Bloggers and selling. You probably don’t put those two words together, but I think they fit well.
Now I’m talking about established bloggers – bloggers with a good amount of traffic and steady stream of RSS subscribers. If you’re one of these bloggers, you can greatly increase your income by selling.
I’m not talking about selling advertising or text links. The problem with advertising is that you’re not selling to most of your readership. In most niches, only a very small percentage of your readers will be interested in buying advertising. These are readers with websites that want traffic or better search engine rankings.
But what about the rest of your readers? How will you monetize them? Sure, you can use AdSense and similar cost per click programs, but don’t neglect selling products to your readership. You can keep the AdSense while testing selling. Oftentimes you’ll find that selling products is more profitable than AdSense.
A Quick Disclaimer
Obviously selling is easier in product driven niches like real estate and travel. Travel is a good example. There is always something to sell in the travel niche. You can sell plane tickets, luggage, books, hotels reservations, cruises, and even travel insurance. However, with some creativity, you can create products in niches that are not product driven. These niches include entertainment, politics, sports, and spirituality. These niches are content driven. If you’re in these niches, don’t be afraid to charge for some of your content. People will pay for excellent content. Here are some ideas: create a membership program, record a video or audio product, or write an ebook.
Why Bloggers Make Great Sales People
Back to bloggers and selling. Why do established bloggers make great sales people? Here are two reasons.
First, these bloggers are trusted. They have a good reputation within their niche. Because of their trustworthy reputation, they can sell much more effectively. Internet users are more likely to buy from people they trust. It’s human nature.
Blogging is the personal medium, and I’ve found that as I keep up with bloggers for a couple of months, I feel like I know them even though I’ve never met them. If they recommend a product, I will check out the product and buy it if I need it. But with bloggers I don’t know about, I probably won’t check out their recommendations.
This works offline too. I have a friend who’s a car salesman. If I need a car, guess who I’m buying it from?
Second, bloggers are good at getting repeat visitors. RSS subscriptions and fresh, new, timely content drives visitors back to blogs. Also, some bloggers have email lists, which brings in even more repeat visitors. Repeat visitors is a key to getting sales. It usually takes a person a couple of exposures of a product before they buy it.
For example, let’s say you have a banner ad where you sell an affiliate product. A visitor clicks through and checks out the product. They probably won’t buy right away even if they’re interested. But if they like your content, they’ll keep coming back to your blog. And they’ll keep seeing the banner ad. Each time they see it, they’ll move closer to buying the product.
Here’s another example. I’ve been following Brian Clark’s Copyblogger for a couple of months. He’s written a lot of great content, so I trusted him. He recently started a membership site. I didn’t join right away. He posted about it multiple times. He didn’t spam. He just connected his membership site to his posts in a relevant way. Each mention made me consider joining. After a couple mentions, I joined.
It may be hard for you to think of yourself as a sales person, but realize that bloggers make good sales people. They have great characteristics: they’re trusted and they get repeat visitors.
Markus, I agree. The blog must be a quality product to successfully sell other products. That’s what I meant when I said this post was for “established bloggers”. Thanks for the relevant link.
Great points Dee. I’ve never really thought of things this way but it make total sense.
I think it is a good idea to start with the fact that a blog is a product by itself: Simplicity, Your Blog and Desirable Products
“Do you see your site as a product? Are you blogging about products?
First of all your website is a product. People buy your blog or they don’t. Have you ever thought about that aspect? (…)”