If you’re a savvy blogger, then you already know the importance of content marketing. And you’re probably already using content to build relationships with your visitors and subscribers, pull in traffic from the search engines and pre-sell products. But here’s the thing…
No matter what kind of post you’re writing – an optimized post for the search engines or one to build trust with your readers – You can use it to promote offers. Now you could create a post that’s a direct sales pitch. Or you can use a “stealth technique” to indirectly pitch a product.
Either way, your posts are one of your most POWERFUL selling tools!
Here then are 10 different posts you can use to promote offers…
1. Making Sales With the Direct Pitch Post
When you think of a post, you probably think of a tips or a resources list or “how to” instructional content. Indeed, those probably are the most common types of post you’ll find online. Now plenty of visitors wouldn’t consider subscribing to a newsletter or returning and reading regularly if every post on your blog was a direct sales pitch. But if you sprinkle in the occasional direct-pitch post among your others chances are you’ll enjoy a high conversion rate.
So what does a direct-pitch post look like? It’s essentially a mini sales letter that would includes all the features of an ad. Here’s how to do it…
Step #1: Craft an Attention-Getting Post Title
The title is one of the most important parts of your post, because if it doesn’t capture your reader’s attention, they won’t even bother reading the rest. That means you need to include a benefit in your title and/or arouse curiosity. Let’s suppose you’re pitching an affiliate marketing product.
Here are examples of attention-getting titles:
- Seven Reasons Every Marketer Ought to Read [Product Name] (Note: This one works on curiosity.)
- How to Triple Your Income Overnight (This one puts forth a big benefit.)
Step #2: Answer WIIFM?
Once a visitor starts reading your post, they’re going to be wondering “WIIFM?” (What’s in it for me?) And you need to answer that question quickly or your reader will quickly lose interest and move on. All you have to do is list the benefits of the product.
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Step #3: Create a Compelling Call to Action
You’ve got your reader interested in the product. Now you have to call them to action. If you’ve written a long post with the intent to completely sell the reader on buying the product your call to action should encourage the reader to buy.
Example: “Take out your credit card and click this link…” (with the link leading to an order form).
If your pitch is designed to pre-sell the reader and you want the product’s sales letter to close them, then your main call to action is to encourage the reader to click through to the sales letter.
Example: “Click here now to find out how you can triple your profits overnight…” (with the link leading to the sales letter).
Tip: For best results, give your prospect a reason to click the link and buy now. Example: You can offer prospects a bonus if they purchase the product using your promotion link within a certain time-frame.
2. Build Up Interest with a Case Study
A case-study works well because it’s a form of social proof. You see, most readers won’t completely believe a marketer’s claim. But when they see proof – such as a person just like them who’s getting results – it helps to persuade them to purchase the product.
And that’s why a case study post is a great pre-selling tool. A case study is pretty straightforward. Your post details what problem you (or someone else had) and how the product you’re promoting helped you/someone else to overcome the problem.
You may even offer proof of your results, such as a set of “before” and “after” pictures, screenshots, videos, etc.
Let me give you a few examples:
- You’re promoting a general “make money online” product. You find an online marketing beginner and track his results as he goes through the course and applies what he learns. Not only do you talk about the financial impact of his results, you also talk about the emotional impact (e.g., how thrilled he was to wipe out his credit card debt).
- You’re promoting a “build muscle” product. You take pictures and measurements of yourself before using the product. Then you use the product for eight weeks (while taking pictures and measurements on a weekly basis). Then you write a post about these results and share your conclusion as to how well the product works.
Tip: Think of your article as a long testimonial for the product, where you include measurable, verifiable proof that the product works.
3. Weaving Offers into “How To” Posts
The “how to” post is one of the most common types of posts. Typically, this is where you give your readers step-by-step instructions on how to complete some task or process.
- The Quick and Easy Way to Turn Your Clunker Into a Showroom-New Car!
- The Secrets of Getting Grass Stains Out of White Pants
- The Three Easy Steps to Getting Top Rankings in the Search Engines
While there are multiple ways to promote offers in “how to” posts, here are our two favorite methods:
1. Weave links into the content. This is where the completion of one of more of your steps requires the use of some sort of product. Naturally, you recommend a specific product.
