6 Incredible Divi Website Builder Templates For Writers

6 Incredible Divi Website Builder Templates For Writers

If you’re wanting to share the words in your head (and/or heart) out there for the world to read, then you need a website. And because most writers I know are not web designers, you’ll likely be looking for a good website builder for writers. But there are so many platforms out there to choose from, it can be overwhelming trying to figure out which one is the best.

Regardless, it’s a tricky balance. You want something that impresses readers. Let’s face it. People do judge a book by its cover, and your website is the cover for all of your online writing efforts. But you don’t want (or need) to get bogged down in lots of complex design.

That’s where a good website builder comes in.

If it’s doing it’s job well, then a good site builder will simplify some of the more complex design work, so that you can focus more on your writing. And the less you need to stress out about the design of your website, the easier it’ll be to just relax and get into writing great content that looks great for the readers you want to impress.

Selecting the Right Website Builder for Writers

One of the biggest decisions you’ll make when building your blog website is deciding on which platform to use. As you decide, there are a few things you should consider…

Blogging Platforms

Using a true blogging platform like Blogger, WordPress.com, Typepad, and many others are great places to easily start a writing online. They’re usually free to start, and have a variety of built in templates that can help you implement a little bit of design into what you’re doing relatively easily. So they are simple to get rolling, which gets you focused on your writing with minimal time/effort.

The downside is two-fold. First, you don’t own the platform. That means the platform maintains a certain amount of rights over your content and can use it in various ways. Sometimes that means they could do things like put ads that you don’t profit from (or even approve of) in your content. Generally, it’s going to be better to pay a little bit to ensure that you have greater control over your environment. The other downside is that it can be a little trickier to move to a better platform later when you want to scale and grow your website. It’s not impossible, but it could end up costing you a more later on as you explore expanding your functionality.

Website Builder Platforms

Site-builder platforms like Wix, Squarespace, and others are usually very attractive to people who want to build a website because of how easy it is to build something “pretty” with little to no website design experience.

But honestly, it’s not always as easy as it seems.

Having a page-builder is great, but you still need a little bit of an eye for design and the ability to piece things together well. There plenty of well-intended sites out there that resemble the website version of nailed it fails and just don’t quite hit the mark. And even more so than the blogging platforms, migration is even more difficult if you ever want to move out into a better platform. All of this really just leads to a lack of flexibility and the inability to keep up with your growth well.

The Best of Both Worlds: WordPress with Divi

The option we really like is a self-hosted WordPress website (often referred to as WordPress.org) with the Divi theme (from Elegant Themes). WordPress is by far the most used platform for building websites. At it’s core is a rock-solid blogging platform. And it has a well developed eco-system of themes and plugins that will allow you to do virtually anything you want.

And with the themes, Divi is more than your typical theme (or layout/skin for the site design). It’s core is the Divi page builder. So it uses a sort of building block method to allow you to create any kind of layout you want. But it also has hundreds of pre-built layout packs that you can use for your design, or that you can use as a starting point to customize for your needs. Each layout pack has several pages, so designs for various pages on your site (home page, about page, contact page, etc.) all have a starting point for you to build from.

P.S. All of our managed WordPress hosting plans include the Divi theme at no additional cost to you, saving you $89/yr!

managed wordpress hosting, website builder for writers

6 Pre-made Divi Layouts

The Divi layout packs are great because not only do they give you a great, professional design that helps you put your best foot forward, but it’s also flexible enough that you can customize it in any way you want. So when you’re looking for a website builder for writers, the key here is to find something that gets you close to a layout you like, and then you can tweak and adjust as needed to fit your brand image.

With that said, here are a few of our favorite layout packs that provide a great starting point for writers.

  1. Author – Great for writers, especially those who already have books available for sale. It brings a nice focus on featuring the book(s) and the author.
  2. Influencer – If you want to be an influencer, then this layout will help you look like an influencer. After all, as a writer you are an influencer with your words!
  3. Travel Blog – You don’t need to be a travel blogger to use this layout. It’ll work well for anyone who wants to feature their writing along with some strong visuals.
  4. Technology News – In the same way, don’t let technology hold you back from this one! This is a great layout for organizing and featuring your writing.
  5. Magazine – As a content producer (fancy term for writer), your blog/website can function much like an online magazine. And you can use for your solo writer and if you feature other writers on your site regularly.
  6. Podcast – Many writers are also becoming podcasters with their content too. And if that’s you, then this layout can help you with that!

The great thing about these layouts is that they can fit any style you want to go for with your website. And the modular structure means that you can add or remove any element you want on any of the pages.

Let’s take a closer look at each of the layout packs…

1 – Author Website Layout

Divi’s Author layout pack has a simple, clean design that many writers are looking for these days. And it brings a nice balance between showcasing the products (books, or whatever else you want to sell) and you as the author.

The pre-built pages include home, about, landing, events, shop, blog, and contact pages.

Landing pages could be used for individual book pages, and can be easily linked to the online retailers where people can purchase the books online. Alternatively, you can implement WooCommerce (free e-commerce shop plugin) if you want to sell books or other items directly.

This is a great website builder for writers who have any books currently published or expect to be releasing one in the near future.

website builder for writers, author website

2 – Influencer Website Layout

The Divi Influencer layout pack is a great design for anyone wanting to build themselves as the brand. Often online writers underestimate how much they really are being influencers, and people who read your work are there to read your work. So building your brand requires a website that features you well.

This layout pack includes home, about, landing, blog, and contact pages. It also has four different blog post layouts you can use if you really want your blog posts to stand out.

The focus here is on style and building an image. It brings you an opportunity to elevate your message with a strong visual impact that stands out from the norm.

website builder for writers, influencer website

3 – Travel Blog Layout

With the Travel Blog layout pack, you’ll find a nice balance between the writing and the visual. And that works great if you’re one of those writers how likes to use strong imagery with your blog posts (or feature your own photography). So don’t let the “travel” part keep you from using this layout pack, because it’ll work well for a variety of bloggers. Home and lifestyle blogger? Foodie blogger? Homeschool mom blogger? No problem! You’ll find this one to be a great fit for just about any kind of blogging you might be doing.

