Blogging drives valuable inbound traffic that can generate significant revenue. Here is how you can get more traffic and more buyers out of your blog.
Blogging is no longer considered the turf of amateurs. Many well-established brands manage successful blogs that contribute to their brand awareness besides generating traffic and online engagement. In fact, content marketing is now an important channel for many businesses and drives great value and ROI.
The success of content marketing and blogging has pushed many companies to increase their reach through publishing quality content. In fact, we now see many companies hiring bloggers and copywriters as an integral part of their marketing team.
However, blogging does not convert to selling easily. In fact, there is a delicate equilibrium between publishing quality content and the ability to push your product and services to generate ROI. Blogging is a very powerful method for generating sales and leads. However, there are a few steps that need to be taken before blogging can really become a selling tool.
Why should you be blogging to generate sales? Here are three good reasons:
- Companies with a clear content marketing strategy increased website conversion rate 6X from 0.5% to 2.9%.
- 1% of marketers confirm content marketing’s positive ROI
- 95% of B2B enterprise marketers use content marketing
Why blogging works
A significant amount of the time spent online–23% of the time–is dedicated to social networks and engaging with blogs. This means that people now get much of their knowledge about new products and services from blogs and social media. While people don’t trust ads, they do trust content that they read online, an important bonus when added to the blogging benefits of free traffic, increased engagement, and higher credibility.
The role of the blog is to connect you to your customers in an engaging and less formal way as compared to other channels. However, in order to do that, you need to figure out what your prospects and customers want to read about and write content to engage them.
How to expand your reach?
One of the best ways to increase traffic to your website is answering questions on Quora. Simply by answering questions on Quora, I have generated a lot of visits to my sites. Quora has given me the highest ROI for the time invested.
In three months of using Quora, I have generated over 33k views to my answers. Most of these answers link to my blog posts and drive significant traffic back to my website. In addition, Quora traffic is the kind of traffic that converts to sales.
Becoming a successful blogger
Anyone can become a successful blogger. All you have to do is devote the time and resources to be successful. Here are a few tips:
- Learn. Start reading posts in your niche in order to become familiar with what people are talking about.
- Plan. Make sure to plan: how many times per month will you blog, what would be the best topics to cover.
- Be consistent. Make sure that you cover topics related to your industry and topics that interest your audience.
- Be conversational. Make your voice heard.
- Be honest. Write about topics that are close to your heart. Your audience can tell.
- Be personal. Put a real headshot of yourself on your blog with an “about me” page.
- Have patience. It will take time for your blog to generate traffic. Even Rome wasn’t built in a day. It could take almost a year to see results.
You may wonder what all of this has to do with generating more sales via blogging. Well, everything. Only when your readers trust you and see you as an expert in your field will you be able to engage with them in a conversation about buying anything from you.
Top blogging case studies
Let’s take a look at a couple of case studies where smart marketers and business owners were able to make more sales blogging the right way.
Case Study #1
Jon Dykstra over at Fat Stacks blog regularly speaks of how he combines social media and blogging to generate sales for his niche sites. The technique works so well for him that he is consistently able to earn over $37,000 every single month.
What can you learn?
- Combining social media and blogging in a visually oriented industry drives sales.
- Make sure that your audience is large enough. Take a look at Facebook Interests on your Facebook advertiser control panel to estimate the size of your audience.
- Look at your local magazine stand. If there are magazines on your topic, it means that there is enough audience.
- Make sure that there are enough products in the space to promote.
Here is how he does it:
Case Study #2
Jon Morrow’s blog makes $100,000 per Month. If you go over his blog Boost Blog Traffic, you’d find no advertising, no affiliate products, and no resource lists which are the usual tools for making money on blogs.
So, how does Jon do that?
Jon sells his courses “valued at $9,997”–“for only $997”–a 90% discount. Jon’s cheapest product sells for $591. His most expensive product sells for $10,000. This is Jon’s personal coaching on writing. He sells his product to his list via the blog in addition to a list of over 40,000 newsletter subscribers.
Whenever Jon opens up spots for coaching and blog writing service they are gone in 10 minutes. He only takes ten students at a time, which makes him $100,000 for each class. Pretty smart, huh? That’s the reason why you need to focus on building a list.
What can you learn?
- Make blogging a tool for marketing your business. A blog should be a freebie. It should be what that attracts the customers for bigger things. All bloggers who are making money off their blogs write books and speak at conferences. They think of blogging as a tool for making money from other businesses.
