Blogging is one of the fastest and easiest ways to create content online, and therefore one of the fastest growing channels for marketing your business online. I imagine many of you blog or are considering starting one, but most of you will stop for one reason – your posts won’t convert customers.
This is easy to change.
I’m assuming you have a blogging strategy to create the right content to attract qualified leads, that you’re promoting your content on a regular basis, and you’re capturing leads via email campaigns, so you can build relationships with potential customers overtime.
If you need a refresher on how to capture emails via your blog and convert them to customers, Chris Hexton (co-founder of email marketing software Vero) does a fantastic overview of the entire process.
When you’re ready, we’re going to explore 3 additional things you can do to write blog posts that convert readers to customers.
1. Educate Fans On What You Do
This may sound obvious, but just because people read your blog it doesn’t mean they have a clue what you do. Even your most avid readers might be in the dark.
Think about it.
If someone skips your Homepage or About Us page and goes straight to a post (which Neiman Lab’s shows us is happening more and more), how would they know you sell crazy socks or are a massage therapist or build Architecture Software? We call this growing trend “coming in sideways.”
It shouldn’t matter how people get to your blog, only what happens when they do. So help them out. Here are 2 easy ways you can do this:
1. Add A Sidebar Business Profile
Add a profile on the sidebar of your blog with a little memo of who you are and what you do. This isn’t an email sign up and it’s not a strong call to action to learn about you – it’s a chance to give your readers the skinny on your business.
Specifically, what you do for them. For example, instead of saying “I’m a real-estate agent” you can say “I help young couples find their starter homes in Vancouver, BC.” Check out Vero’s blog below for a good example.
p.s. It can be similar to your blog author bio, which is a good thing to have on your blog. (If you don’t have one, check out this resource). But focus on your business – if you sell products, mention them. If you sell a service, mention it. When someone glances at your business highlight, they should know what you do.
2. Integrate You In Your Posts
An easy way to write blog posts that convert readers to customers is to include yourself in them! Share what you do for your customers in your posts, subtlety and not every time.
For example, we just wrote a post on How To Legally Get The Best Pictures For Your Blog. Even with these tips, finding big, beautiful and relevant images that you can legally use on a regular basis is a challenge. Since this is something we’re passionate about, we decided to solve it with Spokal. So, I included a bonus section in the post on how our members can drag and drop images directly from the flickr Creative Commons Library when they blog using Spokal – highlighting that we take care of sourcing the photos, and that they’re legally allowed to use them at no cost.
We got several comments that it was the right amount of “sell” in a post.
Sharing what you and your business do used to be the reason we blog. Now there’s so much emphasis on educating your readers and being industry leaders (which I agree with) that sometimes I find even the best bloggers and business owners forget to brag every now and again.
So go ahead, if you can share what you do in a post, and it adds vales to your readers or customers, go for it.
2. Always Show Proof + Validation
You may have testimonials on your Homepage, but again, how often do your readers go there?
Why not put a testimonial on your sidebar or at the end of your post – somewhere your fans will see it. If you’ve gone the extra mile and have a case study from a happy customer, highlight that and include a link where your fans can read the full review.
Online marketing expert Neil Patel does a fantastic job of this. He has 2 case studies on the sidebar of his blog – one shows how he helped Ben Huh grow to 500 million pageviews a month (it gets clicked on 1 in every 100 times someone reads his blog) and one shows how he increased Tech Crunch’s traffic by 30% in 2 months (this one gets clicked on 2.58% of the time).
You can also showcase your testimonial with a HelloBar – a bar you add to the top of your website that gives you a prominent place to put a call to action. Use it to guide your readers to a landing page with a customer success story and encourage them to follow up with you.
It’s a good idea to include a photo beside testimonials if you can, as they help people imagine who your happy customer is. This makes their comment more real because they feel you’re telling the truth, as Social Trigger’s Derek Halpern shows us. And it will help you write posts that convert your readers to customers.
Unbounce does a good job of this. All the testimonials on their homepage have a mini photo beside them – one even has a 1 minute video explaining how Unbounce helps their business.
Finally, leverage brands.
Brands add instant validation because they give your readers a way to relate you to. As a small business owner it’s unlikely your clients will be Coca-Cola or Disney, but you can still leverage trust. Have you been featured by any press? Include their logos. Do you work with specific organizations? Include their logos. Are certified by industry boards? Include their logos. Have you won any awards? You get the idea.
And again, why hide these on your Homepage? Showcase them proudly (but not loudly) on your blog sidebar.
p.s. Don’t have a testimonial?
Ask your best customers for one.
Chances are if you do a good job, they’ll be happy to recommend you. But your customers can be busy, so if they’ve offered to do one for you, feel free to write it for them and send it to them, always encouraging them to modify it as they wish. Chances are they’ll let you use what you say, which gives you the added benefit of controlling the message you want to share with future customers.
3. Invite Your Fans To Be Customers
As you blog on a regular basis and start to grow your readership, don’t be discouraged if you’re not making more sales. Just because someone is an avid reader, doesn’t mean they’ll come running after with you with a cheque book.
You need to invite them.
Laura Roeder and Chris Brogan do this really well. Every once and a while they send emails inviting me to sign up for their services. Since they usually share great content, I don’t mind an occasional pitch email. What makes them stand out is that they acknowledge they’re selling to you, so you don’t feel like you’re being taken advantage of – plus what they’re selling is usually remarkable.
They make it personal. And it works.
The Naked Truth
Sometimes your best readers will never become customers.
While your biggest fans may never buy from you, if they love your content chances are they’ll share it with their friends, who may end up being your next customer. So be patient and keep your fans engaged – they can become your biggest referral network.
Conclusion: Blog Posts That Convert Readers To Customers
Remember, the goal of your blog is to generate leads and customers, not traffic.
Blog Tryant wrote a fantastic post on this, reminding us that driving 10,000 visitors to your post is a useless vanity metric – unless that traffic converts.
So, what else do you do to encourage your readers to become customers?