How to Double Your Conversion Rate By Rolling Out the Red Carpet

  • January 31, 2013 by Guest Writer
  • 59 Comments

I’d just spent the past 8 hours of my life working on what I considered to be the best piece I’d ever written in my life.

It was a guest post for a massive blog and it was perfect by all guest blogging standards. It was interesting, relevant and chock full of useful information.

This post is by Liz Seda.

I was sure that this was going to be the post that would catapult me from B-list blogger to A-list influencer.

I went to bed full of hope and promise that by next week I would be dealing with crashing servers from the flood of traffic to my site and hiring an assistant to help me sort through the fan mail I’d receive from thousands of new subscribers.

If only it were that easy.

The Magic Post is a Myth. Get Over It.

The morning my magic guest post went live I diligently retrieved the customer support number off of Bluehost’s site and made sure I had a lot of coffee on hand. Today was a big day and I wanted to be prepared.

  • 7:00AM – The post goes live. My entire body is tense and I keep refreshing the page to check for comments, tweets, and Facebook likes.
  • 7:05AM – I get a few hits to my website from the site my guest post was published on. “And now it begins,” I thought to myself. I open Mailchimp to monitor new subscribers.
  • 10:00AM – I’m getting a ton of traffic to my site, but no subscribers. I begin to feel nervous.
  • 2:00PM – Still no subscribers. I consider calling Mailchimp to see what the problem is.
  • 5:00PM – I get my first subscriber. I also have a horrible headache from staring at the computer screen.

By the end of the day, I’d gotten 3 subscribers. Total subscribers from that post added up to a whopping 5 as of January 2013.

For the record, I’d like to make it known that I appreciate and love every single one of my readers.

Nevertheless, I was mildly disappointed (aka devastated) that my perfect guest post wouldn’t have a lasting effect on the reach of my message.

Instead what I got was a temporary high. A wave of traffic in one day feels great. For that day.

Then your traffic immediately begins to plummet and you level off at a daily visitor number somewhere slightly higher than where it was.

There are exceptions where people gained a massive following after a single guest post, but this is not the rule and it’s highly unlikely to happen to you – especially if you’re counting on it.

If that’s what you’re waiting for, move on. There’s enough noise in the blogosphere without all of us having to contend with your vanity. The people who experience that kind of exponential growth actually have something to say and someone to say it to.

I’m ashamed to say that, on the day my infamous magic post went live, I was not one of these people.

Herein lies my problem.

You Have to Care About the People

I wrote a perfect guest post for a blog relevant to mine with the sole intention of inflating my subscriber number.

I wasn’t all that concerned about why they subscribed. I didn’t worry myself with the trivial task of giving them as much value and incentive as I could. I already had an awesome free ebook and I was far too busy preparing for rockstardom.

It was a game of numbers for me. If I could get X number of people to my site, then I should be able to get at least Y number of subscribers. The math was good enough for me.

As it turns out, my potential subscribers didn’t give two craps about the math. In my oversaturated niche, people don’t just subscribe for the ebook; they subscribe for the long term relationship. My readers are in it for the long haul and I wasn’t giving them a good enough reason to stick around.

I lost sight of why I started blogging in the first place: to help my readers live a live on their own terms. I expected them to do the heavy lifting for me, and that’s just not how it works.

After I crawled out from under the bed, got sober, and thought about it for a while, I decided that from now on I would roll out the red carpet for every single visitor to my site.

Once I shifted my focus from my readers at large, a nameless, shapeless mass that is supposed to convert at a certain rate, to my individual reader, a person above all else, everything started to change.

Treating Your Visitors Like Royalty

These days, instead of leaving my conversion rate up to the god of statistics, I take control of it by taking every measure I can to treat each visitor like royalty.

The most lucrative tactic I implemented was putting up custom landing pages for every single site I guest posted at.

That’s right, even this one. If you click on the link to my site, you’ll see that it was made just for you.

Once I started doing this, I saw a dramatic increase in how many subscribers I got per guest post, how much time people were spending on my site, and how many actions they were taking.

Most impressively, my conversion rate doubled by taking this one extra action. To prove this wasn’t just a fluke or a matter of writing an article on a subject more likely to attract subscribers, I’ve put together the data according to how relevant my site is to that particular audience.

