We haven’t discussed too much about how to make money blogging, but that will be the topic of the next few Marketing Monday segments. In some ways today’s online market is easier to sell to than even a few years ago. Social media has increased our audience. Yet in other ways, it’s more difficult because the online community has quickly learned to identify ads and sales pages.
The key to online marketing is to “pre-sell” your target audience by creating such a desire in your readers before you even launch a product that they have their credit cards in hand the day your sales page goes live.
So, how do we do that? Three steps:
Create a Desire
Your target audience already has some desire to buy your product or they wouldn’t have found your site. Either they’ve heard of you or your product or they’ve typed a phrase into a search engine that led them to your site. Because they are already interested in your product or service, your big job here is to make sure your site is the one they come to. This is done by implementing search engine optimization tactics.
One way to entice web searchers to choose your site from the list of search engine results is to use the post description to create intrigue. This is easily accomplished using the WordPress All-in-One SEO Pack plugin. By default, search engines will display the first 160 characters of your post in the search engine results. You can override those 160 characters with a “sales pitch” for your post by writing your own 160 (or less) character blurb in the description field of your post page. (Note: This field will appear automatically once you’ve installed, activated, and configured the plugin.) Think back cover copy type of blurbs when you write your post descriptions.
So, now that you’ve created desire in your audience to visit your site to learn more about the service or product or topic they’ve searched for, your next step is to keep them there and make sure they keep coming back.
I’ve said this before on this blog. We’ve “evolved” beyond the information age into the referral age. More and more web users are seeking sites they trust to provide them the information they desire. Set yourself apart from the crowd by positioning yourself as an authority in your niche, displaying a likable personality on your blog, and by providing lots of free content to your readers. And by lots, I mean lots.
Many online marketers make the mistake of trying to sell to first-time guests. You’ve probably seen it. You do a search, choose which site you want to visit, and, while you’re right in the middle of reading the first article’s first paragraph — BOOM — a popup box floats down in front of your line of site, begging you to buy the blogger’s newest product. That will do nothing for you except add your site to that reader’s “never come back again” list.
Use blog posts, podcasts, video, and free reports to inform your readers about the topic they’re researching. The information you provide will let them know you know your stuff, plus they’ll be impressed that you didn’t greet them at the door with your hand out. Now you’re ready for the next step.
Provide MORE free content
Yep. Rinse and repeat step two. You can trade a free report for their email address, but don’t attempt to sell them anything until you give them some more content. And make it good, informative content, not just a bunch of fluff.
So, how do you launch a product or service if you’ve already given everything away?
Ah — the secret is that you don’t give it ALL away. The secret ninja tactic of the successful online marketers is that yes, they give away a LOT of information, but all that free content, while being useful, focuses on WHAT the reader needs to do to solve their problem. The actual product explains the HOW to do it.
For example, if you’re writing a blog that helps parents prepare to send their student to college, you can give a lot of information that will really help your audience. A dorm room checklist. Ways to finance their college tuition. What to look for when selecting a college. And the list goes on.
Then, when you get ready to launch your eBook that will give specific step-by-step instructions on where to find scholarships, how to fill out the FAFSA, how to write an application essay that will knock the socks off the admissions committee — your audience already trusts you as an authority in the college-prep field. Plus, if you’ve done a good job thus far, they understand that the information you’re about to sell them will actually save them more money than the cost of the eBook (and it should!).
This is not a scam process. Scammers don’t provide any value once they’ve enticed the audience to buy. People like to buy, but they don’t like to be sold to. If you’ve consistently built the desire and trust in your audience during the pre-sell by providing useful information, they will gladly open their wallets when you’re ready to roll out your product. And they will be glad they did.
Until next time,