Blogging is not just about content, publishing posts and hoping for the best. Done well with the right structure it can be a powerful portal for revenue.
In a previous post on this blog, I have analyzed how to collect email addresses using interactive pop ups. It made me realize that this advanced tactic may sound a bit complicated to people who are just getting started with business blogging. But I think that a complete guide to show how can the content marketer generate leads with blogging for an online business would make more sense.
This piece of content is an introduction to a series of five posts that will go through the phases of lead generation such as creating a framework, using surveys, optimizing landing pages and much more.
Here are the steps and insights into generating leads with business blogging.
The Ultimate Guide to Blogging for Small Business
Now let’s start at the the beginning.
There are two key business models that operate well with lead generation using content marketing tactics:
Service-based businesses: internet marketing firms, agencies and freelancers
Software as a Service (SAAS) businesses that offer products for client side marketers or agencies
Business blogging is an inbound marketing tactic used to generate leads. The lead could be defined as a person who is filling out the form to get in touch with an expert or to require a service. On the other hand, the lead for a SaaS business could be a user who is signing up to try the product for free for a limited period.
How does business blogging support business objectives?
Business blogging is a marketing tactic used to increase the online visibility of the company. This tactic involves using a blog to inform people about the company’s activity, values, mission and products. It is meant to educate, inform and it also needs a persuasive component too. To become visible on the internet, you need to provide content to let people know that you have something valuable to offer to them.
The benefits of business blogging
#1. Drive traffic to the website
The ultimate goal of business blogging is to generate qualified leads. This process involves driving traffic to the website’s landing pages (e.g.: contact page, sign up page) using inbound marketing tactics.
To get traffic to the company’s website you need to appear in the search results, right? In order to get that, your website’s pages have to get indexed by Google. But how much content can you include in a website? Besides the homepage, pricing page, contact page, about us page you don’t have too many options. The blog is the only solution to provide to Google pages to get indexed. Therefore, you need to create enough content (quantity matters), to post it on a regular basis on the website (freshness) and to convince people to share it (relevancy).
To understand how people get to your website, I’ll sum up the ways visitors arrive on the company’s website:
Direct search: Users type in the search bar your company’s name or brand
Paid search: Visitors are exposed to Ads, either on Google, Facebook or other channels
Organic search: Users arrive on your website because you delivered relevant content that got indexed by Google in front of your competitors
To become relevant for Google, you need to become relevant for your website’s visitors. Direct traffc is the most valuable for a company, but it requires having a strong content strategy. Every new blog post is a chance to get Google to index your website, increase the organic traffic and make people aware of the company’s offering.
#2. Reduce the amount of required content
Besides the company’s blog, there are other marketing channels that could help with getting noticed on the internet: Email, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, LinkedIn, etc. Once again, you need content. Imagine, though, how much effort you would need to invest into creating content for each marketing channel.
The company’s blog help with reducing the quantity of content required to get noticed on the internet and also allows creating targeted content for the social media traffic. Moreover it insures that people are exposed to a unique, commited message about the company’s offering.
I see business blogging as the company’s attempt to tell a story. Like regular bloggers who are writing about their passions, the companies use blogs to let people know what they do, like and expect from this world.
#3. It generates qualified leads
It would be a pity to use the blog only to drive traffic to the website because it allows you to do much more. Once people get to the blog, they can do two things:
Consume one piece of content and leave
Consume one piece of content and request more
It’s in your control if they will leave or stay. To convince them to request more, you need to offer more. That’s why I say that offering free ebooks is efficient to grow an email list. I guess that you don’t want to work insanely to create content and drive traffic to the blog and then let people leave once they have finished consuming it.
Let’s see the exact steps to generate leads with blogging:
Visitors come to the blog and consume content
Visitors see a Call to Action with an offer (free digital paper or webinar)
Visitors click the Call to Action and arrive on a landing page(download or register to webinar page)
Visitors fill out a form to get the offer
Use the company’s blog not only to drive traffic to the website, but also to generate leads for the business. As I’ve mentioned before, the blog has to support the business objectives.
#4. Create authority, differentiation and achieve other long term goals
The company’s blog becomes a valuable asset only if it delivers high-quality, relevant and targeted content. Integrated in the AIDA marketing model, the blog plays the following roles:
Awareness – the blog’s content is making people aware of a problem or opportunity
Interest – the blog’s content is making people interested into solving their problem
Desire – the blog’s content encourages people to give a name to their problem and raises the desire to solve it (you do that with Call to Actions)
Action – the blog’s content encourages people to solve their problem with the company’s products or services
As you see, business blogging requires commitment and consistency. It’s a never ending task because its role is to drive to continuos growth. Traffic, leads, brand awareness and authority are the major four outcomes of business blogging when done right.
Why does the company’s blog need optimization?
As I’ve mentioned earlier, the goal is to drive people who want to solve their problem with the company’s products or services on the website.
But writing content is not effective if it is not integrated with smart ‘Call to Actions’. You will be wasting all that traffic and those visitors you have been working so hard to acquire.
Remember that people who have identified a problem after they have consumed your content will want to learn more.
This is what you have to do:
Offer them more, otherwise you’ll see them go to the competitors to get information about the problem and purchase their products instead of yours.
Optimize the blog’s design for conversions (i.e.: conversion is a qualified lead that arrives on the website’s landing page to sign up for a free trial or request a service). Optimization involves adjusting the website to achieve your goals. Website optimization has to be sustained by content marketing, email marketing and landing page optimization efforts to give results.
The 4 step process to generate leads with blogging
Optimization techniques help with adjusting the blog to achieve the blog’s goal – to generate leads for business. In order to achieve that, you should focus on the conversion funnel. When creating it, have in mind the AIDA model to define the exact steps the ideal customer has to follow to close.
Generating leads with blogging is a continuous process and requires taking one step at a time. Therefore, I have included in this beginner’s guide four steps:
Measurement – analyze data, set up goals and target metrics to see how you do against your objectives now and where you want to get.
Listen to the customer’s voice – Google Analytics is telling you what’s happening on the website. To find out why, you need to use surveys.
Grow the email list – you’ll find out the exact steps you need to take to get email subscribers. This post will also show how to test CTAs and landing pages and use advanced techniques to get more subscribers.
Convert subscribers into leads for business – learn how to use email marketing tactics and landing pages to increase the number of blogging conversions
These being said, hope this guide will help with having a clear, informed idea about what you need to do to get conversions from blogging and become a successful content marketer.
Author: Elena Dobre is learning about digital marketing, business and life at Marketizator.com, the complete conversion rate optimization tool. She plays the role of the content strategist, but she’s also experiencing with CRO and lead generation. She enjoys discovering new online tools, hacks, brilliant minds and beautiful souls. Follow her on Twitter @HDobre.