Hit the target with your article.

Wow. It’s been over a week since my last post. This little business of mine is starting to keep me a little busy. Which is, of course, a good thing.Anyway, back to my Article Marketing series (previous posts here, here and here). Here’s the next installment…

This time we’ll talk about another popular purpose of your article: Namely, selling products. Before we jump into this discussion of selling products directly from your articles, let me say this: Consider your strategy carefully. Let me explain.

If you’re drawing in people from the search engines who are looking for product reviews about a specific product, then it makes good sense to offer your review, pre-sell the prospect on buying the product, and then send the prospect directly to a sales page.

However, let’s say you’re pulling in more general traffic. This traffic is interested in the niche, but not necessarily in a specific product. Maybe you’re not even sure if the prospects you’re pulling in are indeed buyers.

In that case, you should consider sending these people to your mailing list subscription page (AKA landing page or squeeze page) rather than to a product page. That’s because if they hadn’t planned on buying a product today, you’re wasting your traffic if you’re not capturing their emails and following up with these prospects. They may buy from you tomorrow… but they can’t do that if you don’t first get them on a mailing list.

Indeed, one way to use content marketing to sell products – other than as described above, when you target people looking for specific product reviews – is to put your articles in front of your mailing list. That way you don’t have to worry about capturing email addresses. Instead, you can focus on solving your prospect’s problems.

Now, content marketing works no matter what you’re selling. It doesn’t matter if you’re selling a digital product (like an ebook) or a physical product (like a treadmill). It doesn’t even matter if you’re the product creator or just an affiliate. Anyone can use articles to sell products.

Here are some of the most common tactics:

  • Offer a product comparison or review. The good thing about this type of article is that you’ll have buyers reading it, which means you generally get a decent conversion rate.
  • Write a mini ad for the product. In other words, your article isn’t so much a “how to” piece as it is a short sales letter used to pre-sell the product. This generally works best for people who are already on the verge of buying and/or for prospects with whom you’ve built a relationship (such as blog readers or email subscribers).
  • Solve part of a problem. And then pitch a product that solves the other part of the problem. For example, an article on housetraining dogs might cover the basics, such as how to pick out a kennel for the dog. Then you point people to a paid product where they can learn the rest of the procedure.

Another way to do it is to offer tips. For example, you can offer ten housetraining tips, and then point to the paid product to learn the process in-depth.

Still another way to do it is to offer an “outline” of the process. Here you list all the steps involved in housetraining your puppy, but the reader needs to order the product to get the details.

Finally, you could give info about how to solve an entire problem. This tactic works best if you’re selling a physical product. For example, you can offer complete instructions for how to grill the perfect steak. However, your instructions may include recommendations for a particular kind of grill as well as a steak seasoning.

There’s an endless array of ideas…