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The Secret to Using Your Blog to Generate Sales

This is a guest contribution from Karl Staib of Domino Connection.

You’ve probably been at a party where some fool is talking his face off at everyone he meets. He talks about his trip to Spain and how he is such an amazing photographer. He never asks, “What you do or what interests you?” He just blathers on and on about himself.

On a good day I silently chuckle at this guy’s lack of social common sense. On a bad day I snap and scream, “PLEASE listen to me for just 10 seconds!”

When all you do is talk about yourself, you send people running in the other direction. If you don’t care about other people they for sure won’t care about you.

This was how the old school way of marketing worked. Megaphone style.

Image by nem_youth

Many of you might not think of your blog as a business and I understand, but one day you might want to create a ebook, product or use your blog to leverage a new career. When you improve your engagement your blog it becomes a tool to help you level up your life and career.

Spray and Pray

Back in the day, companies used to spray and pray. They sprayed their message in as many places as possible (magazines, newspapers, TV, radio, etc) and prayed that they picked the right advertising spots. Larger companies could afford to pay for market research, so they were able to make sure most of their efforts paid off.

Smaller companies didn’t have this luxury. Straight out of college, I worked in the marketing department for a high pressure valve company. They grossed about 10 million a year in sales. Not too shabby, but nothing compared to the bigger players in the industry.

We had to carefully choose our national magazines and our marketing company told us who read the magazines and which ones we needed to advertise in. We had to believe them. We had nothing else to go on.

This style of marketing has been turned upside down due to blogging and social media. Every business has the opportunity to measure their engagement on their website, email and social media accounts. The problem with all these new tools is we have the wrong attitude toward them. Companies are afraid to be transparent and engage with their customers.

Why? Because it’s hard work.

Truly Listen

Mr. Blather Lips, from the introduction, had a great time at every party he went to because he didn’t have to gauge people’s emotions. He just blathered on until he found someone to listen or it was time to go home.

Now businesses actually have to listen to their customers because if they don’t, a social media storm comes crashing down upon them. Just ask Netflix if they wished they had a better plan for when they doubled their prices.

Listening to your readers isn’t just for dealing with social media storms. It’s also so you can anticipate them and avoid them before they even happen. Now, every business has the opportunity to do market research. You can ask specific customers if they would be willing to fill out an online survey. You can ask them direct questions on your blog or social media that help you figure out what they want from you.

You don’t have to guess what you think people need. You can ask them directly and find out. You can even include them in the process of creating your product.

Invitation to Join In 

Threadless created their million dollar t-shirt company from this idea. They have people send in t-shirt designs, have the users vote on which designs they would like to buy and print only the most popular ones. They already have a built in audience for their t-shirts. It’s a win-win for everyone.

The company prints the most popular, making some good cash and the buyers get a limited edition t-shirt that they are proud to wear. Even the winning t-shirt designs are helpful to the designers. They can add this accomplishment to their resume.

You probably knew that engaging your ideal people was wise, but now what?

Now you have to go out and find them and start a conversation, but before you do you need to find out where you can connect with them.

  1. Write a description of the ideal client for your product

You have to ask yourself some specific questions to help you gain clarity:

      • What does she look like?
      • What motivates her?
      • What does she do for fun?
      • What are her career goals?
      • Where does she hang out? (Facebook, conferences, Twitter, etc.)
      • How do you engage with her? (light banter, philosophically, monetarily, etc.)

The hard part is making the mental switch from talker to engager.

I’m not just talking about being a better listener. That’s a good start, but to engage with people you have to be listening and asking great questions. It’s part art and part science.

If you want an example of someone who understands her community then visit Mayi Carles to see how she is creating content that engages and builds trust. You’ll notice that she creates content around branding and business building. All a perfect target market for her.

Engage Your Readers

Ask

Image used with permission

If you want to engage your readers, start by asking questions to show them how much you care about their success. Ask them:

  1. What topics they would like you to cover?
  2. What products you could create to help them?
  3. How you can improve your services?

By keeping the focus on your readers you’ll improve engagement, find new ways you can help them and use your blog to grow your influence.

You will also learn the type of language they use. It’s this copywriting trick that you need to use to engage your ideal readers.

Using the language they use in the copy on your sales page will increase your conversion rate. It’s that simple.

For example, let’s say Problogger gets a lot of questions on how to create content for their blog. His ideal people might not reference the word “copy” they might use the word “write” or “blog”. If this is the case then the key to writing a great sales page is to insert these words into the page so they feel comfortable with the sales copy.

Your Turn 

How have you learned to increase your visitor’s engagement on your blog? (Please share in the comment section.)

Check out Karl Staib of Domino Connection and his e-course “How to Create an Amazing Product Launch,” You can also click here to download the Domino Connection sales page checklist for free so you can create a compelling sales page that converts potential customers into buyers.

