9 Ways to Generate Sales from Your Last Blog Post (Without Being Salesy)

These days, “sales” is perceived as a negative five-letter word.

Sales has gotten a bad rep. When you hear the word “sales,” you probably think of pushy salespeople or telemarketing calls.

The stigma of sales affects bloggers too. Lots of bloggers are afraid to sell to their readers. They don’t want to lose the audience they worked so hard to build.

Well, I’m here to tell you that you can successfully use your blog posts to sell without being salesy.

And no, I’m not going to recommend ads. (Surprise!)

You might be wondering how blog posts can increase your revenue.

The answer is simple: reciprocity.

Most of you have probably heard about reciprocity from Dr. Robert Cialdini’s renowned book Influence. It talks about psychological triggers that make people respond in certain ways.

Reciprocity happens when you give immense value to your audience. In return, they feel compelled to help you out. In our case, that happens when they buy from you.

It’s a simple formula. If your blog posts are top-notch, your readers will be open to buying from you. But they’re not just “buying.” They’re supporting a resource they love.

And when you pair reciprocity with blogging, the results are powerful. You’ll sell, but your readers will never think you’re selling to them. It’s a friendly offer.

I know, it sounds too good to be true. Let me prove it to you with these 9 ways of using your latest blog post to generate sales.

1. Provide a ton of value

Value should be your number one priority as a blogger. I’ll even go a step further and say that it’s impossible to run a truly great blog without providing a crap ton of real value.

But can you sell based on value alone?

It’s a good question. So let’s look at what happens when you take price out of the equation.

Tom Morkes had a blog that people really liked, but he realized it wasn’t profitable. So he wrote an e-book and released it to a whopping 166 subscribers. Don’t laugh yet—the results will astound you.

Tom chose a pay-what-you-want method so his readers would have a choice. And lots of his readers chose a price of $0.

But Tom’s readers contributed an average of $15 per e-book. And he made an impressive $493.50 in the first month by offering something free.

See the numbers for yourself:

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This is a fantastic case study to show just how well value can sell. If you have immensely valuable content, you can sell like crazy even if you offer it free.

Download this cheat sheet of 9 ways to generate sales from your last blog post.

2. Link to a relevant product

Linking to one of your products is a simple but effective strategy for getting eyeballs to your storefront.

But here’s the catch: you have to share a relevant product.

If your blog post is about making the best pumpkin pie and you include a link to your guide to wine tasting, the conversion rate won’t be very high. That’s because your readers are there for the pumpkin pie.

But if you share a link to your guide to pumpkin-pie-making with those same readers, you’ll see much better results.

Here’s Carol Tice from Make A Living Writing using this strategy:

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To give you some context, Carol’s post is about a freelancing scam. By sharing this product at the end of the blog post, she’s letting readers in on a surefire method of revenue.

Solve your readers’ problems by sharing relevant products with them, and you’ll make their day.

3. Describe an insanely valuable use of your product

It makes sense why no one would want to buy your product unless they saw its benefits.

So don’t beat around the bush—show off your products’ benefits.

But it’s important that you’re not just praising your product as the best thing since sliced bread. You have to give readers specific, detailed reasons why your product is great.

MailChimp does this excellently. Their post “Why Clients Render Email Differently” mentions their Inbox Preview feature, but it doesn’t read like an advertisement for that feature.

Instead, it talks about the similarities and differences in email clients that readers should be aware of.

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This part is crucial: You can get value from this article even if you don’t buy their product.

Your blog post should still be value-packed. You’re simply letting your readers know that your product provides a shortcut to the results they want.

In other words, don’t dangle your product in front of your readers’ faces and say, “You have to buy this to get anything good.” Give them the good stuff in the post itself.

4. Blog about your customers

Sharing your customers’ experiences with your product can work wonders. Your readers get to see how your product is benefiting real people, and they’ll become more interested without feeling pressured.

TOMS does this with its “Locals Who Give Back” blog post series. Each post profiles a TOMS customer who is making a difference in their local community.

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Don’t worry—you don’t have to be TOMS to do this effectively.

All you have to do is make heroes out of your customers. Listen to ordinary people’s stories, and broadcast them to your audience. Your readers will instantly connect with these stories, and that means they’ll connect more with your brand.

5. Do affiliate marketing (the right way)

There’s a reason why tried-and-true methods are tried-and-true. Affiliate marketing is no exception.

But you know what I can’t stand? When bloggers try to hide the fact that they’re using affiliate links.

If your readers really love your blog, they’ll be more than happy to help you out by buying something they were already interested in anyway.

