You’ve got your storefront set up. You’ve got a blog up and running, and you’ve been posting to it regularly. You’re seeing traffic coming in, and you’re ranking in the top few results on Google’s search for your keywords. You’ve even had some success with running ads.
Now it’s time to kick things into high gear. You want to take this success and swing it directly into profits. Get this traffic to actually buy something! Here are my tips.
Get Sales Directly
First up, let’s talk about ways you can convert your traffic directly from your site into purchases. You’re going to want to have a good number of these implemented, though if you have too many little widgets and pop-ins you might annoy some users.
Test them to figure out which ones work best for you.
Put a shop button in your navigation. A nice big shop button, preferably in a color that stands out, is pretty much essential. If your traffic doesn’t know you have a shop – and you’d be surprised how many people will miss a simple button that doesn’t stand out – you’ll lose a lot of possible conversions. Don’t forget to optimize that button.
Use a hello bar to promote a deal. You’ve seen a hello bar before; it’s that banner that drops down at the top of a page when you show up. You don’t have to actually use the Hello Bar brand, though; there are a bunch of alternatives for a similar banner-like call to action. The key is to have a good call to action up in that bar.
Use an exit intent pop to promote a product. I’ve personally found that exit intent pop-up lightboxes are very effective. They disrupt a user looking to leave and can capture a new conversion simply by presenting an offer the user hasn’t seen yet. It doesn’t even necessarily need to be a special offer, though that can help.
Use a large CTA box at the end of posts. A lot of blogs these days put a big box at the bottom of their blog posts, typically above the comments, and sometimes above the related post boxes. This box acts as a call to action for users who make it through the full post, and can be very effective for the right offers.
Use a heat map to identify hot spots for attention. Heat maps can show you where the user is looking and clicking on your site, which can give you a lot of valuable insight into how users are using your page. Look for opportunities to put new calls to action, new buttons, and new offers where they’ll get attention.
Use split testing to try different landing pages and CTAs. Split testing is hugely important for capturing new traffic and making sure you make the most out of every hit you get. Here’s a good guide on split testing landing pages, which you can use to give you an idea for other testing you can do as well.
Give users fewer choices for what to do. Sometimes less is more. Ever heard of decision paralysis? If a user has too many choices, they often make no choice at all. Instead, give your users only one way out, which is to your landing page or product page. This is hard to do with blog posts, but easy with landing pages.
Make use of social proof to encourage sales. “150,000 subscribers can’t be wrong” you say, as I read your landing page and decide if you’re reputable enough to invest in. Well, maybe you’re right; that element of social proof can definitely help convince me.
Capture FOMO by using a recent sales widget. Widgets like this one create a miniature and temporary feed in the corner of your site that shows recent sales, and helps other people decide they too want to buy, lest you run out of product or they somehow miss out on a deal. This works best with limited quantity products or limited duration offers.
Write content that draws people in. The more people you have coming to your site, the more people will become paying customers. Growth is the name of the game, and by writing content that draws in people – and convinces them you’re an authority in whatever it is you do – you can gather both more people and more trust.
Convert Traffic to Subscribers
Sometimes – most of the time, in fact – people on your site aren’t going to be ready to make a purchase. They might not have the money on hand, they might need to run it by a boss or a family member, or they might just not want to do it at work on via a phone.
Your job is to capture the value you can get from these users with a lower buy-in conversion, namely, getting those people to sign up for your mailing list. Otherwise, who knows if they’d ever come back?
Use a slide-in box to promote a mailing list. A slide-in widget can be a great little promotional tool to capture attention from the people who make it far enough down your page to see it trigger. Just be careful using one of these in conjunction with too many other widgets. You’ll slow your page down and hurt the user experience, which can have a negative effect.
Offer a “free” product in exchange for a subscription. This is exceedingly common with ebooks, but can also be used to give away free tools or other resources. The user, of course, is paying you with their information, which you can use to reel them back in later once you’ve decided they like the content or tool you gave them.