The layout pack includes home, about, landing, blog, and contact pages. And the trip page layout can be adapted for all kinds of purposes, like featuring a series of content you’re working on.

You’ll love the versatility of this one and how it bring a nice balance of content with an elegant design. You likely won’t find another website builder for writers that gets you a simple and effective blog design like this one!

travel blog template

4 – Technology News Layout

The Technology News layout pack is a cool website builder for writers who want all of the focus to be on the writing (and less on the writer). It works well, especially if you have a few core categories you’re writing about and need a good way to organize the different types of content. So don’t focus on the “technology news” part of this layout, and look at the elements as ways to organize your content better.

This playout pack includes home, about, landing, blog, and contact pages. And it includes two sharp-looking blog post layouts that can be used to improve visual presentation of your written content.

So if you want the attention to be less on you, and more on the writing, then this might be the best starting point for you.

technology news

5 – Magazine Website Layout

In the Magazine layout pack you build an strong presence for the content, with the more professional look and feel of an online magazine. You can use this as a solo writer, or if you also like to feature other writers on your website too. And much like the Technology News layout, it’s a great layout for managing content in multiple categories for easier grouping and featuring of various types of content.

The pack has layouts for home, authors, landing, categories, and contact pages. Plus, it includes two blog post layouts you can use.

It doesn’t matter if you want to build an online magazine, this website builder for writers gives you a great looking way to present the content you’re writing!

magazine style website

6 – Podcast Website Layout

While the Podcast layout pack might not look like the typical blog, it certainly works well for writers. Many writers today are also converting their written content into audio content and publishing it as a podcast too. When you do that, this layout pack can provide you with a great way to present your content, both written and audio.

The layout pack includes home, about, landing, (all) episodes, and contact pages. It also has two post (individual episode) layouts.

And just to put this out there, you don’t even need to podcast in the traditional sense. You can use audio podcast content or video content (from YouTube, Facebook Live, etc.). And all of that can be shared with the written version of your content too. There are a number of possibilities to take your content production to the next level with this one!

podcaster website

Create Your Own Writer Website Template

The best part about using WordPress with Divi as a website builder for writers is that you can build anything you want with it! Not only can you use these layout packs as a starting point for your development, but you can also start from scratch to build your own layout.

Divi Builder is a modular page builder with a variety of customizable modules that you can use to build out your own design. When you get comfortable with the builder framework (which we are always happy to help our hosting clients with), you can literally look at any website and build the same layout on your website. Granted, some elements will take more customizing than others. But your design options are virtually limitless. And that makes for a great website builder for writers, no matter what your goal is!

Here are a few additional writer websites we’ve worked on with some clients of ours:

  1. Ginger Harrington – As an author/speaker, this site tries to bring a balance to what she has to offer and building her email list to grow her readership.
  2. Kim Hyland – An influencer and podcaster, this site pushes the podcast itself to Spotify, but builds a strong brand for everything else about her on the site.
  3. Robin Dance – Self-proclaimed encourager, seeker, wanderer, Robin features her writing on her blog, other websites, and the book with her readers.

With all of these sites, you’ll certainly find some similarities. But the design of each brings out the personality of the writer well, and helps move their readers towards the things they want to accomplish. And that’s the main goal when working with a good website builder for writers. Whether you’re using a pre-made layout or building from scratch, you should be designing towards putting your best foot forward and accomplishing your goals with your readers.

Wrapping It Up

The bottom line is that you can build an incredible website to showcase your writing! And it doesn’t need to be difficult. If you use the right tools, then you can a place online where your readers enjoy being while they read your (awesome) content. The user experience is crucial to helping you meet your goals. So put your best foot forward!

And that’s what we try to do with our managed WordPress hosting. Ultimately, you can get space on a server to house your website files anywhere. The difference between us and them is not only the additional maintenance (and security) that we take care of for you, or the fact that the Divi theme is included in the hosting plan (saving you $89/yr), but that our team is always here for you to help you learn whatever you need to learn to use these tools to build a great website. Education and support is included, so you never need to worry about feeling lost and on your own! And if you just need us to help out with some of the design/development work for you, we can often get you affordable pricing that won’t break the bank.

If you have any questions about how we can help, that don’t hesitate to grab some time for a free consultation with someone on our team!

managed wordpress hosting, website builder for writers

 

Blog SEO: Why It’s Important and How To Do It Well

Blog SEO: Why It’s Important and How To Do It Well

Considering the state of social media and other traffic sources the way they are these days, blog SEO (search engine optimization) is becoming more important all the time. Ultimately, you want to drive more traffic to your writing.

But here’s the reality most writers are facing these days…

Social media platforms simply don’t have the “viral” effect that they used to. Sharing on social media becomes limited to reaching your friends. And the algorithms of various platforms make it more difficult for content to be seen by even the people who follow you to get those updates. Email subscription and readership is down for many writers too, simply because subscribers deal with burnout from managing too much content.

Regardless, there are people out there right now who are looking for the exact content you have on your blog.

So the focus for writers needs to shift to how you find those people (and get your content in front of them). And that’s the focus of what we’ll explore in this article. We’ll dig into five questions to help you understand why blog SEO is important and how you can do it well.

blog seo, how to seo a blog

How important is SEO for blogging?

Let’s face it. If you’ve been blogging for a while, then you might remember the day when you could share a link to a post on Facebook or Twitter, and watch it generate plenty of clicks (through to your post) and shares (extending your reach). But with algorithm changes that filter what people see, most writers have been experiencing a massive decline in traffic from social media sources.

And traffic studies across many websites are showing the same results. One study shows that social media sources account for just 5% of website traffic. Meanwhile, organic search is bringing in 51% of all traffic.

blog seo, organic search

Source: monsterinsights.com

If you take a deeper look into the data, then you’ll also see that Google accounts for over 90% of all search engine traffic. So when you’re looking for traffic from search engines, getting it right for Google is (or at least can be) the single biggest driver of readers for your writing.

