Every blog post you write should be adding to your email list. If not, you are probably stewing over why not. Your content is solid; your headlines are great; you try to follow all marketing trends and your analytics are telling you that readers are coming. And you are offering something to your readers at the end of each post, in exchange for just an email address. And yet, you just are not getting the conversions you want for all of the hard work you are expending. The problem is you are doing what every other blogger is doing.
Now, answer this question: When was the last time you got to the end of a post and provided your email address in exchange for whatever was being offered?
Now, the next question: Why have you not done this?
There are two possible answers:
- What was being offered was not valuable enough
- What was being offered was not really relevant to your reasons for reading the post.
Now, the third question: Are you doing the same thing that everyone else is doing? Offering something not of real value or something that has no relevancy to the post? If you are, then your readers are doing to you exactly what you do when you read posts – ignoring the offer.
You already know part of the solution from the answers you just gave. If you are offering one or two of the same tired old “freebies” and no one is taking the bait, then those “freebies” have to change.
And, if those “freebies” have nothing to do with the content of your post, why would anyone want them?
Some bloggers use the term lead magnet and content upgrade interchangeably, and actually they can be. The basic idea is this: Write a great blog, give it a compelling title, but don’t give away “the whole farm.” Either hold back some “enhancement” content or devise a way to re-package the post content so readers will want to have it in that different form.
- Every post you write must have an offer that relates to the content of the post and that a reader will see as valuable to have.
- Every post must make the offer of that content upgrade in several places throughout the post, especially if the post is lengthy.
And, this will not be a huge amount of extra work if you understand how to do this simply and effectively.
Neil Patel is a well-known expert on content marketing, and he is pretty famous for his long posts, on his blog QuickSprout – some of them may go on for as much as 4,000 words. However, his content is always rich and significant, and he always puts his content upgrade offer in several places throughout his posts.
4 Conversion Rate Optimization Tactics That Hurt You in the Long Run
by NEIL PATEL on FEBRUARY 24, 2016
‘I’m about to show you four specific conversion rate optimization tactics that can appear to give you positive results in the short term but can do serious damage to your business in the long term.
Download this cheat sheet to get to know about 4 conversion rate optimization tactics that hurt you in the long run.
On top of that, I’ll show you what to do instead. ‘
This offer appears on the first page of the post after the first 11 short sentences. And it appears again as the post moves along. The reader is given several opportunities all along the way to download this cheat sheet, which is virtually the same content, just re-packaged.
And, according to Bryan Harris of Video Fruit, this tactic results in conversion rates as high as 20-30%, as opposed to the 6-8% produced by a popup.
Creating Content Upgrades
There are a number of different types of content upgrades you can create, and, yes, they do take time to produce. But consider the alternative. You can continue as you have with a conversion rate that sucks. Or, you can spend an extra 30 minutes or so on each post, crafting a content upgrade that will grow you email list – no contest. Here are the types of content upgrades you should consider.
- A Checklist
Here, you simply turn the main points of your post into a checklist that can be downloaded for future reference. This type of upgrade is perfect for either “how-to” posts or as a list of things or other criteria that a person must have. Here is a simple example:
The Perennial Garden
You have plant nursery. You sell and ship plants anywhere in the U.S. Your blog is obviously related to all things of the yard. You have written a post on the comparative benefits of flowering perennials in gardens and the types of perennials for various climates and sun/shade. You then create a checklist for selecting the right perennials and offer it in a highlighted box throughout your post.
In exchange for that checklist, you get an email address.
Now to create that checklist.
- Make a list of the steps in the process. You might have 7 steps such as in this WikiHow.com article on the same process.
- Fill in the detail under each step, using simple language and pictures or images to make everything clearer.
- Keep the details as short as possible – maybe about 200 words with a great picture for each.
- Format you checklist so that it is attractive and easily downloadable. You can use a program like SweetProcess or Google Docs (free!)
Here is one step from the WikiHow article:
Orchestrate your perennial plants so that one starts blooming when another has finished. Many perennials are seasonal. Choose spring, summer and autumn flowers and plant them next to each other.
TIP: Right here, you could even add another upgrade of a list of perennials that bloom during the three growing seasons – now you have two chances to get a conversion from your readers.
- List of Relevant Links
If you have been filling your posts with bunches of links for your viewers to access, links that provide them with lots of valuable information, you may want to re-think doing so much of that. Rather than provide a full list of valuable links, package those up in a content upgrade and offer it as a download, in exchange for an email address. Here is an example of how Michael Hyatt, author, publisher and blogger has figured this out:
Instead of providing the list within the post itself, readers can download the links in a package.
- A How-To Video
If your post is of the “how-to” variety, consider this: Most people would rather view a video than read a lengthy post, no matter how engaging you make the text content. Often, it’s a question of time management for them. They are in a hurry. Sometimes, it is a question of visual learners who have to “see” rather than “read” something. But videos are extremely popular and they can be offered as a content upgrade even though they contain the same content that has been written.
Your video does not have to be Hollywood level production. If you look at the “how-to” videos on YouTube, you will clearly see that. What you need is high quality resolution and clear audio – all of which can be done from an iPhone. And you can edit that video using any number of great tools, most of which are free. You may be a little nervous if you have not created video before, but as long as you stay relaxed and conversational and your visuals are simple and clear, you will be just fine.
Some Important Considerations:
- Always outline you content – introduction, step-by-step content, and conclusion. You don’t have to memorize a script. Remember, this is a conversational style and tone.
- Record you video in one take. Remember, people expect an informal piece, not a polished production. They just want the information. If you follow your outline you will be fine.
- Edit your video with a good editing tool. Trim off the beginning and the end that is usually “dead” space, and you are good to go.
- Upload the video to YouTube.
- Gate the content with a simple form fill, once the reader clicks through for the download
It’s really that simple.
Here is an example of how Benjamin Moore gives a “how-to” video on how to clean and stain a deck with its products in a little over 3 minutes. This is an ideal time, the steps are followed in perfect order, and the “actor” is relaxed and informal.
TIP: you can also do a Q & A video as an additional bonus download. To find questions related to the topic of your post, go to Quora and enter a few keyword phrases, see what questions are being asked, and use the best ones for your video.
TIP: If you are feeling ambitious, you might want to try a video mini-series, if you post lends itself to that. You can actually shoot the whole thing and then divide it up with an editing tool into 3 separate videos. Readers sometimes feel that they are getting “more bang for the buck” if a series is offered.
- Offer the Post in PDF Format
At first, this might seem totally not valuable to a reader, but consider this. Rather than having to remember your URL or to bookmark the page, it is far more convenient for that reader to download a PDF version and save it.
And this is so easily done through Good Docs.
- Go into Google Docs – create a doc
- Copy and paste your doc
- Fix any format issues you see
- Export it as a PDF doc – done and done
- Run a Contest
Most content marketers think that contests are for social media platforms. Not so! These can be promoted right in a post, and the response rate can be pretty great, if you follow some simple instructions. One of the most important things is that the prize must be of high value to the reader. How about some time with you – a personal one-on-one to have their questions answered and to get direct, actionable advice? Contests are highly compelling, and after each point you make in your post, you can promote that contest.
There are probably a number of ways that you can think of to offer content upgrades to your readers. And, if those upgrades are really valuable, the readers who download them may be very likely to share them within their communities. This only serves to spread your personal brand. Just remember the rules:
- The upgrade must be of value
- The upgrade must be offered several times throughout your post.
Most upgrades will take 30 minutes of less – well worth it if you can get that email list moving again!