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10+ Powerful Sales Concepts For Blogging Success

10+ Powerful Sales Concepts For Blogging Success
Sales

Selling Subscriptions to Your Blog

If you’re giving away subscriptions for free, why is it so hard to get subscribers? Well, because there is a cost to subscribing, and the cost is in the form of people’s most valuable currency, time. If you want more RSS subscribers to your blog, then you will need to sell those subscriptions. How do you do that? Simple. You use the same sales principles that any good salesperson needs to employ. Here they are:

1. Sales are Achieved Through Meeting People’s Needs

This is the core task you must achieve. Everything should center around this hub. What are the needs of your target audience? What kind of content do they need: interesting, useful, inspiring, thoughtful, humorous, entertaining, etc? Are you increasing their productivity, helping them make money, save moeny, laugh, feel good, feel excited, and finding them valuable resources? Figure out what your target audience wants and make sure that your content delivers on meeting those needs.


2. People Buy Based on Feelings not Rational Thoughts

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When it comes down to a final purchase of a product, after all the research, people usually go with their gut feeling. Their decision will often boil down to what “feels right.” When it comes to subscribing to a blog, how do you make that decision? Do you find that it is just automatic? You get the feeling of “I want to see more of this” and you just click on that orange button. How can you make your audience feel that way too? Find a way to make them FEEL like they can’t live without your blog. How? The simplest way is with great writing.

3. Ask for the Sale

Oftentimes a sale is lost simply because the seller didn’t ask for the sale. The buyer likes the product, likes the salesperson, but is ambivalent about taking action. Are you asking your readers to subscribe? How? Is it in a place on your blog where readers will “hear it” or is there too much “noise” elsewhere and they miss it? Make sure you’re being heard by clearing out any “visual noise” that is getting in the way of your message.

4. Ask For Referrals

Are you graciously asking for a “referrals” in the form of social bookmarking and emailing to friends? What ways could you be more creative about this? Do you offer an incentive? Are you able to personalize it, such as in replies to your readers’ comments? What would make you want to refer a site? What could an author do to entice you? Test something new. Asking for and receiving referrals will gain you more readers and subscribers in the long run.

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5. It’s a Numbers Game:

Sales is a game of perseverance. In some ways it is kind of like certain aspects of the Survivor show, in that personal drive to win is a big factor in winning. Do you have the tenacity to stick with it during the “lean” times of low subscribers? By staying disciplined, always striving to improve and meet your readers needs, over time you will gain more readers. Stick with it! If your numbers are really going nowhere for a long time, then seek out feedback from your readers, and guidance from other bloggers whom you respect.

6. Networking is King

Sales people spend a lot of time at conferences, golfing, and at networking mixers all in the name of building business (and having fun too). Bloggers also need to network for the purpose of building a readership and also learning from others. Of course there are many ways to network online such as MyBlogLog, BlogCatalog, StumbleUpon, Digg, Delicious, and many more that are springing up all the time. Then there is commenting on blogs and forums, and emailing and IM’ing fellow bloggers. Just like traditional sales networking, it’s important to know what your goal is and stay focused on that. Don’t be the one who got totally drunk at the conference and was too hung over to really learn anything. Have fun, but remember what you are trying to accomplish.

7. SW³: Some Will, Some Won’t, So What!

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Some will like your blog and some won’t. Don’t let it get you down. Stay upbeat and positive. Keep focusing on writing to meet your readers’ needs. Follow your instinct. I read once that if you don’t get dissenting comments at some point, then you are not doing it right. Slow and steady wins the race.

8. People Like to Buy from Positive People

What is the tone of your blog? Is it positive or negative or neutral? You’re more likely to attract readers if there is something positive going on at your site. I’m not saying that you can’t have dark material or negative content. Some readers are looking for heavier subjects. But if they can still walk away with a good feeling then they will want to return. Think about blogs in your genre and what kind of culture they have there. What do you want your culture to be, and how can you make it a positive experience for your readers?

9. People Like to Buy Things That are Shiny, New and Sparkly

If you’re not improving you’re falling behind. I heard that once. I didn’t like it. But it’s true. You need to always be prepared to adjust to the times or your readers’ interest or to new technologies. You need to stay on top of your field. Does anything on your site need updating or improving? Ask a few people you trust to give you the brutal truth, and then take some action on comments you hear from multiple sources.

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10. If I Trust You, I Will Buy from You

Trust is built over time. Are you consistent in your writing, in your opinions? Take notice of whether you give different opinions from one day to the next on a particular topic. This doesn’t mean that you can’t adapt over time, but when you do change opinions you acknowledge that fact and explain why. Trust is also built by consistency in your posting frequency. Do you follow through with promises you make to your readers, such as future posts or followup on questions? Make sure your readers can count on you. They are watching more carefully than you think.