About Guest Blogger

This post was written by a guest contributor. Please see their details in the post above. If you'd like to guest post for ProBlogger check out our Write for ProBlogger page for details about how YOU can share your tips with our community.

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Comments

  1. Monica P says:

    As always, good tips for the blogger .. now if I just had the time to blog ;-)

    Monica.

    • Karl Staib says:

      Hi Monica, Finding time is hard. The key is to be as consistent as possible. Even if you can only blog once a month, it’s better than being sporadic.

  2. Keshav Yadav says:

    Well, one thing is for sure that this blog will not only enhance your knowledge but will also make you pro if you are a newbie. You have not even missed a minor point. I would surely use your tips

  3. Alex says:

    Great, the one thing that kept going trough my mind as you mentioned the “big buys” so often, I think that everyone has the ability to shine trough, as long as it’s not all about making a quick buck and disappearing in the dark. To a certain extent, blogging is also a lifestyle, and it does require hard work.

    Thank you.

    • Karl Staib says:

      Hi Alex, You nailed it! Blogging is about letting your personality shine through, connecting with your values and delivering value that people love to share.

  4. Bill Guthier says:

    Great stuff Karl! I am an Online Fitness Trainer and this is all great info. Exactly how I need to approach my clients.

    • Karl Staib says:

      Hi Bill! Thanks! Let me know how it goes for you. I would love to hear what is working for you and what isn’t.

  5. Well hello, as usual some great advice and I am getting better at this. I now ask for comments but I have not integrated comment response into my content planning thus what they tell me is all too often overlooked. Of course I always reply to the comments but that is as I said as far as it goes, for the moment at least.

    • Karl Staib says:

      Hi Igor! Using this information is key to growing your blog. It takes time and practice to do this well, but the more you strengthen this part of your brain the better you’ll get.

  6. Matt Lane says:

    Great points. Gary Vaynerchuk has a great point about how we no longer live in a push marketing world, but rather in a pull market where the customer now has the power. Being a great writer is one thing, but giving a crap (about your audience)…that’s something special.

    • Karl Staib says:

      Hi Matt! It’s showing how much you care that earns your reader’s trust. The more you care the more people want to help support you and your business.

  7. I am still learning about blogging and you have some great tips. I will use them. I know I need to engage by asking questions….not always an easy task but in the long run, it will all be worth the effort :)

    • Karl Staib says:

      Hi Wanda! The sooner you start getting feedback the better. You’ll be able to slowly tweak and adjust, creating a more powerful connection with each reader.

  8. marty says:

    To be honest as a new blogger I am just learning new tips to engage readers.For me I like ask questions about what want to know.Also I think as bloggers its important to see what responses we get from post in the form of comments .A lot of the time if you really pay attention you can find out what they need and want

    • Karl Staib says:

      Hi Marty! Very true. By being involved in your readers needs will help you create content to solve those needs.

  9. Edson Hale says:

    On the flip side most of the companies expect a blog should do miracles for it to generate sales but the way they give importance to blogging is evident from the fact that they offer hardly $10 for an article of 500 words to freelance writers. It shows how much they invest in blog and how much they should expect in return

    • Karl Staib says:

      Hi Edson! High quality value is the only way a blog will work. If a company puts out boring or even bad content no one will listen. Creating content that helps your ideal buyers is the best way to earn their trust and generate referrals.

  10. JC says:

    Great points Karl, I try to follow many of these myself when I blog.

  11. Ben Troy says:

    Great post but I think you should also write an article about how to get started in advertising for all those who are still building their audience but looking to start getting a jump on monetizing their blogs. If there were articles written on the subject before, maybe you should mention them so that we can take a look at those as well.

    Also, an article about media kits and how to pitch your blog would be very helpful to those just starting out as well

    • Karl Staib says:

      Hi Ben! Thanks for the great suggestions! I already have a few ideas you can employ. Advertising is important, but getting organic traffic that helps you test out how much people want your products or services is priceless. I would suggest finding other bloggers you could help, offering your product or service and helping them create content to reach their audience. Then once you have your Domino System in place, you know it works, then you can create a Facebook ad campaign to drive traffic to your blog.

      As for media kits I think most of it is useless. Pitching your blog is like shooting fish with a canon ball. All splash no results. The key is connecting with people online, creating great content that they can link to and being so useful that they tell their friends about you.

      This comment hopefully answers some of your questions. I’ll try to put an article together and submit it to Darren this summer.

  12. Gugulethu says:

    I totally agree that switching from talker to engager is the most hardest part hehe.. a quick survey might also work to increase reader engagement. If you blog on a regular basis, sending a weekly digest (via email) will also work especially for those who don’t frequently visit your blog but are on your email list. This is a great post Karl, Many Thnx.

    • Karl Staib says:

      Hi Gugulethu! Thanks! Finding ways to deepen the engagement with your readers via email is a key component to growing your blog. Look at the top of this blog and you can see Darren is trying to collect your email so he can stay in tough and earn your trust.