For example, here’s the conversion rate for two guest posts that are very relevant to my message:

  • Tiny Buddha: Overcoming Eating Disorders and Other Dangerous Addictions – Conversion rate without custom landing page – 13%
  • My Super Charged Life: The Surprising Truth About Mind Control – Conversion rate with custom landing page – 24%

Now, here’s the conversion rate for two guest posts less related to my niche:

  • Brazen Careerist: The Wannabe Entrepreneur’s Quiz: 7 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Quitting Your Day Job – Conversion Rate without custom landing page – 7%
  • Lifehack: How to Create Stunning Infographics in 30 Minutes or Less – Conversion Rate without custom landing page - 15%

As expected, the guest posts on Tiny Buddha and My Super Charged Life converted at a much higher rate than Brazen Careerist and Lifehack because their audience is similar to mine. However, in both cases, regardless of the kind of audience I was writing for, the conversion rate doubled when I added in a custom landing page!

The best part is it only took 5 minutes.

Note: I’ll need to give credit to one of my mastermind team members, Izzy from The 30 Year Old Ninja for helping me come up with the idea for creating custom landing pages.

Creating a Custom Landing Page Template

I’ve had the opportunity to test a few different landing page layouts, and this is the one that’s performed the best for me.

Untitled

Introduction

Customize the title of the page to reflect the audience you’ll be attracting as well as the tone of your blog. My blog is very personal and down to earth, so I start off with a casual hello and a big picture of me trying to hug them.

Body

Tell them that you know exactly where they’re coming from and you’re familiar with that blog and it’s owner. Build some rapport with them if you can by piggy-backing off of the relationship you have with the owner of the blog they’re coming from.

Then let them know that you’ve gone through your archives for them and hand-picked articles you think they would like based on the blog they’re coming from and, if you have only one article on that blog, the name of the article they’d be clicking over from.

Also give them the opportunity to find out more about your site by including links to the about and start page.

To make the body short, I decided to leave out a sentence explaining what my blog is about, but if you have room, this is where you should put it. Once sentence should suffice since you’ve already hand-picked your best stuff for them to look at!

Ending

Include a call to action and try to customize that call to action for this audience. For example, in my opt-in box I ask people if they want to read about more powerful stories since that’s what I wrote about in my guest post at My Super Charged Life.

Once you’ve created an initial template, all you have to do is copy and paste it into a new page, editing the page title, list of articles, and the first paragraph to match the new blog you’re making the landing page for. If you have an archives page, this should take you, literally, only five minutes!

Maybe you’re in the position where 5 extra minutes for each guest post isn’t worth your time. However, if you were, you wouldn’t be reading this article. Your readers are worth the extra 5 minutes. The success of your blog is worth an extra 5 minutes.

And although you may not experience overnight stardom using this technique, it’s another way you’ll set yourself apart.

***

Every time you do more than expected, go further than necessary, or give more than your audience bargained for, you’ll be that much closer to your ultimate goal. In the words of Wayne Dyer, “It’s never crowded along the extra mile.” Why don’t you join me there?

Liz is a corporate dropout turned lifestyle designer and blogger. To find out more, go to her blog at A Life on Your Terms and download her Life Lovers Guide to the Galaxy. You can also find her on twitter at @elizabethseda.


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Rob January 31, 2013 at 6:02 am

Liz, awesome tactic here. I’ve thought about this before and your experience has pushed me to move it up on my list of things to try.

I support other online business owners with technology setup and issues, but there are so many varied things to call the issues, or problems, or sources where traffic come from, I absolutely should have “customized” special attention and love giving landing pages for people that refer others to me, other websites that send traffic, and as you’ve highlighted here, guest posts. I love where this grows from, an attention and care for the end user, which is what it’s all about anyway.

Glad to see someone step out and try this with decent results.

PS. I wouldn’t mind seeing that Infographic post, I love building those things, I just did one in Omnigraffle about the opt-in process. http://itarsenal.com/optin-process-visualized/

Liz Seda January 31, 2013 at 8:31 am

Hey Rob! I’m glad you’re going to give it a try! There are other things you can try to put up on your landing page as well that I discussed with my mastermind group.
For example, they mentioned that a one-page tool download for that audience would be awesome. So, for example, if I happened to have a spreadsheet where I tracked all of my traffic stats, I could put that on the page as a download for Think Traffic members only. I haven’t tried this yet, but it’s definitely something I’m going to test in the near future. If you get around to it before me, let me know!

