How do you make a sale online?
You need a product or service.
You need people who are motivated enough to buy it.
And you need the technology to facilitate the transaction and delivery.
Some People Sell “Harder” In Order To Make A Sale Than Others
You can feel the difference between a hard sell and a soft sell.
We all have a barometer of sorts that determines what level of selling we feel is appropriate versus aggressive.
The spectrum varies incredibly. One person can label a marketer as a scummy “get rich quick” merchant stealing people’s money, and another can see them as a beloved mentor, who has guided them towards success with genius advice.
It’s a VERY subjective matter, and based on conversations I’ve had with people, very much a personal thing too.
We all have a sense of the kind of image we want to portray online, what types of communication appeals to us and we feel comfortable using ourselves.
Over the years I’ve been complimented on my down to earth nature and how my sales offers seamlessly flow within my blog posts.
I’ve also been called a hype-merchant, who sells dreams and takes money from the gullible.
What Really Matters?
Let’s get one thing clear – the amount of selling you need to do is as much as required to make a sale.
Actually it’s more than that – it’s enough selling to make the required amount of sales to have a profitable business.
While I do believe in the importance of personal branding and reputation management – and these things do influence sales – it’s all a moot point if you don’t make any sales in the first place.
If you feel so uncomfortable asking people to buy something, or using the appropriate language required to make the sale that you can’t make any money – you don’t have a business.
So, that leads us to an important question…
How much is enough “selling” in your case?
Don’t Follow The Leader
We often look to the leaders in our industry and decide which style of marketing we like and don’t like.
The natural inclination is to then emulate those we do like.
As is often the case, simply copying what other people do is a mistake.
In fact it’s always a mistake to copy what a leader is doing because of what I have written about before – you’re not in the same situation as them.
One of the best examples of this I can give you is attempting to replicate a blogger in your industry who has a huge community following, when you don’t.
This is a fatal mistake.
You have probably noticed how the big star bloggers don’t have to do excessive selling in order to make a sale. They have simple sales pages, short videos and very little pushy marketing, yet they make tons of sales.
Sometimes they might not do any selling at all. They just write blog posts, occasionally mention products with affiliate links and boom – the sales come flooding in!
The problem is when you go and copy them, using their style of soft selling or no selling at all, you get nothing.
Trust + Traffic
Here’s the key point –
In order to make the necessary sales for a profitable business you need two things:
You need people to trust you enough that when you make an offer of something for sale they believe you can deliver, and hence they buy.
You also need the necessary volume of people required to make enough sales.
When you have a large hungry mob of rapid buyers who trust you, all you need to do is put the product in front of them and collect the money.
You can reduce your dependency on volume by increasing your visitor value, meaning you make more money per customer. This allows you to have a very profitable business with fewer customers (see my previous article series for more on this).
However no business can escape the need for trust. For every business, the greatest challenge is establishing the trust required to make that first sale.
So, we have to adjust our question…
How much selling do you have to do in order to establish enough TRUST to make the sale?
You’re probably thinking right now, I want to be like the superstar bloggers who have large communities and thus don’t have to do any hard selling.
I don’t blame you, that’s an enviable place to be in.
Unfortunately, as I have highlighted before, reaching the kind of audience numbers required to make that work is difficult. You need to have good timing, an amazing work ethic, the right niche and the diligence to keep carrying on for potentially years before you earn a reward.
Here’s something you should know… Many of those top bloggers are inefficient marketers.
By that I mean they get away with limited selling because of the sheer volume of attention they have.
Don’t misunderstand me – they make very good money, much more than 99% of bloggers make (including me) – but they could do so much better.
If they made more offers, had more products available and applied more marketing psychology to how they sell, they could make ten times more.
Of course they don’t really care, they make enough money and they do it in a way they feel comfortable with.
The point I’m trying to make here is you don’t want to aspire to grow a huge community just so you don’t have to bother learning how to be a good marketer.
What you want to do is get good enough at selling so you can make great money from a small loyal audience. This is a much more realistic goal – and one you can reach quicker too.
The fact is, most bloggers will never build a large enough community following to make a living without selling.
The key is to find the right balance of community growth and proactive selling to have a profitable business, even when you have a small audience.
