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This week I learnt two things about blogging:

1. Getting your readers to DO something on your blog is a powerful thing.
2. Personal contact with readers makes a real impact

Last week i ran a quick and small competition on ProBlogger to promote the ProBlogger Book.

The competition was simple - leave a comment on the competition post that told me why you wanted the book in 250 words or less.

competition ran for 24 hours and at the end of that time there were 193
entries (more than I expected). The entries were so good that I felt
bad just giving one book away so selected three submissions to get a
copy of it.

At this point in running competitions I usually send
the prizes, make a quick post announcing the winners and then do
nothing else - but this time I decided to do something different.

felt bad that so many had missed out on the book after going to the
trouble of entering so on the spur of the moment I emailed each of the
190 entrants who didn't win. It took me a while to pull all their
emails into an email but I wanted them to know that I appreciated the
effort that they'd gone to.

The email thanked them for their
comment and told them that I was said that there couldn't be more
winners. I also pointed out that the book was on special at Amazon and
said that I hope they'd be able to get a copy at some point.

was a little hesitant to mention the book on sale as I didn't want it
to come off as a sales technique (the primary purpose of the email was
to thank them) but decided to do it on the spur of the moment.

I sent the email.

What happened next was surprising.

I started getting emails from the 190 that I'd sent my email out to. Over the next 24 hours I had 70 emails!

There were two main themes in the emails:

They appreciated and were surprised by the personal contact - quite a
few readers emailed that they'd been taken aback by the follow up email.

They'd bought the book - most of those who emailed said that they'd
just bought the book (or were about to). Whether they all did or not
I'm not sure but the book's ranking on Amazon leapt up that day by 600
spots - so something happened.

In the days since my competition I've noticed a third flow-on effect of my email.

More Reader Interaction - a number of the people that I'd emailed had
never commented before on ProBlogger before the competition - they'd
been lurking but never active on the blog. However in the last few days
they've been commenting like crazy.

Take Home Lessons

I've been reflecting upon this experience over the last couple of days and two lessons have struck me.

Getting your readers to DO something on your blog is a powerful thing -
this hit home on two levels. Firstly the act of getting readers to
write why they wanted the book to play a big part in them actually
buying it. I guess when you invest a few minutes into thinking about
why you want something and then go to the trouble of writing those
reasons up you 'sell' yourself on actually buying it. Secondly - the
act of making a first comment on a blog can often be enough to make a
lurking reader an active reader. I've noticed this before - people
often feel shy about commenting but once they take the step to do so
they open the flood gates.

2. Personal contact with readers
makes a real impact - this is something I've known for a long time but
have had to re-learn many times. It can be difficult to interact with
all of your blog's readers but when you do it can really impact them
and help them to become more loyal to your blog.

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