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Turn Your Business Blog into a Conversion Machine with These 8 Methods

by Neil Patel

After hearing everyone say, “Content is King!” you decide your website needs a new blog, or at the very least, you decide to revive an inactive one.

But you shouldn’t have a blog just for the sake of having one, not when it’s for business.

There has to be some kind of goal, and for most, if not all enterprises, it has to be conversions.

You’ve been blogging for 6 months now, and you have an audience who is liking and sharing your content.

The problem is, no one’s buying.

If this is the case for you, then you have a conversion problem.

In this article, I will show you a few actionable methods you can use to jack up your blog’s conversion rate.

With these tips, your efforts to pump out content will result in a better ROI. Your content becomes more visible and you’ll be able to convert readers into paying customers.

1. Use Subheadings for Skimmers

People tend to skim through text when reading content online. If you want to create long-form blog posts densely packed with useful information, it can be easy for your content to turn into a sloppy wall of text.

No one likes reading that. The moment the average Internet user sees an intimidating wall of text, the kneejerk response is to get out of Dodge.

But you can’t shorten meaty content either. That would compromise your message and leave important details out. And besides, long-form content has been found to be more effective with readers.

What you can do is separate your major points into easy-to-read chunks using subheadings. Think of them as little “tl;drs” spread throughout your blog post, summarizing what each chunk talks about.

Break it up, like this.

main title heading

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Subheadings help bring attention to specific parts of your post that your readers may be interested in. They don’t need to be as catchy as your title, but they do need to summarize what each section under it has to say.

2. Leverage Social Proof to Show Your Value

Much has been said about the power of social proof, particularly testimonials.

For most sites, these are found on the homepage; sometimes an entire landing page will be dedicated exclusively to client testimonials.

But how often do your blog readers go there? Chances are, not that much.

To leverage social proof, what I do is integrate my testimonials near and around my blog posts. I place testimonials where people will see them, without distracting them from the actual content.

sidebar cta

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In the example above from one of my recent QuickSprout posts, I placed a testimonial from Ben Huh of I Can Has Cheezburger saying, “Neil helped us grow to 500 million pageviews a month.”

That ad gets clicked on .94% of the time.

There is, however, more to this method than meets the eye. To illustrate, here’s another testimonial from Michael Arrington of TechCrunch, which I place on a floating ad beside my blog posts.

michael arrington

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If you noticed, it shares two common characteristics with the Ben Huh testimonial.

  1. It’s very specific. These testimonials quantify my services. Both Ben and Michael don’t just say they liked QuickSprout and appreciate my help, they provide numbers and results within a given time frame. The more specific your testimonial, the more believable it is.
  2. It is from an influencer. Not just any influencer, but relevant influencers.

If the influencer or celebrity isn’t relevant to your target market, you won’t get the results you’re hoping for.

Case in point: A University of Colorado Boulder study found celebrities can affect brand perception by transferring their qualities to the brand they’re endorsing.

In the example cited in the report, participants considered a brand endorsed by Jessica Simpson as “fun” and “sexy,” but also found it “ditzy” and “weak.”

The key is to use a testimonial from someone who isn’t just popular, but someone’s who’s an authority in your niche. In my case, I promoted testimonials from Ben Huh and Michael Arrington, both of whom have found success with their online properties.

3. Use Calls to Action

I’ve been preaching about the virtues of CTAs for many years now. And for good reason—they work.

There’s just no excuse to NOT have a call to action on each and every one of your blog posts, not when several case studies show how telling people to do something actually makes them do it.

In his HubSpot write-up, Dan Zarrella offers a comprehensive look at how Facebook posts with simple CTAs such as “like,” “comment,” and “share,” actually create higher levels of engagement than posts that don’t.

social calls to action work on facebook

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Another study on CTAs by Social Bakers, this time focused on Twitter, shows similar results.

should brands ask for retweets

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Of course, not all CTAs are created the same, and part of their success lies in how you construct your CTA’s message.

You could probably write an entire book on how to write a CTA—it’s that complicated. There are, however, a few common qualities shared by effective calls to action.

I. Clickability

Simplicity and minimalism are often what makes a button on a web page easy to see, and therefore clickable. Take note of the following factors when making clickable CTAs.

  • Use of white space
  • A contrasting color combination
  • A clear button with the CTA
  • Use of imagery that tells a story

The CTA below is one you see on the sidebar of my blog posts on NeilPatel.com. As you can see, there aren’t any bells and whistles—just a simple orange and white scheme, and an easy to spot button.

advanced webinar

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II. Short Copy

Less is more if you want to increase the effectiveness of a CTA button. You want to push readers to make a decision, but not to the point where you’re overwhelming them with too much information.

Something simple like the example below will suffice.

SEO optimization worksheet

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III. Use Power Words

Power words have the ability to make people feel something. In the context of CTAs, these words increase the likelihood of a CTA button getting clicked.

According to Buffer, here’s a list of words that convert. Note how many of these words have a way of making you want to take action.

words that convert

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If you need ideas on what CTAs to use on your blog, check out this terrific guide on HubSpot by Rachel Sprung.

4. Capitalize on Your Readers’ Emotions

It goes without saying that your blog should be technically sound — high-quality SEO, no duplicate content, typo-free copy, and primed for users.

But there’s more to keep in mind that just technical excellence.

There’s also emotional connectedness.

As much as we try to think logically, many of the decisions we make every day are fueled by emotions. This is especially true when we make purchase decisions.

