In our previous post, we offered tips on how to use your company blog for SEO to drive traffic to your website.
And while you should be using all those SEO tricks to boost your rankings, we want to stress that this is not the only reason to have a blog.
Ultimately, the purpose of having a blog is generate more leads. Granted, improving your site’s rankings is a great way to do this. But there are many other ways to use the Internet for lead generation. The beauty of a blog is that it allows you to create leads in many different ways.
Ideally, your blog will educate, inform and (to some extent) entertain your audience. You want to become a trusted industry expert that people will turn to for knowledge about all matters pertaining to your industry. This is to create an online community, gain readership and create more and more leads for your business.
Blogging is a great opportunity to connect with your customers and create an open dialogue between your business and the public. A great example of this is Google’s official blog. Now, on the surface it may not seem like Google needs a blog. After all, why does such a titan of industry need to blog to grow its business? But that kind of thinking misinterprets the culture of the Internet.
And if you want to use the Internet to create more leads and grow your business, you need to know your audience. The culture of the web is built on the notion that a business MUST communicate with its customers as much as possible. Moreover, this line of communication must be informative and casual, not overly “salesy”, stiff and formal.
In other words, using your blog for lead generation requires a soft sales touch. Treat your blog as a serious marketing resource, but one that delivers a message in a more informal and helpful away.
With that in mind, here are the best ways to use your blog to create create leads for your business.
1. Start with 1 blog and segment from there.
Blogs are a worthwhile investment, but that doesn’t mean more is better. Some people make the mistake of having several blogs to cover a variety of topics and create more avenues and more leads. But you’ll find that 1 industry-specific blog is going to be narrowly focused and garner an informed, interested niche audience that creates leads for your business. Plus, if you have more than 1 blog you aren’t likely to blog consistently enough for each one. And that takes us to our next tip.
2. Blog early and often.
You have to look at blogging as a smart investment of time and resources. If you spend 30 minutes a day blogging, 5 days a week, you are blogging enough to create 5 quality posts a week. Now, some people might scoff at that much blogging. But if you are able to generate 5 new leads every month by putting aside 30 minutes a day Monday through Friday, it is well worth your time. Remember, there’s almost no risk in blogging! It’s merely an investment in a minimal amount of time!
The more you blog, the more leads. But also the more you blog the likelier you are to convert a lead from THAT blog.
There really aren’t diminishing returns. You’re not spamming people or turning people off and getting fewer views. All research reveals that the more you blog the more traffic. So if it takes, say, half-hour a day there is little risk in blogging regularly for your business.
3. Offer helpful content first, promote your business second.
This may seem like it violates the basic rules of advertising. But Internet Marketing requires you to have a blog that brings new visitors to your site and lends your business credibility. We’re not saying you should give away your business secrets for free or anything, but you should run a blog that helps answer frequently asked questions about your industry. Free, relevant content isn’t just for Search Engine Optimization. It boosts conversion rates by earning people’s trust. If your blog proves a valuable source of information, that’s great for business.
4. Be open and honest.
Don’t think of yourself as giving away your business tips for free. Think of it as promoting your brand by jumping into a big conversation. And the only way to become a trusted voice in this conversation is to be honest and open.
5. Keep to a schedule.
Post regularly and consistently so your audience knows when to look for your content. Maintain a schedule that is realistic. Don’t post 5 times a day in your first two weeks, and then not write again for a month. Ideally, post once a day, five days a week. An editorial calendar is a good thing: it gives you a well-thought-out approach for your business but also gets you to think about how to communicate with your audience. This way, you are well prepared. But also using your blog as a way to shape your brand.
6. Place calls-to-actions everywhere!
Don’t forget the calls-to-action. This is crucial for lead generation. Your visitors need to know where to go next in the conversion process. Always provide them with contact forms, numbers to call, etc. Also, remember to use cross-over promotion for existing clients. Always link back to your homepage, squeeze pages, YouTube channel, Facebook page, Twitter account, etc. Never miss an opportunity to promote your business and encourage your visitors to convert!
