Today I’d like to chat with you about selling on your blog. Now I’m not talking about this in the case of having a blog on an online store. It’s more around the whatever you sell on your blog, whether its products or services: your own or from someone else.
I have always been some kind of a content marketer, no matter how I was earning my money. And I have always loved giving our readers tips, tools and advice and, more importantly, building relationships with them.
But what I think we start wondering at some point, especially when you are looking at all the time you spend writing content, is what will happen the minute I start selling stuff on my blog or promoting myself? Will my readers abandon me if I try to sell to them?
What you have to remember here is that selling your readers things they need and want will not send them away or piss them off. One does not need to jam it down their throats or put in it 70-point red font. The key here is to make sure your offers land in the right place, at the right time. It’s all about strategy— with some common sense thrown in.
You may ask yourself: how do I possibly move people from eager consumers of my free content to real customers without any backlash? One way is to repurpose, enhance, package and sell your content in an information product. But it goes even more beyond that. What you need to do is lead your readers who are already fans to take the next logical step. And that is to buy something from you.
Ask yourself these four questions
Do you make it easy for your readers to purchase services and products from you?
You know, the same ones you offer day in and day out—on your website and through other sales venues?
Does your blog content point them in the right direction?
Do they even know what you sell?
Many of us answer those with, “Damn right they do”. We assume it. But we don’t always know for sure. And we take it for granted that they constantly peruse our site to see all the cool stuff we offer through our products or services. But in reality, unless you are a product filled site, chances are what you offer may not be as obvious or easy to find as you think they are.
It’s time to put yourself in your reader’s shoes. When they land on your site, they probably skim and scan to see if there’s anything of value there. And most days, they have way too much on their mind. Other things need to be done. Their mind wanders and you want to wave your arms and say, “Hey, look, over here. Pay attention!”
What they need is direction. A little focus.
It’s your job to help them see not only how good you are at what you do, but how you can help them. And you can do it in a way that doesn’t scream, Buy Now. Because we know how well that works, right? Besides, it would make you look, well, a bit slimy.
8 Tips on the Perfect Sales Offer Via Your Blog
1. Make your offer relevant and educate
Keep in mind why your readers are on your blog in the first place. They are interested in some things and not so much in other things. Also, instead of selling, educate. Teach them something new. Share a different perspective or an creative way someone has used your service or product. Or even better, tell a story.
If you can identify their need and make your offer to fit it, your chances of making that sale are much higher.
2. Be authentic
Now you hear this all the time, especially in blogging. But it really is worth it when it comes to people starting to trust you enough to give you their money. Think of it this way. You may lose a future customer (and possibly a reader) if you trick her into clicking on a link. Be clear and upfront when you are presenting your offer. None of this bait-and-switch or over-promising. Because it will bite you in the butt in the end. Tie your offer into a post and let your readers know that the link will take them to more information about the offer. No one likes to be fooled and it’s easy for someone to jump on Twitter and tell the world just how much you really suck because of what you did.
3. Make it easy to find
Have you ever been offered something on a blog that you have to search for? The more visible your offer is, the more readers will click through. This can be something as simple as a large “Work with Me” or “See How I Can Help You” graphic after the post. An easy-to- access hyperlink to your services can increase sales. If you are providing valuable content on your blog, you are already building trust. Give your readers an opportunity to take the next step.
On my blog in the past, when I was doing training and coaching, it always was prominent in my top navigation bar, not buried under a services tab. I also would have a special spot for my online classes that make them really stand out on my homepage. Whatever you do, don’t make them hunt for it. Because in the end, most people will not take the time.
4. Place your offers in the right spot and consider creating add-ons
Another idea is to fold the offer into your post. Because no one pays as much attention to sidebars as they used to. Ads float there and are easy to ignore. Even your services listed in the sidebar won’t get noticed much. If you want proof, find a service that lets you install a heat map. This will show you where people will click on most. And if you do some testing, I bet you will see the same results.
At this point, you may be saying, but heck, Bob, I see sidebar ads all the time. They must work.
But the chances are they will only do something if you have a humungous audience, as in hundreds of thousands of readers. Then your odds get a bit better.
So instead of those dreaded sidebars, when you are blogging on a topic or issue and it fits, link to a service or product you provide that your readers can purchase. For example, that is how affiliate links work best, not those sidebar ads. If you are a photographer and have a book on strange-looking animals, it’s likely people will become more interested in it while they are reading a post about animal oddities rather than through a graphic in your sidebar.
Another idea it to create add-on products to sell. Consider turning that ebook that’s selling so well into an audio version for people who are on the go a lot or just retain information better when they hear it. Or if you are selling a consulting package, get creative and think of some useful options your clients can buy a la carte only if they need it. Even getting your information product translated into another language could boost your sales.
5. Look at your comments for new product and service ideas
I cannot tell you how many times I have done this and even found clients who took the advice, finding nuggets that helped them to develop new ideas for both services and products. You’ll get ideas for new products and services so you turn your readers into customers. One comment might lead to writing a new ebook—by popular demand. Another might motivate you to create that perfect new service that solves a pressing problem.
6. Make your readers feel special
Don’t be afraid to offer occasional special deals for your readers only, something that is offered only within the post and not shared on every social platform in the world. If you write about a specific topic, offer a special promotion for your readers only. They’ll feel appreciated and you just might hit some of them at exactly the right time. Tie the offer to the topic of your post. For example, many times in the past when I was training and offering new classes, I would give my readers a discount. Or take it a step further and only offer to your subscribers. Add a note to the RSS email that goes out, daily, weekly or however you have it scheduled, giving them a discount on a specific service or product.
7. Consider using affiliate products
We have talked about affiliate marketing a lot on this blog. First you need to be comfortable with the fact of selling someone else’s product or service on your site, and what they may or may not do to your reputation. The perfect formula is to only sell products you know and trust, ones you have used yourself.
But seriously, can we use everything? Are there products that you know are very useful, but heck you would never need to use it? I could list hundreds of examples of this but I would suggest perusing some of the other posts I have on affiliate marketing.