Her intuition and good sense had told her that more than once. I could see this plain as day.

If she had been pressured the wrong way into this decision, she would have been nervous and fearful she’d made a mistake. Do you see what I’m saying here?

But even if you don’t agree Paula, I’m just glad you’re here, taking part in the conversation. We’re here to learn from each other. Sometimes I’m right. Other times I’m wrong. Either way, it’s all a process—and I’m enjoying every minute of it because of good people like you.

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Paula Lee Bright February 22, 2011 at

OK, kid. I see what you’re saying. And I feel sure you are right. BUT. I’ve reread it, and it still just doesn’t sit comfortably for me. And I can’t identify why!

But as a teacher, I’ve learned to listen to discordance when I hear it.

Probably in this case I’m mistaken. I already know you offer a superior product and superior service. I know you deserve that sale.

But tell me this: Is it absolutely essential to get every sale? Yes, of course it is, to earn a good living.

But will this lady be happy in 5 years? Because it sounds to me like you “sold” her. And to me, that seems to leave a crack wherein she could crawl through and claim “Oh! Oh! This____ happened to me!”

Hey! Maybe that’s it! To me…she doesn’t sound like a solid and reliable sale. ????

DANG! I wish I could put my finger on what I’m not comfortable with. But I can’t. Thanks for taking me seriously, anyway! :D I realize I probably sound like an idjit. But still. I hear that niggling little voice. I’m not comfortable on this one tiny single thing you’ve written about. Call me crazy! I’m still hooked on almost everything you say. :D

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Marcus Sheridan February 23, 2011 at

Ha Paula! You really give me a chuckle. This has been fun, it really has, and I again thank you for voicing your thoughts.

Two final points:

1. You use the word ‘sold’ like it’s a bad thing. I don’t share that paradigm. In fact, I’ve met with people time and time again that after our meeting, they’ll say something like, “Wow, this was great Marcus, you’ve sold me man!”

You see, people want to be sold Paula. They do. They just want to feel good about the company, product and service—during the time of making the decision and afterwards.

The famous Tom Hopkins made the word ‘sell’ a bad word in the 1980s. I think too many people are still caught up in that junky age of semantics.

Personally, I love being sold by a professional company/sales person that takes the time to give me great information.

2. Also, I didn’t ‘sell’ her anything. It was the blog. So I guess you’ll have to blame that one on the 200 or so articles that landed in her inbox during the 2-year research period ;-)

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Paula Lee Bright March 3, 2011 at

You are right! I concede. And have a better understanding now, thanks to expressing my doubts.

I enjoyed it too! Thanks. :)

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Stuart February 22, 2011 at

Top marks Marcus, you sly old do…lion! Sounds like you’ve got the ‘sales pitch’ sorted!

You know, I look at some blogs, and I wonder why they’re even created? Their content is so awful and the design makes me want to puke, but I then realise that it’s all about the money. They don’t care about whether people like what they write, so long as the traffic, and the money, comes rolling in.

I’ve seen some company blogs like that, and I can only wonder why someone hasn’t turned their lightbulb on and asked everyone else, “Why isn’t this blog working?”. There’s enormous potential in a blog these days. Granted, companies have generally sussed out the internet now, but they can go much further with a company blog! They can be free to set up, or at the most, a small fee. And yet the amount of potential return is incredible. Steve Pavlina makes stupid amounts of money from his website, and he only paid $9 for the domain name!

My company that I work for don’t have a blog, and I plan on leaving them pretty soon anyway, but if I was hanging around then I’d definitely push for a blog. The benefits are too big to turn down ;-)

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Marcus Sheridan February 23, 2011 at

Very well made points Stu. If a company doesn’t have a blog, there is a serious lack of marketing leadership within the organization and things need to change. And you’re right, it’s so easy it’s ridiculous.

Tell me, what are your plans for the new job? I’d love to hear what good ‘ol Stu has up his sleeve next :-)

Thanks for the comment buddy.

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Stuart February 24, 2011 at

I’ve got something up my sleeve, but it’s still in progress; I don’t want to spoil it just yet by unleashing it too soon. Needless to say, I’m excited about it ;-)

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Daniel M. Wood February 22, 2011 at

Thats the way to sell Buddy!
But that is true, you have given so much information, your followers know everything they need to know about the pool industry.

They know they can trust you and they know your prices.