But doing blog SEO well is much more than simply installing a plugin and getting a green light on your blog post for some random (or too generic) keyword phrase.

With around 3.5 BILLION searches performed on Google every day, there’s a pretty high likelihood that some of those searches are for something that you wrote about. The best part about this is that it’s most likely being done by people who you are not already connected to (as through social media). That means you have access to new readers looking for you… if you can get your content to show up (especially on page one) in Google search results.

How to make your blog visible in Google search results

There’s good news and bad news with this one.

Bad news first… It’s not like social media where you can just post it and it’s there for everyone when you publish new content. And the downside, as we’ve already discussed, is that there’s no guarantee that people will even see that. At least with social media, you can share a link anytime you want to get it out there.

Now the good news… There’s really nothing you need to do to have your content available to show up in search results. Search engines use ‘bots’ to crawl websites across the Internet and then work to figure out how to index that content. So while there’s nothing you need to do to get it to show up in search engine results pages (SERPs), there are some things you can do to improve your chances of ranking well.

  1. Strong technical SEO – One of the first things you need to understand about SEO is that Google wants to provide a good experience for their searchers. That means if they send people to your website, then they need to know that it’s going to perform well. So evaluating elements like page load speed and website architecture can impact your standing on search engines. You should have a plan to ensure you’re running well and providing a great user experience for your visitors.
  2. Best content available – Just because you wrote a blog post that you’re passionate about doesn’t mean that it rank really high. Again, Google is looking to provide the best experience for their searchers. Part of that is making sure they send people to the best answer to their questions. From Google’s perspective, if they sent you a visitor who saw no value in your content, then the searcher loses confidence in Google as a source of providing good answers. So your content strategy should focus on providing great resources.
  3. Leverage crawl data – The best SEO strategies are not just a one-time function that you can set and forget. They require an ongoing analysis and adjustments to work towards key improvements. Therefore, understanding and using your analytics and crawl data (which Google will provide for you) is one of the biggest keys to driving your content up the rankings and obtaining more traffic from organic search.

Getting your website to show up in Google search results isn’t really difficult. But it does mean you need to be intentional. You also need to remove barriers (even unintentional ones) that can prevent you from ranking well.

Here’s a little deeper look at some core concepts related to each of these three points.

Which blog platforms are the most SEO-friendly?

I’m just going to come out and say it. I believe that WordPress is hands-down the best platform for blog SEO. Not only is it one of the most widely-accepted platforms out there, but it’s easy to implement all of the elements that help you improve your chances with the search engines.

The biggest of these has to do with how well you can enhance your technical SEO. Standard WordPress is a simple content management system that does a good job of storing and displaying your content. Then you can slap any theme on it to get you the design and style you want. Beyond that, a variety of plugins can be used as needed to improve the user experience. And while there are many more types than what I’ll discuss here, these types that can help you fine-tune your website to get better search results:

  • Caching plugins – Without getting too technical, caching is a method used to push elements closer to the user so that they don’t need to ‘download’ every element on the page every time. This helps speed up page load speed, since there is less ‘distance’ for some elements to travel.
  • Image optimization plugins – Another factor in page load speeds is the file size of the images you use. Many writers pay little attention to this, and upload larger, hi-res images that take longer to load. A good image optimization plugin will help reduce that file size and help pages load quicker.
  • Analytics plugins – Knowing how your website is performing is paramount to building a strong SEO strategy for your blog. Google Analytics will certainly give you some of the best information regarding visitor tracking, and there are some good plugins that can help you integrate and sort through what’s important.
  • Security plugins – Few things can kill your search rankings quicker than a security-compromised website. So yes, keeping an eye on how secure your website is, and dealing with potential issues quickly, will help you maintain your earned rankings. So it doesn’t necessarily get you ranking higher, but it can keep you from losing what you have.
  • SEO data plugins – A good SEO plugin doesn’t make your website rank by itself. But it can help with some of the extra ‘coding’ that help those search engine bots figure out what your content is about so that it knows how to index you.

Getting the right mix of plugins running on your site can go a long way in improving your search rankings. If you can get your website to load quickly, provide a good and safe experience for visitors, and build in some good ‘coding’ structure, then you’ve just set yourself up for success. From here, the next thing you’ll want to look at is your content.

Note: The exact plugins we would suggest (free and premium) are all listed in the How To SEO a Blog e-course (get 25% off at checkout using that link). And our BASIC+ Hosting plan includes some of the best premium plugins we know of for great SEO performance (plus some cool reports).

How to make your blog content SEO-friendly

Once you’ve built a strong foundation for your website, the content is the next element you can focus on. And while sometimes it’s good to write just to write, with no big blog SEO goals in mind, you’ll want to have a strategy for how you approach your writing to help you get found. There are a few basic phases of content development that you’ll want to consider:

  1. Keyword strategy – Using search engine data, you can find the best opportunities for keywords to target in your writing. A little bit of research here can pay big dividends not only in how you target terms, but also in the ideation of new blog post topics to inspire your writing.
  2. Structure your content well – The biggest thing here is to write your content in such a way that it’s the best resource out there for your desired target search terms. That means you’ll need to know what your page one search results competition is talking about, and evaluate what it would take to provide a better resource than what they have.
  3. On-page optimization – Some of the plugins we mentioned earlier will help with some of this. But getting your post structure right and ensuring you have all of the right elements in the right places will get that post set up for success when the bots come crawling.

Ultimately, it’s important that you write for humans, not for search engine bots. So don’t overthink this stuff! Write great content first. Then go back through an cover your blog SEO steps to ensure you’re doing what you need to do for the bots.

 

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How to use Google Search Console (GSC) to improve SEO

The follow-through is probably the most important element of your strategy, because it’ll show you how you can improve. And while Google Analytics will give you some great information about what your visitors are doing when they are on your site, Google Search Console will give you some incredible insight into how Google is ranking your pages/posts in their search results.

blog seo, google search console

With the data in Google Search Console, you’ll be able to evaluate:

  • Which terms you’re ranking for.
  • Where the pages/posts on your site are ranking (on average) in the results.
  • How many clicks (and the click-thru rate) you’re getting from any of those search results through to your website.
  • Errors that Google sees that can impact your rankings.

