I was browsing the web, visiting my handful of regular blogs (mine and others) and I started noticed a trend take place. Bloggers have accepted a universal strategy in growing their business. What I’m trying to say is they know what works and stick to it going forward. Research has shown certain factors will grow your business dramatically if the right combination is used. What are these factors? Organic traffic, email opt-in, paid marketing, and something known as “F” words. These words come in many different variations; however, they have the same impact on blog growth. I’ve decided to start this blog series where I’ll be discussing some of them and how you can utilize them in your blogging.
Word #1 – “Free” Product
The concept of offering a FREE product to visitors is not new and has been implemented by bloggers for years. A free product should be in the form of an actual product. I remember when I first started skimming through blogs online, I landed on a website that was offering a “USB” 1GB Drive in exchange for answering some questions. The questions were based on ways they, as a business, can improve website design, content, and user experience. Let’s breakdown why this strategy was so effective.
First, purchasing 1GB USB Drives is very inexpensive and the influx of advanced technology has made them even cheaper. For example, AliExpress.com offers 1GB USB Flash Drives for 0.75/piece and purchasing 200 would cost you roughly $150.00 and they offer free shipping. As a business, it’s not a huge investment in exchange for valuable feedback you can receive from your visitors. Next, if you were to ship within North America, it will cost you no more than $1.25 per item. Shipping companies, when calculating prices, will take weight and size into account. Next, they will factor in the shipping method, which is “regular”. Again, it’s an investment that can be affordable by any business with a total investment being $300.00.
Secondly, the ROI in the future can be enormous through the insight gained from these visitors. For example, by them filling out a simply questionnaire, you’ve obtained personal information, including their email address. You can use Aweber.com to create a simple form so they are added to your follow-up sequence. If each visitor is filling out a survey in exchange for this free product, you can tweak your questions so they grow your business moving forward, and, ultimately, your profits. For example, if you’re a blogger, you can ask the following questions:
- What kind of topics should we write about?
- Would you be interested in advertising on our blog?
- How can we improve navigation?
- How is our load time compared to others?
- What overall improvement can we make?
- How can we improve our web design?
The answers to these questions can provide a foundation for you and you can work your way up making adjustments as per feedback. The important thing is to gather all the data and find common answers before making improvements. In short, find out what the popular answers are and then tweak your website accordingly.
Once you’ve made the changes to your website, it’s important to track process over a certain period of time. I usually rely on data gathered between 30-60 days; however, this obviously depends on how much traffic was generated through that time period. The objective should be to gather enough data that you can see a clear trend in performance. I’ve always encouraged a solid tracking program because those who are familiar know that with the right analytics, you can increase ROI 2-3 times within a short period of time.
You don’t need to invest a large sum of money on an analytical program. As a matter of fact, Google Analytics will provide you with all the data you need. If you don’t have it installed on your backend, you can do that now. Next,
Here is the data you should be paying close attention to:
Overall Traffic –
After you implement the strategies learned from your visitors, then track to see if you see a spike in traffic.
Landing Pages –
If you’ve tweaked page design or written content based on user preference, then analyze if more people are reading specific content on your website.
Geographical Location –
See where traffic is coming from and make adjustments accordingly. If traffic is from outside of an English speaking country, then add a foreign language plug-in to translate content.
Search Queries –
What search queries are you now linking for after writing new content and implementing some new strategies? Each time fresh new content is posted, you’ve increased the rate of indexing so check what keywords are new or increased in rankings.
Improve Your Investment
Here’s something to think about the next time you are investing money in marketing. If you have a marketing budget of $300+/mo, you might want to consider investing in a “FREE” product to offer your visitors. I know bloggers who invest $2000/mo on a newspaper or banner advertisement and the ROI is low compared to other marketing strategies. Whenever I’m thinking of investing money into marketing, I look at how I can guarantee a huge return. For example, if I can get feedback, topic ideas, and ways to improve performance, then I’ve done very well.
Here’s the point:
Before investing into your next marketing strategy, try and make use of the “FREE PRODUCT” angle. It’s something I suggest you try once so you know what kinds of results are obtained. Make sure it’s relevant to your blog and you have a tool in place to track statistics.