It is a simple decision to say yes.
That is the power of blogging, they know you, even if you don’t know them, yet.

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Marcus Sheridan February 22, 2011 at

It is a simple decision to say yes.

That’s it Daniel! That’s what we’re doing with this thing called blogging and content marketing. We are making it easy for them to happily and excitedly say the word YES

Awesome point brother, and thanks so much for your support bud.

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Nathan Edwards February 22, 2011 at

Is blogging worth it even without SEO. You better believe it.

Yesterday I get a call from a guy who was referred to us by a past customer. He wanted to set up an appointment with me to go over his pool project. At the end of our conversation I asked if he had looked at our website. He said no. I asked him to look at our site and to read through our blog to learn more about pools since he knew nothing at this point.

Now when I do meet with this guy, I know I will have my foot in the door a lot further than any of my competition because THEY HAVE NO BLOG! I will have provided him with a lot of information that I know will give me a leg up in the trust factor.

So is a blog worth it? Yep.

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Marcus Sheridan February 22, 2011 at

Nathan Edwards, you are my hero!!

Seriously man, this is great. I’m so happy you’re really starting to leverage the power of content and use it in your favor. It’s going to work my friend. And before all your competitors realize it, you’re going to have a business going 100 mph in the right direction–all because you were willing to leave your ‘comfort zone’ and embrace this new way of thinking, teaching, marketing, and selling.

Dang I’m proud of you man! :-)

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paul wolfe February 22, 2011 at

Hey Marcus

There are people who don’t get content marketing – and will never get it. By the time they do finally get it, they will be so far behind the leaders in their market that they’ll never be able to catch up (the effects of compound interest will see to that).

I’ve copped some flak on a couple of Forums because I believe that you’re much better off creating excellent content than going out and creating lots of do-follow backlinks with the right anchor text in them. In my opinion the whole SEO thing as a deliberately engineered strategy is a waste of time and effort. As I say, I’ve been flamed a few times for that belief!

But hey, you can only do what you believe in. Creating excellent content has so many benefits in terms of trust, expertise, developing a relationship, establishing recipricocity (sp?) that if you go the SEO way you have to do anyway.

Focusing on creating excellent content is so much more of a winning strategy than trying to get backlinks….I have an off line business that’s ailing a bit because I’ve focused on my online businesses. I think it’s time to add a blog….good job I’ve just started my 100 Articles in 100 Day Challenge!

Paul

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Marcus Sheridan February 23, 2011 at

Paul, this was stinking awesome man….and your first paragraph was down-right exceptional:

There are people who don’t get content marketing – and will never get it. By the time they do finally get it, they will be so far behind the leaders in their market that they’ll never be able to catch up (the effects of compound interest will see to that).

That’s the type of talk people and business owners need to hear, because it’s the truth…and sometimes the truth stings. But you also mentioned compound interest. I once wrote an article entitled ‘The Law of Compound Information’…which went along the same lines as what you’re saying here. It’s tough, very tough, to make up for time.

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rob white February 22, 2011 at

I love your real life example, Marcus. Seems to me too that it is all worth it. What I have really enjoyed about creating my blog is that it pushes me creatively. It has become a vehicle to delve deeper into concepts and conversations. This unexpected benefit has been a wonderful surprise and has helped me grow as an author and teacher.

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Marcus Sheridan February 22, 2011 at

Isn’t that the truth Rob? I’ve seen the same. There is such a power behind what I call ‘forced cognition’. In other words, we have thoughts in our head about our passions, but we really don’t truly discover what’s in our heads, minds, and hearts until we put things down on paper (or, in 2011, our blog ;-) )

Thanks for your constant support Rob. Appreciate it brother and keep up the wonderful work over there on your blog.

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Alex Blackwell | The BridgeMaker February 22, 2011 at

At it’s core, a blog is a way to have direct and meaningful conversations with people who share similar interests. Blogs are about engagement and invitations to contribute.

When we connect and become transparent, then trust grows. Once trust is established, then we are better able to communicate any message we want.

Alex

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Marcus Sheridan February 23, 2011 at

When we connect and become transparent, then trust grows. Once trust is established, then we are better able to communicate any message we want.

Perfectly said Alex….it’s really so simple, isn’t it? I’m not sure why so many companies want to make it do darn difficult. Let’s just be real folks!

Always appreciate your support Alex, thank you.