Oh and here’s the link to the infographics post: http://www.lifehack.org/articles/work/how-to-create-stunning-infographics-in-30-minutes.html

I had a very intense love affair with them about 3 months ago because of piktochart!

Thanks for dropping by Rob!

Liz

Joel Zaslofsky January 31, 2013 at 8:36 am

Rob, I’m totally with you here. I’ve seen other references to custom landing pages for guest posts, but nobody has quantified the difference until now (that I’ve seen).

Liz, thanks for weaving in strategy and tactics in the same article. You drop down and spring back up between the 30,000 foot view and boots on the ground nicely. That – in addition to custom landing pages for my future guest posts – is a skill I’ll be working on.

Sarah Russell January 31, 2013 at 6:40 am

What a freaking awesome idea!!! Thanks so much to you and Izzy for sharing it.

I love that you’re putting the focus where it should be – on your readers. It’s so easy to get caught up in the “game” of guest posting (where can *I* post that’ll benefit *me* the most) that you’re absolutely right to say that we lose focus on the people we’re trying to reach. Glad to hear that refocusing has helped you to find the success you deserve :)

Liz Seda January 31, 2013 at 8:33 am

Thanks Sarah! You know I was so shocked when I realized that I was playing a numbers game because I really do care about my readers. I just got caught up like you said. In increasing that subscriber number and finding the biggest and baddest blogs to GP on so I could get a flood of traffic. Now that I’m nurturing my relationship with ever individual that crosses my path, I’m more fulfilled and less concerned about the subscriber number. What’s more, is that number is now going up faster than it was when I was acting like a robot!

Chivon January 31, 2013 at 6:47 am

Great tips Liz and I love the custom page that you created for this post! One of my goals for February was to start guest posting and these strategies are a fabulous reminder to stay focused on the reader.

Thank you and great blog!

Mrs. Tucker January 31, 2013 at 6:51 am

You may not have experienced instant fame (haven’t we all stared at our computer all day, willing the numbers to climb, then horrified when they didn’t?!), but would it help you to know that I took notes while I read this post?

Thanks!

Liz Seda February 1, 2013 at 8:28 am

Haha that’s so funny because it’s SO true! I find myself unconsciously making my way to getclicky at random times in the day just to see the numbers one more time. Perhaps I misread them the first time? Maybe something grand has happened since I last checked ten minutes ago! I’m so in love with the name of your blog ‘Oh Mrs. Tucker.’

Justin Westbrooks January 31, 2013 at 7:04 am

This is brilliant! Email conversion is something my team and I have been researching quite a bit lately, especially as we’re entering a beta testing period for our email marketing tool – and I love the way you said it: “Care about the people”. What better way than to customize a landing for those specific readers. Awesome! :)

Thanks for the insight you’ve provided and the practical steps for implementing it. Best of luck to you and your journey!

Liz Seda January 31, 2013 at 8:36 am

Thank you Justin!

BTW I’m loving Anchor Tab! Genius!

David Veldt January 31, 2013 at 8:36 am

Great idea. As someone who works in SEO all day, its refreshing to read a post about guest blogging that is NOT about how to find guest blogging opportunities for the best links, but actually for the purpose of driving quality traffic to your site.

Liz Seda January 31, 2013 at 1:28 pm

Shucks thanks David! Your site is gorgeous by the way! I can’t wait to see it all filled in. I love the photo of you standing on your shoulders over and over again. Talk about unique!

Darlene January 31, 2013 at 8:38 am

Omgosh! How fabulous is that?

I’ve read about having a special landing page for your Twitter peeps, or FB, Pinterest,etc.. to which I’m embarrassed to admit I’ve never implemented.

But now, with yet another example.. with a different twist (would not have thought of the guest post landing page idea you came up with).. I’m going to do it.

Thanks Liz.

darlene

Liz Seda February 1, 2013 at 8:26 am

Pleasure is all my Darlene! I’m also sad to say I haven’t implemented it for Twitter or Facebook. Seems silly seeing that I’ve already done it for so many other blogs, it wouldn’t take me any time at all.

