Please welcome Giles Thomas this week with this insightful and straightforward guide to increasing conversions on your blog.
Getting people to opt-in to your email newsletter is pretty tough.
It’s frustrating seeing low conversion rate numbers of 1% or even less!
To increase conversion rate on your blog you need to not only understand your customer and their pain points but also user experience, form design and conversion psychology.
In this post we’ll dive into these subjects and look at 3 ways you can increase your blog’s conversion rate.
Scroll to the bottom or read to the end to get the Free Bonus Content. Includes ‘The Definitive Guide to List Building” and free Content Cliffhanger wordpress plugin.
Let’s get started.
Customer Development Copywriting
Understanding your customers can be what stands between you and success.
So when we are designing our blog or website we need to ensure we create customer development loops, automated ways to learn from and survey potential customers.
One easy and fast way to do this is to use email autoresponders.
Email autoresponders are automated emails that get sent out at defined times from the point at which someone signs up to your email newsletter.
When someone signs up to your email list they are giving you the opportunity to not only welcome them and hopefully help them out but also for you to learn about their problems and how specifically they define them.
Crafting the perfect welcome email
Your welcome email should ask your potential customers what problems they are having, it should ask them to tell you their problems with the promise to reply and help out them out too.
Here is what my welcome email looks like.
The email does two things, it shows you really care about the person and value the fact they signed up by offering them free advice.
It also allows you to learn about what they are ‘struggling with’.
These pain points can form the basis of your first product or service, they can inform you on how to improve your current offering or they can be perfect fuel to help create a targeted lead magnet.
You can record all the answers you get from these introductory email questions in a spreadsheet (obviously after you reply and offer your free advice, you need to give back too!) and look for patterns.
List down all the answers you get and remember to save the person’s email and name.
To ensure you get the most value from the data you are collecting you need to study the way in which your audience talks about their problems.
People have on numerous occasion when complaining about having low traffic told me they:
“Feel like their website is invisible”
Strange wording no?
These idiosyncrasies can be inverted and turned into powerful headlines and call to actions for your blog lead magnets or landing pages and also to help sell your product or service too.
“Ever feel like your website is invisible?”
This would make for a great headline for my audience when offering a product or service that helped people increase their traffic.
- Make sure to set up a welcome email that digs deeper into your audience’s problems and frustrations
- Take your customers pain points and the exact language and phrases they use to describe them and invert them into sales and marketing copy within your designs
Designing a SignUp Form that Converts
We have collected information on our audiences pain points, we’ve found the big problems and we know what language they use to describe these problems.
Now we can create a resource or piece of content that answers those problems and offer it to them in exchange for an email address.
Tie your button copy to your headline
The first part of designing your form is writing the copy. Design starts with content, always.
When crafting the copy for your form make sure that the headline and button copy are tied together.
For example if you headline reads: “Start your 30 day free trial”
Then the button would read: “Start Free Trial”
Make sure the button uses action words like ‘get’, ‘download’.
Your button copy should finish this sentence: “I want to _______.”
Privacy policies make more difference than you realize
A lot of people include privacy policies by their opt-ins to alleviate fears users have around data privacy.
In this case study they added a message that read: “100% privacy – we will never spam you!”
But conversions decreased after it was added by 18.70% with a statistical significance of 96%.
They then tested a new variation: “We guarantee 100% privacy. Your information will not be shared.”
I believe the original test did not work because they used what I call in conversions a ‘halt word’.
The inclusion of the word ‘spam’ in the original messaging put negative connotations in the users mind and therefore decreased conversions.
There are many other user experience best practices for form conversions you can consider.
- Tie the headline and the form button copy together
- A/B test everything, there are no set rules in conversions
Increase Conversion Rate on Your Blog Using the Content Cliffhanger Technique
We’ve researched and learned how to talk directly to our potential customers and their needs.
We’ve looked at how to design a killer opt-in form.
Now let’s look at a little known marketing technique that helped turn my blogs conversion rate from 3% to 22.46%.
The Content Cliffhanger Technique
Next I’ll explain step by step how it works, but first let’s understand the psychology behind the technique.
The Zeigarnik Effect
Just like in a hollywood movie, when it comes to your blog conversion rate cliffhangers work like a charm!
This is explained by a psychological study called the ‘Zeigarnik effect’.
It’s when a narrative or a piece of content starts but is not finished, our brain then keeps the information, pushing it back into our conscious mind again and again until the story is complete.
They discovered it is human nature to finish what we have started and if it’s not, we can’t stop thinking about it.
Bluma Zeigarnik a Russian psychologist discovered the principle after her professor Kurt Lewis noticed something intriguing about waiting staff.
After watching them when working tables, they realised the staff had much better recollection of unpaid orders than paid ones.
Even to the point that, when the table exited the restaurant and closed the cheque the staff would forget their order all together.
The information loop stayed open in the persons mind until the table was done, because the story or narrative of that table was not finished.
Leveraging more emails using Zeigarnik’s findings
We can put this technique to work in our blog posts to ensure we collect more emails.
By starting a narrative or information loop in the blog post and asking for an email address from the reader to complete the information.
Here’s is the step by step.
Write a piece of content on a niche topic
For example ‘How to get killer abs’.
In the post start an information loop, the beginning of the story, the set up for your cliffhanger.
Use one of my free content archetypes templates to design your free download, like a pdf, they are included in the bonus download content.
With the Content Cliffhanger plugin offer the reader a free download
Create a download for the post that tells the reader the remaining 4 ways they can improve their abs or offer a high value resource like a video.
Allow the reader to close the information loop by downloading the free content.
Record the difference in your email opt-in rate before
Now while I cannot promise you exact opt in rates, I have never seen a less than 5% shift in conversions when using this technique and plugin.
The difference with this plugin and most others is that you can customize the form and its contents for every post or page. So you can have free downloads that are always aligned with your pages content.
That is the secret behind the technique, when the users search intent is aligned with the opt-in offer, you see much higher conversion rates. Because the give away is aligned with what they originally searched for on google.
Start an idea in your blog post but finish it in the download, like a cliffhanger in a good tv series.
People then want to close the information gap or loop, increasing the likelihood of conversion.
This works much better than generic opt ins like, ‘Get Updates’ or ‘Join the newsletter for the latest content’.
You can have high conversions rates too
But you need to put into practice what you have learned in this post.
So I’ve put together a bonus area for people committed to making a conversion change.
What you get in the bonus content
- 65 page in-depth guide to List Building
- Free Content Cliffhanger wordpress plugin
- PDF, 11 Types of content downloads to incentivize your opt-ins including free templates