In my last post, I went into the changes that are happening with social media and blogging. These changes can make you wonder if blogging is still worth it in 2019 (and beyond).
In this post (and accompanying podcast episode), I want to share a case study of BaseLang. This is a service I now use that offers one-on-one Spanish classes.
In it, I will show you how they used their blog to land me a paying customer. There are a lot of lessons we can learn from what they did.
So let’s dive into it.
Listen to the episode
Do you prefer to listen rather than read? Or do you want to get some additional insights that I add in my podcast? Go ahead and click play to listen. Or better yet, consider subscribing.
The Background to This Post
I took Spanish when I was in high school. It was required, and I did very well in that class.
The result of doing so well in that class for 5 years is that I knew a lot of Spanish words. Unfortunately, I still couldn’t have a decent conversation.
The result – I REALLY knew the words I already knew and could add a few more to my repertoire.
This was really frustrating for me. I didn’t want to just know words. I want to be able to have conversations with my Spanish-speaking friends.
I want to be able to travel to Spanish-speaking countries and make new friends. Three weeks ago, I did a Google search for “the fastest way to become fluent in Spanish”.
The result was a post on a blog by a company called “Baselang“. What followed was an interesting journey. It led to me going from a random visitor to a blog, to an email subscriber, to a very happy customer.
In the process, it became clear that this company had a very clever blogging strategy. One that we ALL can learn from.
So, I want to break down exactly what they did to get me to buy, as well as share actionable tips.
My Challenge to Myself
I love connecting with people with different backgrounds. I attended one of the most diverse universities in the world.
As a result, I have a diverse set of friends. There was a time in college was a time where my friend group was so diverse that almost none of us looked like each other. That was awesome.
I’m at a stage where I just want to connect with people from different cultures at a deeper level. And part of that involves learning other languages.
I don’t know what my future holds. But I’m starting to feel that being able to communicate with people from other countries will play a big part.
I already speak Dutch relatively well. My goal is to be relatively fluent in both Dutch and Spanish by January 1, 2020. 2020 will be the year of French, and then Mandarin in 2021, with Hindi to follow that.
BaseLang is a company that offers unlimited one-on-one Spanish tutoring with native Spanish-speakers. It was founded by Connor Grooms and provides an alternative to software-based learning.
While they do recommend using apps in your learning, it's focus is on having conversations.
I’ve been using their service for 3 weeks now and wanted to use them as a case study of a company that is using blogging well.
Optimizing for Search Engine Traffic (SEO)
When I did the Google search for “the fastest way to become fluent in Spanish”, here's what I found:
I want to point out a few things . . .
Optimizing Your Blog Post Titles
The title does a great job of telling me what value I’ll get from the article and demonstrates that it’s what I’m looking for. Let’s break down some key parts:
Expert reveals: This is exactly what I want. I want to know from someone who actually knows his/her stuff. What I was doing OBVIOUSLY wasn’t working, and I needed something from someone who knows what works.
Learn Spanish fast: YES PLEASE. The slow way wasn’t cutting it anymore. In fact, when I decided I was going to be fluent in Spanish (and Dutch), I posted the following on Social Media:
Umm, if I don’t find out a way to make that happen FAST, I’ll be eating my words on January 1st.
In 2019: This gives me the idea that whatever the article covers is still relevant today. Whether this is true or not, it made me feel somewhat better about spending my time to read it.
BaseLang: This didn’t mean anything to me at the time, but it’s smart that it’s included at the end of the title. It makes you think “What’s BaseLang, and how is it related to learning Spanish fast”. It helps to brand BaseLang and hints at it being synonymous with learning Spanish fast.
Optimizing Your Blog Post Descriptions
The description that showed up in the search engine listing was interesting. Here’s why:
- It wasn't specified by the post creator. Instead, it was a few excerpts from the actual blog post. I usually prefer to think through what I want to show up in the search engine results. But, this way of showing up helped them in my case.
- It appealed to everything I was feeling at the time. It pointed out a few things: There’s a lot of stuff out there that doesn’t work. They have a method that actually works. It also acknowledged that what’s important is being able to use the language in real life.
At this point, my curiosity was piqued and I had to click through. This is a major lesson for all bloggers.
Make sure you optimize the way you want your posts to be displayed in the Search Engine results. Try to think about what your audience (or potential audience) struggles with. And use the YOAST SEO plugin to show that you understand them.
Always think about what you know they need to hear to click through to that piece of content.
How to Create the Perfect Blog Post
The post that I went to was RIDICULOUSLY long for a blog post. In fact, it was over 2,500 words. Not your typical “quick read”, but it really did cover how to learn Spanish fast.
But what Connor (the author and owner of the company) did in the first paragraph was masterfully done.
He started by telling his story of how he failed to learn languages in the past. And like me, he took years of foreign language in high school.
He spoke about his doubts about his ability to learn languages due to a bad “genetic disposition”.
But then he shared how his experience learning Spanish was different. In fact, it was so different that he filmed a documentary on how he learned Spanish in a month.
By that point, I was hooked. Not only had he experienced my pain, but he found a solution.
If he can go from not knowing the language to being functionally conversational in one month, there was hope for me.
So I read the entire article (all 2,500+ words) and found the missing link. I didn’t need to learn more words. To become conversational, I had to have CONVERSATIONS.
I know – DUH!
I have friends who learned to speak Spanish fluently. And in those cases, they actually lived in Spanish-speaking countries for a while.
They had to have conversations on a daily basis. That’s what I needed, but I wasn’t ready to move to Colombia or some other Spanish-speaking country.
Fortunately, Baselang had a solution for me. Don’t worry, we’ll get there.
Creating the Perfect Lead Magnet
One of the other clever things Connor did was tie his blog post to his email list building process.
