Yesterday I asked readers about their #1 Desired Conversion on their blog and suggested that identifying it can be a powerful thing. Today I want to share a few tips on moving beyond identifying what you want your readers to do and actually making it a reality.
1. Call Readers to Action
Unless you call people to do what you’re wanting them to do you’re unlikely to get them to take that action. Many bloggers worry about being too aggressive with their calls to action, some to the point of not ever issuing them or doing them in just subtle ways that they’re ineffective.
While it’s possible to be too aggressive in your calls to action I think bloggers could do well to be a little bolder in many cases.
Calling your readers to your desired action can happen in numerous places on your blog including in blog posts (which is where they are often most effective), in your navigation menu, in your sidebar, on internal banner ads etc.
The key is to keep experimenting with different ways to call your readers to do what you’re wanting them to do and to track which methods work best. Read more on Calls to Actions within Blog Posts.
One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned about getting people to take action is that it is often largely about ‘positioning’.
I discovered this in the early days of optimising the ads on my early blogs. Putting an AdSense ad over in the sidebar initially seemed like a logical spot for them – but the night I put them inside my content and wrapped the content around them I saw the click through rate skyrocket (I found it hard to sleep that night I was so excited).
Why did it work? The answer is simply that I started putting the ads where readers would see them.
A few other positioning lessons:
- Above the Fold is Gold – the segment of your site that is on the screen when someone arrives on your site and is seen without them having to scroll down is called ‘above the fold’. Your #1 desired conversion should be visible above the fold.
- The Power of Pause Points – anywhere on your blog where people ‘pause’ and are looking for something to do can convert well too. For example under your post and around the comments section can be a spot where readers have stopped reading and are wondering what to do next.
- In Content Rules – whether it’s AdSense ads, an affiliate promotion or selling your own product – putting your call to action inside a post tends to work best in my experience. People come to your blog to read your content (not to scan your sidebar). A relevant blog post to your call to action will always convert better than a random ad sitting on your sidebar.
- Make Your First Link Count – I’ve tracked hundreds of email promotions and blog post promotions to see how readers interact with what I send them and in almost every single case readers click the first link in a post/email at a higher rate than any other link further down the page.
The key is to experiment with different positioning again and again and to put tracking methods into place that enable you to work out what is and isn’t working so that you can optimise your results.
3. Secondary Conversions
Many bloggers will find it difficult to identify their #1 desired conversion because they have more than just one important thing that they’d like readers to do. They want people to:
- click their ads
- subscribe to their RSS feed
- follow them on Twitter
- join their forum
- buy their eBook
- buy an affiliate product
- Digg and Stumble their articles
- Like their posts on Facebook
- Join their Facebook page
- email a friend with a link to the blog
And that’s just for starters…..
The problem with too many desired actions is that you can end up issuing so many calls to action that your blog becomes cluttered and nobody ever does anything.
Having said that – if you do have secondary conversion points, think about prioritising them and also think about how you can lead your readers through a process of doing all of the things you might like them to do.
One way that I’ve done this on my photography blog is to make my #1 conversion point to get people to sign up for my email newsletter. I find that if I can get them to do this then I have a way to access readers over time and to lead them through a series of other conversion moments – but also build a relationship with them.
In the weeks after they signup to the newsletter they get emails that all have opportunity to follow us on Twitter and Facebook, that promote our eBooks (including one with a discount and strong call to action), that point them to some of our best content where they’ll also see ads, that invite them to pass on the newsletters to friends, that have calls to action to join our forum…. etc
Some of these calls to action are subtle and are just buttons in our email while others are stronger, but over time I find that the typical newsletter subscriber actually will probably take anywhere from 3-10 of our secondary conversion objectives.
The key is to get people’s permission to stay in touch and then to gently lead them through a variety of conversion activities, all the time also providing real value and building relationship/trust with your readers.
4. Rethink your Priorities over Time
Blogs evolve, mature and change over time. As a result the priorities in your objectives and desired conversions will probably change also.
I’ve seen this numerous times in my own blogging as my situation has changed.
In the early days of making money from blogs my #1 objective was getting people to click my AdSense ads. I needed to get my earnings up in order to stop other jobs so that I could dedicate more time to blogging. AdSense was also converting really well so I spent a lot of time working on ad optimisation.
In time I began to see the power of hooking readers into coming back to my blogs again and again rather than just sending them away to advertisers. I began to promote my RSS feed more prominently. This of course led to me experimenting with different types of subscribing and getting readers to connect with us in different ways – ultimately email newsletters.
More recently as I’ve begun to release my own products my priorities have begun to shift a little more towards generating sales. I still want people to subscribe to my newsletters as the #1 objective but higher up on the list now is for people to hear about our products.
In future I’m sure the list of priorities will continue to evolve and change and as a result the calls to action I issue will reflect this. The key is to keep asking yourself about your objectives.