How can you soft sell on every article without turning off potential customers? You finally have a company blog with content but no leads are converting. Let’s discuss different ways you can use soft selling to bring more value to your readers.
In turn, those readers will become highly-qualified leads. Leads generated from soft selling tend to have higher purchase rates, more referrals, and stronger brand loyalty. There are many ways to achieve this on any blog, no matter your industry.
But first, I have a story to share with you.
Imagine next week you have a date with your significant other. It’s a special date and you want to look your best, so you go to the local boutique to find a new outfit.
It’s busy inside so you skirt around the edges of the clothing racks to look for something that catches your eye.
A young lady approaches you with a warm smile. “Welcome, how are you today?”
You assume she’s a sales associate. “I’m good,” you answer with a generic tone. You don’t want to take up her time plus you don’t need help looking at clothes.
She asks you a few questions such as the occasion, your favorite colors and brands. As you answer each question, you begin to wonder why she cares.
She recommends a few items that inspire you. That’s when you realize she’s choosing items that are personalized by your answers.
She ushers you to the dressing room, takes some measurements, then steps out.
“It’s so busy. Why is she spending so much time with me?” You think to yourself, “Isn’t she busy with other customers?”
That’s when you realize the dressing room looks like it belongs to royalty. The floor under your feet is soft and plush. The curtains are velvet with gold trimmings. The room has elaborate mirrors and a crystal chandelier overhead. Even the mannequins have fancy attire.
You feel important. As if you’re the only and most important customer in the store.
The associate comes back with a few hangers with the most attractive clothes on them. They’re perfect in every way. You love the colors, styles, brands, and even the way they fit.
With joy, you end up purchasing three outfits instead of one. Before leaving, you ask the associate, “This is amazing. How did you know I would like these?”
She answers, “I’m your personal shopper. I want you to have my full commitment and attention. You’re important to me and I want you to have the best experience in my boutique."
So how does this story help you soft sell on your blog? Keep reading to find out.
A personal shopper uses soft selling. They take the time to understand your needs and desires, then choose the right products for you.
An example is the boutique owner asking questions about the occasion and your favorite colors and brands. She didn’t tell you to buy things: no pitch or elevator speech. She didn’t explain why her products and store are the best in town.
Hard selling techniques don’t work as well as they used to. Today’s customers love to buy, but don’t like to feel pressured. Soft selling is about a relationship with the customer and allowing them space to think and decide on their own.
This one-on-one technique builds value, trust, credibility, and loyalty. It sets the perfect environment and provides value first before asking for money.
Think about the last time you were in a big store. Were you treated like royalty? Or did the associates avoid you like the plague?
The goal is to use your blog like the boutique from the story. You want to make your customers feel important by saying, “I don’t want your money, only to improve your life.”
Even in a business-to-business (B2B) world, we are all people. We love to get personalized attention.
On top of that, we love choices: the choice to choose which business we’ll buy from. This is where research comes in. BlueCorona gives an example of the modern-day B2B funnel. They explain how businesses research more today than ever before and want the same attention that consumers get.
Businesses can research products and services the same way consumers can. They check out reviews, testimonials, social media, and even LinkedIn profiles before making a purchase. This makes hard selling more difficult.
Your business needs to stand out from the crowd. This is where soft selling comes in.
A study done on soft selling by New Century Media saw that 30% more customers were willing to buy a product. On top of that, 97% said they were more likely to tell a friend and 95% were planning on making more purchases.
This tells us that the more value we bring to our customers, the more value they share with their friends. Those are big numbers for a strategy that few businesses use.
On top of that, HubSpot reported that businesses who nurture leads make 50% more sales at a fraction of the cost. Think about that for a minute.
How would 50% more sales affect your business today? This quarter? This year?
The secret behind this technique is so simple and profound. It’s human nature. Something we all do.
When someone gives you a gift for a special occasion, such as a holiday or anniversary, it makes you feel important. Not only do you feel great but you want to give back to them.
It’s our nature to give back to those that give to us. It’s called reciprocity.
“By virtue of the reciprocity rule… we are obligated to the future repayment of favors, gifts, invitations, and the like."—Robert B. Cialdini, from Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion
This means the more value you give to customers, the more likely they are to become a lifelong customer. This is the essence of soft sell techniques.
Now let’s discuss strategy and how to apply this knowledge.
Your content can be delivered in many ways. Most blogs are connected with the latest customer management software. While the only way to collect information online is through forms, the way you present these forms is what makes the difference.
Now let’s go over the different ways you can implement soft selling on your blog without sounding like a broken record. Each of the methods can be applied to most industries and bring value to your readers.
Educating customers shouldn’t be a boring lecture on why your business should be their first choice. Remember we are focusing on value, not a sales pitch.
Deliver helpful content through in-depth guides, helpful infographics, and even free online courses. Educating customers opens up the two-way street of communication. Essentially, you are telling the customer “you are important” and offering your hand to help.
HubSpot is a perfect example of education. Their training is free to everyone. Plus their certifications are globally recognized in the marketing industry.
Offer each item through an opt-in form to collect email addresses. Follow up to see how their progress is going. (Don’t pitch!)
