Using Your Blog as a Selling Tool

Using Your Blog as a Selling Tool

Laura loves insurance. She loves everything about insurance. “I actually enjoy learning about insurance and how it can help customers achieve their goals,” said Laura.

What she doesn’t love is selling.

Laura dreads the thought of cold calling or knocking on doors. “I know I should go to networking meeting, go out and meet people, but it scares me, maybe I should look for another profession,” she said with a sigh.

I felt bad for her as we sat across from one another me sipping on tea her on coffee. What are you going to do, I asked.

I just don’t know. I want to sell insurance, but I don’t want to go out and sell insurance, is there another way? I am going to lose my job if I don’t start making more sales.

I felt horrible as I watched her lay her head down onto her arms folded on the table, looking as if she were trying to hide her tears. I wanted to come up with some fantastic idea, something that would have her bringing is sales, yesterday, but I knew that was unrealistic.

What I did know was that she had to come up with a plan that would work for her.

Okay Laura, I said. I understand that you don’t want to go out and sell, what do you like to do?

I enjoy talking to groups of people about insurance and writing about insurance, she said.

Okay then let’s start there. How about we create a marketing plan that gets you in front of groups to talk and create a blog for you to write about insurance.

She sat up with a smile on her face. Can we do that?

Of course, we can, and so can you.

Laura’s Big Hurdle

Laura went to her boss and told him her plan. He was old school and didn’t think that it would work. It would take too long get speaking gigs, he felt she was to new and he didn’t understand blogging at all. He told her to start making phone calls and make as many face-to-face meeting with people as she could.

You know Laura, most of the agents here are involved with many networking and charitable organizations and that is how they make contacts. It works and that’s probably what you should do also. I don’t think that blogging thing is such a good idea, why don’t you try finding some women’s groups to join and see if you can make contacts and sell some insurance.

Laura called me almost in tears. What should I do? She asked.

Back to her Boss she Goes

After we talked, she decided to try talking to her boss again. She asked him if he could give her six months. If after six months she were not seeing results, she would start cold calling or find another job. Good thing for her, he really liked her and didn’t want to see her leave. He told her that he had given it some thought and read about how the internet was helping people grow their businesses and decreasing their marketing costs.

Have a plan to me in a week and I will look it over, he said. If it looks feasible, I will let you try it for six months.

Laura called me excited but before we could get off the phone, her fears began to set in. Oh no, I don’t know how to create a marketing plan, she said, will you help me?

Laura’s Marketing Plan

Laura sells life and disability insurance. We first had to decide on her target audience. Who did she feel she was most capable of reaching, understood and was able to help?

Laura’s Target Market:

Young professional couples with small children, since she fell into this category herself and could understand their concerns.

Laura’s Blog:

She decided that she would host an inexpensive blog, separate from her company. Her goal was to post two times a week on insurance related information and once a week on community activities. She believed that most of her clients would be local that found her though the internet.

She also decided that the tone of her blog would be casual as if she were talking to friends.

Laura’s second step was to create a list of topics that she would cover.

Laura last step was to create a list of online groups that she could join and become involved in the conversation and answer any questions pertaining to insurance.

Speaking:

We talked and decided that we would focus on talking to churches. Her community and surrounding communities had well over 100 churches and we begin to dig through every listing we could find to come up with a listing of local area churches. When the list was complete, she had 117 churches listed.

She began calling all the churches to see if they would be interested in her presenting to their church members a free seminar on insuring their family’s future and she described what she the seminar would offer.

Presenting to her Boss:

Laura then presented her boss with her plan. She was able to show him how many people she would potentially be able to reach through the online groups and speaking to churches. He was impressed and gave her the go ahead.

Laura was ecstatic.

Laura’s Results:

She wrote her first couple of insurance articles in advance, set up her blog, and began blogging. She wrote about insurance and local activities that she attended or were coming, local restaurants, hair salons and children’s activities. Whatever she could that was local and draw readers to her blog.

She created her presentation, contacted the churches that said they would be interested and began setting up a schedule to give presentations.

Laura ordered new business cards with her blog address printed on the card and gathered her presentation and marketing material. She began giving presentations to the local churches.

The beginning was slow, especially for her blog.

The first month she only averaged five visitors a day, but by the end of six month’s she was averaging over 100 visitors a day, many repeat visitors. She receives at least one request for an appointment from the contact form that she has on her blog.

When she reached month four she decided to begin building an email list and offered a free paper explaining how to make sure that the reader is adequately insuring their family. Within two months, she had over 150 subscribers to her email list.

Her speaking gigs went much better. She talked to three groups in the first month, but by the end of six months, she was averaging six presentations a month and had moved beyond churches. People were calling her to come speak to their employees and groups.

Laura figured that for every 10 people she talked to in a group she was able to get three appointments. If there were 30 people in the group, she would average nine appointments. For every three appointments she average at least one sale, sometimes two.