All of this information can tell you how to optimize your content, including the meta title and descriptions, in order to improve rankings and click-thru visits. And knowing the errors that Google sees when their bots crawl the site gives you the opportunity to correct the issues and keep the crawls running smoothly.

Conclusion: Getting Blog SEO right

Blog SEO isn’t really rocket science. But there are some key concepts that you need to understand. And if you can build a solid plan for how you approach your blog SEO, then you’ll be rewarded with some great traffic from new readers who are looking for you right now. I can’t stress this enough… If you’re a writer, keep writing great content for people. You shouldn’t really be thinking about blog SEO while you’re writing. Think about whatever message you have for your readers. But if you have the strategy built into your publishing process, then you’ll be able to create your content in such a way that it’s more likely to climb the rankings and get found more often.

Better search engine rankings = more traffic for your website = greater readership for your writing.

 

P.S. We’ve developed a course to help you understand key SEO concepts and build a plan that will drive more traffic to what you’re writing. And just as a thank you for reading this post, you can get How To SEO a Blog for 25% OFF using the promo code of SEO25OFF at checkout!

blog seo, how to seo a blog

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How To Get Customers To Leave Reviews

How To Get Customers To Leave Reviews

It certain is frustrating sometimes, right? Trying to figure out how to get customers to leave reviews for your business is one of those things that keeps many business owners up at night! Positive reviews are a major factor in getting better search results for a small business.

You’ve exceeded your customer’s expectations with your product or service. You’ve under-promised and over-delivered. Maybe you’ve taken a loss for them. Or you’ve worked late to get their projects done.

Above and beyond. You’ve earned a certain level of praise, for sure!

And when you talk to them, they’ll even tell you how much they love you. So why won’t they do it? Why won’t they write a review?

Barriers.

Barriers Keep Customers From Writing Reviews

Happy customers are generally open to the idea of writing a review. Unhappy customers on the other hand, are far more motivated express their frustration online and write negative reviews.

But both customers are in the minority.

The vast majority of customers simply don’t leave reviews. They don’t offer feedback. There’s a wide variety of reasons but it really comes down to four common barriers.

Aside from expectations, these barriers determine whether you’ll be able to get a customer to write a review.

So, how do you get more customers to write reviews?

It’s simple.

You eliminate the barriers.

But first, you have to identify them.

Get a Free Reviews Scan and Local Business Listing Audit!

Barrier #4: Happy customers are secretly unhappy

Most customers aren’t open with the companies they do business with. The sad part? Many happy customers are secretly unhappy.

Most customers won’t tell you they’re unhappy.

Skeptical?

Here’s a look at a few stats pulled together by Help Scout:

  • For every customer who bothers to complain, 26 other customers remain silent. Source: White House Office of Consumer Affairs
  • A typical business hears from 4% of its dissatisfied customers. Source: “Understanding Customers” by Ruby Newell-Legner
  • Resolve a complaint in the customer’s favor and they’ll do business with you again 70% of the time. Source: Lee Resources
  • 91% of unhappy customers will not be willing to do business with you again. Source: Lee Resources

Here’s the real reason customers won’t tell us the truth. We’re socialized to be “nice.” Telling the truth often comes with unpleasant consequences.

And when it doesn’t?

Delivering bad news or constructive criticism feels yucky, especially when customers feel it’s petty, tiny or insignificant. Even delivering good news can create headaches. Especially when the recipient of that news takes it pretty hard or reacts negatively.

For some customers it’s just not worth it.

Most of these customers feel it’s better to simply keep their thoughts, feedback and opinions to themselves.

So, how do you fix this?

Create an environment of safety.

On the surface that sounds easy but it can be difficult to put into practice. Here are a few strategies you can test in your business.

  1. Welcome horrible reviews. A negative review is a wonderful opportunity. It’s a chance for you to show prospective customers you’re a safe company to do business with. When something goes wrong customers know you’ll take good care of them. Thank customers for their unpleasant review, act on their feedback, then show what you’ve done.
  2. Ask customers for good, bad and ugly feedback. Reassure customers, letting them know it’s safe for them to hold you and your staff accountable. Then, keep your word. New customers will test you; they’ll attempt to verify your words. Handle it well and you’ve earned their trust (and a review). Mess things up and they’ll quietly slip away.
  3. Improve staff EQ. Give staff the incentives they need to eliminate dysfunctional behavior. Use training, resources and tools to eliminate the big four relationship killers – condescension, contempt, defensiveness and stonewalling. Be kind, be helpful or your chance at a review will be gone.
  4. Promote clarity over persuasion. Anticipate and defuse concerns, objections, risks and fears ahead of time. Create policies that ensure customers feel safe and treated well.

Barrier #3: Customers don’t remember what you did

When you’ve done a great job, customers tend to forget. Do a bad job and customers never forget.

We all have a negative bias.

As people, we’re on an obsessive hunt for problems. For disasters, fears, and frustrations. Research shows we’re far more attuned to the negative events in our lives than we are to the positive.

Our negative bias keeps us safe.

It’s an important survival mechanism we depend on from the time we’re born.

  • Problems create stress and anxiety.
  • Solutions (you) relieve stress and anxiety.

When you give customers the solution they so desperately need, you give them relief. That’s a good thing (obviously) but it’s also a bad thing.

Because relief induces forgetfulness.

The longer you wait to ask customers for their feedback (or a review) the less likely they are to remember what you actually did for them.

So, how do you fix this?

It’s simple. You ask customers for their feedback or a review, immediately or shortly after they’ve purchased and used your product.

Kind of obvious, right?

There’s actually a better way. You prime the pump. When you sign customers up, you tell them you’re going to do a regular check-in to make sure they’re taken care of, like this:

Hey, Angie!

 

We’re excited that you’ve decided to join our tribe and have you as a customer!