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Mark Harai February 22, 2011 at

This is some great insight Marcus… This can support all of your direct marketing efforts. I think it’s pretty safe to say that most people in the market get online and check out potential service providers before they make a purchase. If you have a significant content on your blog that reveals your skill sets, expertise and willingness to educate the marketplace, thats doing more than perhaps 80 to 90% of your competition is doing right now.

What are SMB’s waiting for..? It’s just an investment of time – consistently invested in creating insightful helpful content that serves their marketplace. Ahh, they are stuck in the old way’s of marketing and doing business. The cold hard truth is there is a new generation of savvy small business owners who get social media and they will eventually eat your lunch if you don’t jump on the bandwagon immediately. Especially with guys like you Marcus who are driving awareness to SMB’s.

While this may take time, over the next 12-18 months, you can be the market leader in just about any small business niche. The time to get started is right now!

Great stuff as usual Mr. Sheridan!

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Marcus Sheridan February 23, 2011 at

It’s freaky how much we think alike Mark. Seriously man. As I read your comment here it felt as if I was reading my own lines….Kinda cool :-)

You’re last point was really great though….12-18 months of good ‘ol butt-kickin content and social media usage will lead to niche domination. No one can tell me otherwise, because I’ve seen it work again and again and again.

Thanks for your constant support and excellent tips Mark.

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Samuel February 22, 2011 at

Awesome post Marcus,
aha love the way you won the lady’s heart! That’s why every company should add a blog to their company’s website in order to have power over their competitors. with what you have done, the lady would refer customers to you and you will be glad you work with her. Thanks so much for sharing. Rock on :)

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Marcus Sheridan February 23, 2011 at

Thanks Samuel, always appreciate your support brother. :-)

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Bryan Thompson February 22, 2011 at

Ha ha! Marcus, you have probably done for the pool business what no one else has even DREAMED possible. I’ve had the opportunity to work with real estate professionals for the last year and was pretty shocked at how behind the times they were in social media. In fact, I’ve heard that the real estate industry is one of the most backward industries in those terms – at least in many markets. This could TOTALLY be turned around and is a prime niche for blogging.

I would love to get your thoughts on some ideas on how blogging/social media could impact the real estate industry. I really think you could probably teach a class on it. Thanks for posting!

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Marcus Sheridan February 23, 2011 at

It’s funny you mention real estate Bryan. About a month ago I was approached by a very successful real estate developer/agent in my area and he asked me to partner with him because he new someone with a content marketing vision could crush it because the competition from other realtors is so very poor.

That being said, I looked at the market, started licking my chops, and now have a full-blown real estate website for my part of Va. I figure I’ll be writing all about it within about 6 months and the flood gates burst open ;-)

You’re support is amazing Bryan. Thanks for all.

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Matt Roberge February 22, 2011 at

I definitely would continue to blog even if it didn’t generate clicks or customers.
I think the main reason is my blogs give me a way to express my business ideas on all sorts of topics. Being a bookkeeper I don’t often get a chance to “get creative” and my blogs allow me to do just that.

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Marcus Sheridan February 23, 2011 at

Welcome to TSL Matt. Thrilled you stopped by today.

Blogging, without question, is one of the most rewarding mental exercises ever created by man. I really mean that. It has worked absolute wonders for me and the inspiration I receive because of it is ongoing.

I’m glad you find this to be the case as well Matt and to you I say continued blogging success and happiness my new friend!

Come back again :-)

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Jason from Skyward February 22, 2011 at

It’s crazy how content marketing can earn a company the right to ask certain things of the consumer.

In this case you asked for a check, but we both know that we always ask for things that other companies consider absolutely insane. A few of them are pre-approval on financing, for them to do “home-work” before we will even come out to give a quote, and also leverage when it comes to receiving payments in advance.

These are all examples of ways we leverage the trust we have rightfully earned with the consumer through content marketing. It’s amazing what a little trust will do!

Great article my friend, as always!

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Marcus Sheridan February 23, 2011 at

Key phrase you’ve brought up Jay—-Rightfully Earned

That’s a big one man that many people simply just don’t get. Producing quality content on a consistent level gives businesses the right and ability to ask,say, and do things that without such content are simply unimaginable.

Thanks for your support brother. :-)

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Tristan February 22, 2011 at

I like it, Marcus!