Thanks for the reminder!

Liz

Kyle January 31, 2013 at 9:02 am

Wow, Liz, this is really great information. Thanks for sharing!

Liz Seda January 31, 2013 at 5:31 pm

Thank you Kyle!

Noor Shawwa January 31, 2013 at 9:03 am

That is a great idea. Thank you for sharing and quantifying to validate the results.

Will definitely try it out.

Shannon January 31, 2013 at 9:18 am

Well I just love you Liz! That big beautiful smile is not the norm when visiting someone’s website for the first time – that landing page made me smile! Full of personality and no boring overused tactics. Thank you for the red carpet!

Liz Seda January 31, 2013 at 5:39 pm

I love you too Shannon! I smile for a living. It’s been really bad lately. I’ve been thinking about claiming disability for my work-related injury because my cheeks hurt all the time. :D

Amy Knapp January 31, 2013 at 9:22 am

This is ridiculously useful. Thank-you.

Maria Peagler January 31, 2013 at 10:01 am

Liz – I’ve used this exact tactic and gotten astounding optin rates – above 60%. Even better, those subscribers continue to open and click-thru at even higher rates than my other subscribers.

Thanks for your article – really enjoyed it.

Liz Seda February 1, 2013 at 8:24 am

Awesome! So glad to have someone else on here achieving amazing results. Anything you do differently that gets you such a high conversion rate? I’d love to improve upon my method :) .

paul January 31, 2013 at 10:48 am

Thanks for this! Since I’m writing a lot of guest posts, I’m definitely going to give this a try.

Liz Seda January 31, 2013 at 5:37 pm

Whoa Paul! I know who I’m calling when I need a new website designed. Hopefully I can afford you when that time comes! ;)

Johnn Four January 31, 2013 at 11:20 am

Thanks for this inspirational idea, Liz! I especially like the custom posts listing you offer.

I’m going to try this, and also test a variant when I do.

I’ll try bundling my hand-picked posts into an ebook. I’ll customize the ebook in the same spirit you’ve customized the landing page.

Then I’ll measure new subscribers via blog post links vs. ebook optins.

Johnn Four January 31, 2013 at 11:24 am

Hmmm. Thinking some more on this. New idea:

With Comment Luv I can select which post to put in my comments signature when I comment on other sites that also use Comment Luv.

I only comment on a few sites, generally, for genuine interaction.

I could create custom landing posts for these sites to use as my Comment Luv link. I’ll make sure the post title resonates with the site I’m commenting on to increase its appeal.

Liz Seda January 31, 2013 at 5:32 pm

Brilliant Johnn!! I should put together all of the ways that this method could be used!

Izzy January 31, 2013 at 11:58 am

Liz it is straight up awesome that you put this together in a post. Thank you so much for giving me a shout out :) – but I gotta throw some credit right back your way! Yes, we sat down and I threw out the idea to help you get some conversions but you took action on the idea – literally within an hour after we talked! That action orientation is what is getting you results!

Its one of those very simple things that we can do that drastically increases our conversion rates. The best thing about it, is that it’s not gimicky or a trick. All it is doing is showing the exact value you can bring to the readers life.

And on top of that, it makes it so the reader no longer has to search for this value. They get to know about the value you bring the second they the second they head over to your blog. I also love how it shows you care about the reader by providing a specific page just for them.

Super awesome :) .

Liz Seda January 31, 2013 at 5:36 pm

Exactly Iz! And of course I gave you a shout out! It was an amazing idea and has gotten me great results!

Angela January 31, 2013 at 3:59 pm

WOW! What a great idea! Thanks for sharing!

Liz Seda January 31, 2013 at 5:33 pm

Thanks Angela! I like your Mojo :) .

Alden January 31, 2013 at 11:14 pm

Hey Liz,

Great technique! I pretty much do the same. I learnt it from Maneesh Sethi who wrote a guest post here himself on Think Traffic.

Although personally, I’d recommend that the welcome page’s ONLY call to action is the opt-in, that way readers would only have that one action to go to. I think that’d actually get more subscribers.

One page, one action. That’s what I do. One time at Tiny Buddha, I got like 200 subscribers at one go.