  13. Dan Erickson says:

    I’m learning the art of engagement. My blog is about writing and “writing as therapy,” but I tend to wander quite a bit from those confines into blogging and motivation. However, it’s the “writing as therapy,” that I think might have the power as a niche to create more engagement. I do ask questions and do surveys from time to time. I’m also practicing engagement on FB a bit? I understand the concepts, it’s just slowly reaching the next level that’s still to come. http://www.danerickson.net

    • Karl Staib says:

      Hi Dan! Blogging is not an overnight solution to bringing in your ideal people. It takes time, but when you put in the time to build these relationships that’s when people really begin to rely on you.

  14. Marcie says:

    One thing I am doing to increase engagement is adding event calendars to my sites. The purpose is to help people promote their events, books, etc for a low cost while promoting my site as a resource. I am also working on boosting my newsletter recipients which will increase the value I add to my clients.

  15. Great post! It think it is crucial to ask a couple of questions when starting or using a blog to generate leads and sales. Who is the customer? It is important to identify who your audience is and cater to them.

    Where are they online? Once you have found out who they are find out where they hang out online and publish your content there.

    What are their influencers? What is going to get them to convert? Find out what are their concerns and address them.

    Good stuff. I like the idea of truly listen. That can be hard to do but is crucial.

    • Karl Staib says:

      Hi Britt! Great point! When we understand who our “ideal” customer is then we can create a funnel that brings them in and allows us to engage with them. It’s this engagement that can help us decide where to put our focus.

  16. This is a good reminder that marketing isn’t about you anymore. It’s about you readers and clients.

    • Karl Staib says:

      Hi Matt! So true. As bloggers we need to think of ourselves as a trusted source to pull people to us instead of spraying our message out there and praying people are listening.

  17. You hit a nerve, Karl. One of my good friends has an exciting life and loves talking about it. When I jump in with my own thrilling times, he has to go.

    I read your post, then my blog, and see work to do. I belong to an entrepreneur group who meet at a local college once a month. As the only blogger I always mention problogger.com for posts just like this. It feels like gold.

  18. Lisa says:

    I recently created a blog to advertise my home business, I have read a bunch of articles on how to generate traffic and so forth but this site is great! I am still learning so I know its not the best, but I will get there!!

  19. Ronall says:

    Hi, Thanks for the Tips. I am new in blogging….like 4months. I have a nice blog. I get my traffic from google and youtube. Is a 4months old blog good for Making money with adsense or other money making companies?

    • Karl Staib says:

      Hi Ronall! You need a lot of traffic to make money from adsense, but you can try. See what happens and if it’s not working then start to look for other ways to grow your income streams such as offering services, ebooks, eproducts, etc.

  20. One thing I try to do with people who comment on my blog is reciprocate the love and comment on their blog as well. Same with Twitter. I don’t always comment or tweet at the other person immediately, but I’ve found that engaging with them and helping them make their blog or twitter appear more alive does wonders for motivating them to help me as well.

    • Karl Staib says:

      Hi Cameron! Great point! We are in a give economy like Gary V. likes to say. Giving back to people who give to you is a great way to build your network.

  21. Chad Lee says:

    This Article is very helpful for bloggers. Most of bloggers don’t know how to go blogging and what actually is that. Thanks admin for your nice article. i like this site !

  22. Gautham A S says:

    Well, generating sales is definitely not easy when you have traffic like less than 500 visitors a day. But these tips may really help me :)

    • Karl Staib says:

      Hi Gautham! If you create one deep connection every single day that’s 365 people a year who are willing to help spread your ideas. Don’t think too big otherwise you’ll never keep at it.

  23. Arbaz Khan says:

    Well great post.
    I don’t normally ask any questions to my readers and maybe that’s the reaon that I don’t get proper sales or leads. I think I should try this approach as well.
    Thanks for the post :)

  24. Jon Rhodes says:

    A great little tactic I have recently started to employ is to email people who make good comments on my blog and thank them and also let them know that I have replied. This gets them visiting back to see what has been written. This can often get a full on conversation going.

    • Karl Staib says:

      Hi Jon! Any way to deepen the engagement with your readers is vital to making a connection. Keep at it and you’ll be a big success.

  25. Great article Karl.

    I always have to remind myself that “people need to know you, like you, and then trust you”. (John Jantsch)

  26. máy nén says:

    Your article is very good. It is very useful for work and my life. Thank you for sharing this article.

  27. Nilesh says:

    Heyy Karl, you wrote a very informative post. It will definitely help the newbies like me to get knowledge about internet marketing like stuff.
    Thanks a lot :-)

  28. Its like you learn my mind! You appear to grasp a lot about this, like you wrote the e-book in
    it or something. I feel that you simply can do with some % to pressure the message
    home a little bit, but instead of that, this is excellent blog.

    An excellent read. I’ll definitely be back.