“If your company never received one ‘new’ visit from blogging, would you still do it?”

These kinds of questions always kind of bother me because they highlight the fact that I’m not really making money from my blog yet :)

But I can theorize and postulate with the best of ‘em, so here we go. For the record, I think you’re spot on and I agree with you 100% that yes, you should blog even if it brings you no “new” readership. But I want to play devil’s advocate here a bit by saying that I think the effectiveness of blogging to convert potential customers depend a lot on your niche.

Like could one goal of a t-shirt company’s blog really be to convert those who are in the sales funnel but haven’t bought yet? Maybe I’m wrong, but it seems like that’s not really not an item that people deliberate about too much. They either buy it or they don’t. It’s not like there’s a lot of information about t-shirts that the customer needs to know before feeling comfortable about a decision.

I can see how a blog would be great for customer retention and for getting new customers… But for conversion? I’m not seeing it.

But yes, for the vast majority of businesses that blog, I think that a blog can be a valuable conversion tool. Great post, and great points.

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Marcus Sheridan February 23, 2011 at

Actually Tristan, you’re point is very true and well made—everything depends on the niche. Blogging works incredibly well in some areas but just ain’t happening in others.

As an example, my brother in law owns a local burger joint. He doesn’t blog because, well, it wouldn’t be terribly fruitful in terms of how much time would be required to make it work. But the guy is a Facebook animal. He makes sure every one of his customers ‘like’ him and he pumps their brains with new stuff and announcements and all that junk all the time— and does awesome at it.

Businesses must find their social media identity. They must also figure out their blogging voice. But the key is that they are at least actively engaged, and not simply lurking in the crowd of complainers.

And btw bud, you’ll be making that money soon. And when you do, I can’t wait to see your success.

Thanks for the comment T’.

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Jens P. Berget February 22, 2011 at

That’s a great story Marcus.

There’s no doubt that blogging is a powerful tool when it comes to marketing and the sales process, and as you’re saying it can really be helpful to convince people to buy your products.But, that’s because you’re an awesome blogger :-)

Let me ask you this; What do you think would happen if you suck at blogging, and people reading your content thought you were an arrogant prick? I have read blogs that are not worth reading, and I would say that some companies should learn a lot about blogging and communication before they start with inbound marketing, because they could really mess things up, or maybe not? What do you think?

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Marcus Sheridan February 23, 2011 at

Ahh Jens, this question gave me a great laugh man…. :-)

Honestly, if people come across as a jerk then they shouldn’t be in business and should instead be working for the government ;-)

You know, I just think you’ve got to be yourself. Write like you talk. If they do this, and still sound like a jerk, then they’ve at least clued you in to their ‘true-self’, and thus saved you the time and effort of a wasted phone call. ;-)

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Jens P. Berget February 23, 2011 at

You’re absolutely right. I talk to a lot of sales people every single day, and I have to admit that it’s hard to understand how many of them can keep their jobs. What they are doing is pushing the sales. They think that the more they call me, the more likely it will be that I’ll be buying their products. It’s exactly the opposite. It would be a lot better if could write a blog and that was it :-)

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Lisa February 22, 2011 at

Marcus:

I reserve my “omg you’re a rockstar” exclamation for the best ‘o the best. Well, you just made me yell it loud with a hoo ha! to my monitor. i love how you laid this out and got the win.

I do Interrogations at my daily grind and the first thing I ask when thrown the ” I wouldnt do that” is WHY? Being direct has distinct advantages in every business/niche/profession. It gets you answers…or better yet, it gets you the roadblock which you can then overcome.

Well done on this one!
Lisa

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Marcus Sheridan February 23, 2011 at

Well if it isn’t the ‘friendly blogger’! Great to see you here Lisa, as I’ve noticed you all over the blogosphere.

Don’t ya just love the direct ‘why’ questions?? They just cut to the chase so well and get to the heart of the matter :-) In fact, I think that simple word ‘Why?’ is the least used tool in all of sales (other than maybe a good blog ;-) )

So glad you liked the article and took the time to comment Lisa. Much thanks.

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Peggy Baron February 22, 2011 at

Hi Marcus,

I like that you say you go to the home to *sell* and use your blog to teach. A business and a blog is a one-two punch. People come to a business blog to find out more about the products and the company. They’re happy to see the business is established with a track record. The blog builds trust.

