Our U.S. economy is slowly climbing out of this recession and, for the moment, new car sales are surging once again. As a bell weather for the short-term, things look pretty rosy. Long term, however, there are storm clouds brewing.
Jalopnik just published a piece called, “Why New Car Sales Might be Completely Screwed in a Few Years” In it, they mention a study The Atlantic recently published, showing a rather fascinating General Motors presentation that analyzes the current state of the economy and U.S. new car sales, as well as what it means for long-term growth.
In a nutshell, it says that new cars are getting more and more expensive and possibly leaving younger people and lower-income people in the dust. They site unemployment and student loan debt as major factors in a slowing of new car sales. The GM preso also addresses the “Millennial Problem” – that younger buyers aren’t buying cars on the same level as their parents.
As a long-time auto retail person, I see many challenges coming from this situation. I also see many opportunities.
In a world where customers’ appetites are diminishing, it’s even more important to communicate why someone should buy from you. In the last few years, as consumers we’ve been able to get to “know” businesses more intimately with positive and not-so-positive results. Going forward, I see the need to connect and the act of connecting as a component of the purchase decision.
One of the absolute BEST ways to connect and engage your customers and prospects is with your company blog. Blogging for business satisfies two important avenues for promotion:
- 1) Search engines are hungry for fresh, relevant content to serve to their users.
- 2) Customers and prospects need information and advice during the shopping process.
If the state of your business has you convinced that you don’t need any more sales then please stop reading here. If you’d like more leads and sales, consider these 6 important reasons to blog for your business:
1. Blogs Provide Added Value
Consumers’ time and attention has never been more scarce and their suspicion of lazy, interruption marketing has never been more acute. In this climate, you must bring added value in ways that your competitor doesn’t. As Jay Baer says in his book, Youtility, “There are 2 ways for companies to break through in an environment that is unprecedented in its competitiveness and cacophony. They can be amazing or they can be useful.” Amazing is nice when you can get it. Why not focus on being useful? Inform rather than promote. That’s added value.
2. Blogs Showcase Your Business’ Personality
Just today, I had a coaching client ask if it was okay to talk about personal stuff on their blog. I asked, “What type of personal stuff?” She replied, “One of our service writers accomplished something really awesome and I want to write about it.” Stories like this are the nucleus of your brand’s personality. Prospects want to know details of what it’s like to do business with you. When they see stories of your employees in action (people just like them) their innate senses take over. You reach the prospect on a deeper level.
3. Blogs are Essential for SEO Success
Every business wants to be found easily online. With Google’s latest updates, they’ve instructed us all on how to help them help us promote our expertise, products and services. Consistent posting of quality content, with targeted keywords, that is relevant to your buyer greatly increases your chance of being found on page one. In fact, when you post information that answers the most frequently asked questions your customers have, those posts can come up in search before other big-name sites. It takes a bit of SEO expertise to optimize blog posts so be sure your marketing manager gets expert advice on blogging.
4. Blogs Are Open Forums for Feedback
It may not be pretty at times but solid, honest feedback from customers is uber-valuable. The comments section of your blog can produce leads as well so please monitor and respond accordingly. Blog comments sections are precious little places where you can find information that will help you evolve your business.
5. Blogs Illustrate your “Why Buy Here”
People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it. If you haven’t already, take some time and define why you do what you do. What are your passions for your business? If you don’t know then how will your customers and employees ever know? Define why people buy from you and use your blog to illustrate it. Simple stories of customer/employee interactions can illuminate why people buy from you.
6. Blogs Close Sales
When a customer has read 30+ pages of your self-published content, there’s an 80% better chance of closing the sale. My friend, Marcus Sheridan has stats to prove that claim. He’s a master at using blogs to close sales but it wasn’t always that way for him. He had a failing in-ground pool business in 2009. Instead of focusing on the impending closure of his business, he decided to think differently.
In his Forward to Jay’s book, Marcus writes,”I decided to act like a swimming pool customer instead of a swimming pool installer. I brainstormed every single question I’d ever received from a prospect or customer. Then, I answered every single one of those questions with its own blog post, adding hundreds of new pages to our website. I added new posts every week. We were getting more website visitors, mostly because Google was providing links to the new posts when consumers searched for information about the same issues I was addressing. The increase in traffic also generated significant new leads, connecting my business to potential customers who otherwise might never have known about us.”
Whether it’s big ticket items like pools and cars, or smaller just-as-important products and services, people need information in all the places they’re searching for it, across every channel and every stage of the purchase process. If you’ve provided them with that useful information, you will close more sales.