The Greatest Reward:

Her boss and coworkers were impressed with her results. Her boss asked her to help train them on how to use blogging to help grow their clientele.

Since she didn’t feel capable of doing this, she was kind enough for refer my name to her boss and I currently working with his firm and agents to help them use the internet to grow.

And, we will all live happily ever after.

Have Your Say:

Are you currently using your blog to help you sell?

Do you think that this is something that you can do?

Join my LinkedIn group Marketing and PR for Professional Service  Firms

 

15 Comments to Using Your Blog as a Selling Tool

  1. soniya0 says:

    Great post, Blogging is definitely a selling tool. Since this is one of the new tools, i guess a lot of businesses are still learning their way around blogging.

    Log in to Reply
    • Jennifer Woodard says:

      Soniya,

      A blog is a great way to assist a business in selling their products or services. Many businesses especially in certain industries are not taking full advantage of blogging and it is a shame. I aim to change that.

      Thanks for your comment,
      Jenn

      Log in to Reply
  2. [...] allows me to keep my rates down. I love helping people and I probably give away too much freely but I always seem to benefit in the end someway, so I really don’t [...]

    Log in to Reply
  3. Kelly Wade says:

    Great story to demonstrate how effective and helpful the blogging community can be in reaching your goals. Its great that writing and communicating on the internet within the blogging community, and within your own specific niche can actually mean the difference between success and failure. All it takes is the knowledge and desire to get your information out there.

    Log in to Reply
    • Jennifer Woodard says:

      Kelly,

      Thank you for your comment. I am a strong believer in blogging but you have to have a goal and treat it like any other marketing activity it takes time to see results. If done with concrete goals and a solid plans the results should appear.

      Jenn

      Log in to Reply
  4. A.K.Andrew @artyyah says:

    Excellent post – and making it personal is perfect to explain your proposition. I think people respond very well to information rather than a sales pitch. No-one wants a Fuller Brush salesman at their door – or on the phone.

    Log in to Reply
    • Jennifer Woodard says:

      Thank you for your comment and I agree no one likes to be sold to, at least not point black. The days of the hard sell are really over and we must find ways to build relationships and nurture sales for the long term. It really benefits the seller and the customer. When you run a business you are in sales and you must develop a way that works for you. Selling is difficult for most people, just have to find something that works for you.

      Jenn

      Log in to Reply
  5. Sharon says:

    This is a great article. I especially liked the personal story format. I was in sales before the internet was such a strong factor. I loved selling and I love public speaking. I just hated making those phone calls. I would have killed for this plan! I especially liked the stats at the end — 3 appointments for each 10 people, etc. I would be interested to know how Laura captured the names and contact information of people who came to her talks. Thanks for some terrific ideas!

    Log in to Reply
    • Jennifer Woodard says:

      Sharon,

      Thank you for your comment. Many people hate making phone calls. I tell my clients to try to focus on the things that they love doing the most and it will make it easier to do some of the things that they do not like to do, there is always something.

      Laura does two things with her speaking group. She has them fill out a form rating the presentation and it asks for contact information, it also asks if they would like to receive further communication from her, interested in setting up an appointment, etc. She then adds their contact information into her database.

      She also has a postcard in the material she gives them that they can fill out, drop in the mail and she will contact them. The post card has options for her to contact them, and a space for comments.

      Jenn

      Log in to Reply
  6. Susan Oakes says:

    Absolutely Jennifer otherwise why blog. There has to be a result that you want to achieve other than feel good. My opinion only and the way you do it depends on what you sell and your market.

    Log in to Reply
    • Jennifer Woodard says:

      Susan,

      I agree you must have something you want to achieve with a blog if you are blogging for business. It is no different than setting business or marketing goals. You should have a goal for your blog.

      Thanks,
      Jenn

      Log in to Reply
  7. Susan Cooper/findingourwaynow.com says:

    Jennifer, what an awesome post. Being an executive in the business market, I have seen all to well, people that let their apprehensions about selling demolish their career. I am happy that Laura did not.
    Susan Cooper BHB :-)

    Log in to Reply
    • Jennifer Woodard says:

      Susan,

      Thanks for the comment. I am happy for her also and she is happy which is great. I am glad that I helped her out as friend, I was able to pick up some work which turned out to be a win for me.

      Selling is scary for many people, but it is necessary if you want to stay in business.

      Jenn

      Log in to Reply
  8. Catarina Alexon says:

    Spot on Jennifer! Funny you should write about this subject since I’m planning to start a company and that is how I plan to get clients. Will opt for professional organisations such as Rotary though instead of churches since churches are of no importance in Sweden.

    Log in to Reply
    • Jennifer Woodard says:

      Catarina,

      Thank you for your comment and I am glad the information was right on time. What type of business are you planning to start if you don’t mind me asking.

      Jenn

      Log in to Reply

Leave a Reply