Thanks for sharing…. again. :)

Peggy

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Marcus Sheridan February 23, 2011 at

One-two punch is right Peggy….and an unstoppable move when done properly.

‘Trust’ is a word that keeps coming up in the comment section here– as well it should. With so many ‘scams’ out there in the world of sales today, great blogs are one of the few things a business can do to truly stand out and say , “Hey, we’re real, and we’re here to help.”

Thanks for the comment Peggy, it’s appreciated.

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ronika February 22, 2011 at

While I completely agree with you on the benefits of blogging to potential clients, what is most striking about this story is how you closed the sale (Mitch and Murray would be proud.) Many business owners have a hard time with this.
A well written and researched blog certainly adds credibility to your sales efforts. The question for some people, I imagine, is whether the time and effort are worth the incremental sales. It can difficult for business owners, who see writing as a chore, to maintain a blogging schedule.
Really interesting post. And kudos on your closing!

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Marcus Sheridan February 23, 2011 at

Well thanks Ronika. I agree that blogging can be a difficult thing to get your arms around if you’re a small business owner. Believe it or not, at one point in my life I hatred writing. In fact, it wasn’t till about a year ago that I even started to really get better at it. Thus, most biz owners are willing to pay the price (as you mentioned) to get better at the skill, or at least are not willing to hire someone to produce great content for them.

Again, thanks for the kind words Ronika. :-)

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Dia February 22, 2011 at

Hi Marcus,

What a wonderful post! I loved your direct approach with the lady ;) Blogging my friend is crucial nowadays for every business as it teaches customers more about the products and it helps to build trust between the company and its customers. Without trust, there can be no sales. Thanks for sharing Marcus. Keep up the excellent work :)

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Marcus Sheridan February 23, 2011 at

Good point Dia. I look at the success equation kinda like this:

Blogging = Trust = The Ability to be Direct/Frank/Etc = Sold!

Thanks for your constant support bud.

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Fran Aslam From Onlinewriter February 22, 2011 at

Hi Marcus:

The title of your post intrigued me, I did not know where your post is going to go until I read it. It is brilliant sale that you warmed up your customer because of reading your blog. Just to let you know I belong to a family of sales professionals. Three people very near and dear to me are in advanced sales making a high end income. I have worked in inside sales in corporate companies and your conversation reminds me of one of the conversations my youngest told me when he was in training.

Keep up the good work.

Fran A

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Marcus Sheridan February 23, 2011 at

That’s awesome Fran. I didn’t know you had such a rich background in sales.

But when it comes to selling, everyone is unique, and my techniques can be argued by ‘pros’ for and against all day, but the fact remains that blogs work as a sales tool, and more professionals must come to grips with this reality and get on board the train before it has left the station.

Thanks Fran!

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mahabaleshwar hotels February 23, 2011 at

Thanks for providing such useful information. I really appreciate your professional approach.something that eye opening and important.you clearly know so much about the subject.

Keep posting:)

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Marlee February 23, 2011 at

Hey Marcus!

I really enjoyed this article. I think the biggest benefit of being able to publish content to represent your business and brand is that you can establish that key element of trust.

That said I think you touched on an even more important factor in all that goes into blogging, which is that people are LURKERS! For those of us that have highly engaged, highly commented on blogs we forget the many that never say anything!

Many of your prospects would never take the time to comment. They may be solely seeking information and not necessarily engagement. I know this is especially true in my own business because I get requests for work all of the time from people who read my blog yet I’ve never engaged with on it.

This is also why it’s always important to know who your talking too. They may not always be the same persona as the ones who comment.

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Marcus Sheridan February 23, 2011 at

Yes Marlee, GREAT point. There are often times way more ‘lurkers’ in our sales funnel than we realize, and a blog is the absolute best vessel whereby they can continue to lurk until they’re ready for the next step.

It’s crazy to think just how few people, as you mentioned, actually comment on a blog post. For example, I have a very popular blog article on my pool site that has been read about 35,000 times. At this point, it has about 140 comments. I’ve got another article that has been read about 50,000 times, and it has only 20 comments….so you never know.

So great of you to stop in Marlee. :-)

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Jon February 23, 2011 at

Marcus I come from a sales background and reading this got me fired up. You nailed it. You really got the, “yes,” (more accurately “you”) momentum from her going so when you asked the knock-out question: “Then why in the world would you be getting another quote when you already know we’re the right company for you?” It was a lie down.