Offer “content upgrades” to people who subscribe. You see this a lot on blogs; someone like me writes a post like this one, and then offers you a longer, more in-depth ebook, or a course, or some other upsell for the content you already like. You already know you like it, so you’re more inclined to give me your email address to see something with a bit more detail to it.
Keep users around with related post links. Either manual links in each post and surrounding it, or a related post widget that pulls them automatically from other content you’ve posted, both will work. Keeping users in your ecosystem is a great way to build trust and get people to spend more time exposed to your CTAs, which in turn makes them more likely to convert.
Put a large banner above the fold. This is kind of like the hello bar but on steroids, and it doesn’t go away if the user tries to close it. You see this a lot on sites dedicated to selling something, with a blog as a secondary focus. The top chunk above the fold is just dedicated to an ever-rotating CTA.
Convert Traffic to Social Followers
Just like you want to get people to subscribe to your mailing list, you want to get people to follow you on social media. Typically, I find that either one works, and getting both is a bonus.
Plus, you can engage with your social followers to get them to come back.
Use floating social media buttons. Giving your users a way to interact with your social media profiles – or just share your content on theirs – at the drop of a hat is very easy. A floating tray of buttons is easy to set up and configure, and can help ensure that people are always aware of your social profiles and able to give you a follow at any time.
Embed social posts in blog posts. Every social network allows you to embed posts from their network in your blog posts, which is a great way to share something you’ve posted recently. Use it sparingly with posts from other users unless it’s explicitly the focus of an article, and consider taking screenshot backups in case the original posts disappear.
Embed a social media feed widget. You can embed a Twitter feed or a Facebook feed in a sidebar, footer, or even in the middle of a blog post, though the latter is less likely to play well since it’s not contextual. These can help show users you have an active page and can even show them recent posts they might be interested in engaging with, to pull them in more effectively.
Encourage social follows with exclusive content or giveaways. Using an app like Gleam is great for linking up both your website and your social media. You can run contests and giveaways, and require both visits to your website and social media interaction as entry options, which encourages people to do all of it.
Use a social locker widget. Social lockers come in and out of style as their efficacy comes and goes, but they can be worth trying. You can lock part of a blog post, or some upsell after a blog post, behind a social media engagement action. Make your users “pay” you for your content in the form of a follow or other engagement that can then put them on a list for future marketing.
Get Your Traffic to Come Back
All that traffic you’ve been capturing as subscribers and social media followers needs to pull its weight. Otherwise, why bother maintaining those profiles at all?
Here are tips to get those followers to come back and convert.
Run ads on social media targeting followers. This is one of the easiest kinds of social media ads to run, since you already have your audience. You can also use tracking code like the Facebook Pixel to track people who visit your website and market to them as well. Different audiences, of course, so they require different types of marketing, but I trust you to figure that out.
Run ads on Google focused on remarketing. Google ads can target people who visit your site, and you can reach them pretty much anywhere they are due to how prevalent Google is around the web. Running ads to remind them they have a purchase they could make or a deal they could miss is a great plan.
Link to posts, offers, and deals from your social profiles. Make use of those social media followers by reminding them you have a site and have products they can buy on the regular. Just don’t be too self-promotional or sites like Facebook will likely penalize you somewhat.
Make your newsletter worth reading. Remember all those steps that got people to sign up for your newsletter? You need to make that newsletter worth opening. Make sure it’s packed with value, not just upsells. Everything from a weekly digest to a special tutorial to exclusive subscriber-only content can help here.
Send lapsed customers reminders or special offers. People who don’t open your newsletter for too long should be removed from your list, but not before you give them a one last chance special offer. Customers who canceled, or who haven’t made a return purchase in a while, can be reminded you exist with a gentle message.
What about you guys and gals? What are your favorite tips for converting your blog traffic? Come up with something clever and I might just add it to the list.
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