Some of the most successful companies started off with just a simple blog. Blogging is a great way to jumpstart any business. Most people actually start with blogging as a side project or hobby and eventually harness it into an actual business. Blogging will help you build up your initial audience, build an email list, and build brand presence. And most people are more willing to pay for a product that they trust over a random product that nobody has ever heard about.
In this simple guide, I’ll walk you through some specific tips on turning your blog readers into paying customers. TL;DR video is above.
1. Be Consistent With Quality Content
Consistency is one of the most important aspects when it comes to content marketing and blogging. Nothing is easy, so you shouldn’t slack on this part. Set yourself a goal to publish a new blog post every week to start. Then, gradually add more content per week. It takes time for your site to appear on Google, but you have to keep at it to ensure the best results.
Being consistent with publishing a new blog post is a great way to start, but you have to make sure that you publish high-quality content. You successfully attracted a new visitor with a relevant topic that your readers love. But that’s the easy part! In order to get your audience to subscribe, you have to publish content that people want to come back and read.
Click-bait titles/headlines work for attracting new users, but most of them will leave and not come back due to the misleading headlines. You have to create content that your readers cannot find anywhere else. Be an expert in your field and stand out.
Take a look at Groove’s Blog. It’s a perfect example of a company with great story telling that draws users back all the time. Groove shares their startup journey and picks up quite a few subscribers every single day from people who want to follow their journey and learn along the ride. These following content ideas tend to draw the most recurring subscribers:
- How-tos: Actional, step-by-step instructions on how something works. An example could be, “How to get your first 10 paying customers”
- Video: Videos tend to convert higher than written content because it doesn’t require a lot of time to watch the video. And videos are more engaging and personal.
- Lists: Lists provide information that other people can’t find elsewhere. Or curate content from all over the internet in an easy-to-digest format.
- Case Studies: These work because people always want to learn about how other people value your product.
2. Engage and Talk To Your Audience/Subscribers
You can be writing a new blog post every single day and trying your best to promote it, but you won’t achieve maximum results if you don’t talk to or engage with your customers. One of the best ways to engage with your subscribers is by using email. You should already have a decently sized email list if you’ve been blogging for a while. Stay in touch so when you do reach out to them about a new product, the barriers to buying are gone.
One of the best ways to engage with your readers, in the beginning, is by sending them regular emails with your latest blog post updates. HelpScout does an amazing job with this. Take a look at the picture below:
Sending your audience your most recent update is a great way to attract readers back into your blog. Just keeping your audience up to date isn’t enough. You have to talk to your audience. You must engage with them. One of the hardest things about blogging is that most of the time you don’t know what you should be writing.
You won’t know what your audience wants to read if you don’t ask them.
A great way to do this is by sending them simple one-click surveys asking them about their thoughts. Take Lacey Baier’s food blog “A Sweet Pea Chef” as an example. Lacey was spending way too much time blogging about topics that their readers did not enjoy reading. They were writing articles that they thought their readers wanted to read. That resulted in a much higher bounce rate.
Lacey decided to stop guessing and actually start asking their customers what they want to read. They did this by creating surveys and asking their audience what they want to read. The results? They were able to learn a lot about their customers and their email conversion rate soared!
You don’t need anything fancy to do this. One-click surveys are surveys that blend directly in any email platform so that the person answering the survey won’t have to go to an alternative site to fill out a long survey. This results in a much higher response rate. People who use one-click surveys tend to receive at least 50% more responses compared to traditional surveys.
Here’s an example of one of our customers, Piktochart, that uses us to create one-click surveys:
They receive an 80% response rate on all the surveys that are sent out. Afterward, they’re sent to a custom landing page created within the YesInsights survey platform that gets an additional 25% response rate for additional comments. It looks like this:
3. Use Drip Emails
One of the most effective ways to drive new sign ups for your product is to use an educational drip email campaign. A drip email campaign is a series of emails that your audience receives after they’ve subscribed to your blog. You can automate this with any email marketing platform that you are using (Aweber, MailChimp, ConvertKit, Drip etc.). And YesInsights currently integrates with over 30 email marketing platforms! #doublewin
Send a series of educational drip emails to your subscribers. These could be emails containing your top most resourceful articles. Or guides to getting the most value out of your blog. Your goal in these emails should be to drive conversions. John Lee Dumas does an amazing job with these emails with his Podcasters’ Paradise course.
Users will subscribe to his free podcast course and at the end of the course, they will be asked to buy the product. This works because the initial emails build a great amount of trust and kinship. Most people won’t buy your product right away. But they will have a higher chance of purchasing after they’ve learned about the values of your product.
If you’re running a software product, you can set up a series of onboarding emails with Intercom. We wrote a blog post that shows how you can increase customer engagement with surveys using Intercom here: Email Survey Hack: How You Can Get Consistently More Customer Feedback
Here’s a picture of our very own onboarding email with a YesInsights survey embedded:
My favorite question to ask during the onboarding and welcoming email is, “When it comes down to customer feedback, what’s the biggest problem you’re struggling right now?” This allows me to boil down to the customer’s pain point and provide the best solution for them possible.
Many times, your audience might still not purchase your product even after being engaged with you for a while. You want to be able to understand why they are dropping off and not making the purchase. The best way to do this would be to ask them why they didn’t make the purchase. If you have a 7 series email course that leads to a purchase link, you might want to try and send out a simple one-click survey on the 8th email to ask them why they aren’t making the purchase. At the end of the day, it’s all about listening to your audience and making a product that they want.
4. Use Retargeting
Retargeting is great because it allows you to draw users back to your blog even if they aren’t checking their email. A combination of email marketing, talking to your users, and retargeting is a great way to start building up that initial audience for your product.
Retargeting (or remarketing) enables you to create ads that essentially follow your visitors as they browse the web. Basically, you can use a tool like Perfect Audience, ReTargeter or simply Google AdWords to set up retargeting. As they see your ads on other sites, they will be drawn back to your site. I like to think of retargeting as a friendly reminder for the people that visited your site but did not subscribe or forgot about it.
Tests from Quick Sprout found that when you remarket to your blog readers, you will get a click-through rate of 0.2%. Out of all those visitors, 3.58% will convert into customers.
5. Offer Giveaways And Discounts
Everyone loves free stuff. A great way to engage with your readers is by offering a giveaway. Blog posts that offer readers a special discount or a bundled deal like how Groove did it with their “Small Business Stack” tend to work really well.
Groove offered a bunch of discount codes for startup software products to their readers in exchange for an email. This is a double win because your readers will love the discount and you added another potential customer to your list.
Another way you can offer a giveaway is by asking your audience for a simple favor and in return offering them a discount for your product/service. One thing that worked for us is by creating a simple survey within YesInsights. Once the person answers the survey, we use our “follow up email” feature to automatically trigger a discount code along with a note thanking them. People love feeling appreciated, so this is a great way to generate another #doublewin.
One last thing that you should be doing is engaging with your customers after they purchased your product. A great way to do this is by creating an NPS survey asking them, “How likely are they going to tell a buddy about your product”.
There you have it! By applying the tips above, you should be able to understand a lot more about your customers and start having a steady income generated from your product. The most important takeaway is that you should always talk to your customers and ask them what they want to see in your product. Getting actionable customer feedback is super important because it drives better business decisions, growth, and user retention.