Why do some blogs generate leads continuously, while others fail?
Many small businesses tend to drop the ball when it comes to their blog’s lead generation. They typically put a lot of effort into social media and paid advertising, and wonder why they aren’t achieving visible results.
The importance of optimising your blog for lead generation
Along the flow from reaching your audience to your website visits to conversion, your blog is a key element. If your blog isn’t setup to follow through and generate leads, you are letting opportunities slip right past you.
Valuable content draws traffic to your blog, and the page elements draw the traffic further towards connecting with you and coming back again and again.
How far prospects are drawn along depends on how appealing each step of the process is. Today we will be focusing on the step that converts website visitors into leads.
#1. Get clear on your Goals
Naturally, every business’ main goal is to make money.
When pieced down to physical outcomes for your blog, it comes down to what you are wanting your visitors to do once they are on your site.
No doubt you’re aware of the SMART goals system for your business. It’s no different for your blog. For example, rather than just deciding your blog needs to bring you more business, you should create goals something like:
- Increasing website traffic by 100% over the next 3 months
- Growing the email list by 200% over the next 3 months
- Converting 4 leads to clients every month
Once you get clear on what you are wanting to achieve from your blog, your next step is to get clear on who you are writing to.
#2. Know who your target audience is
If you want to appeal to your ideal client, you need to think beyond what you do and dig deep into what you do for them. What are their needs that you fulfill and what are the types of people that have those needs.
It pays to build buyer personas with enough detail that you can imagine speaking with them. A persona outline can contain such things as Name, Job, Family, Location, Income and Interests, as well as anything else outside of the box that may relate to what you are offering.
Tip: Adding a random head shot can really bring the persona to life.
Getting clear on your ideal clients, their needs, their pain points and how you can solve them, means you can create content that will appeal more to them – in a language that speaks personally to them.
#3. Create helpful content
Let’s cover this section by looking at what NOT to do. Avoid these common mistakes and your blog content will most likely be regarded as helpful:
Mistake #1. Focusing on search results rather than your readers
Sure, you need to follow a few simple guidelines to Google-up your content, but that should be secondary to creating content that is not only worth reading, but worth reading by your ideal clients. (Ultimately, this will boost rankings anyway.)
What tends to happen when you focus on search rankings is that your copy ends up looking almost mechanical and non-emotional.
If you want to connect with your audience, you need to incorporate a conversational tone that resonates with your ideal clients and explains things in a way that they can understand.
Mistake #2. Talking like you are speaking to others in your industry
Avoid industry terminology and phrases that only people in your field would understand. Unless your audience are your students and you are educating them in your field, cut the unnecessary jargon and speak their language.
In a case where you really do have to throw in a word that has no mainstream equivalent, then link it to a page that explains the term. This way, if they don’t know the meaning they can quickly find out.
So, don’t blind them with science. Instead, make them feel comfortable and better off by reading your copy.
Mistake #3. Constantly selling, rather than advising
Inflicting the “sell, sell, sell” mindset is a sure-fire way to put people off doing business with you. They see you as someone who just wants their money and not really caring about their needs.
Don’t feel like you are giving away trade secrets or doing yourself out of business. Be genuine in guiding them with how they should handle their situation. Your reputation will grow as an expert and authority. And when the time comes that they truly need your service, you are the one they are going to hire.
Writing content with the intent of genuinely helping your audience makes your content shine, and over time you will reap the benefits.
#4. Ask readers to take action, and make it easy
Once your readers are ready to reach out to you, make the process as simple as possible. Any hurdles or distractions could mean losing them.
Typical calls to action include:
- Asking to call you – make sure your phone links allow mobile users to simply click to call.
- Offering online chat – if you have the resources to respond promptly to an instant message, this can be a great way to capture the interest of prospects while they’re hot. Chat boxes generally sit at the bottom right-hand corner of the screen for easy access. I recommend you have a look at the Olark online chat tool.
- Filling a contact form – keep it simple and don’t make the users have to think too hard on the spot. Any specifics you might need, you can grab later.
- Connect or Share on social networks – add share links to share your articles, and social follow buttons to your page so people can like, follow or connect with you.
- Subscribe to your mailing list – include clear requests to sign up for your email marketing so you can stay in touch with your audience on an on-going basis.
It is always effective to add an incentive for readers to contact you…
#5. Offer free resources in exchange for email addresses
Sometimes a reader is simply happy just to sign up to receive all your future articles. But don’t expect a flood of sign ups.
If you can offer something additional that is valuable and helpful to them, more readers will be willing to share their email address with you. Examples of sign-up incentives are:
- An e-book that covers in detail how a process works.
- A report that covers industry statistics or case studies
- Webinar access so they can get a clear picture on what can be done to achieve their desired results
- Checklists or worksheets to simplify their life
- A free consultation to uncover their needs
Just like your articles, your giveaways aren’t depriving you of business. They are educating your audience on what you do and how you can help to improve their lives.
Priming your lead generation machine
Once your goals and target audience are clear and documented, you have the foundation for a strong business marketing tool.
If you focus your articles on appealing to your ideal audience, you will create a strong on-going relationship with them while building your reputation as an authority.
Meanwhile, your email list continually grows, and you have a perpetual audience at your fingertips.