Community Vs Selling
Imagine for a moment there is a line – a spectrum of how to build trust.
Trust, as we have clarified is the required ingredient for sales.
The spectrum starts at one end with “selling”, and all the way at the other end is “community”.
To rely less on selling you need more community. Community however takes time to build.
As a blogger you may not be aware of this… There are people online who make a lot of money, and in many cases much more than bloggers (we’re talking millions of dollars), making sales WITHOUT any community.
The formula is simple in concept:
Buy traffic and send it straight to an offer.
The offer is presented usually via a video, sometimes a long sales page, that sells a product directly.
They use something like Facebook Ads, purchase targeted traffic and keep testing things until they make more money than they spend.
To make this work they have to be very good at selling. The sales video is responsible for building trust and it all happens in one engagement – the very first time a person comes into contact with them.
You need to have all your “ducks in a row” so to speak. This means you need good copywriting or a video script that includes testimonials, case studies, proof, engaging stories, claims backed up with data, rejection eliminators, risk reversal – everything has to be presented in the one experience.
This is the equivalent of setting up your blog, writing your first blog post with an offer of something for sale, and then watching the money come in from day one…
Wouldn’t that be nice!
In reality bloggers stretch this process out over time and do it without it feeling like selling. We build relationships, have multiple touch points using multiple mediums, we educate and ask for nothing in return but attention.
This all goes into the community “good will bank”, slowly building trust, until one day you decide it’s time to put your business hat on and offer something up for sale.
With trust already established thanks to community, you don’t have to sell very hard. A simple message is all you need to convert.
Of course this happens years later, not day one.
Bloggers are much more likely to enjoy the idea of writing content that simply helps people without worrying about all the necessary sales triggers required to convince someone to buy.
This is why bloggers gravitate towards community building over overt selling. It just suits our personalities more… even if it means a longer path to money, or maybe even no significant money at all.
I believe much of this comes down to personality types.
A person who is excited about learning how to sell, who enjoys copywriting, split testing and looking at the numbers, will gravitate to business models that leverage these skills.
Learning how to sell takes time too, but because the process involves making offers immediately and not “wasting time” with community building, it generally is a quicker and more successful formula in terms of raw financial return on investment.
So What’s The Answer? How Do You Make Sales?
Here’s my advice –
Take the best from both ends of the trust spectrum and plonk yourself somewhere in the middle, wherever you feel comfortable that delivers a result.
- Work towards building a community over time. That’s always a good component to have in your strategy. It should feel natural to you as a blogger and will happen organically as you build your blog.
- However, don’t be afraid to learn and apply more direct selling techniques too. Apply simple things like making more offers more frequently, running special deals and creating a range of products to meet different needs with different pricing points.
You should set up your blog so it’s focused on selling something from day one. This is a strategy bloggers rarely do early on, and an area I am placing more focus on as I teach people in my Laptop Lifestyle community.
With experimentation, you will find a balance that builds enough trust to make enough sales in a timeframe that is viable. It won’t happen over night, but if you work on it, you will learn what works for you and your audience.
Remember, trust is the ingredient necessary to make sales. How you establish it is entirely up to you. Don’t follow what someone else does blindly. Come up with your own style.
Do You Want More Help?
I’ve been in the unique situation over the previous ten years to watch two distinct groups of people sell things online.
I’ve seen internet marketers, who do not have blogs, or podcasts or use social media very much at all, go on to make a million dollars in one month using just one product sending out emails.
I’ve also watched bloggers start from zero, slowly build an audience, use podcasts and social media, and create amazing communities – who eventually start making money once they figure out the right way to do so for them.
I’ve even seen and coached a few bloggers who went on to build million dollar companies thanks to their blog.
It’s clear to me that there is no one way to do things.
Consequently, as I grew my own blog and coaching business, I combined elements from both groups.
I wrote content because I enjoy writing. I built a community, use podcasts and social media.
I also made offers frequently and directly using both my blog and my newsletter. I use long form copywriting and selling techniques that have proven very effective.
I’m very aware of the different methodologies available and when to apply what. Strategy is my bread and butter and where I can help people the most.