Sure, we set out logically, with a clear reason of what we want to buy and how much we’re willing to spend. But sometimes, along the way, our emotions trump logic and become the main factors in the final decision.

Your blog offers the perfect platform to capitalize on this behavior. All you need to do is create high-converting copy.

I already talked about power words in CTAs. The same concept applies to your content in general.

Use language that appeals to the positive emotions people naturally crave. Being positive isn’t just some hippie mantra. It sells. Big time.

According to Psychology Today, “Positive emotions toward a brand have far greater influence on consumer loyalty than trust and other judgments, which are based on a brand’s attributes.”

Foster a tight community with your readers. People naturally want to feel a sense of belonging. If you make them feel at home on your blog, they’re less likely to go somewhere else.

  • Mention specific readers on your posts
  • Talk about a specific question asked by a reader
  • Offer games, freebies, and other promotions exclusive to your readers

5. Aim for Readers in Specific Stages of the Buying Cycle

Every customer goes through a buying cycle or before finally making a purchase decision.

the buying cycle

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  1. Awareness of Needs – Consumers know they need something, it’s just that they don’t quite know what it is, at least not yet. For example, you know your blog isn’t generating sales. You don’t know that I can help.
  2. Research (Alternatives and Risk Assessment) – At this stage, the consumer tries to find information to fix his problem. You decide to look for ways to make your blog generate sales. You come to me to fix the problem, because your research tells you I’ve done it before. You also go to 3 different consultants to help you make an informed decision.
  3. Purchase Decision – Finally, the consumer closes the deal and makes a purchase.
  4. Achievement of Results – The consumer assesses the effectiveness of your product/service. If desired results were achieved, the consumer returns to the purchase decision when the need arises in the future.

To maximize your blog’s conversion effectiveness, think of the different stages your readers are in.

For example, sales content should focus on the research stage of the buying cycle. Your blog’s job is to educate your readers and provide answers to questions about their problems related to your product/service.

If you do that effectively, you can then make the case that your product is what the reader needs.

6. Focus on a Niche

In the information-saturated world of the Internet, being a blog of all trades, master of none just doesn’t work anymore.

For example, new tech bloggers will struggle to compete against the likes of The Verge, Mashable, Engadget, and Gizmodo. Unless you have a marketing budget in the hundreds of thousands to millions, getting a leg up on these guys won’t work.

Instead, I encourage you to focus on a niche, somewhere other people aren’t making so much noise yet.

For example, I use QuickSprout to push long-form posts focused specifically on digital marketing. Even with my level of focus, it’s starting to become a crowded space.

example of headline tactic

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On the other hand, Kissmetrics is focused on using analytics and testing to improve your marketing.

kmblog

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Find a niche you’re comfortable in, and do everything you can to dominate it.

7. Be a Problem Solver

The blog topics most likely to drive conversions are those geared towards solving problems, or pain points, your audience faces.

For example, in this article, my goal is to help you make your business blogs generate conversions.

I could also push topics like:

  • How to make your content shareworthy
  • How to get over blogging slumps
  • How to distribute content

Because these topics are based around pain points, the people who read them are more likely to be in a buying mood.

Don’t give away all your good stuff. While you certainly want to solve your readers’ problems, you still want them to pay for your products/services.

In my case, I push content in order to encourage readers to avail of my coaching services, to subscribe to my newsletter, and to join my webinars.

8. Use Remarketing

Remarketing is one of my favorite tactics in online advertising.

Why?

It’s the simplest and easiest way to make your audience come back to your site and make a purchase decision.

why is remarketing important

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There are many times when readers are primed to make a purchase decision, but are unable to just yet. Remarketing ads let you target these people, who may need a little nudge to remember you and make a purchase.

And the returns can’t be scoffed at either. In the past, I found that:

When you remarket to your blog readers, you will get a click-through rate .2%. Out of all of those visitors, 3.58% will convert into customers.

Those aren’t bad conversion rates at all.

Conclusion

When it comes right down to it, content marketing is one of the most versatile methods for conversion. If you do it right, you can easily rake in profits.

The key is zeroing in on converting readers into customers. A good rule of thumb is to kick off your monetization efforts once you hit 20,000 to 50,000 readers.

Maintaining your blog will cost time and money, so be ready to make that upfront investment.

How about you? Do you have any specific methods of converting your blog readers into customers?

4 Comments

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Neil Patel

Neil Patel is the co-founder of Crazy Egg and Hello Bar. He helps companies like Amazon, NBC, GM, HP and Viacom grow their revenue.

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  1. Ken Ashe says:
    July 9, 2016 at 8:50 am

    Do you get board writing about the same thing over and over again? I understand the need for a niche, but I like to change up topics. Do you think this is hurting my site?

  2. Corey Zeimen says:
    June 29, 2016 at 11:52 pm

    I remarket to my blog readers too, and I agree with these numbers Neil for those who found the content useful.

  3. Eli Seekins says:
    June 29, 2016 at 2:45 pm

    Hey Neil!

    Great post.

    I recently started a blog and have been working on my conversion, so this is perfect.

    CTA’s is one of the first things I worked on improving, as well as connecting with my readers emotionally.

    It’s been so much fun so far.

    There are a lot of great points here that I’ve been implementing.

    2 things I know that I need to work on is social proof and remarketing.

    Thanks for the tips!

  4. Josh Paiva says:
    June 29, 2016 at 2:23 pm

    The one thing I got most out of this article is to focus on a niche. A lot of times we like to jump all over and get to much done at once. With my e commerce biz I have really been focused on building one niche up until I move on to the next. Thanks for the read. Great stuff.

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