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What Process Do You Want to Lead Repeat Readers Through?

Yesterday we looked at the strategic question of, “What do you want new visitors of your blog to do?” It’s a question that’s very powerful in helping you to achieve your goals as a blogger.

Today I want to take the question and apply it to repeat readers—an exercise that I think is really important. It can help take those first-time visitors and make them loyal and engaged readers who not only buy your products, but spread the word about you.

What do you want repeat readers to do?

One of the main goals that I suspect many people yesterday wanted to achieve with new visitors to a blog is to get them to sign up for your newsletter. But what do you want those visitors, who are now subscribers, to do next?

The beauty of having someone sign up to an email list is that you now have an opportunity to take them through a series of emails in an auto-responder sequence that leads them through a series of interactions with you.

Doing some thinking about the journey you want to take people on can be very fruitful.

A hypothetical example

For example, here’s a sequence of actions that you might want your readers to take (this is one I brainstormed quickly, so yours will, of course, differ from this).

reader-relationship.png

  1. Subscribe: This particular process starts with a visit and the initial goal of getting someone to subscribe (to an email list).

  2. Follow: The next goal in this process is to get people to make a secondary connection by following a Twitter or Facebook account. This might be achieved via an immediate email in the autoresponder thanking people for subscribing and drawing the subscriber’s attention to your social media accounts.

  3. Comment: The next action we’re looking for in this sequence is to try to get people to interact with us by commenting on a post. The goal here is to train readers to be interactive and participate. To do this, the next email in the autoresponder sequence might simply be an email that lists ten of the hottest posts on your blog—posts that you’ve chosen particularly because they have a proven track record of getting comments. You’d also include a strong call to action for subscribers to comment, perhaps even pointing them to a post where you ask readers to introduce themselves.

  4. Join: The next goal in this sequence is to “join.” This might not be relevant to everyone, but perhaps you have a forum attached to your blog (or a ning community or some other communal area). There would again be an email sent to highlight this opportunity and list the benefits of joining.

  5. Buy: The next goal is to buy. You might, at this point, add an email to the autoresponder sequence that offers subscribers a discount, or simply highlights a product that you have, and calls them to buy.

  6. Spread the word: Lastly in this sequence, the goal is to get your subscribers to tell others about your blog, and to spread the word. Perhaps your email might be a competition to incentivize this, or just an email that offers some links that will tweet a message to the reader’s followers automatically when they click the link.

Note: Again, what I’ve put together here is a quickly brainstormed series of actions—you’ll probably want to come up with your own and I would strongly suggest you also think about how you’re providing real value to subscribers through the emails you send. Between each of these calls to action, you might send other emails that are purely about serving readers, rather than just sending a series of emails that are about getting them to do something for you!

The key is to do some thinking about what you want your readers to do over time and then to design a process that will lead them through those actions.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Hi Darren, nice post but I have a couple of questions:

    01- Sending so many emails to a reader wouldn’t it play against you? … I mean, if I personally join a blog or website and receive quite a few emails in a short period of time, it creates completely the opposite and I would usually unsubscribe from that blog/website (that’s just me).

    02- I send emails on a weekly basis to my readers telling them about news on my blog or social networks as well as new posts. I have found that only an average of 30% of those readers really open the emails let alone half of them will click on the link provided and read the post.
    Is this a normal situation? … Am I suppose to expect only 30% of the list to read the email? … Any ideas?

    Just a couple of points from someone who owns a blog and is always trying to learn and improve its site.

    thanks a million in advance !

    Cheers from London … Pablo

    • Taline says:

      Tucucmano,

      I have to agree with you. I’ve subscribed to some of these blogs and I can tell you that it is highly annoying to get daily e-mails from them. Sometimes more than once. It makes me believe they are pumping out articles for the sake of having many articles and not necessarily focusing on publishing great content.

      I think one or two articles a week is plenty, especially if your subscribers find value in your content. Maybe some of these publishers are scared that if they don’t send daily emails, they will lost their following. I disagree with that idea. I think so long as you provide value in your content, you will have a growing audience. I publish an article a week of my best work and it has worked out well for me so far :)

  2. i want my visitors to read my blog and subscribe to it and comment. Nothing more than that

  3. As I said in your previous article, I read this article too.

    As for me I want my readers to do Visit, Subscribe, comment and Spread the word. There aren’t anything to buy on my blog. Because I haven’t a product to sell on my blog related. And one of the big problem is Most people don’t know how to comment. They are commenting saying ‘Great Article’, ‘Awesome article’ like that. So there’s no interactions every time. According to your article I think repeated visitors are Most Wanted Visitor type because they are loyal.

    Are there any other part in this question?

    Thanks!
    Shyam

  4. Jupiter Jim says:

    Darren,

    Thanks for the great post. Most of us, but not all, understand that we want people to subscribe to our blog. Most of us have thought it through to that point. After that point, most of us are very vague and to what we want our readers and followers to do. You’ve got me thinking that I need to do something more to get visitors to my site to then also follow me on Twitter and YouTube. I’ve seen people put those icons in their email broadcasts, so you got me thinking about putting some links there. I know CommentLuv Premium can now offer those links to readers when they comment if you wish, as well.

    Like you said, the behavior that we want to encourage in our readers is going to differ according to the goals of each of our WordPress websites and blogs. That’s why I love your earlier post on how we actually define success for our blog — it really gets your thinking about where you want to be on your blog 1 year, 5-years from now and more.

