This post is by Peep Laja of ConversionXL.
My last post here was about the strategies I used for getting 50k visits to my blog during my first month of blogging. My blog is now almost 11 months old, and it’s loyal audience is growing each month.
Meanwhile, my company has grown from 2 people to 8, and our time is constantly sold out several months in advance + I get around 5 consulting gigs a month. I don’t do any advertising nor sales calls – all the clients come through the blog.
How exactly did this happen? I’ll show you.
Your Blog is Your Salesperson
The best kind of marketing is inbound marketing. Content marketing works – if you do it well.
There’s an abundance of mediocrity on the internet. Most blogs suck. If you want your blog to bring you business, you cannot afford mediocre posts. Sure, not all of your blog posts will be smashing hits – but all of them can be quality.
Consistency is key. Everybody can write at least one epic post, but most will remain one hit wonders. The challenge is to do it all the time. People follow and recommend blogs that they know will produce excellent content on regular basis.
Of course, you shouldn’t let perfectionism stop you from posting. Regular posting matters too. You should get a blog post out at least once a week. If the content you published wasn’t all that amazing, you learn from it and do better the next time.
If you constantly put serious effort into your blogs posts, it will pay off. The more you do it, the sooner you’re going to enjoy the results.
Whatever your blog is about (unless you blog purely for fun), you need to have a defined business objective. If its to get customers, your blog needs to:
- prove that you know what you’re talking about
- instill confidence in you (and in your company)
- build a relationship
Nothing will do it better than writing epic shit, all the time.
Another Advantage of Epic Content
Here’s my traffic for last month, August 2012:
The month starts out with 800 visits per day after I had just taken a break from blogging for a month. Notice the 2 bumps?
First one is when somebody submitted my blog post on pricing experiments to Hacker News, and it became a top post for a couple of days. The funny thing is that I had submitted this post to Hacker News myself when I wrote it, but it didn’t take off then. Timing and x-factor matter.
The second bump is when Tim Ferriss tweeted the same post (probably he saw it either on HN himself, or through somebody who found it there):
Cool pricing experiments you’ve probably never thought of: bit.ly/PfpLnl
— Tim Ferriss (@tferriss) August 27, 2012
Tweets by influencers really do work, as he sent 16 000 visitors to the post the same day (even took my site offline for a few minutes). I got many serious leads from this surge of traffic.
My point is this: writing epic content really pays off, and your posts might get a second (and probably a third) coming. Focus on high quality, thorough blog posts. No 500 word how-to blog post will go viral (unless you’re Seth Godin or feature naked people).
Have A Skill that People Value
I remember reading a story a few years ago that I never forgot for some reason. The guy telling the story went to a party in the Playboy mansion. There he met a famous millionaire, and used the chance to ask him the question, “What’s the most single important thing for becoming successful?” The millionaire replied: “Young man, have a skill that people value.”
There are way too many bloggers out there who do just one thing – they blog. That might be enough for the select few that make money selling pageviews, but for the rest, the biggest gains come from selling their expertise (be it consultation or full service).
I’m a conversion guy. I help businesses drive more sales online. I do consulting + my agency builds conversion optimized sites for our customers. It’s a very specific skill, and one that people value.
“You can’t climb the ladder of success with your hands in your pocket.” - Arnold Schwarzenegger
The recipe for never running out of work is to be the best. If you’re among the very best (and people know it), there will be a line outside your door.
Sure, nobody starts out the best – you have to *strive* to become one, by working hard. As Malcolm Gladwell points out in his excellent book “Outliers“, studies suggest that the key to success in any field has nothing to do with talent. It’s simply practice, and 10,000 hours of it — 20 hours a week for 10 years.
Tim Ferriss has said that he’s learned to become really good at something in one year or less (and the incremental improvements after that are not worth it to him). Maybe you can too.
Do you have to just pick one thing? Not at all, but one at a time for sure. The more you divide your attention between competing subjects, the slower you are to grow. Ask yourself: “what am I becoming the best in the world at right now?” If you don’t know the answer to this, you’re doing it wrong.
Arnold Schwarzenegger is one of my role models. The determination this guy has is incredible. He managed to achieve huge success in many highly competitive fields – bodybuilding, film, business and politics.
Need a (huge and positive) kick in the ass? Watch Arnie talk about his philosophy (less than 4 minutes, highly recommended):
Tell Them What You Offer, but Don’t Force It
People aren’t gonna buy your stuff just because you shout at every opportunity “buy, buy, buy”. I don’t have any banners on ConversionXL. I don’t push my services at all.
If they’re impressed by your content, they will want to learn more about you themselves. Your job is to make it easy to do that if they want to.
I have a couple of lines about myself and a link to my company on my sidebar and I have a ‘Services’ link in the menu. That’s enough. You don’t need to stick banners everywhere. Your content is your salesperson, after all.
You just make sure that your product or services are in an obvious place: one click away in your main menu.
Focus on Engagement
People rarely fall in love at first sight. Instead of selling them something on their first visit, engage them to come back and stick around.
I’ve experimented with a bunch of things to get people following my blog – from popups to calls-to-action at the bottom of the post. I work to get people to join my list, subscribe to my RSS or posts over email and/or follow me on Twitter.
Tech savvy people will know how to find the rss feed, don’t worry about them. Mainly, you need to worry about getting people to join your email list as your #1 priority. My experiments so far have one clear winner: lead magnet + scroll triggered boxes (boxes that pop up when people scroll down enough).
You want people to read your stuff not once, but all the time. This way they get to know you better (i.e. stronger relationship), get more value from your content, and in the end what goes around, comes around (if you know what I mean).
Here’s the formula in steps:
- Have high standards for the quality and thoroughness of your posts.
- Focus on engagement and keeping up with your content.
- Be really good at what you do. Aim to become the best.
- Don’t force sales, but make your products / services easy to find when they’re ready.
Fizzle Charter Members
Hey, just a special follow-up to last week’s announcement from Corbett here.
Next week, we’re going to open our latest project Fizzle up to a limited number of charter members.
As I mentioned in the announcement post last week, we’re working to develop Fizzle into the long-term platform and essential library of training and resources and a community that every online entrepreneur should be a part of.
But we need help from a dedicated group of early adopters (“charter members”) to help us shape the platform with feedback and participation and testing.
So we’re going to open things up early, while everything is fresh, and raw and shapeable.
Charter members in Fizzle will be critical to the platform’s overall success — you’ll get in early, have a huge say about what features and training we build in the next few months, get some time with Chase, Caleb and me, and ultimately be a part of shaping the early stages of a killer community.
We really value your feedback, so we’re also going to give you discounted pricing for life in exchange for your commitment to helping us make Fizzle better suit your needs.
So next Wednesday, September 26, some of you will have a chance to join us as charter members. We’ll send you full details as we get closer.
To get your chance to join Fizzle as a charter member, complete our simple survey and you’ll be added to the insiders’ priority list.