One of the aspects of blogging that constantly surprises me is the power of personal sharing on your blog as a technique for increasing sales.
Recently I posted my first travel blog post (or really a pre-travel recap post), which you can read here.
Within 24 hours after publishing that post I had four new people sign up for Blog Mastermind 2.0.
If you read through that post you won't see an overt pitch for my course, although I do mention and link to it many times because it is a big part of the story I shared.
Although the post does talk a lot about my business, it's also a very personally revealing post. In fact I even got an email from my aunt in Canada stating how surprised she was to read me openly reveal how much money I make and other personal financial matters, which for her are usually kept private.
I included pictures of my cat, pictures of my friends and going away dinners, my house and other personal images from my life – most of which are certainly not business relevant.
People Buy From People They Like
If you're operating a personality driven business – and most individual bloggers are – then you should never underestimate the power of full disclosure.
People like honesty. People like other people who show vulnerability, fears, failures and a personal side to what they do. This is how you connect on a human level. It's also how you build trust, the most vital ingredient for sales.
A long long time ago I was listening to a recording a of teleconference between two internet marketers. Although I've forgotten what the actual topic of the teleconference was, one statement made during the call has stuck in my memory for years…
People buy from people they like
I agreed with them at the time because I was already blogging, and I felt blogs were great for demonstrating your personality and as they suggested… making people like you.
What I didn't know at the time was how powerful that idea truly is as a marketing tactic.
Don't get me wrong – this is not about tricking people into liking you so they buy your stuff. This is about being willing to be vulnerable, open and transparent with your audience.
The strange thing is, most of your audience you will never actually meet. The “friendship” isn't a two-way street, it's closer to reality TV or a basic form of voyeurism, where your audience gets an insight into who you really are, and that in turn leads some of them to liking you and feeling they really know you.
When I first started blogging I loved that I could just write what I was thinking. I use a style of writing that reflects the way I think, at least in edited form for the sake of brevity.
This in turn made it natural for me to feel comfortable sharing openly on my blog. Strangely enough at the time I didn't feel as comfortable sharing in person, but as is the case with many things on the internet, the safety of sitting on my computer and clicking publish on a blog post without being physically present with other humans, made me a more open person.
As I have worked with many bloggers over the years I've noticed that openness doesn't always come easy. People are not comfortable sharing a personal side of themselves out into the world. They also wonder where they should draw the line – what is too private, and what is safe to share on the internet?
I don't have an answer to that question because the line can only be drawn by you. What I can say is that being willing to be open and vulnerable, and doing so in every communication you have online, will have a positive impact on your business.
There is a reason why I have all Blog Mastermind members make their first blog post a “lifestory” article. It's a great way to begin combining what I consider the two most important content creation skills –
- Personal Vulnerability
All the best individual bloggers are leaders because of these two aspects, hence you should practice them as often as you can.
Liking Leads To Sales
People will buy from you because of one reason – they trust what you are selling can help them.
That trust is established through a variety of ways. As bloggers and email marketers the best tool we have is our ability to share our unique human stories as a way to connect with the unique humans who read our work. This in turn leads to trust, and when the time is right, people purchasing your products.
This form of marketing is as old as human civilization, yet seems strangely new to us. The internet's social evolution, which began with blogging, has turned commerce into a social interaction. People buy because of peer reviews, or because they follow a certain YouTube star who also uses the product, or in our case, because they read our blog posts and develop a relationship with us.
This is why you should talk about your cat… or your dog, or your kids, spouse, your annoying neighbours, your music tastes, what movie you saw on the weekend, and why you like Star Wars more than Star Trek (boo!).
Of course you need to cover the actual topic your blog is about too. People come to you for solutions, not just pictures of your puppy, but there is no reason why you shouldn't interject stories from your personal life when it makes sense to do so.
As I said at the start of this article, you may be surprised how many new customers come as a result of you openly sharing the more personal side of your life.