Pat Flynn from Smart Passive Income has two great rules for affiliate marketing:

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Don’t be an intrusive salesperson who hawks products to their readers. Be your readers’ friend, and recommend products that will improve their lives.

6. Fix a problem

People will always have problems, and they will always want to fix those problems. That’s where you come in.

By fixing your readers’ problems with your blog posts, you’re earning their trust. Eventually, they’ll want to check out what you have to offer.

SumoMe does this by regularly posting monster guides that cover a subject exhaustively. And if you look at their articles (like this guide on content upgrades), you’ll see they go over everything. They leave no stone unturned.

But you don’t have to write thousands of words to fix problems—shorter can work too. No matter the approach you choose, make sure you’re thorough when fixing your readers’ problems. Don’t give them a temporary duct tape fix—give them a long-term remedy.

7. Give away a preview

You know what the trouble with a lot of products is? They’re all talk. Any product can sound great with a well-written description.

But if you know you’ve got something good, give your readers a free preview. Let them in on the action so they can see for themselves just how great your product is.

If you have a subscription service, give your readers a free trial. If you have an e-book, give away the first chapter.

Here’s my challenge to you: Give away more than you think you should.

When Seth Godin released his book Permission Marketing, instead of just giving away one chapter, he offered the first four chapters free. (And the offer still stands!) That free preview didn’t stop the book from creating a legacy with marketers all over the world.

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And make sure your free preview is packed with good stuff. Don’t give away a limited free trial or an introduction. Give your readers the good stuff, and when there’s no more free content, they’ll likely pay for more.

8. Hold a contest

No one can resist the offer of something free. You can leverage this by holding a contest on your blog.

You’re probably thinking, “How can I generate sales if I’m giving something free?”

This is how. Contests help you grow your audience and build interest in your brand. After a successful contest, you’ll have a lot more people to share your products with.

To get the best results with your contest, go social. For example, use Rafflecopter to give extra entries to people who perform certain social actions, such as liking and sharing your page:

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(Bonus tip: You can also use contests to get tons of user-generated content.)

9. Give your readers an exclusive deal

Every time your readers make the choice to check out your latest post, they’re investing their time in your work. By giving your audience an exclusive deal, you’re thanking them and giving back.

Don’t make the offer public anywhere else. Make it a readers-only deal, and say so. You want your readers to feel special.

Conclusion

Selling doesn’t have to leave you feeling slimy.

When you do it right, selling equals helping your readers. Only promote products you know will improve your readers’ lives.

After you’ve been blogging and interacting with readers for a while, you’ll realize it’s a small community. These people aren’t facts and figures. They’re humans with problems that need to be solved, and you can help.

It’s all about helping. If you’re focused on providing value, the selling part becomes a lot easier.

Your readers want to support you. All you have to do is ask.

How do you use your blog to generate sales?

If you want to break through to real profits online, you need some serious firepower. For a limited time I’m sharing some select tips and tricks Amazon, Microsoft, NBC & Hewlett Packard paid thousands of dollars per hour for, FREE.
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Comments

  1. Thanks Neil, fear of been ‘salesy’ is what a lot of entrepreneurs face.

    But with these great tips + a valuable product or service, one is good to go.

    Once more thanks Neil!

  2. Sales is a five-letter word 🙂

  3. Hello Neil this is a great post again!
    Quick question, do you know a good adiliate program for marketing and web analytics solutions?

    Cheers 🙂
    Mohamed
    https://weelytics.com

  4. Tiffany Simpson :

    Thanks for sharing Neil. I have a question. I have just launched my T-shirt giveaway for my podcast and YouTube channel. It is just an experiment. It’s not yet off the ground. Would it be OK if I tie in the T-shirt giveaway for sales of the actual T-shirt? Or do I cross promote products?

    I know how salesy looks, but I am not sure if I know how to avoid being salesy and sell effectively.

    • Content upgrades is a great solution for making use of your content to generate sales.

      Use them to build subscribers, nurture your list, promote the right products by creating awareness and you will be generating sales in no time.

      Also find out how others are doing their email marketing campaigns to generate leads and sales. Building a sales funnel through your content is a great way to make more sales.

      Great insights!

    • You should test it and see what happens. There isn’t a wrong or right way.

  5. Loved #2 and #8, Neil 😉

    Last month, I did a giveaway contest that increased my subscriber base from 632 subscribers to 813 subscribers. Would go for another contest in January 2017.

    Thanks for sharing!