- Don’t sell advertising. Products and services, e.g. eBooks, CDs, etc., can be advertised in the sidebar and it seems to be a great way to make money. It’s purely passive. But what I learned from Jon Morrow suggests that you aren’t supposed to sell advertising on your blog. Instead create your own products, sell your own courses, and market yourself.
- Educate your customers via blogging. Use your blog posts to show customers how to use your products.
Case Study #3
When KISSmetrics was promoting their webinars, they asked their registrants to answer a simple question: whether they wanted a KISSmetrics demo. Many users said yes. Further follow-ups led to an increase of $13,000 in revenue.
Here is how it looked like:
And here is the full form:
This is a great example of how a simple question can make a complete difference in making money from your blog.
Case Study #4
Placing a lead capture form with exit intent helps to capture leads before they leave. Many websites place opt-in exit forms that are triggered when the visitor takes the mouse out of the navigation area to the address bar to close the web page.
This is how an exit intent opt-in form looks like:
Why are exit-intent lead-capture forms so effective? Because there are two things that may happen when a user wishes to exit and you stop him or her with a form:
- You get a lead.
- The visitor closes the form and leaves (which he or she would have done anyway).
This is one of the least intrusive pop-ups that you can use, as it does not interrupt users while browsing. The reader was about to leave anyway, so before he leaves he has a last chance to sign up. It’s a gentle push but more often than not, your readers require this push in order to join your mailing list. In addition, a pop-up form placed at the exit has often proved to be one of the best places where you can place opt-in forms, due to their high conversion rates.
Opt-in forms at the exits help you create your marketing mailing list. One of the great things about a marketing mailing list is that you can market to them over and over again. A strong marketing list helps your blog get more repeat traffic from people who gave you permission to market to them. It also increases the likelihood that your articles will get more readers.
Case Study #5
Here’s what the team at GrooveHq were saying about their decision to start blogging: “When we started, virtually nobody knew what Groove was. Now, I get almost daily emails with interview and speaking requests, and bloggers asking for info about Groove that they can feature in their content. The thought leadership we’ve built through the blog has scored us many thousands of dollars of free PR.”
Also when they started their blog, a year ago, things looked dismal:
But a year later, their weekly traffic is exceeds everything they were hoping for:
The reason GrooveHq focuses on traffic is because a lot of readers convert to blog subscribers. Groove noted that a larger percentage of people who became subscribers actually became paying customers.
A better approach than simply blogging would be to search for buyer keywords using the Google keywords tool.
As an example “SEO for enterprise” would be a keyword that attracts people who look for SEO for enterprise. You need to write blog posts that specifically cater to buyer keywords. Imagine one of these posts sending 10 visitors per day. What would 50 such posts do for you?
Well, a very modest expectation would be around 500 visitors per day. Imagine you can convert 2% of 500 x 30 = 15,000 strong traffic to clients. What would that mean for you? It could mean 300 potential clients. For enterprise SEO whose rates run to thousands per month, that is the power of blogging.
Get feedback from your readers
To know more of what they want from you, use Qualaroo. Qualaroo has very simple philosophy. Make it as unobtrusive as possible to gather feedback from your readers. A very non-descript, black box pops up at the end of a blog post asking for some feedback from the readers.
Use this opportunity to ask questions like:
- How did you find this blog post?
- Was this useful?
- Did it solve your problems?
- What would you like to see here in the future?
If you see some pattern in the feedback, some answers repeated time and again, then you must realize that this is what the readers want from you. Now determine how you could monetize that info for more.
Why should you plan content properly?
In order to plan your content effectively and also think about whether visitors are actually interested in what you write, you need to ask them. Just setting up a blog puts you among a million other blogs. And I haven’t even started with other platforms out there like Blogger, Tumblr, and Medium…You get the idea.
But if you can satisfy a unique need, a call for help where so many others fail, there’s a good chance that you may succeed in you blogging efforts.
Focus on content for readers
Everybody speaks about creating quality content and how that is so important with all the carnage that Google initiates every time there’s an update. But have you ever given thought to the possibility that your readers may not be interested? You need to shift your focus, shift your view of them as not only readers but as people with problems that you can help to solve.
This is the point at which you make a connection with your readers and relationships are what count when it comes to making sales online.
Blogging for business or with a purpose to generate sales isn’t an impossible dream. But to realize this goal, you must research what works for other business bloggers and learn from it. Your best way forward is to simply start blogging, test different ideas and techniques, get feedback from readers, and start growing your traffic. Good luck!