10 simple tweaks to generate more sales through blogs

sales through blogs

On the social web we’re here to help, to listen, to serve. We’re not supposed to expect sales though blogs, right?

Well, sometimes it’s OK to sell. You have to make money at some point, right?

In fact, your blogging space is a very important sales opportunity because if people are finding you through search, these are high-potential leads.

I am NOT saying to be “sales-y” in the content of your blog. But there are ways to surround that content with opportunities for readers to connect and maybe even buy something.

Here are 10 ideas to optimize sales through blogs. And by the way, with a little work, almost every idea on this post can be accomplished by this time tomorrow!

1. Have ads for your products. Use the sidebars of the blog to promote your products and services. This is helpful to people trying to figure out what you do.

2. Tell them who you are and what you do. If you’re like me, the majority of the visitors to your blog have probably never been there before. Devote a little space somewhere on your blog telling people who you are and why you are blogging.

3. Give something away. Once you have people on your blog, you want to entice them to stay on you site. Tell them what to do next. Download a free eBook, a guide, a whitepaper, a calculator? Many blogs have “pop-up” offers. I am not a fan of these personally but they do work for many people.

4. Make sure the blog is integrated — Even some big company blogs have made the mistake of having a site that is disconnected from the main website (it has a separate URL). If this is your situation, fix this right away for two reasons: a) you are building SEO to a place that is not your website and b) you are attracting all those people to your blog but they can’t dig into your site and learn more. Do not let any IT person or design professional talk you out of this. Integrate!

5. Take out the useless stuff. Don’t clutter your blog with widgets that distract people from going deeper on your blog. Here are two that drive me crazy with links to the reason why: word clouds, on-site Twitter stream.

6. Add your social sites — A key idea is getting blog visitors to stay connected to you enough to get to know you and eventually buy something. Please add links to your social media sites. So many people overlook this.

7. Make it easy to share your post — And speaking of the basics, are you making it easy for fans to share your content? Power on the web does not come from content. It comes from content that moves. This is so essential but 50 percent of the blogs I see don’t have this.

8. Use internal links — If you refer to goods or services in your blog post, create an internal link (same process as creating an external link on WordPress) to a page on your site dedicated to that product. It will help your customers and provide some SEO value.

9. Place contextual ads on your site — I don’t like ads in the middle of blog posts. It just seems disrespectful to interrupt the reader. But I see nothing wrong with putting a relevant and helpful ad at the end of a post. Let’s say you sell lawn equipment. If you do a post reviewing lawn mowers, why not feature a buyer’s guide or coupon at the end of your post?

10. Use Linked Within — This is a free app that displays thumbnails of similar blog posts at the bottom of each post (look below to see what I mean). Suggesting similar posts keeps people on your site, increases the visibility of other products, and increases page views by about 8 percent.

BONUS IDEA— If you spend one dime on marketing your business, please make sure you have an attractive, well-designed website. If you try to do it yourself, chances are it is going to look home-made and is that the message you want to send to your customers? Make sure your front door to the world is first class and with the number of low-cost templates out there, there really is no excuse for a bad blog design.

Did this post help you? What ideas would you add?

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  • I teach my blogging students to do nearly everything in this post! But…there’s one thing I didn’t know about…LinkedWithin. Thank you for the great post and the new tip!

  • Great. Glad I could help Betsy.

  • Anders Orsander

    I have read several posts with similar tips. Your tips are good, really good. Many posts of this type talk about Call to Action. Sure the concept is covered in point number 3, without actually calling it Call to Action. That makes me curious. Was that on purpose?

  • I have found that “2. Tell them who you are and what you do” works incredibly well when done through the form of teaching/story telling.

    So a segment of the client could say, “I’ve got a client in the Pest Control industry that hired me to totally recreate their marketing funnel. Now it wouldn’t seem that this would work in this niche but here’s what I created that helped them generate a 253% increase in revenue…”

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen anybody do this better than Dan Kennedy. He is a master of telling you what he does in the context of content that is useful and entertaining to you. You come to the logical conclusion of what people pay him for while learning from him and this leads you to seeking him out if you want him to do the same thing he talked about for you.

    And this is a conscious practice. He wants the new people to be educated but he also wants to remind his existing customers and clients why he gets paid the big bucks with his stories and examples. This is indirect persuasion at its finest.

    It’s my belief that we’re always selling (either ineffectively or effectively) and that selling indirectly in an effective manner is what causes people to seek you out instead of you having to seek them out with sale-sy stuff.

    Thank you Mark for reminding me to keep piling up my story/reference/example inventory so that I can use them to tell people who I am and what I do. 🙂

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  • I am definitely going to see if I can get Linkedwithin for my blog! Great list and good reminders. 🙂

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  • I intentionally left that out. To me, a call to action is asking people to buy something. If I came to your blog and every post asked me to buy something I would soon stop coming to your site. People are sick of being sold to and you risk diminishing your trust. I think it is perfectly fine to have a call to action sometimes but I am not in the camp that says you should have a call to action every time.

  • Superb comment. A great blog post on its own. Thank you for this gift!

  • Thanks Pauline

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  • Anders Orsander

    With your definition of call to action I totally agree with you Mark.

    I think of call to action in a wider definition as what you want a reader to do. To me a call to action can be: to ask your reader answer a question or comment, to present a link for further reading, to offer a subscription for a newsletter, offer a free e-book, to sell something… But as you say, we are sick of being sold to and that kind of CTA needs to be used carefully and not very often.

  • Thanks for the clarification and great comment sir.

  • thanks mark this is the first time that i konw that esist Linked Within

  • Kristin Linde

    I love tip #10! I had not heard of this plugin and I think it’s a great way to surface other content on your blog. I’m definitely going to share this post because of that tip–thanks! 😉

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  • realy this is a great list. thank you very much for sharing

  • Adealingz Akhter

    A call to action can be of anything like “Subscribe to News Letters” etc. I guess would be really important for a blog which is new. 🙂

  • Great post. I completely agree about the distractions. I hate pop-ups, clouds and on-site streaming of any kind. Much rather have ads in the margins or at the end of a well-written post.

  • Thanks Lois!

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