Sure, you know you ’need’ a blog – but it’s either still on the ‘to do’ list or it’s been tacked on as an afterthought.
Either way, you’re probably here because you’re not getting much success from it and want to change that.
Used correctly, a business blog has the potential to establish you as a leader in your niche, give you material for social media when you have nothing new to say and – most excitingly – drive traffic and conversions, not just in the short-term, but for years after hitting the publish button.
So here are six ways you can start using your blog to turn leads into sales today:
Scrap the commercial style
It seems counter-intuitive not to try and convince customers to buy from you, but your blog is not another opportunity for you to market your products – consumers increasingly use AdBlock for a reason and they don’t expect thinly veiled content to disrupt their user experience.
We all know you have something to sell – that’s what the rest of your website is for. Your prospect is on your blog because they’re researching their options and want to know what else you have to offer.
They either want to find out more about you, learn something new, or be inspired, so try to incorporate as many of these things as possible into your blog posts.
Of course, you can plug a link to your product or service within your content, and we’ll get to calls to action later, but you need to make your content the focus to keep any prospective customers interested.
If your blog is full of useful and interesting content that people just have to share, they’ll be more likely to remember you in the future while you’ll also enjoy natural referrals.
So, instead of going for the hard sell, use your blog to showcase your expertise in your niche and make your website a valuable resource for everything your prospective customer could possibly need.
Really get to know your customers
It’s not enough to know the dry demographics of your prospects when crafting your blog content – or any marketing content for that matter – you need to go deeper to understand their psychographics, from their interests and hobbies to their attitudes and values.
Do your ideal customers want helpful tips and tricks, discounts, or even content discussing your transparency and accountability as an organisation?
Gather intelligence from your account managers and sales teams, customer surveys and social media, to determine what your ideal customers want to see and plan your content accordingly.
For example, Pugh’s Garden Centre is currently undertaking market research amongstits customers and is asking in-depth questions in return for giving respondents the chance to win £100:
The better you know your customers, the more focused you can make your questions when you have future blog posts and marketing campaigns in mind.
Never run out of content ideas
It’s all well and good telling you to create amazing, unique content – but many businesses struggle to keep the ideas flowing beyond their first couple of posts.
Start by breaking down every single topic related to your product or service, your business, the wider industry and everything your target customers might want to know; this is where utilising psychographic data in your buying personas really comes into its own.
For example, organic haircare specialist and environmentally-friendly salon chain Tabitha James Kraan takes the general topics of natural health, beauty and wellness to create a limitless stream of content perfectly tailored to their audience:
Once you’ve listed your topics, think of all the original content you can create, from surveys and how-to guides, to free downloads and opinion pieces.
For extra bang for your buck, plan all the ways you can repurpose your content from videos and podcasts to webinars and infographics, along with listing external sites to pitch your content to.
Finally, bring all your ideas together to create an editorial calendar full of evergreen content, but remember to allow some breathing space for you to weigh in on trending topics.
Include a call to action in every post
Each and every blog post gives you an opportunity to generate new leads; all it takes is a well-crafted ‘call to action’ (CTA) with the promise of added value.
Usually this comes in the form of some gated but free and valuable content which your prospects would be willing to hand over their email address for; think eBooks, fact sheets, webinars, whitepapers and free trials.
Another option is to invite your readers to leave a comment at the end of each post letting you know what their biggest pain points or best tips are in relation to the topic at hand.
Either way, you can use these methods to gather email addresses and watch your lead database grow with zero extra effort; don’t forget to automate this process from the start by synchronising your data harvesting with your email marketing and CRM systems.
Make sure you can be found organically
Every time you publish a blog post you create one more indexed webpage that has the potential to rank in the search engines.
Not every blog post will be a hit, but the more high quality content you create the more likely it will be to drive traffic to your website through organic search.
That means you can continue to get traffic and leads from your blog posts for weeks, months and even years to come.
To maximise your chances of your posts driving traffic, research the keywords that prospects are using and utilise SEO best practices to improve your search rankings on mobile devices and desktop.
For example, if you were an online retailer selling women’s yoga clothing, a blog post topic that might interest your target customers could be yoga poses and tips.
With this in mind, you might consider writing a blog post or creating a video or infographic on yoga poses for beginners for which there are many related keyword phrases you could potentially rank for:
Include a CTA at the bottom of posts like this inviting prospects to sign up for more yoga tips, deals on gym wear and more ideas.
To maximise your chances of getting key content to rank in search engines, don’t forget to reach out to high authority websites who might like to link to it.
Measure the right data
You can use Google Analytics to discover actionable insights about how customers are interacting with your blog and increase your conversion rate.
Top level data like page views and bounce rate mean very little if your blog posts aren’t generating leads – or if you’re not properly attributing them.
To give your blog posts the credit they’re due, and identify the posts which most often lead to a conversion, you should be using additional tools within Google Analytics.
Goals are a versatile way to measure how well your site is fulfilling your targeted objectives. Goals monitor destination URLs like ‘thank you’ pages once someone has completed a desired action and you can even assign monetary value to non-ecommerce goal completions by setting up Ecommerce tracking.
You can also set up Funnels for your Goals to monitor whether your blog visitors complete your desired conversions by following the journey you expect them to.
This helps you pinpoint where users are exiting your site prematurely so you can make improvements to their experience and drive them through to a conversion.
You can also track conversions which don’t lead to a destination URL, such as someone downloading content that isn’t gated, using Event Tracking.
By regularly identifying your most popular and highest converting content you can take action accordingly, whether that’s repurposing and promoting your content elsewhere, making improvements to underperforming content, or recognising popular topics which may inspire future posts.
For expert content creation for your business blog contact Receptional today.