Bloggers need to strike a delicate balance when promoting their products or services. Blogs tend to be informal, conversational, and for many readers, an escape from the sometimes uncomfortable business of buying and selling. But when bloggers abstain from any selling, they eventually reach a point where they wonder if all their effort is worthwhile. What do I have to show for all this blogging? Is it generating any revenue? Is it distracting me from other, more productive business tasks?
If these questions are on your mind, consider these tips for adding (or subtracting) a sales pitch from your blogging equation.
What’s the Competition Doing?
The “acceptable” amount of selling on a blog differs from niche to niche. One way to gauge receptiveness is to look at what successful bloggers in your niche do. Identify popular bloggers and read not only their posts but look at the comments, as well. Do you see any patterns among leading bloggers? If you see posts with a strong sales pitch woven in, your audience may accept or even expect a similar tone in your posts.
Earn the Right to Sell With Valuable Content
It could be that aggressive selling on the blog is failing because the sales pitch isn’t being backed by valuable information. In all types of selling, and especially in blogs, the “ask” has to be earned — and on blogs, this means delivering useful information and insights. If a reader has just read a post revealing a way he or she could save $1,000, then a sales pitch will likely be well received.
Don’t Sell on Every Post
Hammering and hammering for a sale on every blog post will become tiresome to regular readers. Eventually, they may tune out completely. A better approach is to push harder on long, detailed, well-researched and extremely valuable posts; posts where you have really earned the “ask.” For shorter, less meaty posts, forgo the sales pitch.
Optimize and Promote Your Posts Targeted for Conversion
Those detailed posts I just mentioned — some call them anchor posts or evergreen content — should be optimized and promoted to reach as large a new audience as possible because these are the posts most likely to convert.
- Before publishing, do keyword research to identify the best SEO keywords.
- Add a strong call to action at the close (and perhaps in the middle) of the post, giving readers the option of phoning, submitting an inquiry form, and/or clicking through to a landing page.
- Promote the post regularly on all social media channels.
- Reach out to other bloggers and websites in your niche and related ones — ask them to read your post, and if they like it, share it with their readers and/or link to it.
Sell on the Sidebar
While some blog readers will be put off by posts with sales content, few will be offended by sales offers that appear in the blog sidebar — after all, it is a business blog. Bloggers frequently opt for the sidebar sell, but all too often fail in the execution. Problems to avoid include:
- Having too many offers. A sidebar full of offers starts to look like a sideshow. When readers are confronted with too many offers, they tend to choose nothing.
- Having weak offers. “Call to learn more” isn’t exactly compelling. “Call now to save $500 on your first order” is.
- Failing to track and test. Throwing up a few offers on the sidebar may make a blogger feel as though something has been accomplished, but nothing really has. Unless you know how many forms and phone conversions occurred, and unless you then test different offers, messages, and designs, you will never know how effective your sales effort is — or how to improve it.