Example #1: Let’s suppose you’re writing a post about how to wash, wax and detail a car. You can include affiliates links for your preferred brand of wax.
Example #2: Your post teaches people how to optimize their content for the search engines. The first step is to find keywords using a keyword research tool, which gives you the perfect opportunity to recommend your preferred tool.
2. Provide useful but incomplete information. This strategy works well for information products (like books, ebooks, reports, videos, etc). Here you share some information, but it’s not complete. The reader needs to purchase the product in order to get all the details.
Example #1: Your post provides information about how to groom a matted poodle. The article may provide specific instructions for getting out the mats, but the reader needs to purchase a grooming video to learn the final steps (how to clip and groom the dog). Example #2: You’re writing about how to make more money as an affiliate. Your post includes instructions on cloaking links – but it merely tells people what to do, not how to do it. For full instructions, the reader needs to purchase your affiliate marketing ebook.
4. Promoting Offers in a Tips Post
Instead of offering step-by-step instructions, a tips post – just as the name implies – offers a series of tips to help the reader complete a task or process.
- Five Tips for More Beautiful Hair
- The Seven “Must Have” Items to Pack for Your Next Trip to Vietnam
- Three Ways to Improve Your Memory
Just like the “how to” post, you can weave your offers right into the content. You can even do this directly, such as by having one of your tips be to purchase a specific product.
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- Tip #10: Buy a good flea comb. (This is for a post about removing fleas from a kitten. Naturally, you’d provide a specific recommendation with an affiliate link.)
Also, just like the how to post, you can provide useful but incomplete information as a way to pre-sell an information product. This works particularly well for a “tips product,” where you can share a handful of the tips and direct the prospect to order the product to get the rest. For instance you could write an article covering five copywriting tips as a way to pre-sell a product that covers 101 tips for better sales letters.
5. Promoting Products in Interview Posts
If you’re promoting affiliate products, then one way to impress your readers is to interview the product creator (who presumably is the expert on the topic). Then you can include your affiliate link at the end of the post.
When you think of an interview, you might think of something like, “How did you get started doing this?” and other personal questions. However, the interview will be much more powerful if you instead focus on asking questions about the topic/product itself.
- Ask a copywriting expert, “How do you write high-response headlines?
- Ask a dog-training expert, “What’s the biggest mistake new dog owners make when they’re house training a puppy?”
- Ask an affiliate marketer their top three secrets for getting so much traffic to their sites.
In short: Ask questions that directly relate to the product you’re promoting.
The good news here is that writing this type of post is easy – all you have to do is present it in a “question and answer” format. Then include your affiliate link when you promote the product at the end. The tricky part is to get product creators to agree to the interview.
Typically, you can increase the chances of them saying yes by:
- Making money for them first. Become an affiliate, show that you can put cash in their pocket, and they’ll be more likely to entertain your interview requests.
- Build a relationship. Meet product creators at offline seminars, network with them on Twitter, get to know them via private messaging on popular forums, email them. Point is, befriend them first… and securing any JV’s (joint ventures) in the future will be easier.
- Tell them the benefits. Whether you’re writing to a good friend or someone you’ve never talked to before, you need to give them a reason to say yes to your request. That is, tell them the benefits.
Here’s a short and sweet email template you can use to request interviews. Do note that this particular email works best if the product creator already has some sense of who you are (e.g., you’ve made sales for them, met them at a conference, etc).
Subject: I’d like to feature you in my next blog post…
Dear [First Name],
Hi [First Name], it’s [your name] here from [your site]. I’m writing to request a short written interview that I can feature in an upcoming blog post and newsletter.
In exchange, you’ll get traffic, sales and new customers, since the goal of the interview is to promote your newest product, [name of product]. And since I have a newsletter list of [number] eager subscribers, you can expect plenty of sales.
All you have to do to get these benefits is answer the five questions below. If you have any comments or concerns, don’t hesitate to contact me at [enter contact info].
I appreciate your time! And I look forward to helping you bring in new sales.
