Guest Post by Donna Merrill.
Blogging Conversion Strategies
Every blogger knows they need steady traffic to get their blog posts read. Traffic means readers and readers mean customers or clients.
Often times, though, bloggers don’t take advantage of the traffic they work so hard to get. It’s good to get readers and visitors to your articles, but at some point in time you’re going to want to convert them into subscribers or customers.
This is what Internet Marketers call conversion.
Now, I know more than a few bloggers who work very hard to get their articles ranked high on search engines. Some do a great job and actually have more than a few high-ranked pages. But they complain to me, not that they need more traffic, but that the traffic they have is not converting into any form of revenue.
In other words, their blogging has essentially been rendered a hobby, not a business. Even blogs that are not designed to create profit, are usually designed to at least gain followers in some form or another. Most bloggers, though, are in fact, trying to build their blogs into a profitable business.
There are several strategies you can employ to make your blog a profitable business center.
First, I should note that there are 2 main categories of profit building on your blog.
The first, is selling. The second is list-building.
In the first case, you are trying to gain an instant sale of a product or service, and in the second, you are attempting to have someone sign up for your “newsletter” or “email list” so that you can solicit them on a more regular basis via emails you send them.
While getting instant sales is nice, building a list is a better way to create a long-term business. If someone buys a product directly from a sales link you provide them in a blog post, for instance, you get a single commission (nice) and will probably never encounter this person again (not so nice).
Since it takes a great deal of effort and innovation to get a customer to your blog in the first place, it’s just a matter of smart economics to convert them into a “prospect” first, by getting them onto your email list rather than selling them something directly. Once they are on your list, you will have multiple opportunities to sell them things that are relevant to your niche. This strategy gives you the opportunity to gain a repeat customer for many years to come, rather than always having to find new customers.
So, let’s consider some basic conversion strategies for your blog.
Embedded Affiliate Links
You can sell things directly on your blog by giving readers links to sales pages where they can purchase a product and you can earn an immediate commission. This usually results from a “review post” that will review a product that you are an affiliate of. If your blog is about weight loss, it might be the latest diet and exercise CD kit. Your review will essentially tell the reader why this is a good purchase, and will instruct them to click your affiliate link to buy it.
These accomplish the same result as embedded affiliate links, except rather than you reviewing a product in an article, the reader is exposed to a sidebar banner that rather more passively awaits their attention, and then, once clicked, redirects them to an affiliate sales page for the product you are promoting. Again, this results in a direct sale.
To build a list of prospects, you can have an optin box on your sidebar, or even in the header of your blog. The optin box will typically “bribe” your reader to get something for free in exchange for them “opting in” to your email list. This is a great way to get people to join your list if you make sure to make your free offer relevant to your blog’s niche.
So, again, if your blog is about weight loss, offer them free tips or methods to lose weight, not Europe’s most exciting biking tours.
Pop-ups serve the same function as optin boxes, except rather than sheepishly hiding on your side-bar, just waiting to be seen, a pop-up does just that… it pops up and overlays your content so that the reader is forced to take action. They must either disable the pop-up (which may, for instance, offer the same weight loss tips as your optin box offer), or, they can optin to receive your offer. Either way, they can’t miss your pitch, nor can they ignore it short of leaving your blog page altogether.
Many people find pop-ups annoying and so refrain from using them as bloggers. They are, however, very effective and will probably increase your opt-in rates significantly, so don’t let your personal tastes get in the way of your business acumen.
Squeeze pages are single web pages that, again, offer an ethical bribe in exchange for an opt-in. Since the squeeze page is not actually on your blog page, you must ask people to click a link in order to access the page.
This is typically done as an embedded call to action.
Perhaps your blog post is talking about great weight loss strategies. At some point, you can ask the reader to “click this link to get even more strategies like these on a daily basis”. They will be instantly redirected to your squeeze page, and by typing in their email address, will be on your email list. This strategy doesn’t even require the “ethical bribe”, but simply the promise to give your reader more of what they’re already reading in your article.
Videos are another nice way to build a list.
You can embed a video into your blog post in which you talk (direct to camera) about weight loss strategies, to continue the same example we’ve been using. At the end of the video, you can ask people to “click the link below” to get your newsletter with more great information on the topic, delivered straight to their inbox. You can even embed links directly onto your video, or at the end, in the middle… where ever you like, which will redirect people to your squeeze page so they can sign on to your list.
It’s even possible to add an optin form right on top of your video to gain subscribers that way!
Another nice thing about videos is that you can host them on YouTube. YouTube videos will help your blog get ranked higher by Google, which owns YouTube and likes to showcase its videos. As an added benefit, the “description” section that all YouTube videos has, is an excellent place to put a link to your squeeze page. That way, not only people reading your blog post, but the large numbers of people who search for your topic (ie., “weight loss”) can click the link to your squeeze page and opt-in to your list even though they might not even know you have a blog.
This is another great place to build your list and enhance the profit potential of your blog. The author box of your blog follows each and every article you write. This is the place to tell people things like “I’m a great authority on the subject of weight loss, and by clicking this link you can get my weight loss newsletter for free, delivered straight to your email inbox on a regular basis”. If your blog does not have one built in, one great example is Fanciest Author box.
Find The Mix That Works For You!
These are some strategies for converting readers into subscribers to your newsletter. Once they are on your “list” you must convert them once again, this time, into actually buyers and clients. That’s another subject altogether, but it all begins with converting your readers into subscribers.
Strategies are great to read about, but even better if you take just one and implement it.
What can you do today to help better convert your visitors into your newsletter subscribers?