If you are struggling to figure out how to sell, or how to build an audience, what tools to use, whether you should foster community or buy traffic or what to do first, or even if you are right at the start and don’t know what to focus on, I am available to help you.
My coaching community, the Laptop Lifestyle Academy has only just quietly opened doors, with a small but active group participating.
I spend time in there every day, answering questions, helping people to determine their next best step, to figure out which problem to solve first and how to solve it.
If you’re at the stage where mentoring and ongoing support is required, my community is available to you.
You should always end your articles with a call to action.
Thanks for reading,
Sale is the ultimate thing we strive for as business’ or bloggers. One need to have the pitch correct, nice traffic and trust intact for the customers to buy the product.
The best thing is to increase the customer lifetime value and thus get more from less sales. Sale is not a one day job, it is an on going work that one needs to repeat for the continuous results. Great article, I found this on kingged.
All good relationship and exact needs can make easier to sell anything through the internet.
So you need to advertise and brand yourself. And you must convince customers / visitors that why something which they need to buy.
I’ve only been reading your blog posts and following you for a while, but there is 1 thing I absolutely love about the way you do things…
You somehow perfectly BALANCE the 2 worlds you spoke about in the post.
1. The “bloggers” – focus on community, comments, social etc
2. The “direct response” guys – focus on leads, sales, backend, copy etc
I’ve focused more on number 2 so far in my career, but I’m slowly going to be attempting to balance it out – like what you’ve successfully done for years.
Awesome stuff man!
Thanks Mosh, I appreciate that. Of course what is important is that I make enough sales to have a business too.
I do find when the offer is speaking to the right person that makes selling easier. In fact I really should do a follow up to this article to say that if you have the right offer to the right person, you don’t need much selling or community, just a tiny bit of trust will convert because it’s the perfect fit product.
Always interesting to read the perspective from someone who’s been there and done it, but isn’t tied to one particular way of doing things. Any specific tips on how to find that sweet spot where “you feel comfortable [and] delivers a result” when starting out?
I mean, obviously only we can tell what we’re comfortable with and we can’t really know what delivers a result until we test, so what to start with? The “salesiest” pitch we’re comfortable with? A best guess? Looking at other bloggers around our size who seem to be doing ok?
That’s a question of testing to find what actually makes sales and you feel comfortable with. You might be surprised as the sales come through that selling doesn’t feel so bad!
I remember when I wrote my first ever blog post trying to sell an affiliate product. You can see it here –
I had a go at writing headlines and talked about a product and why people should buy it. I felt a little uncomfortable at first because I wasn’t writing a blog post about my own business.
Then of course it didn’t sell a single copy, so I was upset. Then two days later it made a sale. Then over the weeks that followed I made about 10 sales from that blog post, which I felt was a good result given the amount of traffic I had at the time.
It’s always going to be a personal decision. You can look to other people for examples, but at the end of the day results will dictate what you do.
Hello Yaro, I’m new here. This is my first time visited on your blog. Where can I get through of this blog? Nice to know you anyway
Just hit the “start here” link at the top. That’s a good place to start.
I am one of those who has always had the fear of seeming a seller. Then when I started to be a little more “aggressive” following what I have been learned on direct marketing, I realized that I not only increased sales but also the interaction with readers. Many of the passive readers have started to thank me for the advice that i give for free
This is my first comment on this blog, because it urged me to do so. After subscribing to you for about 6 months (I think so), I have finally started taking action according to what you say. I like to see the numbers, and wanted to feel that I’m earning something on a daily basis. So I just selected an offer from clickbank, and started running some Facebook ads. Lets see what happens.
Thanks for the advice man.
Good luck Nabil – I’m not a clickbank man myself, but if you are promoting quality products and build trust, you can do well.
I do admit your insight about don’t follow your leader. Everyone will be having different techniques to make a sale to stay in their business. Hence we should keep our own startegy in making a sale
It’s interesting actually, because we’re in the crowdfunding education space, and we see a variant of the problem you talk about all the time. Specifically, we see people who have a funding goal of something like $10k-$30k trying to mimic projects that earned $1M or more.