 

And we want to make sure you’re taken care of. So, I want to reach out to you for a quick 2 min chat to make sure you’re in a good place with everything.

 

Would that be okay?

 

You can use this check-in to share feedback, concerns, complaints, vent about a problem – it’s all fair game!

 

Just let me know when it would be convenient for you for us to connect.

 

Thanks,
Dan 

You’ll obviously want to customize things for your business, but you catch my drift, right? Then, you schedule each “check-in” with your customers. If you can, it’s also a great idea to use an automated review management tool (like fistbump.reviews) to automate review requests. Review conversion rates go way up when the email “ask” is combined with a face to face request.

Save live chats, record phone calls (get permission), save emails.

You dramatically reduce churn and you gain valuable insights to make them happy. And the best part? Customer reviews are baked right in!

Barrier #2: It’s too hard to write or share a review

Great success! You have a customer who’s able and willing to share a positive review. They decide to search for your business on Yelp and they see this.

How To Get Customers To Leave Reviews

Customers can’t seem to find the right account or profile…

They spent 15 min writing a review only to lose it…

It’s too time consuming…

Or too whatever.

Customers write reviews for a wide variety of reasons.

Customers stop caring when it becomes tough to actually write a review – whether that’s on your site or a third party site.

You know what that means.

They lose interest and they abandon their review. And just like that the opportunity is gone.

Here’s the thing.

It’s not just about technical difficulties. It’s also about direction. Customers don’t always know where to write or share their review.

They need direction from you.

So, how do you fix this?

You make things ridiculously simple. You make it incredibly easy for them to write a review. Then you show them where you’d like their reviews to go, like this:

Hey, Angie!

 

Your feedback was amazing! Thanks so much for sharing.

 

Would you be willing to share your feedback and advice with other customers if it only took 30 seconds?

 

Please let me know,
Dan

It’s ridiculously easy for customers to respond. All they have to do is write a “Yes” or “No.”

Okay. They’ve said yes. What do you do?

Thanks so much, Angie!

 

Here’s what you can do.

 

  1. Copy and paste your review below.
  2. Click this link (link to your preferred review site)
  3. Paste your review, select a rating and click Done

…..

[Customer’s review transcript goes here]

…..

 

Thanks again!

Dan

Alright… What if they say “No?”

Hey, Angie,

 

No problem! Thanks for letting me know. I’m curious, what is it about sharing feedback that isn’t working for you?

 

Thanks again,

Dan

You’ll have some customers who ignore you anyway. That’s fine. Focus on the customers who answer. Thank them for their feedback, act on it (if possible), then show them that you’ve taken their advice.

What if you don’t want to do the personal follow up? What if you’re looking for a systematic way to attract customer reviews?

If you’re looking for a scalable way to attract reviews you’ll need your review funnel. Semi-automation is key if you’re looking to gain traction quickly. Using your review funnel gives you the ability to scale quickly, reminding customers to write a review and share their feedback.

Barrier #1: Customers don’t know what to say.

The biggest hidden barrier by far is awareness. Many customers simply don’t know what to say. So, rather than struggling with it they simply do nothing.

You can change that.

You can guide customers. Does this mean you’re telling customers what to say and when to say it?

Absolutely not.

It means you’re focused on asking the right questions. Why do questions matter? And, how on earth will questions get you the amazing reviews you’re looking for?

Clayton Christensen, a professor at Harvard Business School, shared the answer.

“Questions are places in your mind where answers fit. If you haven’t asked the question, the answer has nowhere to go. It hits your mind and bounces right off. You have to ask the question – you have to want to know – in order to open up the space for the answer to fit.”

Customers can’t teach you about their experience until you’re ready to learn.

Ask the right questions and you give customers the fuel they need to create amazing reviews.

Because reviews flow from feedback.

Ask customers the right question and the barrier – I don’t know what to say – fades away.

Which questions do you ask and when?

First, start with the basics.

  1. What would have prevented you from buying?
  2. What did you find as a result of buying this?
  3. What did you like most about our product (or service)?
  4. What would be three other benefits to this product (or service)?
  5. Would you recommend this to someone else? Why, or why not?

You can add in additional questions as needed provided that you make it easy for your customers.

Make it easy, and barriers come tumbling down.

Aren’t barriers unnecessary?

Believe it or not barriers are necessary. Sounds crazy doesn’t it? Who makes it harder for customers to write positive reviews?

You do, if you’re a savvy marketer.

Reviews are like magnets. Customers are drawn to them. That’s a problem if you have the wrong customers.

  • Have discount shoppers? Offer great service and you’ll attract more of their penny pinching friends.
  • Provide lots of “handholding?” You’ll attract more of the same demanding customers.
  • Nightmare customer writes you a positive review? You’ll attract more customer predators looking to take advantage of your generosity.

What if removing barriers doesn’t get customers to write a review?

It won’t for everyone.

But you’re not looking for everyone. You’re looking for all-stars, customer evangelists who’ll tell everyone they know about your business.

The diamonds in the rough.

How To Get Customers To Leave Reviews

You’ve exceeded their expectations. You’ve under-promised and over-delivered. You’ve taken a loss for them. You’ve gone above and beyond.

But when it comes to writing a review for you, they’ll still continue to struggle with following through…

If these barriers remain intact that is. When you discuss things with them, they’ll be full of praise. When you ask for feedback they’ll do their best to be nice. But these barriers will keep them from writing a review.

Happy customers want to write a positive review. Remove their barriers. Make it easy for the right customers and you’ll find their reviews exceed your expectations. 

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How To Increase Sales Revenue by 154% Without Effort (Case Study Results)

How To Increase Sales Revenue by 154% Without Effort (Case Study Results)

increase salesGrowing your business requires that you find ways to increase your sales revenue. That’s foundational. New sales are the lifeblood of every business. So I want to show you what we did to get a 154% increase in monthly new sales revenue by making one simple change.

And it made my sales process easier than ever.

The best part?