Calls-to-actions on your blog work best for 2 reasons: contextual and appropriate for the audience. Ask someone to attend a webinar or read an eBook related to that specific blog post and he/she is interested in that specific product or service and likely to be convinced of purchasing that product or service.
7. Talk to other community members via social media and blog message boards.
You also need to engage your audience on other platforms, especially social media sites. See what people are saying about your industry on Facebook and, especially, Twitter. Respond and join the conversation. This is the best way to build a following. If you’ve got the time, contribute to other blogs’ message boards.
8. Stay on topic.
As with everything on the web, your blog has a niche market. The more you broaden out to other topics that don’t relate to your business, the less success you’ll have with Search Engine Optimization and Conversion Optimization.
9. Your blog may have a niche market, but it’s welcome to everyone.
Your blog is not just for loyal customers or experts in the field. You’re using the blog to promote and grow your business. this means the blog must attract new visitors and people who are learning about your industry. So write as an expert, but avoid technical language that will go over the heads of the beginners.
10. User your site’s domain.
Don’t have separation locations for your blog and the rest of your site. You want to your blog for Search Engine Optimization. But if your site is located elsewhere, you’re going to have a tough time with Conversion.
11. Know your audience.
That is, potential customers who are coming to your blog to find helpful information about your industry. Always remember that you are talking to an audience that has a good amount of built-in knowledge and is coming to you for insight, not just general knowledge. This is about stroking egos. Write to, for and about your audience.
12. Inform, don’t preach.
Your blog is the voice of your business, so it’s important to have the right tone. People don’t like being berated or lectured. Be friendly and helpful, not didactic.
13. Build a community for your blog with social media.
Have your blog RSS feed go to your business Facebook page and your Twitter account.
14. Study the metrics.
Go back to metrics to know what’s working. Which topics get the most traffic and comments? Does posting in the morning or at night drive more traffic? Are certain blog topics creating more leads and getting prospects to fill out contact forms? There are important answers to all these questions in the analytics of your website. Study them.
15. Try to post in the morning and at night.
Post early in the morning and late in the day to appeal to all audiences of varying reading patterns.
16. Become a brand journalist.
Everything you do shapes your brand and promotes your business in a certain way. Always remember this! Become a brand journalist and write about your company in the best possible way. That doesn’t mean always selling yourself. It means always try to be friendly, humorous and helpful.
17. Blog with short-term and long-term value.
All your blog content should have short-term and long-term value. Something very timely that’s trending on social media is very valuable. So you want to be agile and flexible. Have something timely that taps into social media environment, but there also needs to be long-term value to your customers.
18. Write down the FAQs posed to you by clients and prospects, and answer them in your blog.
If there’s a chance someone is searching about a topic related to your business, you want people to find you. That means you should answer the most frequently asked questions related to your business because those are going to be the most searched keywords related to your business. Answering FAQs gives your blog credibility.
19. Say something new or something old in a new way.
The web is crowded. Your blog is almost certainly not the only one of its kind. So find new entertaining ways to say things that your competitors might be writing about.
20. Be yourself and customize your blog.
There might be other similar blogs, but the best way to differentiate you is to fully embrace a singular brand. This means you need to shape your blogging persona. Use your voice and sense of humor, for starters. And find creative ways to interact with your audience.
21. Make lists.
The easiest way to get readers is to make lists. Top 10s and Top 5s drive traffic because people are constantly searching for the best ways to do things. By breaking your content down into lists, it makes it fun and informative.
22. Make everything a quick and easy read.
Your audience doesn’t have all day. So make sure your audience can scan your blog and get the information they need and move on to the calls-to-action.
23. Use plenty of visuals.
We live in a visual age and the web is becoming more of visual medium. So incorporate creative images and videos into your blog.
24. Share information.
You might think it’s a bad idea to link to another blog or site. After all, outbound links take your audience away from your site. However, the culture of the web is very supportive of sharing and cross-promoting. if you attribute and recommend other sources, your audience is more likely to trust you as an authority. Also, those other sources are likely to link back to you and provide you with a whole new audience and potentially more lead for your business.
What’s the new marketing mindset?
It’s all about growth.
Learn the latest in our new eBook.