Conversion is a big part of blogging.
The point of blogging and any marketing activity is to increase sales.
Businesses usually need low cost customer acquisition to grow and survive. Without new customers it’s difficult to grow. And if it’s too expensive to acquire those customers it’s difficult too.
Blogging can be a great way for many different businesses to achieve low cost customer acquisition. I compare it to pay-per-click advertising online. You can spend $50, $100 or $10,000 a week on advertising. The goal is to get enough customers to offset that spend in the long run. I used to work at a catalog company and we would actually take a loss for a full year sending catalogs to people because we knew that after a year the new customers would be profitable.
But with advertising there is one problem whether it’s PPC, catalogs or anything… The issue is that once you stop feeding money to the sources you stop getting new customers.
No money. No customers. More problems.
That’s where blogging investment is something different. If you invest your time or money in blogging you’re creating an asset for your company. It’s something that will always be there bringing in new readers and potential customers to your business.
The biggest issues, however, is making sure those readers turn into customers.
The way to convert those new readers to customers is with calls to action.
Over the years, I’ve read tens of thousands of blog posts and have written tens of thousands of blog posts. By examining the bounce rates and other information on blogs it becomes apparent what kind of calls to action work on blog posts. It’s not what most people think.
And if you have the wrong call to action on your blog you could be losing sales.
I wrote a pretty good post on calls to action over a year ago and it stands up well today.
The biggest point is that too many companies ask for too much on their blog posts. They ask for the big sale. Some companies ask for customers to buy a full service immediately. Some give 30-day free trials, but to a brand new person even this is a huge conversion.
The result is this new reader and potential customers gets scared off.
Think about it…when you walk into a car lot to look at cars you’re just looking for information. You’re not even sure what you want. If the salesperson comes up to you, answers one or two questions and then asks you to buy the car are you going to buy it right there?
Not many people would.
Car salesmen and women have a different approach. They ask for a smaller item that is still a conversion. They ask the potential buyer to go on a test drive. It’s seemingly harmless to the prospect, but a big deal for the car salesman. It’s the first step toward the eventual sale. Even if the person doesn’t buy that particular car it’s an agreement even if it’s a small one. It can lead to the eventual sale.
That’s the point with blogging and calls to action.
You’re not looking to sell your service on blog posts. These are brand new readers. They’re often not ready to purchase you software for $50/mo. That’s comparable a lot of the bills people have and that’s how they think about it. They’d rather pay the phone bill this month than purchase software they’ve only just heard about.
You have to start smaller.
Here are the most successful calls to action you can use in blog posts…
1. Links to previous posts
You may have noticed a few links in this post. Those are calls to action. If you’re like most blog readers and you stumble on a blog post on a new blog that you find interesting you’re going to look for more information. Getting a person to read more content on your site is a slight conversion to getting them to know more about you. The more they read the more comfortable they become and that comfort and trust leads to sales.
2. Email signup
This is similar to internal links. If your content impresses someone they’ll want to read more. Subscribing to a newsletter is a mini conversion that can lead to a future sale. It’s permission to send more great content to your new audience member.
3. Social sharing
Some people will find your article interesting and they’ll want to look useful to their network of friends, family and colleagues. They can do this by sharing your article. That’s obviously good for you because the people they share it with are also potential customers.
4. Carefully worded service page question
The final call to action that can work on blog posts is a carefully worded question that leads to your service or about page. I’ve found myself clicking on these types of questions. For example, I like to read blogs about health and wellness. Most of these sites sell supplements and stuff like that. I’m not usually interested in buying those things from new sites. You can’t trust them all right away.
But if, at the end of a really great post, I read the question – Are you struggling to find paleo breakfast ideas? – I’m going to click it. In this instance I was taken to a landing page, which was really a services page that sold me on a paleo diet cookbook full of recipes.
Now that’s a way to get a sale.
The Myth Of Anti-Conversions
Some people I work with are afraid of linking to outside blogs and websites. They look at me and they’re like – WHY is this link going OFF my site!?.
Yikes. That’s happened a few times.
First, you need to give credit where it’s due. Second, when you link to other sources you give yourself credibility. People can see right through you if you don’t ever link to other blogs. Third, when you link to other blogs you get their attention and it can lead them to link back to you in the future, which will grow your blog and business.
That’s the point.
Image: Kate Ter Haar