She could have barked about dollars-and-cents again and you’d nod, say, “yep, I understand…” And then BAM! Hit her with another close. You know we’re the right company for you…hand her the pen…push the contract across the table and shut up. Don’t say a word, let them sign. They are always relieved when they buy (but nobody likes to be sold, right?).

Ahh the good ol’ days :)

Back on point, this is great. There’s a lot of buzz right now about bloggers wanting to change to a paid model. Be it paid access or micro payments for drip-fed content. But people dig free. People want to try before they buy. And let’s be honest, some of the people you meet along the way while you publish great free content are amazing.

Yes my blog has helped with sales completely apart from SEO. It’s also had an interesting effect where I had one contact that did nothing but read my content and email me some questions. I answered promptly and thoroughly, didn’t even pitch them. It wasn’t a problem because I had a few moments to answer their questions and they didn’t go overboard trying to sponge a ton of freebies off me.

Well, I made zero off that contact directly. But they were so blown away that I’d take an interest in their pursuit and help them graciously that they shared that experience with others. They helped me gain a new customer from word-of-mouth.

That would have never happened without moving the free line. Great article, Marcus, and I hope it resonates with more folks.

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Marcus Sheridan February 24, 2011 at

Wow Jon, this comment was awesome. I mean really, really awesome. I’m sure you and I could have quite the conversation about sales, ehh? :-)

But you’re right about giving value. We’ve got to do it. Personally, I don’t expect to be paid for my content, as the monetary rewards will be there assuming I continue to stay the coursed. It’s the law of the harvest.

Thanks again Jon, this was great.

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Jon February 24, 2011 at

Yep, we could probably volley an interesting story or two. Thank you for the kind words!

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Hector Avellaneda February 23, 2011 at

Marcus – awesome story man thanks for sharing. I definitely understand where you’re coming from. I think the most powerful part of this meeting was that you were able to show your customer that you were a leader in your industry. You did not take no for an answer but you did it by reassuring her she could trust your company to get the job done right and reaffirming the rapport you had already built. Awesome job man!

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Marcus Sheridan February 24, 2011 at

Thanks for the kind words Hector. There is a lot to be said for being viewed as a leader in your niche. People respect that….and this leads to better listening, focus, trust, and ultimately sales.

Thanks so much for the comment Hector.

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John Sherry February 24, 2011 at

Well I’m reading this post and feel compelled to leave a comment so you’re talking to me as Marcus The Sales Lion so I’ve got your ideas, a direct connection to you, your brand and what it stands for, and a feel good factor that you want to help and engage with the world. All with a positive slant and no billable hours. Win win all the way for me not the usual sell sell trying to make hay you often get on the net. Blogging is b(usiness)logging on with an online hand shake.

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Danny @ Firepole Marketing March 5, 2011 at

Hi Marcus, I’m new on your blog, but really like your style. I think you make a great point here, and I really like how you illustrated it with the real example. Thanks!

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Leo Widrich March 9, 2011 at

Marcus, many thanks for sharing this lesson learnt with me, has this really happened to you? I really hope it has, because more than anyone you deserve it, even from the few reads I have had on your blog so far.
This is the exact same approach I want to be taking with Buffer. I am blogging twitter tips every week and want to really educate people about everything going on on Twitter. I don’t need to sell all the time, educating, supporting and helping is an extremely important part to this too.

Again, many thanks for sharing this, I will be back for sure! Let me Buffer it right away :).

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Marcus Sheridan March 11, 2011 at

Thanks Leo, and this is as real as it gets bud. And good luck with Buffer. Sounds like an awesome product and I’m sure it’s going to do really, really well.

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Dana March 10, 2011 at

I do believe blog has affect for companies but never realize that the affect is as direct as on this article. Good to hear that.

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Marcus Sheridan March 11, 2011 at

Hey Dana, I’ve seen you around the blogosphere and am grateful you stopped by. Hope we chat again man.

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Christina Crowe March 21, 2011 at

Wow, Marcus – you’re quite the sales lion! You have guts, I’ll tell you that much. No way would I have been so straightforward and direct with a customer who was considering another pool company to meet her needs.

But you also have confidence in your product, and your genuine care for your customers show.

This was a great story, and something I’m sure many (not just me!) will learn from.

Christina

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