Did you start your blog because you wanted to make more sales?
You could be a local fencing company that wants to boost sales in a specific location, or a writer who is looking to get more attention to her new book on Amazon.
Blogs still sell things.
In this post I’m going to write about how you can get more sales using a blog. We’re just going to look at some very simple and effective strategies that work no matter the industry.
Why “I want more sales” is not a good goal
The very first thing we need to talk about is goal setting.
When I used to work with clients I’d find a lot of people had goals like “more sales” but never an actual plan or specific method for how they wanted to achieve that.
A narrow set of goals is very important.
Think about things like:
- Do you have an offer?
A limited-time offer is a very good way to assist whatever campaign you’re running. Consider coming up with a new one regularly.
- Do you have a budget?
If you’re a small business, you’d set aside money for a print advertising campaign, so why not do the same for your blog marketing? Money for marketing is important.
- How many sales do you need?
Do you have a sales target? It’s good to know roughly how many people you want to reach and in what period of time. It helps to give the campaign direction.
- Who are you targeting?
Think about the person that you want to reach. Are they male, female, young, old, rich, budgeting, etc.? This will have a big impact on the type of content you create.
Once you’ve looked at these types of elements you’ll have a much clearer picture about the type of content you will be working on. You’ll know who you’re going after and you’ll have a much better idea about the ways you’re going to reach them.
Please don’t skip the goal setting stage.
How to use your blog to get more sales
Now we can start to look at how to get more sales from a blog.
As always, if you have any other suggestions please let me know down in the comments below. I love hearing about the things you all are trying.
1. Show your personality, it increases conversions
One of the main advantages of a blog is that it lets you express your individuality. And for a company, adding a blog to your existing website can help to give it a bit of a human face.
The web is a very visual medium and a blog allows you to show your personality in a variety of different ways – many of which increase sales.
My buddy Chris Ducker has built an incredible brand online by making his face the “face” of the company. He’s present in graphics, photos and videos, and now on his new website you see a friendly and genuine grin as soon as you arrive (he is a genuinely good guy).
When you add your face to your blog you’ll see conversions go up. It happens on landing pages and it happened for me when I finally unmasked from being a mysterious anonymous blogger for two years.
2. Post about your work regularly, it helps your long tail keywords
Google loves local content.
What this means is that if you are the kind of business that operates in lots of different locations you can often find new customers by blogging about the jobs you’ve done. It’s a very basic but still effective way to get more traffic from Google.
For example, a builder might do posts like “Our New Apartments on High Street in Beach Cove“. This will start to rank in Google and, over time, you’ll get traffic from people searching for things like “builder in Beach Cove”.
This same principle also applies to long tail keywords that involve a product as opposed to a service tied to a location. Do a search for practically any recipe or strange food combination and you’ll see results like the one above from Jamie Oliver’s blog where he publishes a new recipe every single day.
3. Utilise high quality photography
High quality photography can make your blog feel professional and polished even if it isn’t really that good.
And it can make a great blog seem exceptional.
Jodi from Legal Nomads is the perfect example of someone who has taken their blog to the next level by regularly spoiling readers with beautiful photographs. You actually feel like you are there with her as she travels around.
Better photos that express your brand and showcase your product can really help you to boost your sales and conversions – especially if people are buying something expensive.
4. Find the right social platform and use it cleverly
As I’ve written about numerous times, I don’t think people should be spending too much time on social networking sites if it’s at the expense of creating content that helps to grow your website.
That said, some blogs and businesses can do extremely well by putting a little bit of focus on the right social networking sites.
When I worked with Michaela from Tradies VA during the first Private Coaching round we came up with the plan to target frustrated trades people and their wives (or husbands) who were up late on Facebook putting off their bookwork. The result was almost $70,000 of annual recurring income for her business with a very minimal ads spend.
Photo: Marc Veraart.
Then there’s brand’s like Four Seasons that have had some really interesting success stories with Pinterest in conjunction with their blog where they add photos and encourage their customers to plan their holidays with different boards and so on.
Their Concierge Recommends section is very clever and is a phenomenally good use of beautiful photography which allows the hotel to get in front of a lot of people who might already be wanting to plan trips.
Think about how people might consume your blog’s content and then plan which social media site you’ll be using most effectively.
5. Watch your competitors regularly
Whatever space your blog or business operates in it is vital that you keep an eye on what your competitors are doing.
Firstly, this can give you a lot of ideas about different promotions and ideas you can implement on your blog.
But, perhaps more importantly, you need to watch for things that they might be doing that cannibalise traffic that might otherwise be going to you.
Take a look at the first paid results from the search “round the world flights” and you’ll see how dramatic a difference there is in price promotions. It makes me wonder how effective the higher priced ads would be in a market where they are being constantly underdone.
This also has a massive effect on the organic search results – and if you rank well you need to keep a close eye on them.
