Today Yaro Starak from Entrepreneurs Journey and the has written this post on Selling from your blog.
When I say the words “product launch” do you cringe and think of over-hyped Internet marketing product launches? Or maybe you have never been on the end of a barrage of emails sent out by countless affiliates during a big launch and to you a product launch is what it sounds like – creating and then selling a new product.
Whatever the case, more and more bloggers are realizing the potential of releasing a product from their blog as a way to make serious money. While a majority of bloggers continue to leverage advertising as the most significant source of revenue from their blog, there has definitely been a shift towards product creation as a sound blog monetization strategy.
Given successful blogging creates a fantastic platform for selling, it’s only natural as bloggers learn more about monetization that they consider releasing a product or series of products and use their blog as the launch pad.
Unfortunately many bloggers are not familiar with product launch principles – the marketing techniques you implement during a launch to increase sales – and as a result, experience less than stellar results.
Internet Marketing and Blogging
I’m a blogger immersed in the Internet marketing niche, which means I’m over exposed to the product launch process. I’ve been on the receiving end as a prospect for countless product launches, I’ve been an affiliate for big launches and conducted my own launches selling my own products.
Needless to say, I understand a lot about product launch and today I want to offer you two tips you can make use of on your blog when you release a product.
Why only two tips?
I was thinking of some of the classic techniques that all product launches use, things like scarcity, reciprocity, social proof, bonuses, limited offers, etc – All techniques that work and concepts I’ve discussed on my blog previously.
Generally speaking, some people look at these techniques as ways to manipulate others into making a purchase they don’t need or to hype things up unnecessarily. I don’t exactly agree with that, but this is article it not meant to be a debate about the legitimacy of marketing techniques, rather I want to present something practical you can apply when launching a product from your blog.
I know how much some problogger readers hate the long sales page format for selling, so I’m going to stay as far away from that style of Internet marketing as possible and suggest two techniques that every blogger should appreciate and inherently understand how to use.
Note that you can use these techniques to conduct a product launch from your blog to sell your own product or to sell other people’s products. I’ve used the following ideas to sell my own courseand also when conducting affiliate promotions.
If you want to make more affiliate sales from your blog, use product launch techniques to augment the marketing process. It does take more work, but if you do this right, some extra effort today can result in a significant increase to your sales and also prolong how long you continue to make sales (even after the blog posts are no longer on your front page – yes, you can even make sales from your blog archives!).
Technique 1: Tell Stories
All good bloggers understand that story telling is a cornerstone of compelling blog content. I’ve based an entire blog on my ability to tell my “entrepreneur’s journey”.
Story telling is not something everyone can naturally grasp, but with practice it comes to most bloggers. You just need to learn how to talk about your life or other people’s lives in a way that teaches or entertains.
When applying story telling to a product launch process, the idea is to use the technique to create a frame around the product that cuts through the “noise” bombarding your readers. The noise is everything else in the realm of perception of a person you are trying to communicate with using your blog.
You could tell a story about the product, how you created it or discovered the need for it, or perhaps about your life and how you came to use another product, in the case of affiliate marketing.
Using a story you can market a product without overtly “pitching” it. It’s when a person feels they are being sold to, that they (ironically) usually choose not to buy, because of how over-sold to we are in today’s society. Our tolerance for selling is low, but we still love a good story especially when it teaches us something relevant and valuable to our own lives.
Most bloggers when selling a product will stick up one blog post, talk about how great the product features are, maybe reproduce some copy from the sales letter, and then wonder why no one buys.
A product launch is a process – so to is crafting a story through blog posts. You need to explain what is good about the product by talking about how you used it… using a story. Describe what situation a person is in when the product is needed… using a story…and so on.
Story telling goes hand-in-hand with the second tip I have for you – content marketing.
Technique 2: Market With Content
Again, this is a concept bloggers understand. We are all content producers and we make money off the back of our ability to produce content people love.
When conducting a product launch you create content that has a very specific purpose – to provide value to the people who are likely to purchase the product – the prospects from your target market.
Prospects identify themselves by engaging with your content, which may be indicated by subscribing to your RSS feed, joining your email list or leaving a comment. The important thing is that they read your content, preferably from start to finish, which isn’t something you can ever be certain of unfortunately. Analyzing your server statistics for time spent on your blog is one way you can assess engagement, but it’s not an exact science.
Content marketing for a product launch is not that different from what you should do every day at your blog, however when utilized for a launch you narrow the focus to align tightly with the product you are selling.
Internet marketing experts use free videos, reports, web services and scripts, all designed to provide significant value. This process is often called “moving the free line” and you do this because it helps to sell more product. When the free stuff you give away is so amazing, people who are engaged with your work are eager to get a hold of the product you sell.
As an added benefit, even if people don’t purchase your product, the great content you deliver as part of the launch increases your blog’s growth. There’s no downside with content marketing, if you do it right.
Putting It Together
Using just these two techniques you can enjoy tremendous success when launching a product from your blog.
All you need to do is release lots of great content that is relevant and valuable to the same audience that desires your product AND use stories to deliver this content.
Here’s a simple example. Let’s say you blog about digital television technology and you have put together a guide on how to buy a digital television and set up a home theater, which you plan to sell via your blog. The guide includes installation tips, how to set up the theater, the questions to ask when speaking to the shop attendant when buying the tv and other equipment, common pitfalls to avoid and so on.
As a lead up to the release of your product you publish a series of posts explaining how you came to fall in love with digital television technology, why you love it and the mistakes you made when buying your first digital television and setting up your home theater. All of these posts are stories from your life, they educate your readers, and where appropriate, you mention a guide you are about to release that provides further details if people want to learn more.
You then release a free report listing the top 10 televisions, breaking them down by a set of criteria you came up with, explaining that the full guide includes a list of over 50 televisions assessed using the same criteria.
All of this content is valuable to your blog readers regardless of whether they purchase the guide. The free blog posts and report attract the type of audience who would buy your guide and they enjoy samples that demonstrate how good you are at what you do, therefore how good your product is likely to be.
This process is much more likely to stimulate purchases, it’s A LOT more effective at converting than a single blog post that forces a hard sales pitch, and you get ample fresh content for your blog too.
What I especially love about this process is that it explains the benefits and features of a product using language that isn’t blatant selling or full of hype. The content you give away inherently demonstrates how much value you present (and thus your products), who stands to benefit from your advice and the stories you tell create a frame that cuts through the noise and grabs attention.
As bloggers you should naturally understand story telling and content marketing because there’s nothing new there that you don’t already do to create great content for your blog.
In the case of a product launch, you take these ideas and apply them to a specific purpose – to sell your product. At its simplest, a sequence of blog posts leading up to the release of your product can produce a great result and yet, so few bloggers put in even this much concentrated effort.
I hope after reading this article, before you release a product, you consider putting in a little extra effort to build buzz about your launch using great content and story telling. Implement a launch strategy rather than just stick your product up and “see what happens”. Strategic marketing always works better than simply “hoping” your product will be a success.