This is a guest contribution from Alicia Rades.
You started a blog for your business because you recognized the importance of content marketing. You know that businesses that blog get more traffic than those that don’t.
But more traffic doesn’t necessarily mean more customers. You have to be able to leverage your blog content in a way that convinces readers to trust you and buy from you.
So how do you get readers to pay for your product or service? Start with these five tactics you can use in your blog posts today.
Weave Testimonials Into Your Content
People are naturally skeptical when businesses talk about themselves or how great their product is. They’re more likely to trust their own peers—people who are just like them. In fact, the statistics show that written testimonials can increase conversions by as much as 25 percent. Leverage this powerful marketing tactic by weaving customer testimonials into your content.
Don’t just insert quotes where they’re not needed, though. Use them to tell your story.
This approach is particularly effective when writing case studies. You can also use it to back up claims. For example, let’s say you offer social media management services. You’re writing a post about converting followers on Instagram, and one of your tips discusses optimizing your profile. Maybe you just helped a client with this, and it doubled their followers in two weeks. To add credibility to your advice and show that it actually works, you could include a testimonial from that client.
In this example, the testimonial supports the content without it being a direct sales pitch for your services. It gives the story a fresh voice from someone your readers can relate closely to, which helps customers put more confidence in your claims, your business, and your service.
Use Your Blog as a Platform to Host Deals
Hosting deals on your blog does two things:
- It encourages readers to shop when they may not have otherwise spent money on your product.
- It allows you to gather people’s email addresses, who you can market and sell to in the future.
For the best conversion rates, consider teaming up with other companies to offer everyone’s product in a bundle and at a super low price. Not only does it make the offer more appealing, but you’ll all benefit from reaching each other’s user bases.
Here’s an example from Time-Warp Wife. In this giveaway, over 100 homemaking bloggers came together to offer nearly $700 worth of eBooks for only $29.97. And to further encourage sales, the deal was only good for six days.
Of course, you don’t need to team with over 100 other bloggers to see success. Host a deal with 3-5 other people in your field, and post the info on your blog to entice readers to buy.
Include In-Line Product Links
When the opportunity presents itself, point a couple of links back to relevant products or services on your site. This gets readers to visit your product pages to move them down the sales funnel.
The idea here isn’t to blatantly promote your products. Your blog posts shouldn’t be a sales pitch. However, links to relevant sales pages can actually be useful to readers who are interested in applying the advice in your blog post.
If it will be helpful to your readers, you can also present the product link as a “side note.” Here’s an example of how freelance writing coach Elna Cain handles this approach. She presents her product as a solution to writers’ struggles without focusing the entire post on her course.
Use this tactic sparingly so you don’t overwhelm your readers, and make sure you’re only linking where it’s relevant so readers know what to expect when they click the link.
Write Strong Calls to Action
Every blog post should end with some sort of call to action (CTA). You might encourage readers to:
- Leave a blog post comment
- Sign up for your newsletter
- Visit a page on your website
- Follow or share on social media
If your goal is to sell to your readers, then your call to action should point them to the next point in the sales funnel. For example, they might be interested but not ready to buy yet. You might ask them to subscribe to your newsletter or sign up for a free webinar so you can turn them into paying customers in the future.
You could also position your product or service as a solution to the topic in your blog post. Point them to your “how it works” page to get them to learn more and sign up.
Be bold with your calls to action. Tell readers exactly what to do next, and use your website design to your advantage. You can use a custom call to action for each post with an in-line link or CTA button, or you can place a universal CTA widget below each post.
Here’s an example from Blogging Wizard that illustrates both options. Adam Connell encourages readers to leave a comment, but he also uses a CTA widget to promote newsletter sign-ups.
Don’t Be Overly Promotional
The key to getting all of this to work is to avoid being overly promotional. Yes, your purpose is to sell. But blog readers aren’t looking for a sales pitch. Trying too hard to sell to them through your blog posts only pushes them away.
Instead, focus on providing advice to your readers. Show them what their problem is (they may not even know they’re struggling or what they’re struggling with). Suggest ways to fix it. Then briefly show that you have the solution. It’s only after that that the sales pitch comes into play. If you help them first, you’ll gain their trust, and they’ll be more likely to buy from you in the future.
You won’t use all five of these tips in every blog post you write, but incorporating them where you can will help turn readers into paying customers. Which one of these suggestions will you try out first? Let me know in the comments.
Alicia Rades is a professional freelance blog writer who specializes in blogging, writing, and freelancing topics. Visit her site at aliciarades.com, where you can download her free blogging guide, 20 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Hitting Publish.