  6. Thank you for the post!
    Customer stories do work.

    What I also noticed is that clients quite often invent their own way to use the product and benefit from it. It’s not a bad idea to mention them in the post and thank for contribution. It attracts a lot of attention.

  7. Good job!

    I loved the 4 and 5. Ofcourse all the points give me good insight.

  8. Thanks a lot Neil for amazing post . Everyday I’m waiting for your newsletter eagerly to learn something new . I really like Tom morkes examples because his case is similar to me somehow. I’m going to launch my ebook and your points really helpful for me. ??

  9. Thank you Neil, I have been looking for this kind of advice to start monetize my blog.

  10. Hey Neil,

    Thanks for another great article. I especially like the first method where you give readers the option to determine their own price. Will definitely try that out to see how it works.

    A variation of that method that i thought of would be : give it out for free and ask them to pay in accordance to how much value they took from your product. They’ll essentially be paying depending on whether it helped them or not.

    Let me know what you think.

    Cheers

  11. Thanks Neil for these valuable tips. I Will implement these techniques on my blog for sure.

  12. Thanks for sharing Neil. Our readers love our tips and this will only help them achieve a greater level of success and likely step in a bit more with us. Basics of taking care of the customer/reader always are in line.

  13. Femi Louis Ogumah :

    This is another great nugget from you Neil.

    As you always say, value is the gateway. Any audience building platform can only be achieved through value.

    “When you keep sowing the seeds, the grass will grow and when the sheep come to eat it not only will they eat it but will lay on it and see the field as their home.”

    Let me ask this question from all readers, will any patient like to go to a hospital that does not give quality treatment? Even when the patient can’t even talk? I mean quack hospital!

    Neil, I think you have to help me echo this question to all readers, most of my audiences do say I have a bedroom voice. (Laugh)

    Anyway, nobody wants to throw away his or her money on invaluable things or service. Or do you?

    Secondly lack of patience, most blogger fail to know that to build audience and trust takes time. Nobody wants to deal or associate with someone that has nothing to add to their life or cant be trusted.

    Value, benefits and trust is the rule of the game. Strategies comes after these 3 things.

    So, do you have them in place?

    Neil, thank you to sharing this great nugget again.

  14. Thank you Neil. This is just what I needed to read. I love tip number 6. Fix a problem which I hope is what I do with my blog and business first and foremost. Such a great article and reminder.

  15. Hello Neil,
    Always great information – especially #5 about being upfront with affiliate marketing. I can’t agree more with you on those points. This really helps with reader engagement and satisfaction. We found that having a paragraph on the corner of every page explaining what we do and the how the affiliate commissions are earned keeps our audience coming back for more articles.

    A question for you – do you think this would work better as a graphic or just keep it as text? The site is http://www.SourceTech411.com
    Thanks!

  16. Christine Wokowsky :

    LOVED LOVED LOVED this Neil! You are so my go-to man when it comes to all things social media marketing. I love your honest, down-to-earth, super friendly, approachable approach.
    QUESTION: I loved the idea of a ‘pay what you want’ approach that blogger Tom Morkes did. Brilliant actually. Can you guide me to where I can find out more about how to actually do this? Or do you have any comments you can make on ways to make this type of thing happen? I have a 202 page e-book coming out and think this would be a much better approach to my tribe as I have for the past several years given them lots and lots of free valuable stuff. Thanking you in advance for your response!

    • You should email Tom. He has been really open in helping people who have question especially because of this blog post. 😉 I know he wants to connect with more people.

  17. I have never read about psychological approach in blogging. Interesting and exciting! This post boosting my thinking! Thanks neil!

  18. Développeur web/mobile :

    Great post as always

  19. Dinesh K Takyar :

    Very useful. Thanks for sharing!

  20. Great post! As always, great insight! Thanks Neil.

    Wanted to let you know that your email field below won’t accept my TLD. Site below.

    Matt
    https://Sp8ce.design

  21. Sandeep Rathore :

    Great post, Neil! You rightly said explained the importance of solving problems. Readers only care what it is in there for them. They don’t pay any heed no matter how well a post is written unless it doesn’t solve their problems. Thanks for such an informative post.

  22. Rodrick Rajive Lal :

    Thanks, Neil, for yet another interesting writeup. Would love to go for affiliate marketing.

  23. Daniel Bennett :

    Hi Neil….i am a big fan of your’s and you are providing always a very useful information to all of us….thank you for sharing this beautiful article about how to generate sales….