There are a bunch of issues with this, including:
1. The $1M+ projects typically have a whole team (or more) including virtual assisstants, a media production company doing the video, a PR agency etc. This is especially true where the project is being run by a pre-established company (especially in the video games niche eg “Total Annihilation”). Try to copy that all by yourself and you’ll take so long that you never launch.
2. Often they have built up mailing lists and social media followings in the thousands to tens of thousands over years, where the person trying to copy them is starting from scratch. (eg the “Order of the Stick” or “Trial of the Clone” campaigns).
3. Often they’re people who already have sales and high level business related contacts. If you read the now infamous “Hacking Kickstarter” article on Tim Ferris’ blog, this is actually a huge issue. In that hi main tip about getting media is essentially to go through your social media contacts and find people you know who know people high up in the media. The author of that freely admits he had a number of friends with businesses in sales and marketing. Most of our readers and clients aren’t so fortunate. To be fair, he does give good advice about going and building relationships with journalists and bloggers if you don’t have this, but ovbiously that takes more time and work and is less effective that already having “a friend in the biz” and most people miss this as he mentions it in the comments and not in the article itself.
4. Often the most important work these large projects have done to be successful is *not visible on the project page*. The people copying them will take hugs amounts of time slavishly copy their page layout, reward tiers, style of headline, video animations… but miss that 80% of their funding came from one article that got published in Tech Crunch or some similar large publication, or by cross promotion with a handful of other large crowdfunding oprojects etc. This is especially true in the tech gadgets niche.
Usually we suggest that our clients:
1. Make sure their goal is based on what they would *need* to make the project happen, not on what they dream of getting if it’s a runaway success.
2. Model projects that had a similar goal (not amount earned).
3. Install the Kicktraq browser plugin or look the projects you’re thinking of modelling up on KickSpy and look for major spikes in funding. Search project updates and Google around the date of the spike to find if the project happened to get featured anywhere that might have caused the spike, and which journalist wrote the article. These are key journalists to target.
4. Get to know the journalists they hope will write about them. Read their stuff. Comment on it. Figure out what their interests are outside the crowdfunding project they wrote about. Create genuine value for them by sending them useful stuff not related to your project. Do so *after* your campaign as well. After all, whether you’re going to relaunch your crowdfunding campaign or you were successful and now you have a product to sell, you really should make friends with the people in your space if you’re going to be successful long term.
Anyway, my apologies for writing a blog post on your blog post(!). I just saw a very strong correlation between what we see every day, and exactly what you were saying in your post and wanted to affirm what you were saying. Thanks for another useful post and the interesting ideas within it!
Piers (aka PJ)
Aha, Piers – great comment!
Your feedback also clearly demonstrates why there is a need for the kind of information and support you provide. I think every entrepreneur should take heed of what you said because the situation is the same in every niche. There is a hierarchy of results you need to work your way through, which is why you need to be careful whom you model.
I agree that you don’t have a business if you are uncomfortable selling. I also think there are many different, effective, ways of selling. There is no one size fits all when it comes to sales.
I agree that trying to replicate someone else is a problem, but learning from others is a must.
I agree that community is essential. I don’t think you can fail if you can build a loyal community around your business.
I have spent time building high value content and have made a few sales by reviewing products with affiliate links. My problem is that my traffic is stable, but has plateaued and I can’t get it to increase no matter what I try. I need to increase traffic to get more exposure to increase my sales numbers, but how?
Try this Carol 🙂
It’s a hard thing to realise that things are never gonna just fall into your lap and that you have to put a great deal of time and effort into getting your website(s) to work and making the first sale, a significant amount of sales and then a full time living from sales. I would imagine that realisation is where many would-be marketers can fall by the wayside – of the ones who take any action in the first place, of course.
Thank you for this entertaining and thought provoking article.
Thanks for sharing this. I identify a lot with the type you described, where I am more of a blogger who love to write and share what I know with the world and hoping that people will benefit from what I know and what I share.
I must be honest that I do wish to be able to make money from the blog eventually and I don’t have a product yet. I plan to write a self-help book and some other book driven towards advising people on making their life better, but that may happen in the distant future. I am hoping that while I work on the book one day at a time, I could build a community through my blog posts and eventually, sell my book there.
