Chances are that if you’re running a blog, your ultimate goal is to generate leads and sales—with the added bonus of a steady cash flow.
Here, I will share a method that will transform the ‘extra leads’ your blog generates into a long-term and consistent stream of income…on top of the sales you’re already generating. I’ll also cover three methods for increasing leads and sales without increasing traffic.
It’s not an exact science, but the math for blog direct sales is pretty simple.
Let’s say you’re generating 10k visitors per month and capturing 10% of those as leads. Now, let’s assume of the 10% (or 1,000 leads), you’re closing 3% as a sale for a total of 30 sales per month (or roughly 1 sale a day).
Not bad! If your product has $100 profit, you can have a nice little side income of $3,000 per month.
Many would give their pinky toe for that kind of action, but for the fun of it, let’s say you’re generating half that traffic; 5,000 visitors generating $1,500 per month in sales…not enough to quit your day job but still good.
Is there a quick way to increase your blog’s output without generating more traffic? Of course. Here are three ways to boost your blog’s profitability without increasing traffic.
Let’s start with your 5,000 visitors. Not closing 10% of them into leads? That’s ok; that’s the first step in our profit-boosting adventure.
Step 1: Increase Leads Captured
First find out the percentage of leads captured per month.
Simply take the number of emails captured in the last 30 days and divide by the number of visitors in the last 30 days. For example, 500 leads/5000 visitors = 10%.
This percentage is your current opt-in conversion rate.
Now we need to pick a goal conversion rate, but that is entirely up to you. On average, 10% is a good place to start and fairly reachable if you’re currently in the 3-5% range.
If you want to be successful at the online game, you need to understand website testing—or pay someone who does to help you. If you can boost sales by just 1% on site generating $50,000 in sales, you’ll more than double your income (+$58k actually). This is true for leads as well. The numbers don’t lie!
“How do you boost X% to reach 10%?”
Simple. Testing. As in going and picking up a membership at Visual Website Optimizer and testing variations of your email opt-in and offer. Simply changing a headline or a button may be enough to go from a 5% opt-in rate to a 10%.
There’s a lot you can test, but here’s a basic list of items to test to increase opt-ins:
Headlines. On average, this represents 80% of your success in generating a lead. Is it a benefit to them? Is it enticing enough? Or is it just boring? Here are the headlines people click on most.
Buttons. Who knew? In our test, “Next Step…” did better than “Get Instant Access.” Would the same perform better on your site? If you don’t know, go test it.
The offer itself. Maybe your audience doesn’t want your ebook; what else can you give them? Can you make a spreadsheet that helps them with their business or provide a free set of training videos? The free offer for opt-in is important, and you need to keep testing new things to keep your audience interested.
If you think something’s working, you’re wrong (or right), but you won’t know ‘till you test it. This step alone may be enough to go from generating 50 leads a month to 500 with your current traffic.
Step 2: Optimize Your Site for Lead Capture
We’ve tested our current email opt-in system, and increased a few percentage points in our opt-ins. Now its time to make sure folks are actually seeing your email opt-in—they’re not going to opt in if they’re blind to it. Just as banner blindness is a thing, so is email opt-in blindness.
If your opt-in area looks like everyone else’s, chances are you’re not going to stand out in the crowd. Make sure you’re including an opt-in at the bottom of each blog post; and make the offer related to the blog post. For example, at the bottom of this blog post should be an email opt-in to provide you with in-depth training on blogging.
You can use OptimizePress to create high converting web forms.
(If you’ve made it this far into the blog post, you’re probably ideal for this training. However, if you were never given the chance to receive it, then you’re just going to go on your merry way.)
Things your email opt in should have:
Social Proof. Add your credentials next to your email opt-in. People like to do what other people do; 1,000 likes next to an email opt-in is going to inspire credibility.
A really good free offer. Ebooks just don’t cut it anymore. Be creative and give something of value. If you can actually help your audience quickly, their trust in you will increase substantially.
High-quality look and feel. It’s worth paying someone on oDesk $20 to build an attractive graphic for your offer. The traditional Aweber email opt-in form won’t do you any favors.
Before I go forward, I need to state the obvious. You need to be good (really good) at what you do to generate the type of buzz needed to attract 5,000 unique visitors a month. It goes without saying that ‘these results are not typical’ should be understood with these numbers.
Blogging as a business venture is like any other business. You have world-class competition fighting for the same thing, and if you’re okay with this assessment, let’s move forward.
Step 3: Your Golden Ticket to Long Term Profits – The 12x12x20 Method
Now that we’re up to snuff with 10% opt-in rates, we’ve turned our 5,000 visitors a month into 500 leads per month. We’re selling at 3% and making 15 $100 sales per month. Yay for the $1,500 in our pockets we didn’t have before.
To actually generate long tail, continual income with your blog—not just spurts of 15 sales per month—introduce your audience to services they need to accomplish their business or other goals. The key product type you’re looking to offer them is continuity based, or one with a recurring monthly or yearly fee.
Your job is to curate these services for them, become their advisers, and give them advice on what they should use…oh, and make sure they know that you’re an affiliate. That’s just the right thing to do (and it’s illegal not to). A simple affiliate disclaimer at the end of a blog post is enough.
How do you find services in your niche that warrant monthly fees?
If you’re in a tech or business niche, this is fairly easy. Everyone needs website, hosting, project management systems, communication systems help, and the like; and most of these systems are based on a monthly fee. Once you’ve found your monthly providers, pit them against their competition. Review them and find one you prefer. Write this in a series of different blog posts, and don’t forget to include your affiliate links. Video reviews rock too.
A typical post may look like this: “10 Project Management Systems to Consider for Your Business” that includes a few free systems and a few pro systems. If you find a service you prefer, recommend it as your favorite.
The goal here is not just to boost SEO; you’re looking for a persuasive blog post that will move your reader to take action. Heck, why not provide a little sugar on top with a “blueprint” you write on how to use the service if they buy today with your link…just ask them to forward you their receipt.
If you write one article like this a month, in a year you’ll have 12 different continuity generating blog posts, each with the potential to generate monthly revenue. If you can generate one sale per article per month, that’s 144 continuity sales per month. If the average return is $20/month, you’re looking at an extra $2,880 per month on top of the already $1,500 you’re making from your 15 product sales per month. Oh, and that $2880 figure will only increase as you compound sales.
How do you generate sales?
The simplest and most effective way is to make sure you’re emailing blog posts to your leads in a follow-up email sequence. If your 12 blog posts were each accompanied with 12 follow-up emails that went out once a week after a new person registers, you’re giving them a huge value while generating substantial income.
Placing this into practice will take some work, but if you’re dedicated to turning your blog into an income powerhouse, these three steps are crucial to making it happen.
What do you see as potential roadblocks in making this happen?
Post your comments below, and let’s start a conversation.