He interrupted his post every so often with the following invitation:
Here’s what I can guarantee. If the topic of the post interests you, so will the guide. That’s why it’s the perfect lead magnet.
So I signed up immediately to his email list to get the more expanded version of what I was reading in that blog post.
It was a 119-page guide that broke down the BaseLang process for teaching you Spanish fast.
The concept is simple – conversation before perfection. Don't wait until you’ve “perfected” your Spanish. Start having conversations now.
THAT’S why immersion works. The more you have conversations, the better you get at having conversations.
For where I was on my Spanish learning journey, it was the perfect lead magnet for me.
Creating a Value-adding Email Sequence
What happens after someone signs up to your email list really matters. If you aren’t working to build trust by adding value, you are reducing your effectiveness.
Connor gets this. Let’s look at the emails he sent up to the point that I decided to sign up.
Email 1: Delivering on his promise (and adding value)
In this first email, he delivered on the promise of what was offered when I signed up – access to his free guide.
He also linked to his documentary on how he learned Spanish in a month. Here’s the interesting thing.
When I read the post, I didn’t watch the documentary. But because I got it via email, I was reminded to check it out, and I did.
That was another high-value touch point that taught me a lot about how to learn a language quickly.
Lastly, but certainly not least, he invited me to reply with the following statement:
“P.S. hit reply and let me know what you want to use Spanish for once you speak it! I read and reply to everything :)”
Yes, he was a real person and was going to reply to me if I sent him a message (something he proved later on).
Email 2: Asking for engagement
In his second email, the focus was on one thing – asking for advice. The following is directly from the email:
“This blog is for YOU, so we want to know what you want to learn about. What can we help with? Any how-to tactical questions? Maybe you're confused about a specific topic?”
There’s so much awesomeness in this and I have to break it down:
- They care about what I want to learn.
- They are asking me to actively engage with them by hitting reply.
- They want to get at what I’m struggling with.
If I reply to the email, I’m signaling to GMail that this is someone I care to engage with. They are also getting valuable data about what potential customers struggle with.
That’s powerful stuff that can be used to refine what they do as well as make sure their future emails get to my inbox.
Email 3: Setting the stage for the value that’s coming
This next email sets the stage for what’s coming in the next few emails. The idea is to help me get conversational in Spanish in 3 months or less.
It’s a four-part series that includes the following:
- The foundational rule of language learning that explains why traditional methods don't work
- The simplest trick for becoming conversational in a third of the time – without changing how you study
- How to never forget the words you need in Spanish (aka why flashcards aren't enough)
- How to easily understand native Spanish speakers in the real world (even when they are talking a million miles an hour)
Do you know which of those things I’m not interested in? NONE. I want them all.
Can you see why I’m still subscribed?
The other emails:
By this point, I was already convinced I needed to check out their service, so I signed up. But I did it with a different email so that I could check out the rest of their email sequence.
What followed were valuable insights about learning Spanish quickly. And some very convincing case studies.
What stood out to me was that it felt like I was getting emails from a real person (which I was) and not some big company.
He was very personable and likeable. Some of the emails made me laugh, but all contained some valuable insight.
And in SOME of those emails (not all), there was a very seamless invitation to check out BaseLang.
I never felt pressured, but I was ready to buy. More on that next.
Creating a Product that Sells Itself
As I mentioned, I decided to sign up and they made it easy. There was a 7-day $1 trial, where you could try out their full service.
I told myself I’d try it out for one week and make a decision after that. Here’s the idea behind their service.
They have Spanish teachers that you could get access to to work with. Here’s the kicker, you could take UNLIMITED lessons for $149/month.
Now, I know that language lessons are usually billed by the hour and can add up fast. At $15/hour, if I could manage to get in 10 hours in a month, I’d be doing well.
So I did what any cheap person would do. I signed up for $1 and decided to take an hour of lessons for 6 out of the 7 days.
And it blew me away. The first lesson was more to check where you were and to give you recommendations on the best course for you.
But in the second lesson, I had a teacher who started speaking to me in Spanish immediately.
I knew I to expect that, but somehow it caught me off guard. I was almost forced to start using the Spanish I already knew, and it was a struggle.
Every sentence tested my brain capacity. If I were in a cartoon, you would see smoke coming from my ears.
But I did it, and I continued. And after that week, I had improved significantly. I couldn’t go back to what I was doing before and I didn’t cancel my subscription.
Now, they have a very happy and enthusiastic customer. After 3 weeks, I’m able to have very basic conversations with my teachers.
My main teacher really understands where I am. He brings lessons based on where our conversations go and based on my interests.
It's still a struggle. But I’m confident that I’ll be having conversations with my friends within the next month or two.
The service was so good that I was not just sold, but I’m convinced that I’ll be spending a whole lot of money with them.
Blogging can Help Your Business
So, let’s bring this all together. What can we learn from BaseLang’s blog?
- Create great content that solves a pressing problem.
- Optimize that content so that it can be found in the search engines.
- Have an optin process that adds value and helps your audience solve that pressing problem.
- Use email to follow up in a way that provides more value while introducing your product.
- Create a product (or provide a service) that solves the pressing problem. Make it so great that it practically sells itself.
- Grow your business with people like me, who have problems that need solving.
BaseLang provided a great example of how this is done in real life, and there’s so much we can learn from them.
And if you’d like guidance on how you can do what BaseLang did to get me as a loyal customer, check out my Blogger Coaching Club.
- BaseLang– a paid service I use now to learn Spanish
- Other apps I used to learn Spanish:
- How to Learn Spanish Fast in 2019 – the blog post that got me hooked and had me sign up to their free guide.
- Spanish in a Month – Learn Spanish Documentary – link to Connor's documentary on how he learned Spanish in a month