Here are the questions:
6. Comparing & Recommending Products
If you just have one product to recommend, then you can pre-sell it using a simple product review post. In most cases your readers will just need confirmation from a trusted source (you) that the product they’re researching will solve their problems. That’s where your product review post comes in. Inside, you tell people what’s good about the product, what’s bad about the product and why they should (or shouldn’t) buy it. If you recommend it, then you drop your affiliate link and make some money.
However, if the product you’re reviewing has competition from another similar product – or if you want to promote two or more similar products – then you can use the product comparison post instead.
The general outline is the same as the product review post, specifically:
- You introduce both products and their intended audience and benefits.
- You list the good points of each product.
- You list the bad points of each product.
- You wrap up by noting whether you recommend one, both or neither of the products.
In some cases you may compare two products in which one of them is a good product and one of them (in your opinion) is awful. In that case, recommend the good product and drop your affiliate link. Don’t link to the bad product, at least not with an affiliate link (otherwise your product review seems worthless if you’re going to try to get people to buy the poor product so you can pocket a commission).
There may be cases where you don’t like either product. That’s ok. You can tell your readers why you don’t recommend either one… and then offer them an alternative (better) product recommendation.
Finally, there are also times when both products are good and you’d recommend both of them. However, if you just outright recommend both of them, your reader is going to be just as confused as before he started reading your comparison article. In this instance tell your readers what type of person should buy the products.
Let’s suppose you’re comparing two social media marketing ebooks… and you recommend both. You might qualify your recommendation like this:
“If you’re just looking for simple information about how to get the biggest following with very limited time, then get [Product A]. If you’d like marketing information plus killer tips on how to actually engage and build a strong social media driven brand, then [Product B] is the one for you.”
7. Dropping Offers In “Top Ten” Posts
People like lists. In particular, they seem to gravitate towards top ten lists. If you doubt this is true, just look at how popular “list style” posts are on blogs, forums and sites like YouTube. Or enter the search “top ten” into a keyword tool, and you’ll find that people are actively searching for top ten lists such as:
- Top ten Christmas gifts.
- Top ten beaches in the world.
- Top ten movies of all time.
- Top ten business books to read.
- Top ten smart phones
And I could go on and on. Just check out your favorite keyword tool and you’ll uncover dozens of “top ten” lists that people in your niche are searching for right now.
Now look at those examples I just gave you. Notice how you could create a “top ten” post around all of those topics… and in almost all cases, you could drop your affiliate link for each product. In other words, you’d have ten affiliate links in each list you create. 🙂
Example: Your “top ten business books” post would start with an introduction, then you’d list your top books (with Amazon affiliate links for each of the titles on your list) and then you’d wrap up the post with a conclusion that reiterates why you think those are the top ten your readers should invest in.
In other cases, you might not provide an affiliate link for each item. Instead, you’d provide one affiliate link at the end. Example: You’d provide one travel site affiliate link for the top ten beaches article.
So what kind of lists can you provide in your niche? As an example, if you’re an online marketer then you might create lists like:
- Top ten affiliate marketing courses or books.
- Top ten desktop software tools every marketer needs.
- Top ten services every marketer ought to subscribe to.
- Top ten marketing graphic stock sites a designer should join.
8. Creating a “Day in the Life” Post
The goal of a case study post is to show what kind of results a typical user gets, while the goal of the interview post is to showcase the product creator’s expertise. Now we have another kind of post, the “day in the life”.
Basically, this is an inspiration post that’s used to evoke emotion in your readers. You want them to imagine themselves living the sort of life you describe in the post. Naturally, the post recommends a product that will help people achieve that same lifestyle.
Let me give you a few examples…
A Day in the Life of an Internet Millionaire. Here you might talk about what sort of work the person does in a typical day. But you’d also push the emotional and social proof buttons by talking about the person’s luxurious lifestyle. At the end of the post you’d recommend an Internet marketing course (preferably one that the millionaire created).
A Day in the Life of a Personal Trainer. This would be a good story for a fitness or weight loss product. You’d talk about useful information – such as what the trainer eats and what types of exercises she does to keep in shape – but you’d also touch on the emotional hot buttons (and get the reader to identify) by sharing some of the person struggle’s of the trainer’s clients.