  24. Hi Neil, great post but your give-away at the end is giving a security warning. “The information you have entered on this page will be sent over an insecure connection and could be read by a third party. Are you sure you want to send this information?” I hit it anyway 🙂

  25. Hello Neil!
    Hmm.. they love to find solution than anything else.
    Nice post ! Thanks .

  26. SkinEndear Anti Aging :

    I dugg some of you post as I cerebrated they were handy extremely helpful.

  27. Good ideas. People love to buy but don’t like being sold. These are simple but practical solutions. I would try out the free ebook to readers and a contest .

  28. wedding photographer in noida :

    ello Neil!
    Hmm.. they love to find solution than anything else.
    Nice post ! Thanks .

    http://www.ramstudionoida.in/

  29. Hello Neil,

    Glad that I have landed on an excellent piece of content today! I have learned some new tips to increase the sales in a better way.

    Solving the readers’ issues by offering a great value is the key to get more sales, and I’m familiar with it.

    Talking about the customer reviews is a nice idea, I would like to implement it. Yes, I’m planning to run the contest to boost the sales.

    As you said, I’ll recommend the products to my loyal blog readers by explaining its features with a personal touch.

    Thanks for writing the practical content, see you soon!

  30. Generating sales from last blog!
    Good one, thank you for sharing this amazing tips will be kept in mind for sure.

  31. I’m a blogger too. And mostly came from a deep dissatisfaction with people that write like I’m reading the morning news. Which is always depressing. I’m glad you are not them. Good read. I have a wine blog. I’ll be using what I’ve learnt here for sure.

  32. Nice contributions, Neil. Giving out products for review has always worked for me.

  33. Anthony Tornambe :

    Nice Tips to improve your sale!

  34. Good one, thank you for sharing this amazing tips

  35. buy flats In Kolkata :

    Great Tips.
    Thanks for Sharing this great Info.

  36. These are really great for some niche topics. My niche is on School admission update which happens every session, so they will be little or no revisiting. But anyways this will be useful for my second blog.

  37. Hi Neil
    Again an awesome article. Thanks for sharing.

  38. Mac Zinzuwadiya :

    I have lil concern with “Blog about your customers”. Does it really work?
    Generally, It would be better for ecommerce website what about the rest of the industries such as services.

    • Customers usually lead the way in any industry. So understanding them and what they want, need is worth writing about.

  39. Davs of Cool Marketing Packages :

    Great post ! Very insightful and very informative. I always following you even in your webinars. Thanks for sharing this valuable information that it seems will eventually give me an idea on how blog posts can increase my revenue.

  40. Academic Writing Company :

    Great post with strong message. Thanks

  41. Teddy Tech - SEO & Digital marketing in Kerala Alleppey :

    Thanks for sharing such an informative knowledge.

  42. Gestor de Redes Sociales :

    Great post. Very inspiring.

    I liked especially the two great rules for affiliate marketing.

    Thank you.

  43. Thanks for the information Neil! I am a big fan of yours. I have a query related to the topic. Is website appearance is actually matter to drive sales? By appearance I mean look wise. waiting for your reply?

  44. Awesome content thank you for sharing

  45. relevant content generates good amount of sales.

  46. WOW! AMAZING WAYS!!!

  47. Click Jogos Online :

    I’ve been studying psychological triggers for quite a while. Of course, applying this to digital marketing is really the “cat leap” as we say in Brazil. Thanks a lot Neil! A hug from your friends in Brazil.

  48. Hi Neil,

    Once again, a great post. And a very human post I must say. These are just so many aspects bloggers are aware of but still don’t know how to avoid being ‘salesy’ intentionally or unintentionally. However, by explaining how to effectively apply these tips step by step, you’ve made it easy for everyone to understand how to successfully market your product without the effect of the taboo word ‘sales’.

    “When you do it right, selling equals helping your readers. Only promote products you know will improve your readers’ lives.”

    This is a mantra I think every business blogger should adopt. You are interacting with humans, not machines so humanize your blogs and you will have a successful sale.

    Thanks Neil for your very valuable insights.

  49. Nice article thank you for sharing

  50. It’s been a great ride in IM since i read your articles. I hope i can earn like u for sometime

  51. Great post,It is helpful and informative..Thank you for sharing!!

  52. Hi Neil,
    Nice post thanks for sharing .It’s very helpful article.

  53. Great post.. Thank you for sharing 🙂 like it (y)

  54. Hi, Neil
    Thanks for sharing this post i have some query related to this but after reading your article it is quite easy for me . but i want to know about how to earn from blog . Reply me as soon as possible .

  55. very useful..thanks for sharing

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