How Do I Turn an Ecommerce Blog Post into a Selling Machine?

How Do I Turn an Ecommerce Blog Post into a Selling Machine?

Question:

ClarkW_Griswald asks: How do I turn this blog post into a selling machine?

Answer:

John Max: Make sure it’s a good blog post.

John: yeah I mean the first thing is, you know, hey just because it has all of your traffic does not mean it’s the right kind of traffic and I can look back at it again to hark on my own experience but so Facebook changed their algorithm on us, we had eight million Facebook fans and we were posting pictures of products there and getting a very high rate of people seeing them 50-60% of those eight million fans would see and we would get a good deal revenue from posting. Facebook change their algorithms said no you can’t push products anymore, so what we did was started posting content, so we build a content site that any of that getting I think 14-15 million uniques in its biggest month. What we realized pretty quickly was if we wrote about the country music lifestyle and we sold cowboy boots, well if we said “Hey, Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert getting a divorce, traffic-off the charts, sales-nothing, and so we had to find that medium of what the post was about and the ability to drive algorithms on Facebook so if you wrote, for instance “Your 12 favorite boots to wear to country music festivals” something like that, but the engagement wasn’t quite as high, but revenue did flow out of that experience and so what we did on the posts that were, let’s say, Blake and Miranda getting a divorce, so clearly not in the sell product realm, we made it very focused on gaining in an email address so we would do an e-mail pop up and say “hey sign up, here’s a discount” so we try to take it from this very out there, on the fringes of relevant experience to bring it closer to home, and you know that work a little bit. But you know I think it’s that, you know if this is your top converting post a) is it on topic? if it’s not, well joke it up a little bit and people…try and push them down the funnel a little bit and you get a little bit of a legion on that, don’t you think?

John Max: Yeah, I mean, especially if you’re posting a content, depending on where you’re posting, either native or you know, withholding within your own website, a big thing to understand is the content in and of itself is a great way to introduce me, like think about the conversations that you have with people, when you walk up to someone you’re a bad salesman if you walk up and say “buy my stuff!”, right, but if you walk in you start talking to about football you create context and you create a relationship with the person that you’re engaging with, you then follow up with them within Facebook, within Google, you can retarget on infinite amounts of, you know, ways that they engage with you, how long they’re on the site, there are so many ways to create a conversation, so being able to, you know, in sales, the best salespeople are people who you never realize you are being sold, and so when you come in and create content you create a relationship, in the form of cowboy boots, talking about country music is a way…it’s a handshake to get in, like you said drive and find ways and find the highest converting way to then translate that into a sale.

John:The thing about that is it can’t be done once, so if you write one article and it goes nuts and there’s this huge viral spike, or it ranks really well in Google and it’s this steady, repetitive thing, but it’s way up at the top of a funnel and it’s not close to the buying decision, well that is great, but you gotta do that like 10 time ten times or fifty times in order for it to be successful, you know, fifty handshakes before you get a deal, I guess is the way to look at it, so it’s not that there’s not some value in  just content for content sake and build a relationship but that’s a different strategy and it’s got to be more, there gotta be more to it than just the one touch, very shallow experience.

John Max: And Blake, like talking about collecting the e-mail, once you collect the e-mail, what would you recommend from an email flow perspective when they collect that and they get that 20% off 10% off, whatever that is, what would your best recommendations right now, that you’re seeing for when they come in and you feed them another piece of relevant content and then you go in for the ask? Or you to go for the ask right away because they’re going to unsubscribe if they don’t?

Blake: so I think if they are new to your brand, you need to drop them into a drip that introduces them to who you are, start off with kind of some shallow content and then dive deeper into product kind of as you continue to do that drip over the course of probably three or four weeks of sending them email once, maybe twice, a week max.

John: so yeah, I mean that’s the key, if you’ve got someone at the…let’s say there are four steps in the funnel, and they’re there at the very first step of the funnel with this piece of content well hit them with retargeting, well yeah, ask for their email address if you get it great!, and through that you’re going give them more content and more content and more content and more content and keep it super engaging, the whole time whispering hey, I actually solved this problem, you know, you can’t yell about yeah, yeah, yeah, I sell, I sell, I sell, because then you will get an unsubscribe, retargeting maybe you can do that, if they if they perform a very specific action so they come in on ‘Blake and Miranda are getting a divorce’, ‘Carrie Underwood’s famous leg work out’, you know they come in on that kind of concept, they happen to click over and look at a pair of boots, well that’s your cue right then, start being more aggressive, here’s a retargeting email flow, here is a buy this boot email, here’s a Facebook retargeting ad that says ‘buy this’ if they have any go then search for something commerce related over on, well make sure your bid is amped up about 500% above what a normal bid for a regular person Googling that would be, so it’s a data point and done successfully…done correctly, you can use it to push people to the full.

Written by
John James, M.D. is the CEO of Engine, a modern cloud-hosted ecommerce platform. I paid for medical school with an ecommerce business I founded in my dorm room over twenty years ago, and eventually raised over $100 million in venture capital running Acumen Brands. Email me -- john at enginecommerce dot com.