I need to do all this while juggling a full-time job and also having a wedding preparation to make and having only perhaps one to two hours a day to write.
Do you have advise for someone like me?
Have a listen to some of the podcast interviews I have done with people who grew a business while still working a full time job Suwandy. Lance Morgan comes to mind as one of them.
I always lag in English copy-writing because of being non English person. Could you suggest me something to improve it?
Perhaps focus on your native language instead. That means you have an advantage instead of a disadvantage.
Awesome work, The informations that you provided are very interesting and very helpful for the beginners like me.
Thank you very much Yaro 🙂
Wonderful post. The best thing you can do as a newbie blogger is to be real. Like, be honest, be authentic, be genuine. Don’t make promises you haven’t earned.
Like yesterday, I recalled a newbie blogger who actually set up a clean, clear blog. I loved the design. They had noted on a forum that they were entirely new, with no appreciable results. Then the blogger posted 2 ads to the right, explaining how you’d make thousands of dollars with some business opportunity.
Even if I thought they were a veteran blogger, on a subconscious level, we sense liars. If you haven’t made thousands, and promise you can, by buying into a system, you’re lying because you hadn’t made the thousands yourself.
All authenticity and trust goes out the window. Fail.
But, if you sell a dream, not related to money, AND explain how you’re well on your way, and begin to publish a product that is authentic and genuine, that’s when trust-building starts. That’s when you don’t have to really sell. You offer something real and authentic, perhaps an affiliate product, but you move away from any monetary promises or other outcomes that you’re light years away from obtaining because few folks have the level of clarity and belief in self, to pull this off.
I’m releasing my new eBook today. It’s simple; I document my life. I share tips on how I’ve retired to a life of island hopping. If you’ve yet to island hop, start island hopping. If you’ve yet to retire, tell your story, about how you’re aiming to retire, and just be honest about your results, and when you keep your name, you’ll have the most powerful currency on earth: trust.
Love the advice Yaro.
More than anything, I’d say promote the living stuffing out of successful people like yourself, comment on blogs like yours, then, when people mention that they found you commenting on such authority blogs and want to interview you, you’ll reach new audiences, make new friends and gain even more trust as your brand becomes associated with the most successful people online.
Just be honest, work on your game and help a ton of folks, and you’ll see success.
Thanks Yaro. Tweeting in a bit.
Signing off from Fiji!
Hi “Yaro”, of course I meant…..these darn Fijian cats keep jumping on the keyboard lol!
Thanks Ryan, as always a thoughtful comment from you.
I’ve just downloaded your ebook and I am going through it now. I’ll send through my feedback once I have finished.
Thanks for sharing it with me!
Sales techniques are the ultimate goal that anyone looks for healthy businesses. A good relationship with customers and their exact needs are the key ingredients for selling techniques and also helpful in knowing the customer’s needs. Also, if a business has a brand name then the sales need minimum efforts. Brand building should also be given great amount of importance in today’s world.
Thanks for freely sharing your ideas and tips here! Indeed, marketing is a tough job. Perseverance, time and effort will be invested in extra way to achieve a target sales. Your tips of making sale seems effective and will surely share this with my friends. Thanks again!
Woah, thanks for freely sharing so much! Love the value that was given here, learnt a few tips that I could use to apply to my business on how to approach my clients and also building their trust. Great post!
According to me, if you want to make a sale, you need to give a sneak peak of your product to your readers or potential customers so that they know what they are getting into and for what they are going to spend their money.
When they see the product in action and all the features of it, it builds trust and they are more likely to spend money to buy your product and you have your sale!
I enjoyed the article. Very informative and helpful. Thanks Yaro. Always enjoy your articles.
Hi Yaro Starak,
Well said, these are some of the tips that may help but making a brand and list building is one of the great way too which we can use.
Yes building a trust is one of the best way to sell much more than something, but usually it takes a lot of time to build such relationship. Using ads it is a quicker way but an experience need it here, even if you know what you doing using “facebook” ads conversion is not high. Anyway good article ;).
omg ! I am so happy 2 find you after ( 2 ) years of searching thru the net !
ok yaro now is there any way to buy the separate course on arbitrage ?
I downloaded your blog blueprint but omg I think it is beyond my reach.