BONUS: #11. The Price is Right – not necessarily the lowest, but the fairest with respect to the value.

The longer your posts are and the more frequently you write, the more “expensive” your subscription is to a reader. Make sure that the value you provide is commensurate with these two aspects of your blog. How do you figure that out? Here’s one way: when you consider writing each post imagine the top blog that you know of in your field which has thousands of subscribers, and ask yourself “Would I be comfortable submitting this as a guest post on that blog?” If not, then go back to the drawing board. Ask yourself what makes you click on a story, and then try to emulate those types of articles.

What do you think are the success principles for selling blog subscriptions? Please share your thoughts!

K. Stone is author of Life Learning Today, a blog about daily life improvements. A few of her most popular articles are 7 Easy Ways to Improve Your Financial Life, Make Money with Your Blog: The Ultimate Resource List, 3 Tips to Landing the Job You Want, and 5 Big Secrets “They” Don’t Want You to Know About Investing.

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Last Updated on March 14, 2019

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

Recruiters might hold thousands of interviews in their careers and a lot of them are reporting the same thing—that most candidates play it safe with the questions they ask, or have no questions to ask in a job interview at all.

For job applicants, this approach is crazy! This is a job that you’re going to dedicate a lot of hours to and that might have a huge impact on your future career. Don’t throw away the chance to figure out if the position is perfect for you.

Here are 7 killer questions to ask in a job interview that will both impress your counterpart and give you some really useful insights into whether this job will be a dream … or a nightmare.

1. What are some challenges I might come up against this role?

A lesser candidate might ask, “what does a typical day look like in this role?” While this is a perfectly reasonable question to ask in an interview, focusing on potential challenges takes you much further because it indicates that you already are visualizing yourself in the role.

It’s impressive because it shows that you are not afraid of challenges, and you are prepared to strategize a game plan upfront to make sure you succeed if you get the job.

It can also open up a conversation about how you’ve solved problems in the past which can be a reassuring exercise for both you and the hiring manager.

How it helps you:

If you ask the interviewer to describe a typical day, you may get a vibrant picture of all the lovely things you’ll get to do in this job and all the lovely people you’ll get to do them with.

Asking about potential roadblocks means you hear the other side of the story—dysfunctional teams, internal politics, difficult clients, bootstrap budgets and so on. This can help you decide if you’re up for the challenge or whether, for the sake of your sanity, you should respectfully decline the job offer.

2. What are the qualities of really successful people in this role?

Employers don’t want to hire someone who goes through the motions; they want to hire someone who will excel.

Asking this question shows that you care about success, too. How could they not hire you with a dragon-slayer attitude like that?

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How it helps you:

Interviewers hire people who are great people to work with, but the definition of “great people” differs from person to person.

Does this company hire and promote people with a specific attitude, approach, worth ethic or communication style? Are the most successful people in this role strong extroverts who love to talk and socialize when you are studious and reserved? Does the company reward those who work insane hours when you’re happiest in a more relaxed environment?

If so, then this may not be the right match for you.

Whatever the answer is, you can decide whether you have what it takes for the manager to be happy with your performance in this role. And if the interviewer has no idea what success looks like for this position, this is a sign to proceed with extreme caution.

3. From the research I did on your company, I noticed the culture really supports XYZ. Can you tell me more about that element of the culture and how it impacts this job role?

Of course, you could just ask “what is the culture like here? ” but then you would miss a great opportunity to show that you’ve done your research!

Interviewers give BIG bonus point to those who read up and pay attention, and you’ve just pointed out that (a) you’re diligent in your research (b) you care about the company culture and (c) you’re committed to finding a great cultural fit.

How it helps you:

This question is so useful because it lets you pick an element of the culture that you really care about and that will have the most impact on whether you are happy with the organization.

For example, if training and development is important to you, then you need to know what’s on offer so you don’t end up in a dead-end job with no learning opportunities.

Companies often talk a good talk, and their press releases may be full of shiny CSR initiatives and all the headline-grabbing diversity programs they’re putting in place. This is your opportunity to look under the hood and see if the company lives its values on the ground.

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A company that says it is committed to doing the right thing by customers should not judge success by the number of up-sells an employee makes, for instance. Look for consistency, so you aren’t in for a culture shock after you start.

4. What is the promotion path for this role, and how would my performance on that path be measured?

To be clear, you are not asking when you will get promoted. Don’t go there—it’s presumptuous, and it indicates that you think you are better than the role you have applied for.