    Thanks, once again, for getting us to think about what we’re doing instead of just adding posts to our blog.

    Sincerely,
    Jupiter Jim

  5. Good idea. I never even thought about a process for my blog. But it totally makes sense.

  6. Drewry says:

    the one thing I tried to do to encourage readers to come back is to write unique and informative content. From there, I also try to answer people’s questions on the site, as that encourages content sharing one’s social networks :-)

  7. I think most bloggers look at wanting their long term readers (repeat readers) to buy and keep buying…That is not realistic…Why will someone keep buying every product u drop or promote? After purchasing the first few ones, the person began to develop his own blog and products to sell too…

    What I think is realistic and want from my repeat readers is for them to constantly visit and interact by commenting and taking part in brainstorming, idea sharing and spreading the word…For that, with great content and attention to the needs of your readers, it can be easily achieved…

    However, with wanting them to buy products upon products, that is not realistic…they will only buy the first few ones and will retire to become experts in the same field…Their expert knowledge and contribution is what you can forever tap into for the good of your blog…

  8. Darren i agree with your post. That’s the behavior our visitors would like to have when they visit our websites.
    BUT i am sure that not all website owners manage to achieve this goal. And this because some people believe on what they are doing and give a piece from their soul on what they write on their site or blog, and this means they add value. While others just spend their time and money and manage to do nothing.
    Continue the good job Darren

  9. Jenny Shih says:

    This is certainly thought provoking. So often we see others mention your first question, “What do you want a first-time visitor to do when they come to your site.” However, I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone ask, “What next?”

    You provide a great outline above as an example of what many of us desire from a new and repeat visitors.

    I’d also take your approach a step further by looking both at what we want AND at what is actually happening. For example, if someone’s blog or business website is working fairly well in certain areas (a particular product is selling well on a first visit, for example), consider reverse engineering that result to see why it’s working. You see, I may have an agenda for my visitors, but my visitors actions may be different that my agenda. I’m likely to have more success if I see what is working already and find a way to tweak it to make it better.

    Considering both my visitor’s actions as well as my own desires will help me create a new visitor/repeat visitor flow that’s effective for both parties.

  10. robbie rane says:

    I have this website and Im trying to better the internet in a rather untraditional way. I’m having a hard time getting my site to take off right now. Your blog has given me some good ideas thanks. If you have time to check out my site space-tiger.com , I would really appreciate any advice. thanks.

  11. Michael says:

    For me, I want them to subscribe and keep coming back for deals that I will be offering later on. I want them to keep coming back to enjoy their time on my particular blog.

  12. You have highlighted several factors. However for my blog it would be mostly to subscribe and comment.

  13. Guy Hogan says:

    I have to think a little more about this. I have 70 subscribers and of today I’m averaging 199 visits every day; but beyond that I don’t know. WordPress is experimenting with ads. So, maybe when ads become generally available I’ll just try to make money from ads. I do want readers to spread the word.

  14. Something to think on and work on tonight. Thanks!

  15. naijadotcom says:

    Good analysis,Thanks.

  16. This makes a lot of sense. Theoretically, I do want this, but I’ve never thought of it in such a step-by-step sequence. Thanks for bringing this up.

  17. Paul says:

    I want my visitors to say “this is what I am looking for”. They will naturally subscribe and possibly purchase or comment on my newest post.

  18. My issue is — how do you get people to comment, interact, and spread the word if you don’t have a subscribe feature? (Actually, my website does, but I have no means of tracking it since it’s one of Blogspot’s plugins.) I’ve been very active on Twitter and Facebook and have been making an effort to post to my blog several times a week with quality content. I am engaging with a lot of people on Twitter, but people don’t want to engage on Facebook (not sure why) and no one is commenting on my blog. It’s not because of a lack of traffic because I’m getting pretty decent views. Is it just because my blog is really new? I just started it this month.

  19. Raisha says:

    Thanks for the tips. I just run a new blog and this make sense a lot. I will try to include this technique into my strategy

  20. This is the workflow essence of many blogs. Though being fluid with the approach is necessary, but you are giving us the core cycle. This comes from experience, and you are sharing your experience with the rest of us. Thank you….

  21. Taline says:

    Darren,

    I think the steps you have outlined are a great guide for many beginning bloggers such as myself :)

  22. Peggy F says:

    Spread the word is so important and is so easy to do thanks to Twitter, Facebook, etc.
    Great post again :)

    Happy Weekend.

  23. Steve Counts says:

    Thanks for sharing, I’ve been blogging for almost a year now and embarrassingly I had not thought that much beyond writing the blog topic, hoping someone would comment, opt-in and read regularly. Even though at first that seems okay, what you present is much more “big picture”. It opens my eyes to a bigger picture. It was almost a DUH! experience. So I thank you as I will now look at a longer view of my blogging efforts.

    Steve

  24. All tips are good and thanks for sharing. http://www.rainingblossoms.com/8-destination-wedding-dresses

  25. matrus says:

    You distinguish many elements of writting blog process. IMO there are more – linking to a content, visit external pages… depend on a particular post, blog.

  26. Great post Darren. Your “quick brain storm” has added few items to my to do list! My biggest take away is a wrap up of most popular posts. I publish once a week so maybe something every six Weeks would add value without adding too many emails.

    Every little tip makes my blog better and I thank you.

    PS I had someone quizzing me about the last Problogger day and I said it was a must attend. I’m really looking forward to this years’. Belinda