Provide value from educational content by including:
Downloadable PDF version of long-form content
Short email course on one topic (3 to 7 days)
Downloadable workbook to fill out
Follow up email for registered courses to ensure student success
eBook download related to an article
Have your marketing team curate a content strategy for building an online course, in-depth guide or downloadable eBook. They will be effective in connecting your business to your reader with words.
Samples are a great soft selling technique. Each industry is different, but the methods are the same. If you sell products, write about how they’re being used. Samples are geared more towards product-based industries rather than services but can work for both.
Give a sample of your business and ideas on how the reader can use your products. Have prospects fill out an online form for any samples you offer.
The boutique scenario does this by allowing you to try on clothes. If you don’t like them, that’s okay. There’s no obligation to buy. Assign an associate to be the “personal shopper” of prospects. This allows you to address specific needs and problems of individual leads.
For another example, let’s say you’re a wholesaler for toys. Toys for infants, toddlers, children and even teenagers. You don’t have a store, only an online presence.
Your blog can consist of information about the toys that you sell. Today’s hottest toys, best toys for toddlers, developmental toys for infants, and more. You are sharing the information because it helps the retailers know what to buy. It also helps them promote those products.
Deliver value and samples of your business by including:
Behind-the-scenes look at your business
Free downloads as a “sneak peak”
Samples of products at a reduced price
Service industries can offer entry level packages (the “try before you buy” package)
Offering samples is a great way to soft sell by delivering free value upfront. That's why including it in your content strategy is a brilliant idea.
On the flipside of samples, case studies and social proof are geared towards service-based industries but can work in both.
Social proof is important. It allows your prospects to see what they can gain before making a commitment.
Use this to display your business’s strengths. You don’t need to pitch to someone that understands the value your services bring to their own business.
An application process can be useful for high-ticket services. It allows you to ensure the customer is also a right fit for your business. This process increases the value further.
Here are a few ways you can provide value to high-quality leads:
Feature customer “wins” and give recognition
Interview loyal customers and publish the script on your blog
Include customer product reviews on content
On top of this, case studies provide valuable insight to your own business.
Publish an article talking about the benefits of attending an event you will be at. Invite readers to come by your booth to meet and greet. Events are one of the best ways to generate leads but people need to know why they should attend.
Soft selling events can be tricky, but effective. Consider publishing several articles that lead up to the event. If this event is recurring, publish an article afterwards to discuss the value. This helps encourage readers to register for the next one.
Hosting an event allows you to offer incentives for registrations through your blog. If the offer is only available on that page, it allows you to funnel in valuable leads.
If you have a booth, offer samples or discounts on services or products to those that stop by and sign up.
Afterwards, share some key takeaways you got from the event. This is especially helpful if your company was in the spotlight, such as delivering a speech. Use an email CTA (call-to-action) at the bottom of these articles to collect leads.
Your blog should cover the reasons why they should attend the event:
Offer discounts for new sign-ups
Include bonuses for event attendees only
Have upgrades or VIP tickets for loyal customers
Loyal customer discounts on products purchased at the event
Offer samples to visitors that mention your blog post when visiting your booth
The marketing strategy for your events should include your articles. This will help drive additional traffic and generate more leads.
Video marketing is at an all-time high right now. If you already have videos, creating an article enhances the experience of the viewer. If you aren’t already doing video, keep in mind Wyzowl reports that 84% of people say that they’ve been convinced to buy a product or service by watching a brand’s video.
What if you don’t have videos already? Or maybe you don’t have the budget to create videos? No problem. You can use popular videos in your industry to generate ideas for your blog. If they're videos by individuals, consider asking permission to include their video.
Remember that video and blogging complement each other. Using them together can boost the impact and value to your viewers.
Key notes on including video or podcasts in your articles:
Embed your video/podcast at the top before your content
Use popular industry videos to generate ideas for blog content
Interview customers on camera and publish the script on your blog
If you have videos (even podcasts), build your article by using the script. Start with your most popular (by views and engagement) and going down the list.
No matter how you publish content on your blog, it should adhere to soft selling techniques. Always build a relationship first. Be patient and avoid pitching sales. You will build a lifetime customer that refers even more business your way.
As a quick recap, the 5 ways to soft sell on your blog are:
Utilize education and courses - offering guides, in-depth articles, and courses through email opt-in.
Offer samples - offering a piece of your industry through online forms and registrations.
Use case studies and social proof - publish customer interviews and share testimonials.
Market events - cover your event with incentives to register and attend.
Include videos and podcasts - stay ahead of your competitors with ideas from trending media.
Your blog should offer solutions to problems. If your reader needs further clarity, they will be more inclined to reach out to you, providing the ultimate value helps you dominate your industry.
Whether or not you have a content team, you aren’t alone. Content creation help is just a click away. Consider hiring a copywriter for a one-time gig, such as video scripts or case studies, or a dedicated copywriter for ongoing blog content.
Stephanie is ready to turn your readers into raving fans. Highly creative and a great problem solver, Stephanie specializes in email marketing and big-picture strategy. She believes effective storytelling and genuine connections are the foundation of success. When she’s not copywriting, she’s building her own community of raving fans to help people downsize into tiny houses and encourage sustainable living.Hire Stephanie