A Day in the Life of a Work at Home Mom. Here you’d share the mom’s tips of how she juggles work and family. At the end you could promote anything from an online marketing product to a time-management product.
9. Engaging Readers With a Quiz Post
If you can get your readers active and engaged in your post, they’ll read through to the end. That means you have a good chance on pre-selling them on your offer. And one way to engage your readers is by asking them to take a quiz.
Tip: Another reason that a quiz post can help you pre-sell a product is because it taps into the “foot in the door” persuasion tactic which works like this…
You first ask someone to do a small task or favor. Once they agree to this smaller task, they’re much more likely to agree to do a bigger favor or task.
Taking a quiz is a small task. Once the reader has agreed to do this, they’re much more likely to agree to a bigger favor – such as joining a list, clicking on a link or purchasing a product.
However, you’re not just listing quiz questions for the sole reason of engaging your readers. Ideally, the quiz should be highly relevant to the product you’re selling. And as such, you can use the quiz to “lead” your prospects to a solution (i.e., your recommendation).
For example, a quiz post that’s promoting a weight loss product might include questions like:
- Have you ever lost weight and then gained it back?
- Do you crave sugary foods?
- Do you have problems making time for exercise?
(Plus perhaps another two to seven questions.)
Then you “score” readers and pre-sell them by saying something like: “If you answered “yes” to three or more questions, then it’s not your fault if you’re overweight! You just haven’t found a diet that fits your lifestyle. Introducing [product name]…” (You then pre-sell the product with a direct pitch and a call to action.)
Tip: If you’re looking for a smart way to create interactive quizzes then take a look at the Thrive Quiz Builder (with it you can build out highly complex with zero coding and it comes packed with some very powerful features)
10. Double Up With a Testimonial Post
You’ve already discovered that offering social proof is a powerful psychological sales weapon. That’s why testimonials work to increase your sales. But in order for the testimonials to be effective, they need to specifically back up your claims. You see, an enthusiastic testimonial – one that has a lot of exclamation points!!!! – is worthless if it’s weak.
Example: You’ll see plenty of online marketing book testimonials that say something like, “Great book – a real page turner!! A must read!!”
Those would be a great testimonial for a Jack Reacher novel. But it’s extremely weak for a non-fiction “how to” product testimonial.
Now, you obviously can’t write customer testimonials yourself. However, you can get better testimonials by asking specific questions. Instead of merely requesting “feedback and testimonials,” instead ask something like, “How did this product help you?” Doing so will ensure that you get results-oriented testimonials.
So after your initial promotion seek out testimonials from readers that followed your recommendations and bought the product.
Once you have your testimonials lined up, the next thing to do is write a second promotional post that highlights those gathered testimonials. Essentially what you’re doing is creating a direct pitch post where you highlight three to five benefits of the product. After you mention each benefit, then you provide a strong testimonial that backs up your claim.
For example, if you’re promoting an autoresponder service. One of your benefits could be that it it’s easy to use. You make the claim and follow up immediately with a testimonial from a non-technical person who talks about just how they found easy to get started using the service. You can either use these testimonials to enhance your initial posts or create a secondary posts that recommend the same product or service.
Here then is a template of how this post should look:
Introduction: Introduce the product and hint at the main benefits.
Paragraph 1: Benefit #1
Paragraph 2: A testimonial that proves your claim.
Paragraph 3: Benefit #2
Paragraph 4: A different testimonial backing up your claim.
Paragraph 5: Benefit #3
Paragraph 6: A different testimonial that proves what you said in paragraph 5.
Paragraph 7: Conclusion – reiterate why it’s a great product and provide a call to action.
There you have it
10 proven ways to make more money with your posts! Let’s quickly recap a handful of the ways you just learned how to weave promotions inside of your articles:
The direct pitch post: The straightforward way to let people know the benefits of a product and why they should buy it now.
The “top ten” post: You can make up to ten recommendations in this one simple post!
The “how to” post: You can drop a link right inside the content, by creating a “step” that requires readers to purchase a product in order to complete the step. Brilliant!
The testimonial article: Here you back up each of your claims by presenting a strong testimonial to prove that claim. It works thanks to the power of social proof!
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