Much of the sales process is now on autopilot. And we’re continuing to experience even greater growth over time (since this study). That’s because the solution has growth and continual improvement built into it. Again, this was all done without adding complex processes and effort.

And in this case study, I’m going to show you exactly what we did and the step-by-step process we implemented to hit this incredible sales growth.

The Day I Realized That Sales Shouldn’t Be Difficult

Since the day I started Fistbump Media, I’ve racked my brain to figure out how to drive more sales. I’ve studied sales processes, funnels, online tactics, and several dozen tools that are supposed to help me grow my business.

I’ve learned over time that one of the most important assets you have is your database of leads and customers. Success in sales growth is a direct result of how you leverage all of that customer (and potential customer) data. So that means you need a good customer relationship management (CRM) tool to manage all of that information.

Over the years, I’ve tried lots of them. I even launched an extensive conversation on LinkedIn to see if I could find some good ones, which lead to one that I tried for a full year before giving up.

The problem was that none of it made my sales process easy to manage. Not did they really help me grow. It just always felt like a herculean effort to get manage the process.

That’s when I decided to switch to the HubSpot CRM.

HubSpot

I’ve always loved their (free) e-courses, and every glimpse I’ve gotten of the tools just made it look super easy to manage. And that’s what I was looking for. A simple tool that could help me grow.

So I made the leap.

And I was surprised at what happened next…

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An Immediate Increase In New Leads (and Sales)

Over the two year period, I used two different CRMs. The first 12 months was with a CRM I found through extensive research. I’ll keep it nameless, because it’s not my goal to diminish it as a tool. It was pretty standard as far as CRM tools are concerned, and it had plenty of nice features. Then I switched to HubSpot and tracked the same progress over the next 12 months.

During this time, my overall marketing approach hadn’t changed significantly. I only used what the tools offered to me.

For the time frame covered, it’s worth noting the change in traffic to our website. The numbers are all monthly averages, with the “before” numbers covering the time using the old CRM and the “after” numbers covering the time using the HubSpot CRM.

New Users (Website): Before

New Users (Website): After

%

Difference

The increase here really had nothing to do with the CRM use itself. I attribute it mostly to ongoing returns from our search engine optimization efforts over time. 

It’s worth noting this number so that we can understand the differences in other numbers we monitored over this period.

Another increase we experienced was with the average number of new incoming leads per month. 

New Leads: Before

New Leads: After

%

Difference

As you can see, then number of new leads coming in each month increased at a higher rate than that of the website traffic. The web-to-lead conversion rate increased from 3.2% with the old CRM up to 4% with HubSpot.

I attribute that increase to the ways HubSpot integrates into my WordPress website compared to other CRM tools. I’ll cover this in more detail shortly, but HubSpot is certainly better at helping me capture visitor information and bringing them into the CRM as leads.

It’s also important to note that part of the time HubSpot leads we’re being tracked included February and March of 2020, as the Coronavirus pandemic was starting to impact everything. With all of the uncertainty individuals and businesses encountered, we went through a 6-week period with only one new incoming lead. So the difference is actually more extreme if we just considered “ordinary” months.

The next change we experienced was with the average number of new orders (sales) closed on average.

New Orders: Before

New Orders: After

%

Difference

The increase with sales closed is nearly identical to the percentage increase in new leads because our close rate stayed pretty consistent. We didn’t really change much with the actual sales process, so the increase in leads basically increased sales at the same rate.

But one thing that was interesting was the increase in the dollar value of the average sale.

Avg Order ($): Before

Avg Order ($): After

%

Difference

Over this period of time, we did not add products or change prices significantly. 

The biggest difference was the fluidity of our sales process. With HubSpot’s WordPress integration, we had better insight into what leads were doing on our website. The extra data points helped us to better position products and even offer upgrades that clients might be interested in. In the end, we saw higher-dollar sales orders closing.

Following this through, more sales closing at higher dollar figures meant that we saw a significant increase in total new revenue per month.

New Revenue ($): Before

New Revenue ($): After

%

Difference

With these figures, I’m not estimating ongoing/recurring revenue. I’m only tracking the initial order. 

In the end, we experienced a significant lift in revenue growth by switching from another highly rated CRM to the HubSpot CRM. And we did that without doing more marketing or making changes to our sales process. Ultimately, it’s just a case of how a better tool can make a huge difference.

How exactly did we do that? Keep reading to see how you can increase sales like this too…

The 3-Steps To Increase Sales With the HubSpot CRM

The implementation of HubSpot and accomplishing this kind of growth involved three main phases. Each step required little effort but carried a high impact. This is what we did…

  • Step #1: Migrate existing contacts and set up the CRM
  • Step #2: Integrate with your existing website and email tools
  • Step #3: Optimize and build out lead management processes

Here’s why this was so effective (and easy to implement)…

First, migrating our existing contacts into HubSpot allows you to start right away with improving your marketing and sales processes. No matter where you currently manage your contacts, you should be able to export them in a basic (CSV) spreadsheet, which can be imported directly into HubSpot.

HubSpot makes the process so simple, I believe I had all of my contacts from our previous CRM imported within about 10 minutes.

It’s not a complicated setup, allowing you to start realizing impact almost immediately.

Second, the integration process with our existing website and email tools via a WordPress plugin and Chrome browser extension (for Gmail) allowed us to start tracking contact activity immediately.

The total setup for both of these integrations took just a few minutes. The immediate tracking capabilities it brought instantly improved our insight into what our contacts were doing based on our efforts.

You can start making better decisions and having more meaningful conversations with your contacts right away.

Third, optimizing and building out your lead management efforts flows naturally with insights provided by HubSpot tools and reporting. Plus it offers tips to help you understand how you can improve every communication you have with your contacts.

You don’t have to take complex sales training courses or implement new techniques to improve your sales.

Honestly, you’ll get better at selling just by using the tools built right into HubSpot.

HubSpot

Step #1: Migrate Existing Contacts and Set up The CRM

If you already have any kind of list or database of contacts (customers and/or leads), then that’s the best place to start. With contacts in your database, you can start implementing your lead management strategy right away.