It pays to make a list of your top five competitors and spend a bit of time each week looking at their blogs and what they are up to. Keep a focus on the things they the do repeatedly because it often means it’s working for them.
6. Split test different page ideas
If you want to get a bit more serious with your blog’s sales potential it is really important that you get into A/B and multi-variate testing because it takes a lot of the guesswork out of the process.
The results can be quite staggering.
Take a look at this case study example from VWO where a few small tests increased sales by over 200%. Just think about what double your email sign ups or product sales would mean for your blog.
Testing can get really complicated (and make you a bit crazy…) so just start off with something simple. If you have a landing page for your mailing list or product just create another one that’s exactly the same (call it /b or something) and test a different title, header image, etc. See if you get any results.
Over time you’ll get a pretty clear picture about what elements of the page are working and how that’s impacted by the different sources of traffic that you’re tapping into.
7. Get attention to the blog from brave new sources
We talk about getting traffic from Google search, guest posting and advertising quite a lot here on Blog Tyrant – all of those things are vital.
But what about other sources like news stories?
It might seem a little bit far fetched at first but it’s important to remember that newspapers are gagging for new content in order to stay relevant in today’s changing digital world.
For example, I did a quick browse of News.com.au (a “news” site in Australia that gets heaps of traffic) and quickly found this travel article with a big link back to the blogger. This would have been a really big exposure for her as well as providing a solid back link.
Finding new sources of traffic is essential because it helps you tap into people that might otherwise have never seen the blog. This constant increase in reach is a fundamental part of getting more sales.
8. Get email subscribers and send them to the blog
Everyone should be focusing on capturing email subscribers, and almost everyone should be emailing that list more often.
I’m often surprised at how many businesses don’t bother with email addresses. They don’t put an emphasis on getting email subscribers and they certainly don’t do regular email campaigns.
The same goes for bloggers – so many of the bloggers that I chat to are worried about emailing too often for fear of offending subscribers. If you’re only sending out one email a week – trust me, it’s fine!
When you do email your subscribers, make sure you are driving them towards the blog. You want them to be landing on relevant blog posts or landing pages because this will mean they’re more likely to share content, interact with your sales funnel, etc.
9. Remove distractions
Have you ever heard the saying that the more choices you give a person the less likely they are to choose anything?
The same goes for blogs.
If you have a really cluttered blog or landing page with sidebars, links, and a myriad of different options, you are going to find that people are going to start bouncing from the site instead of making a purchase.
One of my most successful landing pages was just a single column design with some solid copy and a few testimonials.
No links, no where else to go.
As you can see in the screen grab above, Neil’s blog has pretty much nothing else to do except subscribe or hire him. It’s incredibly well structured and everything goes towards one of those two goals.
10. Tell stories even with the driest products
Human beings are storytellers.
We gather in groups in bars at the end of the week and chat about work.
We write books and plays and movies that share stories we can all relate to.
Our parents tuck us in at night and tell us a story about their life or some lesson-laden fantasy world that they’ve dreamed up.
One of the wonderful things about a blog is that it gives you an acceptable format where you can tell a story – even if it’s about a really dry product or service.
Tell stories in your About page. Tell stories at the start of every blog post. And, absolutely, if you are designing a landing page to sell a product you should tell a story about how it will solve problems that people are directly experiencing.
That is vital.
11. Use the sleazy sales tools you’ve been ignoring
This last point is one that I know will be controversial with a lot of bloggers.
And that’s fine.
But it’s important for me to mention it because I know for a fact that it works.
Things like pop ups, slide out boxes, exit light boxes, etc. should be utilized because they are very effective for selling things on your blog.
The above is a screen shot from a test I ran on a certain type of pop up box last week. It was converting incredibly well, as you can see. I only removed it because I couldn’t get the technology quite right (it wasn’t closing properly) but I will be adding it back again soon.
The thing is, these types of tools don’t have to be sleazy if you do them right. For example, you can set a pop up to appear only on certain posts and display an offer only relevant to that singular topic. This is an advanced technique that works well because it adds extra value.
There is nothing wrong with making sales on your blog
I wanted to wrap this post up by emphasizing that there really isn’t anything wrong with making money from your blog by selling something.
When it comes to making sales many bloggers feel like it’s a dirty topic and a sign of someone who has sold out.
I totally disagree.
If you are providing value and helping people then why on Earth wouldn’t you want to make a bit of money so as to ensure you can keep doing it? The money you make might also go towards supporting your family or even one of your favorite charities. This is a big and ongoing goal for Blog Tyrant.
Don’t deceive anyone and do your best to avoid promoting anything unethical. If you’re ticking those boxes then there really isn’t anything wrong with it.
Do you sell something from your blog?
Do you use your blog to sell something? I know a lot of Tyrant Troops do. I’d be really interested to know what tactics you use to get more sales and how that has impacted on your blogging or the layout of your blog. Please leave me a comment and teach me something fun!