FutureNow‘s Brendan Regan has something to say about online persuasion that business owners need to hear, at least if they want their business blogs to work. The way Regan puts it, we need to learn "how to optimize a marketing outreach from the driving point to the landing page, and on through to conversion."
I think a good metaphor for the points Regan makes is giving your blog readers a treasure map. Readers find their way to your blog, remember, because the products and services they need or the kind of information they’re seeking matches up with what you have, what you do, and what you know.
Some of this "treasure map" thing is getting the mechanics right, meaning everything from initially selecting the right key words and phrases, setting up the widgets using the blog platform and website software, choosing the right url addresses and tags, having a clear navigation path from the blog to the website landing pages and shopping cart, all of that. (That’s the part in which I, as a blog content provider and teacher am not directly involved, but my work becomes much more effective if a Say It For You business owner client has hired experts to get the setup right from the get-go.) Regan’s real clear about readers losing patience if the process isn’t smooth, showing how glitches call the security and credibility of the site into question in searchers’ minds. "The hardcore interruption in the purchase flow is very risky," he points out.
As a ghost blogger, however, I’m far from off the hook when it comes to responsibility for making the treasure map for online readers effective. If the blogger doesn’t tend to certain crucial mapping details, the results can be disappointing for all concerned. As Regan puts it, a persuasive scenario can break down, and customers’ money will be left on the table.
Three practical tips he offers have to do with the primary call to action of your blog:
- Make sure it’s "above the fold" (so readers don’t need to scroll down to see it on the page)
- Make it’s in high contrast (either because it’s a link they click on or through the graphics)
- Clearly label the call to action (no question about what the reader is to do and what readers can expect to find or accomplish)
According to Pew Internet Research Project, more than 40 million people use the Internet each day, with close to half of them performing a search of some kind. Your business, your products, your knowhow, and the services you offer might be exactly the treasure they’re seeking – but they have to find you first!