We all know…
…that blogging is an important part of digital marketing. And that content marketing is a great, long-term way to increase sales for your business.
The problem is that not all the content you write actually brings in revenue!
Just as there are many different types of salespeople (some fun and others not so fun), so too are there many types of blog posts (interesting and not so interesting).
And not everybody who reads your blog becomes a customer. They tend to stay readers unless you make an effort to convert them into a customer.
A successful piece of content has to provide valuable information and eye-catching visual content without coming off as pushy or salesy.
What blogging techniques can use to sell and increase revenue without sounding like you are trying to sell something?
Write a catchy headline
Your headline should be clear and concise, and focus on your audience’s problem. It should capture their attention and give them a reason to read on.
To develop effective and informative headlines, you need to clearly articulate how the article or other type of content will solve their problem. Your headline should combine a powerful benefit with the promise of useful information addressed directly at the customer’s specific problem.
When I write content, I spend the same amount of time (or more!) writing the headline as I do on the rest of the content, because it’s the most important element of the content. If your headline doesn’t create desire in the reader’s head, they won’t read the rest, no matter how good your offer might be.
Examples of different types of headlines
- How-To… / What not to do to…
How to… achieve [something specific]
- The How-To case study
How I/We/Company… achieved [something specific] in [a certain time frame]
- The big promise:
You can… achieve [something] by [doing something]
[X “topic”] mistakes that result in a loss
- The secret
Secret of… [something]
- The reasons why
Reasons why… [surprising fact]
- Call them by “name”
Integrate the name of your specific target group into your headline
On average, only 18% of your readers of the readers who read your headline will continue on to read your entire blog post.
You have to find a way to get the reader to keep reading and the first sentence is critical. So how do you do this?
Simple: write a short sentence crafted to awaken curiosity and makes the reader wonder what else is in the post.
When you finish writing your blog post, go back and revisit the introduction. Odds are good that you’ll see it’s not quite the right hook. So rework that paragraph because it’s the second most important element in your blog post.
Understanding the sales funnel
If you aren’t familiar with the sales funnel concept, you can learn more here. As a quick recap, the four essential stages of consumers are:
Leads: These are people who have never interacted with your company and products (cold audience). They may have heard of you, but have no opinion and have no connection with you. Usually you offer a free lead magnet in exchange for their email address and place them in your sales funnel.
Prospects: Prospects have heard of your company, read your blog, followed you on social media, and are interested in your services/products. They may have downloaded your lead magnet, but haven’t purchased anything yet.
Customers: Prospects who have successfully bought something from you.
Repeat buyers: These are the people who spend money with you regularly such as membership site users, or people who have purchased more than one product from you.
The goal is to reach the 4th stage with every lead. Reality is that usually only a relatively small percentage of leads become repeat buyers, however, through careful and effective communication, you can maximize your conversion rate.
Place lead magnets in the blog post
What is a good lead magnet?
Directly asking for a sale in a blog post is like going on a first date and asking for marriage. It doesn’t really work. But providing value for free as the first step of a marketing funnel is more likely to lead to conversion. To create your sales funnel, you need their email address or a channel where you can communicate with them directly.
However, there’s a catch. Email is a very personal thing. People aren’t simply going to give you their email address without a good incentive, even if they like your brand. It is your job to give them a compelling reason to do so.
A lead magnet is how you create an unforgettable first impression for your potential customer. You can only make a first impression once, and you want your first impression to blow people’s minds.
The Lead Magnet is the entrance into your marketing funnel and, therefore, provides the highest leverage point.
The goal of the Lead Magnet is simple: convert traffic into leads. To generate leads for your sales funnel.
Lead Magnets don’t make money directly. However, they DO create the first impression with a customer, and gather the most valuable information from a lead.
Lead magnets work best if they are:
- Relevant to your offers
- Cover an ultra-specific topic
- Deliver high value
- Are easy to consume
Once you have subscribers from your Lead Magnet, you can start an email campaign to help them get to know your brand better, then sell them your product or service.
Strangely, most bloggers write great content, and never ask their readers to do anything with it. If you want to turn readers into leads, ask them to take the next step:
- Sign up for the e-mail list
- Download a pdf
- Join a webinar
- Share the post on social media
- Buy a product
Whatever your call to action (CTA) is, you must give your reader something to do!
You must tell a compelling story
People love stories.
Why do stories capture our attention so much? Because storytelling has been an important means of communicating and connecting with other people since the beginning of time. When we hear a story, our brain automatically puts itself in the writer’s mind and imagines that we are in the story.
So while a story has a beginning, a middle, and an end, in the blogging world, it should also have plenty of subheads, bullet points, quotations, and other bite-sized, easy-to-consume bits of content to break it up. Why?
Remember, in this case, you’re not telling stories. You’re trying to build trust. And part of that means showing, through related outside content and examples, that what you’re saying is true.
Find research, studies, examples, charts, and anything else that is high quality and from a reliable source that backs up what you are saying.
Use Visual Data
Visual content (images, videos, infographics, etc.) is much more easily consumable to readers and therefore brings more leads to your landing pages. Recent research has found color graphics increase the likelihood of content being read by 80 percent.
Not any graphics will do, however. Never save an image from a google search and use it in your blog. For one, it may put you in violation of copyright laws. In addition, you want your readers to see you as a reliable source, as well. It’s best to use original, high-quality images and pictures.
When you include visual demos of your product, perhaps behind-the-scenes video of how it’s made, aspirational examples of what you could do with the product, and other enticing imagery, you’re activating parts of the brain that written content simply won’t. People will want to know more about your offer.
Participate In The Comments
Comments are great place to be a little self-promotional when responding to questions.
For example, this is a great opportunity for you to refer them to an ecommerce page on your site.
However, you should use your own name and profile when commenting on blogs, even when it’s your own. A response from a company is seen as less personal and won’t be as well-received.
Even if you don’t directly sell to someone in the comments, it creates a warm lead that is likely to visit your eCommerce store. These are people who are clearly interested in your industry or niche, and may convert into paying customers.
Think of it this way: every blog post must point towards something.
All of your blog posts must have excellent writing and appropriate tone, but also need to have an actual goal and a clear call-to-action.
Focus on providing valuable content, and drive your readers to a sales funnel instead of trying to sell them directly from your post. At this stage in the sales funnel, they’re doing research to learn more about the purchase decision.
If you provide the information people are looking for, they’ll eventually return to you when they’re ready.
If you put all these tips together, you should see an increase in CTR from your articles, and you should also see a noticeable increase in readers turning into customers and clients.