Is your blog generating the results you want?
Results as in subscriptions, leads or sales, not just traffic, social shares and mentions on the web.
Let me take a guess: you are here because you want to monetize your content, not to manage a blog just for fun. But be warned: blogging has become a serious business and, very few really know how to make it profitable.
Those few smart people who manage to monetize their content understand that it’s not the content that is generating revenue, but their marketing efforts focused on raising personal brand awareness, gaining prospects and converting them to revenue is.
Although business blogging takes time, energy and a long-term strategy, there are solutions that could drive to success. List building is one of them.
Here are 6 blogging mistakes you will need to fix that will not boost the number of subscribers overnight but if you commit and persist you will achieve success.
The Ultimate Guide to Blogging for Small Business
1. You don’t use surveys
Unless you haven’t noticed, you have already defined the problem: your website has traffic, but the number of subscribers doesn’t grow. Now it’s time to find out the cause of this unfortunate situation by asking your readers a few questions about their interaction with your blog or website.
Don’t guess!…find out who are the visitors to your website. Here are some tips to find out who they are and what they want.
Segmentation and targeting questions
What describes you the best?
- I have a blog
- I’m a freelancer who offers content marketing services
- I’m writing content for a company’s blog
How often do you visit “my blog”?
- every day you publish a post
- two to three times a week
- once a week
- a few times per month
- less than once a month
About how long have you been reading “my blog”?
- a month or less
- 2 to 5 months
- 6 months or more
Satisfaction & attitude questions
How do you feel about the frequency of the posts?
- It’s good as it is
- I’d like to see more posts
- I’d like to see fewer posts
Which of the following topics are the most appealing to you?
- Social Media
- Content Marketing
- Email marketing
- Landing Page Optimization
Once you have gathered enough responses to make an idea about your readers profile, their behavior and interest with your website, export the data into an Excel sheet and start analyzing the answers.
What’s the exact information that you need to know?
- The most voted topic that will stand as the topic of your first e-book.
- The blog’s PERSONAS that represent different user types, imaginary characters that act in a similar way on a website. Usually, every online business can define 2 to 5 personas.
2. You did not create a free e-book
Digital papers stand as hooks to persuade readers to subscribe to an e-mail list without telling them directly: “Subscribe to my list ‘because I’m so awesome.” Cialdini’s reciprocity principle states that people are more willing to do you a favor if you gave them something for free. So the e-book is the perfect gift for your blog’s readers, given the fact that you provide with a solution to their problem, according to what they’ve answered in the survey.
Once you have established which is the most popular topic within your audience, start working on the structure of an e-book.
For example, if the majority of the website’s visitors voted for “Landing Page Optimization,” grab this topic and start writing the structure of an e-book called “The 10 Secrets of Landing Page Optimization.”
As Clement Vouillon mentions in this article, writing a digital paper should be about 30% of the work while the rest of 70% of your efforts should focus on creating a landing page and promoting it. The landing page is the “Holy Grail” of all your campaign’s efforts. The place where people will decide either to subscribe to your email list or to abandon you.
Therefore, if you haven’t considered landing page optimization until now, you should start learning the basics right away. Here are the most common practices when creating landing pages:
- Emphasize the benefits for the user, not the product’s characteristics. Persuasive and smart copywriting is the key to making people press the “call-to-action” button. For example, you could say “Learn how to become a master in the kitchen by doing this and that” instead of “This paper contains: recipes, tools, etc.”
- Place the benefits above the fold
- Use testimonials to increase trust
- Test different versions of the original page with A/B testing. The key elements to test: headline, copy, images, forms, call-to-action buttons.
3. You don’t promote your freebies
Freebies are valuable to blogging business if one knows how to get the most out of them.
The promotional efforts should focus across all the relevant marketing channels for your blog.
- Social media: Start spreading the word across the social networks, post into groups
- PR: contact your partners such as related businesses or organizations, other bloggers and let them give away your e-book or convince them to send an e-mail blast, ask for recommendations, testimonials
Also, use your blog as a promotional channel to convince people to subscribe by:
- Placing a subscription box at the end of each post
- Using exit pop-ups when the readers intend to leave the website.
Use the power of copywriting to write a compelling message by emphasizing the problem that you’re giving a solution to. These pop-ups are useful because they work on the principle of “under promise, over deliver”. People don’t expect to receive something for free, but when they do receive it, they’re more willing to return the favor by giving you their email address.
4. You don’t follow up your leads
E-mail is so powerful and cheap that it should get a prize for “The marketer’s best friend category.”
Once your new subscribers received the e-book, you need to put them in your sales funnel. This should be an automated follow-up process. Compose an email in which you encourage them to visit 2 or 3 blog posts related to the e-book’s content. Then, schedule to send it after a few days from the subscription date. By automating this process, you will save time for other activities such as writing a new e-book. I’ll cover this in more detail later.
People who will return to your website by clicking on one of the links provided in the email represent good, healthy, useful and relevant traffic for your blogging business. They’re returning visitors. They then start to interact more with your website, thus showing a higher interest in what you have to say. Use the leverage effect and start on working at increasing the time on site and the number of pages viewed during a session.
Engaging with your audience is the key to allocating your resources more effectively. You won’t have to focus on traffic generation anymore, because the loyal readers will keep on returning to your website. In the end, they will eventually pay to read your content…but that depends on the value provided on your blog. Be consistent and committed to the reader’s interests and behavior.
5. You didn’t write a masterpiece, nor did you manage to sell it
Once you have convinced your subscribers of the value of your content, you now have to have a product that will pay for all of your efforts up to now.
Start creating a complete guide, something that stands out from the crowd.
Until now, you’ve only managed to place the desire to read more about a topic in the subscribers minds. Now it’s the time to offer the complete solution by writing a paper that reveals everything one has to know to become an expert in his expertise area.
Convincing subscribers to pay for this paper takes a few sales tricks such as offering only a free sample or a chapter for free or keeping you offer at a promotional price for only a few hours.
This applies the principle of scarcity, as things become more valuable if they are perceived as rare.
6. You were not consistent
When something gives results, don’t try to change it. You’ll ruin it.
The most essential step is to remain committed to what you have started. Make sure to keep the posting frequency constant, to automate your e-mail system, to keep in touch with the industry’s influencers, to deliver value to the identified “personas”, which now are your customers. And now you can declare yourself an online business owner!
Guest Author: Elena Dobre is learning about digital marketing, business and life at Marketizator.com, the complete conversion rate optimization tool. She plays the role of the content strategist, but she’s also experiencing with CRO and lead generation. She enjoys discovering new online tools, hacks, brilliant minds and beautiful souls. Follow her on Twitter @HDobre.