Just my 2 cents.

Peace,
Alden

Liz Seda February 1, 2013 at 8:23 am

Hey Alden,

Interesting! I hadn’t actually thought about that, since I’ve always felt like easing into to whole ‘gimme your email’ process, but I’ll have to try it and see how it compares to these conversion rates. Who knows? Maybe I’ll triple conversions :) .

Liz

Janet January 31, 2013 at 11:20 pm

you’re in a mastermind with izzy’s brains?? kind of jealous :) he’s awesome and so are you!! way to rock it, Liz!!

Liz Seda February 1, 2013 at 8:22 am

Yea! It’s actually pretty great. I definitely look forward to our weekly MM’s. You know you and I haven’t ever connected face to face. We should do a Skype one day!

Adrijus G. February 1, 2013 at 7:51 am

Nice, I will have to test it myself. Pretty small tweak but makes good sense.

BTW Liz, I think I could improve your Conversion rates a bit more. How? By changing (or more like improving) the cover of the ebook you give away. I think it could use better text and that would make it look better, which could increase submissions (seems like a good chance to test this hypothesis! If you’d be up for it, I would do it free) ;)

Cheers
Adrijus G.

Liz Seda February 1, 2013 at 8:20 am

Hey Adrijus! Absolutely! I slapped that together pretty quickly, so I’m not married to it. Lets do this! I’m at LizS@alifeonyourterms.com.

Thanks for the generous offer!

Adrijus G. February 4, 2013 at 3:22 am

Great! I emailed you. Looking forward to work on it!

John Banks February 1, 2013 at 11:33 am

Hi Liz,

Awesome idea! Seems like a ton of extra work but I expect the personal touch pays off. If you are getting results from it then that is great.

I wonder if you could take it a step further and do it for every blog comment you submit? (Don’t worry, I haven’t)

Thanks for sharing an insightful idea.
Regards,
John

Liz Seda February 2, 2013 at 6:01 pm

Hey John! It’s actually not that much time once you get a system up and running. It really shouldn’t take more than 5-10 minutes :) .

And yes, I’m going to have to try to do this with commenting as well! I’ve begun devising a plan!

Ani February 2, 2013 at 12:54 am

Very interesting approach. It does not require money and lots of time so it is easy to implement too.
I will make sure to write few guest posts and then try this one :)
Thanx for sharing your secret weapon with us.

Rahat Bashar February 2, 2013 at 11:56 pm

Great post Liz,

I honestly didn’t think of creating custom landing pages for each guest post I do. Why didn’t I think of it earlier? That is a seriously good tip.

When I first started guest posting, although I had managed to get some decent amount of traffic, none of them were subscribing to my mailing list.

However, I’ve found a couple of ways to drastically improve my email subscription rate after I do a guest post.

- Your guest post has to be in your niche.
- You need to make sure that you guest post for a blog that’s generating a high amount of traffic. There’s honestly no point of taking all your time crafting an awesome guest post when only 50-100 will be reading it. Build relationships with the top bloggers in your niche by leaving insightful comments on their blogs and replying to their tweets.

You’ll now be getting targeted traffic to your blog, but how do you capture them?

- Create an e-book that kicks some serious ass. Make sure the e-book contains actionable content and give it away for free. By “free” I mean make the visitors sign up before you send them the e-book. You could use Mailchimp or Aweber to automate this.
- Make the e-book sign up form pop-up when a reader visits your page. Although some may find this annoying, it has proved to increase my email subscription rate by quite a lot. If you have a great e-book with a magnetic headline, you have a higher chance that people are likely to subscribe to your blog.

Anyways, I’ve learnt quite a bit from this post. Thanks for the great advice Liz. :)

Brian @ Backlinko February 5, 2013 at 12:05 pm

There’s actually a better way to get referral traffic to convert:

Awesome content + Multiple Opt-In Opportunities

That way they WANT to subscribe when they pop over…and you make it easy for them to sign up.

Just look at Socialtriggers.com. He has an opt-in form above the fold…but most importantly rocks the house with awesome content.

Chris Hufnagel February 7, 2013 at 8:30 pm

This is an AWESOME idea! Thanks for sharing Liz. This is incredibly easy to implement and will make your guest post efforts more than just a back link!

