If you’re blogging for a living, there’s a high probability that you are selling something – it could be a product, a service or a subscription.
In the quest to boost sales and interest in your offer, it’s natural to get obsessed about things like headlines, website copy and other copy-related distractions.
While good copy is essential to success when selling online, the reality is that a few simple changes to other factors can double or quadruple sales.
Here are some highly overlooked but super effective ways to boost sales on your blog:
The Ultimate Guide to Blogging for Small Business
Method #1: Effectively utilize security/trust seals
To see how widely overlooked security seals are online, try to take a quick look at the sales page of products on your favorite blogs, you’d be surprised to see that probably none of these pages use trust seals.
Does this mean website trust seals are not effective? No.
“If you’re expecting your first-time website visitors to land blindly on your site and start shopping without you giving them any indication that you’re trustworthy, you’re likely losing customers.”
Jarrod further backed up his point with several studies, some of which I’ll be citing below.
Research conducted by Econsultancy/Toluna reveals that trust seals is the #1 indication users look at when deciding if a website is trustworthy and whether they should transact with it or not; this ranked above a site’s professional design, publicly available contact information and even association with known brands and products.
Image Credit: Baymard
It’s one thing for your offer to be solid and clearly communicated, but it doesn’t matter a bit if people don’t trust you; apparently, trust seals solve this problem.
This is especially important for bloggers; Amazon, Apple and Google have built great brands, and they spend billions of dollars advertising their offers annually. Your brand isn’t as powerful as theirs, and you don’t have their marketing budget; using trust seals helps you leverage the credibility of trusted security brands to show your audience that can you can be trusted.
Which trust seals should you use?
Once you’ve decided to use trust seals on your website, the next question is which trust seals should you use?
Are all trust seals equal? Apparently not.
Further down in the Digital Current article, Jarrod referenced two studies – one from Baymard Institute and another from Actual Insights, and both studies revealed that the Norton, Verisign and McAfee Secure trust seals are three of the most trusted seals. This makes sense when we consider the fact that most computer users are aware of the effort of the companies behind these seals at protecting people’s computers.
Method #2: Solid guarantee
There are a million and one questions in the mind of your prospects when transacting with you, and some of the top questions are:
“What if this doesn’t work for me?”
“What if I don’t like this?”
“How much of the risk is on me?”
These questions are very natural questions, since we’re only humans. Most of your prospects will ask this question at one point, and unless you’re a superstar or renowned public figure, not addressing it effectively is probably costing you more sales than you can imagine.
Image Credit: Elliott Brown
Research conducted by Baymard Institute, has shown that 67.45% of people abandon online shopping carts at one point.
While there are a host of reasons people don’t buy, a key reason people abandon shopping carts is because they are not confident enough in their decision to buy; their risk averse side is taking over, and the website they’re on doesn’t have a strong enough guarantee.
Effectively using guarantees
You can close more deals and boost your sales by having a strong guarantee; guarantees come in many ways, and depending on what you’re selling, this could be a money back guarantee or a product exchange policy.
One thing is clear though – the stronger your guarantee, the more sales you will close.
Experts have revealed that the key to successfully boosting sales with guarantees is by offering a no-brainer guarantee; most websites today have a sort of guarantee and, as a result, people have become so used to the standard guarantees that they have developed something Peter Sandeen calls “guarantee blindness“.
The solution to this is to have a guarantee so strong that your prospects will pay attention, and to introduce it before they go through your copy.
Method #3: Effective use of social proof
In Robert Cialdini’s legendary book, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, he noted social proof as one of the 6 main driving forces behind persuading people to do things.
Image Credit: Jurgen Appelo
Why does Nike pay Michael Jordan $100 million a year to endorse their brand?
Why did Weight Watchers sign a $4 million contract with Jessica Simpson?
You can be sure it has nothing to do with the celebrities having the same ideals as the company. Instead, it has to do with something else; social proof.
Having Jessica Simpson endorse their brand makes Weight Watchers look cool, and they’d happily pay her to diet to have that “coolness” associated with their brand.
The same goes for Nike and Michael Jordan; Micheal Jordan endorsing Nike is powerful social proof to make their materials appear hip, and the next thing you see is almost every kid trying to wear Nike’s.
There’s the saying that nothing attracts a crowd like a crowd. Nobody wants to be a lone wolf, so we carefully observe others to see if something is worth paying attention to; if majority of people are doing something, then it must be right.
If Michael Jordan is wearing and endorsing Nike, it must be hip!
How bloggers can effectively use social proof
Jeff’s blog is a good example of social proof in action.
You know that Jeff is a thought leader, and while this is in large part due to the fact that he has been widely recognized, it’s also because he’s very good at highlighting that fact.
His bio, which majority of this blog’s readers will read at some point, lists all notable media mentions he’s received, and the sales page for his Master Class on Creating Authority Online has a section that highlights recognition he’s received from Forbes and Huffington Post, as well as the massive reach of this blog.
Now if that isn’t effective social proof in action, what is?
So, if you want to boost sales on your blog, don’t be afraid to let people know that you’ve been recognized; this can be in the form of user testimonials, media coverage, books you’ve written or been featured in, the massive reach of your blog, or cool things industry leaders or celebrities are saying about your brand.
Method #4: Acute email targeting
Research conducted by Monetate has shown that email trumps search and social media combined when it comes to conversions.
Image Credit: Richard Matthews
Most bloggers today use email as a way to promote their offers, but very few effectively use email targeting and segmentation; many bloggers just follow the “build a list, have an offer and blast when you want to sell” principle and that’s it.
If “blasting your list” is all you’re doing, you’re shortchanging yourself!
Research published on Marketing Sherpa has shown that sending targeted offers to your list, as compared to “batch-and-blast” emails, can result in 208% more sales.
If email marketing is part of your marketing strategy, sending targeted emails is something you should pay serious attention to; instead of just “blasting” your next offer, you might want to try segmenting your subscribers and targeting only relevant offers to them. You’d be surprised at how much this can boost sales on your blog.
Method #5: Simplifying your order process
No matter how big your business is, 66% extra sales is massive!
I’m sure you can relate to the frustration when you try to buy something online and they start to ask you to input your family history before you can place your order; if you’re like the average web user, unless it’ll kill you not to have what a website is selling, there’s a high chance that you’ll quickly locate the ‘X’ in your browser faster than you typed that web address.
Don’t make your readers go through complicated web forms and order processes just to buy from you; instead, simplify things for them and ensure they are able to order as soon as possible.
In cases like this, offering a quick one step checkout, integrating with popular services like Paypal and reducing friction and overall number of steps will always yield more sales.
Which of the above 5 methods is your preference for boosting sales on your blog? Comment below.
Guest Author: Bamidele Onibalusi is a world renowned blogger who has been featured in Forbes, Huffington Post, Digital Journal and other top publications. He shares practical business tips and ideas at Effective Business Ideas.