Don’t turn your posts into ads
Many blogs read more like a series of self-obsessed commercials, than a series of useful posts or articles. It’s as if the blogger just can’t resist selling his or her services in every post.
Whilst it makes very good sense to occasionally blog directly about what you do or a special deal you may have running, pimping your wares too often will turn readers away. Remember, your blog needs to be all about them. If it’s all about you and your services, you will turn people away.
The whole point of content marketing (which is what blogging is), is to write unique content, that will be of value or interest (or both) to your target market. The way that content is monetized, is to turn your blog into a valuable resource for people who need the kind of products or services you offer. When your target market arrive at your blog, they should feel as if they have just found an Aladdin’s Cave of great information. This positions your blog as a valuable resource and YOU as their go-to guy or gal, when it comes to your area of expertise.
So, where’s the money?
The money comes, by making it easy for your readers to see the services or products you provide, as a natural part of their reading experience on your site. The thing is, although people love to buy things, they hate being sold to! So, instead of making each post read a little like a sales pitch, we use other methods, to transition them from being a reader with a need, to a reader with a need who feels they have just found the solution they are looking for.
Call to action boxes
If you look at the best converting sites in the world, they use a call to action box at the foot of their content, which asks the reader to do something. There are some massive benefits to this approach, which is why I use them on all my sites.
When you insert a call to action box (see below), into every post, you don’t need to force sales messages into your posts. Also, because the box is inserted at the foot of every post, people see it just after reading a post by you. If they have read the whole way through your post, you have clearly engaged them. This is EXACTLY where you want them to see your call to action.
On Jim’s marketing blog, I insert the following box below every post and people click the link all day, every day:
When people click that link, it takes them to the page on the blog, that markets my services. It works extremely well, even though it is not intrusive and does not impact the content of the post!
Having a page or pages on your site, which clearly market your products or services is essential. Not only can interested people go to your navigation bar and click them directly, you can also insert links to them from appropriate parts of appropriate posts. It’s called contextual linking. Although you need to be careful not to over use them, when you link directly from one of your posts to a marketing page, it can be extremely powerful. If, for example, you had just written a post about how your service helped a client, it makes sense to link to the page that markets that service.
One of the best kept secrets in Internet marketing is this: The fewer ads you run in your sidebar, the more money you make.
Is the sidebar of your blog a clean, uncluttered area where people can see a few, very relevant, ads? If it is and you already have decent traffic, you will know it works extremely well. Many blogs pack their sidebar with 8 or 10 affiliate ads. This, along with all the usual sidebar functions, can make it hard for people to focus on any one thing.
Find a small number of highly relevant, great quality advertising / affiliate partners. If you pick the right mix, you can make a very good income. Just ensure the ads are as closely linked to your blog content as possible.