With your existing customers, you’ll be able to build up a better ongoing communication strategy. Just because a contact bought something from you once doesn’t mean they no longer have value. They can be a great source for both future sales and referrals. Keeping in touch with them is a key piece to developing that strategy.

If you have existing leads you’ve gathered, then beginning to manage them in HubSpot will give you some great tools to manage them better. Things like email and website activity tracking will give you much better insight into how you can position your products. And positioning your products well can result in higher close rates and higher revenue per order.

The process is simple…

increase sales, hubspot crm

In a nutshell, get your data into a spreadsheet (existing systems should allow you to export your information into a CSV-format spreadsheet). And then upload that spreadsheet to HubSpot. The process will give you the opportunity to match up fields (so phone number goes to a phone number field, etc), and create custom fields for more specific data that you like to manage with your contacts.

If you need to create your own list from scratch, then HubSpot has a spreadsheet template you can use.

And I mentioned how great HubSpot’s e-courses are… they also have a great (and short) course on how to get your data into the HubSpot CRM, complete with video walk-thru help on everything in the process.

Depending on how you currently manage your data, this process can take as little as a few minutes. Then you can start to increase sales revenue right away. More on exactly how to do that in a moment…

Step #2: Integrate With Existing Website and Email Tools

The next step will almost instantly help you increase the number of leads you’re capturing.

If you’re running a self-hosted WordPress website, then HubSpot’s WordPress plugin is a simple way to integrate the power of HubSpot into your website. Not only will you be able to access your HubSpot CRM dashboard and tools directly in your website’s WordPress Dashboard, but you’ll also be able to:

  • Easily add HubSpot forms to your website
  • Capture data from non-HubSpot forms as leads in the CRM
  • Add website chat tools to your website (which also turns new chat contacts into leads in your CRM)

increase sales, hubspot wordpress

To add the HubSpot plugin to your WordPress website:

  1. Download the HubSpot plugin for WordPress
  2. Upload (and activate) the plugin to your WordPress website
  3. Log in to your HubSpot account through the plugin settings on your website

That’s it! And while there is a lot you can do to optimize this over time, this will help you start capturing leads right away.

The other big integration you should set up right away is the email integration. We use Google Workspace (formerly G Suite) for our email (and other functions). And HubSpot has a free app to connect your Gmail to your HubSpot account. There are also apps available for Outlook (and other email tools), if you don’t use Google Workspace.

The email integration is going to do two main things for you:

  • It brings your contact information from HubSpot into your email inbox
  • It adds some great tools to your email to help with managing and tracking contact activities

increase sales, hubspot gmail integration

The email tools will not only increase the impact of your email communications, but it also decreases your effort by automatically connecting and logging the email conversations on your contact records in the CRM.

To add this, simply grab the extension from the HubSpot App Marketplace, or get the extension from the Chrome Web Store.

Both of these integrations will immediately supercharge your lead capture and management efforts. The next step is to start optimizing to help you get the most out of the HubSpot CRM…

Step #3: Optimize and Build Out Lead Management Process

This next step is more of an ongoing process, as opposed to a one-time setup step. Ultimately, it’s great to have fully-developed automated email sequences. But if you don’t have that now, you shouldn’t feel overwhelmed with trying to create them from scratch.

The way we’ve approached it is to just build in a process of continual improvement. In fact, even where we’ve built those sequences, we’re continually working to improve them.

This approach allows you to start reaping rewards and increase sales revenue right away, with little effort. And improving it over time means that you’ll always be growing.

Here are some of the core guidelines we followed to realize our growth (and continue to see even more as we continue to evaluate and implement improvements)…

1. Start communicating with existing customers regularly

One of the sources of sales is customers who have already said “yes” to you previously. So an important part of your strategy should include keeping yourself visible with those existing customers.

Don’t just assume that they are always thinking about you. You need to keep yourself top of mind with them. And it’s not about “selling” to them constantly. All you need to do is just share what’s going on with them.

In HubSpot, we’ve started sending a once-per-month client newsletter. In it, we share things like:

  • Company updates relevant and of interest to customers (i.e. system enhancements designed to make their interaction with us easier, etc.)
  • New product and service launches
  • Tips and tricks to manage their services better
  • Customer service related resources
  • New and trending blog and webinar content

Sharing these updates regularly has resulted in higher engagement with our content, more appointments booked, and better (and more) reviews from our customers.

And with HubSpot, it’s simple to create your newsletter using built-in and customizable templates. Then just clone your previous email each month and make a few updates to the content. Putting together the newsletter each month takes about 15 minutes, and returns some great results!

increase sales, HubSpot email templates

2. Develop email flows with new leads

Eventually, having well-formed automated email sequences is the way to go. It’s going to be a far more efficient way of managing communications with incoming leads. However, when we made the switch to HubSpot, we simply didn’t have them. We tried developing them in previous CRMs. We just never for the traction to see them return good results.

That’s why it’s best to take a growth-driven approach.

As new leads come in, I would respond to each one individually by email. Then, with each email I sent, I would create a follow-up task in HubSpot to trigger me to send my next email.

increase sales, hubspot email

Then I would monitor my task list for follow-ups that needed to happen each day. And as I worked on the tasks, I would review the contact’s activity to help me refine how I would focus my next email. Did they open the previous email? Did they click on any links? What pages did they visit on the website as a result?

After working the leads this way over a period of time, I started to get a good feel for what I got a pretty good feel for what was working well(and what wasn’t). Then I basically copied my best efforts into an email sequence that I could start using for future leads.

Using this approach, not only did I simplify my email automation development, but I also realized some great results…

  • The email open rate on our sequences is steadily over 60% (industry standard is 15-25%)
  • The click-thru rate runs over 7% on average (industry standard is 2.5%)

Even with strong rates like that, we monitor ways to continue to improve on that too!

3. Follow the data

This is where some of the greatest power comes in. The information available to help you see how your efforts are trending, and help you make better decisions, is at your fingertips.

