Congratulations! You’ve built a great blog with high-quality content. You’re getting decent traffic, and your readers might even be using social media tools to recommend your stuff. Life should be good.
But no one’s buying. Or barely anyone, which is no fun.
So why isn’t that great content translating into more sales? Let’s look at three common copy mistakes that keep your readers from becoming customers, and how you can turn that around.
Mistake #1: You haven’t asked them
Recently I was looking at a blogger’s promotion of a big project. He’s mobilized a great community to help spread the word, the project is getting decent buzz, and he’s demonstrated an ability to get folks to take action when he asks them to. From a social Web standpoint, he’s doing a terrific job.
But the sales of the product still aren’t stellar.
When I visit his blog, I notice that I have to hunt around to figure out how to buy the product. There’s no attention-dominating ad that clearly says BUY THE PRODUCT HERE. There are no hyperlinks in his posts that say Click here to buy the product. His email signature doesn’t include a link to buy the product. He hasn’t asked his community to Twitter the TinyURL (which he, of course, could conveniently provide them) for the product.
It’s such a small, simple thing, and it’s very easy to forget. If you have something to sell (or an email list to opt in for, or an RSS feed to subscribe to), you have to ask. Explicitly. In every communication.
Don’t even think of making your readers hunt for the link. They won’t.
If you’re not making calls to action so often and so clearly it’s a little embarrassing, you aren’t making enough calls to action and they’re not clear enough.
Mistake #2: You’re solving a problem they don’t care about
You’re promoting a technique that boosts PageRank (feature), when what your readers want is more traffic (benefit). You’re promoting a supplement that enhances blood flow in the brain (feature), when what your readers want is to remember where they put their damned keys (benefit).
You might be caught up in describing all of your features and how cool you find them, instead of showing your readers the benefits of your offering (in other words, all the fantastic goodies they get by ordering from you).
Or you might be doing a great job of describing your product benefits, but they’re what Clayton Makepeace calls “fake benefits”: benefits no one actually cares about getting.
Either way, your reader doesn’t care about what you’re promoting. Thus, no sale.
Mistake #3: You haven’t given them reason to believe you
One great advantage of a content net strategy over single-shot marketing is that you create an incredible opportunity to build trust. By providing lots of value, you demonstrate that you have your audience’s best interests at heart.
But that trust doesn’t fully translate to your offer. You still have to prove that your product or service will perform as promised.
Tell interesting stories about how the product has already delivered on the promise that you make. (If it’s a brand-new product, give it away for free to some friends to generate a few compelling success stories.)
Show how similar (perhaps more expensive) products have delivered exceptional results. For example, you can describe the amazing benefits clients have gained from your private coaching service, which happens to be the basis of your much less expensive information product.
If your product can be physically demonstrated in a memorable way (Will it Blend being the canonical example), do it. What we see will always be more convincing than what we read.
Pair your proof with a slightly cocky guarantee. Offer “more than your money back,” a 100% refund plus some nominal additional sum for the customer’s trouble. Not only does a powerhouse guarantee remove worry and risk for your customer, it also demonstrates your complete confidence. And confidence is contagious.
When you’re proving your offer, you’ve got to show, not tell. It’s not enough to say it’s great. Show us why we should believe you.
You’ve already done the hard part
Creating valuable content and attracting an audience is a lot of work. (It’s fun work, but it’s still work.) After you’ve put significant time and attention into your content, don’t let a few common copy mistakes keep you from closing the sale.
Correct these three mistakes whenever you make an offer to your blog or email list, and you’ll make the most of the success you’ve worked so hard for.