Liz Seda February 9, 2013 at 3:07 pm

Thank you Chris!

Matthew Insardi February 8, 2013 at 5:10 am

Rolling out the red carpet is essential otherwise you get lost in the masses. There is nothing wrong with competition in fact you want it. This is a great way to rise above the competition and build a loyal following.

Any time you get traffic from another source paid or free you should have them go to a landing page so you can build your subscriber base.

Thanks for sharing

Hassaan Khan February 11, 2013 at 5:45 am

Liz Nice Post!

You know you have the power in your words and thinking to made people stick to your content.
Keep it up!

Real nice effort!

Hassaan Khan

Liz Seda March 21, 2013 at 11:27 am

Thank you Hassaan! Thank you very very much :) .

Scott Dinsmore February 20, 2013 at 11:06 am

I love that closing quote Liz! And just the whole idea of mindset and what your real goal is. If it’s to help and relate to people then you’ll act a lot differently then if it’s just to get subscribers. What you did with The Ultimate Mastermind Workbook that you created for our community is a perfect example. Regardless of what results you saw right after posting that, that is something that will live on and change people’s lives forever. I am massively grateful for that. And I know many others are too!

Liz Seda March 21, 2013 at 11:28 am

Scott!!! You’re here at Think Traffic. It’s like all of my worlds crashing into one. Thank you :) . I’m definitely in the helping/value-added mindset, and it’s done wonders for me. Both for my blog and my self. And I keep learning that from you too!

Kat Tepelyan February 21, 2013 at 12:32 pm

This is terrific! I love the custom page per guest post. That makes total sense, and I felt warm all over when I read it. :)

I also have seen myself go NUTS over numbers, only to stop and ask myself “Why the HELL are you doing this?” My whole intention, with my life and my work is to make the world a better place, to uplift sustainable businesses and ideas, to watch our planet SURVIVE and THRIVE.

And here I was freaking out about numbers?

Moving on. I love this post and your approach.

High five, girl!
Kat

Liz Seda March 21, 2013 at 11:29 am

High five Kat! And a low five too for good measure!!

Leon February 22, 2013 at 7:45 am

This is an excellent article, I’ve followed problogging since 2007 and figured I’d heard of everything, but this is something fresh, new and really valuable :) Love the idea of rolling out the red carpet and greeting fans/followers of specific communities.

Great job!

Liz Seda March 21, 2013 at 11:29 am

Well this pleases me beyond words Leon. My heart fluttered. I may just propose to you.

TJ March 19, 2013 at 8:22 pm

Hi Liz!

First, you’re so damn likable-thanks for your great work and these emails! I agree, going the extra mile counts, and it makes me feel great, at the end of the day. I am new, new , new, but NOT daunted!! by this wonderful new world (to me, anyway!) of blogging. I really appreciated this post. I am not at a place where I am guest posting, I am just really building content, learning the abc’s, but I have bookmarked this article for future use! Truly, love and service is what it’s all about (okay, along with some of my New York snark, too). Many thanks.

Liz Seda March 21, 2013 at 11:31 am

Fantastic TJ. I’d love for you to keep me updated on your progress. I love seeing people create things (whether it be blogs or anything else) from nothing. And then the satisfaction of having done something good is wonderful :) . Thanks for leaving a comment, and I’ll be sure to leave one on your future guest post on Think Traffic.

Alan | Life's Too Good June 29, 2013 at 1:10 am

Hey Liz,

this is a really nicely written article. I eventually read it trying to get through a backlog of literally hundreds of ‘to-do’ things to look at and I’m glad I did – I enjoyed reading it.

I’ve written very few guest posts and probably half of them gave ‘results’ like those you described above, i.e. some more traffic but little else. However a couple did bring me lots of new subscribers which was a huge surprise and I guess in that case is precisely because that was not my focus.

The only problem I have is that with very limited time and a choice between reading other people’s articles, commenting (like here), social media, working on none-article pages such as sales and landing pages, creating products or services and writing articles for my own site, I’d rather be doing either of the final two just because writing great guest posts and everything that goes with it is pretty time consuming in the end.

Great job with this one though & I wish you lots of success with your blog,

take care & best wishes,
Alan

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