Monday, July 27, 2009

#Blogchat 7-26 Recap; How to Use Your Blog to Generate Sales and Leads With @AmyAfrica

Last night Amy Africa joined #blogchat to help us understand how we can generate more sales and leads from our business blogs. I wanted Amy to sit in on a blogchat because she's SERIOUSLY helped me with my efforts to generate leads and business from my consulting site,, and I knew she would really help #blogchat participants. Quite frankly, so many of us in the social media space SUCK at self-promotion and 'asking for the order'. So I knew this was an area where Amy could help so many of us.

And when the smoke cleared, last night's #blogchat had amassed a staggering 1,300+ tweets in a little over 2 hours. For reference, the most active #blogchat we had before last night got 820 tweets. Here is a direct link to the #blogchat transcript and make SURE you save this.

Here are 10 key takeaways for me from last night's #blogchat:

1 - Ask for the order. This is second-nature to most people outside the 'social media fishbowl', but many of us that are active in this space have a tough time asking for the order. I've learned from experience that the more you promote yourself, the better you get at it. So get started!

2 - Figure out what action you want visitors to take. Do you want them to email you? Place an order? I think a BIG problem many of us have with our blogs is we focus on getting more interaction, but we do a poor job of leveraging those interactions toward the action we want our visitors to take.

3- Sites/blogs have 4 'quads' and your 'call-to-action' needs to be in at least 3 of those quads, all four is better.

4 - Put your 'call to action' in different forms because different users respond in different ways. For example, if the action you want your visitors to take is to give you their email address so you can contact them, you need to ask for their email in different ways. Such as via leaving a comment, signing up for a free email newsletter, completing a poll/survey. And these different forms also need to be in different quads, as mentioned in #3.

5 - Use visuals centered around your 'call to action'. Want visitors to sign up for your free newsletter? Then add a nice visual to the signup (Check out how Amy does this on her site, check the right sidebar). We think visually, and pretty pictures matter.

6 - Visitors to your blog/site look to the left for help, the right when they want to leave. Consider this when you organize your site, give them a reason to stay and putting 'click here NOW' or such on the right. Also, 'Click here NOW' is far more effective than 'Click here'. And the righthand column is a great place to put your Twitter feed.

7 - If you want visitors to spend more time on your site, improve your site's navigation.

8 - Every blog should have a CLEAR way for visitors to email you. If the only option is a form you will lose 1/4th of the responses.

9 - When you want visitors to take an action on your blog, use Buttons, not links.

10 - The average visitors makes all their decisions on your blog based on the FIRST screen they see. Consider this when you decide what action you want them to take, and place your calls to action accordingly.

And trust me, that's only a fraction of the smartitude covered last night. Make SURE you get the transcript from last night's #blogchat, follow Amy on Twitter, and subscribe to her QLOG.

What was YOUR key takeaway from last night's #blogchat?


Jeffrey Tang said...

This may not be as insightful, but my biggest takeaway from last night's #blogchat was the importance of finding a community around things you care about, in this case, blogging.

I showed up late, but still got tons of tidbits to think about and apply, including many of the ones on this list.

Looking forward to next week's chat!

Anonymous said...

Nice, concise list, Mack. Thanks for collecting the wisdom into shareable bites! Another takeaway for me is that marketing rules apply here...
- Thinking about your blog from the visitor's perspective (where do they expect certain links or content to be?)
- If you are in business to make money AND you have a blog about your business or business-related issues, then you must treat the blog as a sales tool. Doesn't sound all warm and fuzzy (we like to talk about sharing and engaging) but it's some truth that needs to be spoken and embraced.

I tackled a few issues on my newbie blog today, and will be tackling more as I develop (or beg or borrow) some Wordpress skills to make the changes.

Mack Collier said...

Mandy you are exactly right that we need to be honest with ourselves about the focus of our blog. I remember a few weeks ago when Amy was helping me with my site, at one point I was changing something and I emailed her 'This is the problem right here; I'm trying to win friends, not customers'. And I think a lot of us do the same thing, we want to increase interactions and comments and links, but we don't know how to leverage those increased interactions into increased leads and sales.

It's something I'm struggling with, but following Amy's advice has definitely improved my efforts!

Lois Geller said...

I learned so much from the blogchat last night. I wasn't asking for email addresses, or anything.
Amy Africa read me the riot act today.
Been doing direct marketing my whole career...and just wasn't using the same principles on my blog.
In fact with that long list of blogs you read, mine wasn't among them.
In fact, I guess I was writing Joy of Direct Marketing just for myself.
Thanks for helping me see the error of my ways.

Lois Geller said...

Kami Huyse said...

I will go and try to find it in the transcript, but what are Quads?

Unknown said...

Users see things in views (screens), not pages. When they look at a view/screen, they tend to break down the area into quads (four distinct boxes.) If you took your screen and split it down the middle, you'd have the left and right quad. If you split it about 60-65% from the top, you'd have top and bottom (or upper and lower) quads. The upper right and upper left quads are the most important. The upper right serves a very useful purpose that a lot of usability experts don't see (as they look for usability and not action generation) which is that it's basically the SAVE area. Additionally, the whole righthand column, if used appropropriately can SAVE you from leaving/exiting. Hope this helps. --Amy

Kami Huyse said...

Thanks Amy, have seen this in eye tracking studies. I like the idea of the right being a Save column.

Makes sense since when you are ready to move on you "turn the page."

Old habits die hard.