There’s an interesting challenge I’ve come up against many times, which I think most professional bloggers know well.
The challenge is how to sell something without using all that horrible “hype” that Internet marketers use.
But wait a second. Hype actually works, or at least good “sales copy” works if you call convincing people to buy what you sell your desired outcome.
The challenge is figuring out what level of “sales talk” to use when trying to sell. You don’t want to be accused of over-hyping something, nor do you want to put in such a weak effort that no one buys.
The problem unfortunately cannot be solved 100% because what is hype to one person is not to another. We all have our own internal “bullshit meter” as it might be labeled, based on all kinds of things like our personality, experience with marketing, emotional state at the time of reference, etc etc.
You can’t account for everything, but you can work with what you should hopefully know quite well – you and your potential customers- and attempt to meet the needs of both.
Did you read that sub-heading? I hope you did.
It might seem a little out of place, but I put it there because one of the messages I want you to take away from reading this blog post is that I’m reopening Membership Site Mastermind for one last day for all the stragglers and latecomers who didn’t join during the opening last week.
I know there are stragglers because they keep emailing me asking if they can squeeze in, so I’m giving you one last chance to take the program with me during this final run for 2009.
This will definitely be the last time it’s open this year. No more one day openings, no exceptions, if you email and ask no matter how good your excuse, you won’t be allowed in. That wouldn’t be fair to the hundreds of people who took initiative and joined when the doors were open.
You can sign up here from 11 AM EST US time on Tuesday for 24 hours only -
So, back to my original thought train…
The challenge I face when writing about the products I sell is the threshold my audience has for me “pitching” my products.
While most people are interested in hearing about the products I create and when I offer the chance to buy in want to know about, the truth is only a teeny-tiny percentage of my overall readership joins.
If I keep bombarding you with blog post and email after blog post after email about the program, I start to lose your attention. It might get so bad that you stop subscribing altogether.
I know this is true because every single launch I do I lose a few hundred subscribers and I even get some fairly insulting emails from people complaining that all I do is send them newsletters asking them to buy something. Thankfully only one or two people usually feel the need to do this.
I know where they are coming from, because during the one-to-two weeks that I run a launch campaign I focus all my emails and blog posts on the product I’m selling, so it can be bit much for some people, especially if they just joined my email newsletter the week the launch began.
When I’m not doing launches my emails and blog posts are less focused on one thing and are content only without any pitch. Besides the affiliate promotions I do, which are never as comprehensive as when I sell my own product, I usually just give people great free stuff and ask for nothing in return but your attention.
Great free stuff is the foundation of a great blog and email list, but from time to time you are going to ask people to buy something, if you intend to be an affiliate marketer or a creator of your own products and services and make money.
There’s nothing wrong with this. This is what business is about. However, when you do it, you want to meet two objectives -
It’s actually quite a challenging balance to get right.
Bloggers inherently are terrible marketers and as a result under-sell what they have.
Internet marketers on the other hand tend to act in the reverse and can be seen to “oversell” or over-hype their offers, relying on sales copy to trigger an emotional response, which converts the sale, but often leads to damaged relationships because of excessive pitching.
This can especially be true if the product is inferior, or the customer support is bad. Unfortunately as is the case sometimes, the marketer doesn’t care about the customer – they just want to make the sale knowing most customers won’t even use the product.
What’s clearly apparent to me is that Internet marketers, in general, do a lot better at making money. Bloggers, bless them, care more about nurturing their audience and would rather avoid a backlash in their comment stream than potentially make more money from “hyping” what they are selling.
There are of course exceptions to these rules on both sides of the fence, and I’m generalizing to a degree, but you can see where I’m coming from. Some people don’t sell enough, while others sell to hard. You need to find the right balance for your audience and marketplace.
In my experience as a blogger who uses Internet marketing to sell, or perhaps an Internet marketer who uses blogging to build relationships, I need to balance what I do carefully using my own style and knowledge of my audience.
My blog and emails are written in my “voice”, which is what people are used to hearing from me. I also know what my audience reacts well to and what it doesn’t, although this is constantly changing and all I can do is make assumptions about the future based on the past, my intuition and knowledge of my “tribe”.
The great thing about sticking to something long enough is you will get a really good feel for what works. You will start to inherently understand what language style is effective, what elements you should emphasize, how you should talk to people and so on.
