Sales has never been my specialty, and I bet a lot of bloggers feel this way, too. There are plenty of brands who want to work with bloggers, but figuring out how to find them and then pitch to them can be challenging, especially since it is not my background. (I was a teacher, remember? The only selling I had to do was my lesson to my students each day! haha)
So, when Doug White of Dreamtree Agency came to speak at the Starter Studio, I was relieved when he broke up selling into 10 steps. This made the whole process of trying to get a brand to choose to work with me much easier.
Doug first stressed that sales is really just building relationships. And remember, with blogging, we are “selling” not only to our readers, but to our potential sponsors as well. Doug said if you build trust, and do right by the reader/sponsor, then all is well. Below are his 10 tips to accomplish this.
1. Know your market.
What’s the competition doing? How can you position your product/blog if you don’t know what the others are doing? Create a table and rank yourself against your competitors. Do the research because this will show you where others are doing well and where you have opportunity. (Laura Kern gave the same advice in her presentation here.)
2. Define your target.
Who is your target sponsor? (It’s not every brand.) Sell keeping in mind the people who are most likely to read your blog. Make a checklist of your needs for your ideal blog sponsor. And then make an opposite list of the type of client you definitely don’t want.
3. Craft your pitch.
What makes your blog unique? How are you different? Be able to articulate that difference – make sure the potential sponsor understands this. What value do you bring? Be sure to read Carol Ann Dykes’ advice on creating the perfect elevator pitch. Also, have that media kit ready to go. This is a valuable part of your pitch.
4. Set goals and measure performance.
How do you define and measure blogging success? Is it revenue? Page views? Mailing list members? Measure something and set goals to see how you are doing. Then decide how many potential sponsors you need to contact/engage in order to get the percentage of sales you want.
5. Build a prospect list.
Who is most likely to sponsor your blog? What brands make sense? They always want to know, “What’s in it for me?”
6. Start at the top.
Don’t be afraid to talk to the big wigs – show them your value! Look for the decision-makers. Don’t feel like you need to start with the local reps or secretaries… instead try to get to the decision-makers as quickly as possible.
7. Centralize customer data.
Once you start getting some prospects, you can actually track your progress, as well as a few things to help you identify and build a better relationship with them. For example, if you know that the PR rep you’re dealing with from that big brand has a daughter graduating high school, wouldn’t it be nice to congratulate her on her daughter’s success? People buy from people they like and trust. Insightly and Zoho were some of the programs Doug mentioned that help you keep track of this information.
8. Build a repeatable process.
Create a system that works for you – contact info, follow up emails, etc.
9. Measure the performance.
See what is working for you; get rid of what is not.
10. Stay in contact.
It is easiest to sell to existing clients, so once you’ve made that connection, work to stay a resource of information/value for them. Think in terms of standing out – send a gift or sweet message for a birthday, etc. There are a lot of bloggers out there and brands can afford to be choosy. Make sure they keep choosing you!
Note: FLBlogCon has been selected to participate in the second round of the Starter Studio, an accelerator for tech start ups. For the next three months, I will be sharing the things I learn with you as they are applicable to blogging. Here are my previous posts from the Studio:
Let’s Get It Started!
25 Things I’ve Learned in Business
Boomerang Your Blog
Finding a Blog Mentor
15 Lessons from Success and Failure
10 Reasons Businesses Fail Financially
Tips for Social Media Marketing
4 Chapters to Success
More Social Media Tips