A career-minded candidate, on the other hand, usually has a plan that she’s working towards. This question shows you have a great drive toward growth and advancement and an intention to stick with the company beyond your current state.

How it helps you:

One word: hierarchy.

All organizations have levels of work and authority—executives, upper managers, line managers, the workforce, and so on. Understanding the hierarchical structure gives you power, because you can decide if you can work within it and are capable of climbing through its ranks, or whether it will be endlessly frustrating to you.

In a traditional pyramid hierarchy, for example, the people at the bottom tend to have very little autonomy to make decisions. This gets better as you rise up through the pyramid, but even middle managers have little power to create policy; they are more concerned with enforcing the rules the top leaders make.

If having a high degree of autonomy and accountability is important to you, you may do better in a flat hierarchy where work teams can design their own way of achieving the corporate goals.

5. What’s the most important thing the successful candidate could accomplish in their first 3 months/6 months/year?

Of all the questions to ask in a job interview, this one is impressive because it shows that you identify with and want to be a successful performer, and not just an average one.

Here, you’re drilling down into what the company needs, and needs quite urgently, proving that you’re all about adding value to the organization and not just about what’s in it for you.

How it helps you:

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Most job descriptions come with 8, 10 or 12 different job responsibilities and a lot of them with be boilerplate or responsibilities that someone in HR thinks are associated with this role. This question gives you a better sense of which responsibilities are the most important—and they may not be what initially attracted you to the role.

If you like the idea of training juniors, for example, but success is judged purely on your sales figures, then is this really the job you thought you were applying for?

This question will also give you an idea of what kind of learning curve you’re expected to have and whether you’ll get any ramp-up time before getting down to business. If you’re the type of person who likes to jump right in and get things done, for instance, you may not be thrilled to hear that you’re going to spend the first three months shadowing a peer.

6. What do you like about working here?

This simple question is all about building rapport with the interviewer. People like to talk about themselves, and the interviewer will be flattered that you’re interested in her opinions.

Hopefully, you’ll find some great connection points that the two of you share. What similar things drive you head into the office each day? How will you fit into the culture?

How it helps you:

You can learn a lot from this question. Someone who genuinely enjoys his job will be able to list several things they like, and their answers will sound passionate and sincere. If not….well, you might consider that a red flag.

Since you potentially can learn a lot about the company culture from this question, it’s a good idea to figure out upfront what’s important to you. Maybe you’re looking for a hands-off boss who values independent thought and creativity? Maybe you work better in environments that move at a rapid, exciting pace?

Whatever’s important to you, listen carefully and see if you can find any common ground.

7. Based on this interview, do you have any questions or concerns about my qualifications for the role?

What a great closing question to ask in a job interview! It shows that you’re not afraid of feedback—in fact, you are inviting it. Not being able to take criticism is a red flag for employers, who need to know that you’ll act on any “coaching moments” with a good heart.

As a bonus, asking this question shows that you are really interested in the position and wish to clear up anything that may be holding the company back from hiring you.

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How it helps you:

What a devious beast this question is! On the surface, it looks straightforward, but it’s actually giving you four key pieces of information.

First, is the manager capable of giving you feedback when put on the spot like this? Some managers are scared of giving feedback, or don’t think it’s important enough to bother outside of a formal performance appraisal. Do you want to work for a boss like that? How will you improve if no one is telling you what you did wrong?

Second, can the manager give feedback in a constructive way without being too pillowy or too confrontational? It’s unfair to expect the interviewer to have figured out your preferred way of receiving feedback in the space of an interview, but if she come back with a machine-gun fire of shortcomings or one of those corporate feedback “sandwiches” (the doozy slipped between two slices of compliment), then you need to ask yourself, can you work with someone who gives feedback like that?

Third, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about before you leave the interview. This gives you the chance to make a final, tailored sales pitch so you can convince the interviewer that she should not be worried about those things.

Fourth, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about period. If turnover is keeping him up at night, then your frequent job hopping might get a lot of additional scrutiny. If he’s facing some issues with conflict or communication, then he might raise concerns regarding your performance in this area.

Listen carefully: the concerns that are being raised about you might actually be a proxy for problems in the wider organization.

Making Your Interview Work for You

Interviews are a two-way street. While it is important to differentiate yourself from every other candidate, understand that convincing the interviewer you’re the right person for the role goes hand-in-hand with figuring out if the job is the right fit for you.

Would you feel happy in a work environment where the people, priorities, culture and management style were completely at odds with the way you work? Didn’t think so!

More Resources About Job Interviews

Featured photo credit: Amy Hirschi via unsplash.com

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