Blogs are not merely a source of content. They’re an opportunity to influence public opinion about your brand, and build trust with the customer. The best blogs position the company as a thought leader or industry expert, and can affect how the customer thinks about your company.
Brand awareness is key for building credibility within the industry, but it’s a secondary benefit. The primary benefit from a good blog is driving inbound leads. Here are some helpful tips:
Offer Gated Content
Blog posts primarily function as a lead generation machine. The conversion rate from your blog is consistent with the frequency of posts and the quality of content.
Free content via a blog post is the best way to increase the size of your audience. Search engines crawl ungated website content as the basis for SEO rankings. Don’t eliminate this collection of free posts on your site, but don’t give everything up for free.
Once your blog has built a sizeable readership, you want to leverage that trust to gain information about them. Supplement ungated blog posts with gated content: content that requires an action from the user, to be viewed (usually a form fill or password).
Gated content addresses topics covered in free blog posts in more detail. Ebooks, whitepapers, webinars, slideshares, and infographics are all good examples of gated content. Reward the reader’s time and effort with an exclusive offer for more detailed information.
Try Some Marketing Hacks
Simple “marketing hacks” for a blog post can increase lead generation drastically. A Call-to-Action (CTA) provokes the reader to click, but there are simple ways to make CTA’s more effective. Here are some examples of different CTA’s.
A slide-in call to action, as opposed to a simple quote or full pop-up, has been shown to increase click-through rates and conversion rates on blog posts. Slide-in CTA’s pop up at the bottom corner of website page, after the reader has read most of the material. It is an indication that the reader is interested enough to engage thoroughly with your content. An added bonus, slide-ins are much less annoying to the reader.
Another marketing hack for your blog is the Hello Bar: a bar that appears at the top of the website and spans the page. The advantage of a Hello Bar over a Slide-In CTA is that it is more noticeable. Hello Bar’s commonly include a CTA, and follow the reader as they scroll through the article. Hello Bar’s are a useful tool to increase traffic and email lists.
Link to Other Internal Sources Often
Adding links to other internal materials will increase time spent on your website. The more time a prospect spends on your website, the more content they’re engaging with, the more likely the prospect converts to a lead.
Be mindful of certain keywords used often in your website content. Keywords can also be linked to webinars, product pages, and demo videos.
Maximize the Space Around Your Blog Post
The actual copy that comprises the blog post is only part of the webpage. The space around the blog is an opportunity to increase traffic, CTR’s, conversion rates, and time spent on the site. The “leaderboard” at the top of the page, the sidebars on each side of the post, and space at the end of the article should be used.
All of those locations can have links to related materials, CTA’s, or buttons to demos or trials. If you’re not maximizing this space, you’re wasting an opportunity.
It may sound obvious, but companies forget that customers do not want to be sold. People go on the internet for information. They know what they’re searching for, and want answers. Provide value with your content by educating the reader first, then offer up something.
Every customer wants the best deals and discounts, but no one wants to be bothered by spam and unwanted advertisements. Make sure you present real value with an offer.
The key to winning over the reader and getting them to make the desired action, is to shift the cost-benefit analysis every customer makes in your favor. Irresistible offers accomplish this goal. Offering more value in the short-term is earned back in the long-term by winning a loyal customer. Free trials and special, short-term discounts are excellent examples.
Add Subscription Services
Subscription services are an easy way to establish a steady connection with your readers. Add a slide-in CTA for a subscription to exclusive content. Customers and prospects can sign up for the subscription to receive regular updates from your company, as well as private gated content. For example, every new blog post, social post, product update, and customer service update can be communicated to the customer automatically, through email or RSS feeds.
Most blogs include subscription plugins, and you can create an email cadence to communicate this to your customer base. Some free providers for plug-in services are FeedBlitz and Google FeedBurner.
Enable Social Media Sharing
Social media is the new frontier for content marketers. Increasingly, people are relying on social media as the central locus of their daily life: using it for news information, shopping, entertainment, etc. Millennials and young people use social media at much higher levels than other media sources.
The main goals of a website are to increase inbound leads, CTR’s, conversion rates, and time on site. Social media is inherently suited for connectivity between platforms. Add social media icons to every blog entry to take advantage of the constantly growing number of social media users, and complement a lead generation campaign.
Millennials are the new B2B decision-makers, appeal to this audience.
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