You’re always evolving what you do because your market is always evolving, however it’s safe to say the longer you do something and the more you repeat it, the better your intuition is about it. You start to know more than you guess and the success ratio will skew in your favor.
In other words, you will know what to say to your audience and how to say it so you maximize sales and minimize how many people you upset while selling.
It’s not a perfect science of course, but it’s definitely something you have to learn as an Internet marketer or professional blogger.
One thing that’s become clearly apparent to me is that it’s much better to sell with content.
Bloggers get this because they come from a world were content is their currency. They are content producing machines who usually have to inject selling as a secondary concern when it comes time to make money.
Marketers, especially those moving from the offline world who are used to relying purely on “advertising” as their preferred method of marketing, have only recently discovered the need to use content. Previously getting a direct sales message into the hands of a target customer would yield a desired response, but that’s not enough now.
Today online business is about knowledge marketing. It’s about teaching and entertaining, writing reviews, having influence in social networks and using multi-media, or more simply put – it’s about giving value before asking people to buy something.
It’s not a tough idea to grasp. Give value, build trust, make the sale, but as marketers are figuring out, this can be at times a fairly labor intensive task.
Ask any blogger who is attempting to build authority in a niche – it’s not an overnight success story scenario. We’re talking long term commitment, with daily effort required, but the rewards make it worthwhile.
Once trust is there, selling becomes a lot less painful because you just need to give people what they want and they will buy from you.
Last week and for most of the week before that, the blog posts I published were pretty much related to Membership Site Mastermind in some shape or form.
You may have noticed that I used content to sell in almost all the blog posts I published as part of the opening launch campaign.
I gave away the 72-page comprehensive free guide to profiting from membership sites called the Membership Site Masterplan. I linked to two previous videos I published earlier in the year about how to figure out what your audience will buy from you and case studies of people launching membership sites NOT in the how to make money niche. I also wrote an article on 3 significant lies people tell themselves which stop them from succeeding online.
All of this content indirectly or directly promoted my product, however each piece offers value regardless of whether someone buys the product. I was teaching, giving away some of my best ideas and helping people move past mindset barriers. This is what good blog marketing is all about, using content to sell without overtly pitching to people.
Of course this isn’t a completely foolproof marketing formula. No doubt some people “switched off” as soon as they even had a hint of me trying to sell them something. They may have even gone so far as to not read this blog anymore because of that.
Unfortunately I can’t please everyone, though you might argue why do I want people so sensitive to a sales message reading my blog, which is about Internet marketing after all, since they so clearly don’t like do be marketed to and will not buy.
Today I have a goal. I need to inform you, via my blog, that Membership Site Mastermind is reopening on Tuesday at 11 AM for 24 hours only here -
When I started thinking about how I could tell you this I was concerned about writing a blog post that simply states this information, perhaps with a little sales copy to convince you to join, laying out all the benefits of taking my coaching program. That style of blog post would be okay, and would likely convert into a few orders, but I risk turning away a lot of people since there really isn’t any content in that format.
Considering there has been so much talk about Membership Site Mastermind on this blog in the last few weeks, not to mention all my affiliates also blogging and writing email newsletters about it, the “noise” is quite substantial. I need to be careful to balance what I give of universal value to all my readers while at the same time, convincing you to take my coaching program if you haven’t already.
So instead of writing a short and simple “sales pitch” I decided to teach a lesson, which as a blogger who has had to deal with this challenge countless times, I can tell you is a very critical lesson to learn if you ever really want to make good money with your blog.
Will this convert more people into my coaching program? Perhaps. Did I avoid turning off people who are sick of hearing about the coaching program? Perhaps. I won’t know until this blog post is published and my program opens for the last 24 hours.
What I do know, based on previous experience, is that my audience likes my content when it’s focused on helping them. You want to learn something from me that you can take away and benefit from immediately.
My job is to educate and motivate, so if I achieve these goals, you come to look to me as a reliable source of training and support. This in turn, results in more trust, and more people deciding to pay for my products too.
If you found this article helpful in any way, then I know you will also benefit from my coaching program Membership Site Mastermind, especially if you plan to launch a membership site or online course in the near future.
You have one final window of 24 hours to join from Tuesday the 3rd of November at 11 AM EST, the last opening for this year before the class starts properly next week with the first live coaching call.
You can sign up here at 11 AM -
And learn how to build a better blog.