I'm sure that if you've got kids you're familiar with the concept of rewarding desired behavior. It works so much better than other parenting strategies. Have you thought about applying that in your business? Are you taking the time to appreciate and thank those who take time to leave a comment on your blog or interact with you?
Don't worry, I'm not suggesting you send handwritten cards to a few dozen (or hundreds) of people a month. That'd be time consuming and costly. Here are some easy ways you can show your appreciation.
Share Their Blog Posts
CommentLuv is a blog plugin that automatically adds a link below a comment to the person's last blog post. So you're giving them some promotion and link love.
Encourage Search Engines to Follow Their Links
By default, WordPress adds something called "nofollow" to comment links which tells the search engines not to follow those links. You can read more about it here: http://codex.wordpress.org/Nofollow. But it's much nicer to remove that so that by commenting your visitors are getting a helpful link back to their own websites. You can use the plugin "Do Follow" to remove that.
Give Them More Visibility
By adding a comments widget to your sidebar you're giving the comments more visibility. This means the commenter has more opportunity to be noticed on your site. You can setup a most recent comments widget (it's built into WordPress so just check your available widgets) or a top commenters widget.
Respond to Their Thoughts & Engage With Them
I've been by more than one blog where the owner doesn't bother to reply to comments, not even when the commenter asks a question about purchasing a product or service. Now I totally get that some of us are busy. But especially if someone wants to work with you, take time to answer them - or have your virtual assistant do it!
Reward those commenters with these four "gold star" strategies and you just might see more comments appearing on your blog!