Step 1: Know your audience
The first step to making your blog sell is making sure your content is highly targeted.
The more your content speaks directly to your audiences’ needs, the more likely they are to become your customer.
In order to get to know your customer a little better, ask yourself the following questions:
Who are you blogging to?If your answer to this is “everybody”, then wrong answer! The best bloggers out there always choose a specific niche. A more focused target audience allows you to create content that answers the questions and needs of a very specific group- which is key for earning trust from your readers and making that conversion. If you’re in the tech industry, for example, are you going to write about everything and anything to do with technology? Remember, you’ll be competing with giants such as Techcrunch, Mashable, and Wired. In order to stand out, it might be better to narrow your content into smaller niches such as wearable or mobile tech, for example. The same goes for any industry: how can you make your blog more specific, more targeted, and more unique?
What are their pain points?
Knowing your customers’ pain points will help you answer their questions directly and deliver content that speaks to their needs.Not only does this make your blog their go-to source, but, more importantly, it makes it easier to sell to your audience further down the line.
What questions are they asking on Google and Quora? What problems are they experiencing that your product or service can solve?Once you identify your visitor’s needs, you have the advantage of meeting these needs by presenting your business or service as the solution.
Where are they in their buyers’ journey?A big part of getting to know your blog visitor is understanding the “buyer cycle”: the pathways your potential customers take before they decide to make a purchase. Customers will normally go through these four stages:
- Need: your visitor knows they need something, but they’re not sure exactly what it is, or how to get it/solve the problem yet.
- Initial research: your visitor turns to social media, blogs, and forums to try and find the answer.
- Solution: the visitor has found the answer to their question or a product/service that offers them a solution.
- Purchase: the customer makes their purchase- yay!
Step 2: Write conversion-friendly contentMany business owners believe the real selling starts after you’ve written the content and clicked “publish”. However, that’s not the case. Content should be planned and written with conversion in mind. Here’s what to look out for:
Choose your topic wiselyConversion should be on your mind before you even put pen to paper. What content solves your readers’ pain points/answers their most frequently asked questions? Going back to your customers’ pain points here is really useful. Once you’ve established a few key questions, you can then begin to structure your content around your audiences’ needs.
Avoid distractionsBlogs aimed at driving sales should stick to one, easy to follow narrative. Your aim is to (a) inform your reader on how to solve their problem and (b) lead them seamlessly to making a purchase. A post full of irrelevant information or too many outbound links just distracts your reader- and steers them off the path to that all-important conversion. So, always try to keep your posts clear, concise, and to the point.
Write with readability in mindWe’re all very busy people. We all have relatively short attention spans. In order to keep your blog traffic on your page for as long as possible, you need to make your content super easy to read. Given that most site visitors bounce off a website in less than 8 seconds after arriving, you’ve got a very short window to get your point across. Make sure you do the following so that your content is easily skimmable:
- Include bold headings and subheadings as much as possible.
- Keep sentences short (no more than 20 words).
- Keep paragraphs short.
- Use images and screenshots to break up the text.
- Use bullet points or numbered lists where appropriate.
Include a bold CTAWe’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: a blog without a call to action is like a party with no cake. It’s not just upsetting; it’s unthinkable. If your reader has enjoyed your content, this is your time to sell to them; so make it count! Your CTA should tell your blog traffic exactly what it is you want them to do next, without being too pushy or intrusive. For example, a small banner on the side or at the end of your content saying “Sign up for your free E-book” or “Download our free crash course” normally goes down a treat. Want to know how to use social media to sell your content? You might like this post.
Step 3: Lure them in
Create urgencyEver made an impulse buy (or two)? You don’t really need that delicious cake, but it’s today’s special… there are only a few slices left… and the price, well, it’s just too good to say no… We’ve all been there. The idea that something we want is only available for a limited amount of time can drive many customers to make a purchase/sign up on a whim. You can add urgency in two ways: (a) In your content: use language and data that convinces your reader why they need to buy your product or sign up to your newsletter right now. (b) In your popup or content CTA’s: offer time-sensitive/limited number of freebies, coupons or money off deals.
Give something of value for freeGiving something away for free, otherwise known as a ‘lead magnet’, is a proven way to get leads. Lead magnets encourage visitors to download/subscribe/watch something of value in exchange for their email address. “Something of value” could be any of the following:
- Style guides
- Content calendar
- Travel tips
- Vouchers, discounts or freebies
Social-proof your blogSocial proof is a demonstration of other people/businesses interacting positively with your brand. For example, if you have hundreds of comments on your blog, or lots of people have shared your Facebook post, chances are your customer will be a lot more tempted to do the same. This is because, put simply, social proof = trust. Social proof doesn’t just mean likes, shares, and comments, however. It can also take the form of testimonials and logos of trusted brands that you’ve already worked with. In other words, don’t be afraid to show off!
Step 4: Nurture your leads into sales
Stay in touchOnce you’ve got your lead, the real work begins. The fact that your reader has given you their email address means they’re interested, but it could take some time before they become a paying customer.
Email marketingMake sure you stay in touch with a well-thought-out, highly personalized and consistent email marketing strategy. At this stage, it’s good to warm your lead up a little further. Rather than go in all guns blazing trying to sell to them as soon as they’ve signed up, continue giving your lead something of value at no cost or commitment to them. Show them that they’ve made the right decision in signing up by giving them more great content in a weekly newsletter, roundup, or build an email course with educational content (you can then pitch your product/service at the end of the course). To do this more effectively, we’d recommend using an email marketing automation tool like Drip or Convertkit. This is a great way to build trust between you and your lead and puts you in a better position to start selling at a later date. Here’s an email campaign example from DigtalMarketer: What we like about this:
- The email identifies the lead as a new subscriber, which adds instant personalization.
- Familiarity is being established through a drip-fed 3-part email series; creating expectation and intrigue.
- Content is carefully worded as ‘gifts’. This puts the focus on your lead and less on your business.
- Provides highly relevant and useful content to the lead.