The best part is that it’s not presented in a confusing or overwhelming way. So you don’t need to be a data scientist to figure out what you’re looking at. Here are a few ways you can use the data and reporting to improve your efforts over time…

  • Which emails are working best? You’ll see open rates for your emails, which tells you how effective your email subject lines are. And you’ll see click activity in your emails so you know what’s driving people to action. I’ve looked at emails with high click-thru rates and applied those practices to emails with low click-thru rates. In the end, it’s raising the impact of all of my emails.
  • Which marketing channels are working for you? Determine the effectiveness of your efforts on social media compared to visitors coming from search engines (or whatever source). When you can see how effective various channels are, then you’ll know where to invest your efforts to drive even better growth.
  • What is your return on investment in online ads? HubSpot connects with various online ad platforms (Facebook and LinkedIn) and can help you determine the exact ROI on your ad campaigns. How many clicks on ads are turning into leads, and how many of those are turning into customers? You’ll drive better impact when you can see what’s really working and what’s not.

If you send just a little time regularly looking over the data and performance reports, you’ll quickly identify some ways to improve what you’re doing. This continual improvement will be a major driver of increased sales growth over time.

increase sales, hubspot reports

4. Leverage lists to target communications and offers

Another way to increase sales is to manage contacts using targeted lists. Once you have contacts on various kinds of lists, then you can target specific types of communications towards them. Personally, I think there is nothing worse than scatter-spray marketing. That’s throwing everything out to everyone, and hoping that someone gets it. 

With us, our clients come primarily in two groups, writers/bloggers and small businesses. It’s not a stretch to see how interests for one group may be different than the other.

With lists targeted at each of these customers (and leads), then releasing something like a new e-course on self-publishing only needs to go to the writer/blogger contacts. Likewise, promoting our local business directory link-building services can be promoted just to the small businesses. Promoting either of these things to everyone is going to make it fall flat and likely just end up annoying some contacts due to too many irrelevant emails.

increase sales, hubspot lists

Lists can also be used to filter out people based on their activity (or inactivity). And that can not only help you keep your database clean, but it can also help you even further target the types of communications that might re-engage them. That leads me to my last point…

5. Never give up on a lead

One of the big things HubSpot has helped me do is to not give up on any of my leads. And it’s paid off with increased sales!

I’ve seen at times when I might send someone 2-3 emails and not get a reply. But in HubSpot, when I look at the contact details, I might see lots of opens on the emails and lots of clicks to the website. So even though I don’t see a reply, I might still see them being very engaged. That’s a signal to me to not stop! But if all I knew was that they weren’t responding to my emails, then I might be inclined to give up.

I also have a list that I move people to after they’ve finished automated sequences without any further engagement. These people go onto a list that gets a monthly featured “best offer” email to attempt to re-engage them. These emails regularly get these otherwise “cold” leads to pop up and end up becoming customers.

Persistence is the key. So having a strategy for how you will continue to engage (yes, even cold leads) over the long-term is incredibly important. And don’t take silence as a “no” because often it just means they’ve been a little too busy to respond at the moment. 

If you’re trying to increase sales revenue, then you’ll want to get every bit of opportunity you can find out of your leads. So… NEVER give up on a lead (unless they specifically unsubscribe).

 

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How You Can Increase Sales Revenue For Your Business

I don’t know about you, but as a small business, we like to increase sales revenue! And doing so cannot be something that adds expense (that doesn’t get a return) or complicate processes. That’s really been the best thing about switching to the right CRM.

While the CRM itself is free, we do pay a little bit for the Marketing Starter and Sales Starter plans. But the increase we’ve seen in sales more than pays for that cost. And we’re continuing to grow and increase sales even more! Here’s what this switch has meant to us:

  • Simplified our sales process
  • Improved our marketing effectiveness
  • Given us the information to have more meaningful conversations with contacts
  • Provides the data to help us commit to continual improvement
  • Saves us immeasurable time 

I’ve honestly always dreaded trying to figure out how we’re going to drive sales growth. Always sorting through sales strategies (and gimmicks) and trying tools that over-promise and under-deliver. I’ve earned more grey hair from trying to find the right formula than from any other aspect of running the business. But now it just feels right. I’m having fun trying things and watching the impact of our efforts. 

And we’re seeing the results.

So if you want to try the HubSpot CRM, and have questions. Then grab 15 minutes on my calendar to talk through it. Just use the scheduler below to get some time. (And FYI… that’s from HubSpot too!) There’s no obligation to talk, and I’m happy to just answer any questions you might have and see if I can steer you in the right direction with this.

#fistbump

FTC Disclosure: We are a HubSpot affiliate and receive a commission when you purchase. The results we share are our own and from our own data tracking efforts. We promote these tools and services based on our actual experience and confidence in the results they provide.

How To Find the Right Focus and Direction for Your Blog

How To Find the Right Focus and Direction for Your Blog

How To Find the Right Focus and Direction for Your Blog

Category: Writer Strategy
Skill Level: All Levels
Webinar Recorded: October 27, 2020

One of the biggest problems we often see in blogs is that they lack a specific focus. If it’s difficult for readers to know at a glance what you’re all about, then you won’t have much of a chance of keeping them around for very long. That’s why spending some effort fine-tuning the focus and direction for your blog is such a foundational step. Without it, you’ll be forever wandering in the vast ocean of the Internet.

We’ll explore some things you can do to help you not only discover your direction, but we’ll also discuss how you can leverage it to build a strong brand for yourself online. You’ll need to ask yourself some serious questions and do a little bit of research to find your niche and help you stand out.

In this session, you’ll learn:

  • Why finding a strong focus/direction for your blog is so important
  • What you should be asking yourself as you consider what your focus will be
  • How you can fine-tune your direction through some simple keyword research
  • What you can do to settle on and use your focus to build a brand online

Upon completion of this webinar, you’ll have all the tools you need to help you find the right focus and direction for your blog. As you implement this into your online efforts, you’ll likely be more excited than ever about what you’re doing online. And, it’ll likely get you better results than you ever have before too!

Suggested e-course:

direction for your blog

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