With content-centric and social-signal-based changes to search engine algorithms, the success of digital marketing campaigns now rely heavily on content now more than ever, and how content generate engagement and social responses from targeted audiences. But content marketing is more than just publishing content for the sake of… publishing content…. but it is geared towards generating appropriate responses from readers that will eventually affect the bottom line – such as generating leads or even sales.
Reports indicate that up to 63% of digital marketers in the B2B arena in North America turn to content marketing for generating valuable leads. Among the content marketing channels used by these marketers, business blogging proved to be one of the most effective for generating the results they wanted. In fact, marketers who make business blogging their top content marketing tool have 13x more chances of generating a positive ROI from all their digital marketing efforts.
If you have not realized this yet, your blog can be one of your most powerful digital marketing tools that can deliver tons of high quality leads for your business. Business blogs can put your brand on the online map and drive greater visibility for your organization for all targeted audiences to see. So, if you have not yet taken advantage of the supreme lead generation benefits your business blogs can give you, it’s high time you shifted your focus and start learning how you can harness the power of business blogs for lead generation.
1. Main Website Extension
Your main business website is the hub and central core of your online presence and is usually where all formal online sales transactions take place. However, not all contact or interface points with targeted customers occur directly on your main website. Most of the time, first encounters with potential customers take place through landing pages, social media and blogs. Businesses with blogs and posts contents for just twice or even once a month generate more leads by as much as 70% compared to businesses without their own blogs.
Extend your main website’s reach through your blog. Your blog can be hosted on any of the more popular blogging platforms available or through your own hosted CMS. However, it would be best to extend your main website’s domain to your blog by assigning it with a proper subdomain such as website.com/blog. This is would be great for your main website’s SEO as well as improve brand awareness as well. Integrating your blog as a subdomain for your main site is also great for traffic and lead generation as websites with 51 to 100 pages generate up to 48% more traffic than sites with pages less than that.
2. Solve Problems…. Share Solutions…..
One of the main reasons people go online is to seek for solutions to certain problems or issues they are currently facing or are looking for information on certain things they need to know for whatever needs they may have at that particular moment. They are not interested in all your marketing and sales talk, as well as all those self-serving press releases and similar stuff like that.
They want solutions to their problems.
To make business blogs a very powerful and effective lead generation tool, you should transition your content from merely showcasing your products and services, to something that will help potential customers solve problems or help them with their data needs. It’s always about them and less about you.
Elena Dobre wrote in an article she shared at JeffBullas.com she entitled “The Essential How to Guide on Generating Leads with Business Blogging” that business blogs can be great tools for lead generation if it follows the AIDA marketing model. Here, she implied that business blogs content should have:
- Awareness – make people become aware of certain problems they may have or new doors of opportunity they may be facing
- Interest – make people become more interested in solving a particular problem
- Desire – make people want to solve their problems and seek ways how they can do this
- Action – make people take action in solving their problems by responding to your call for them to use your products or services
One of the strengths an effective business blog has for generating high quality leads is its consistency in providing updated information on a regular basis. Unlike main websites where most information remain static and constant, effective blogs are dynamic with posts update regularly according to an editorial plan and schedule. The more frequent and regular your blog posts are, the better the impact it has on your SEO and its ability to generate valuable leads as confirmed by various case studies analyzing the impact of post frequency to organic traffic.
By regularly updating your business blogs, you can also get connected with targeted customers and clients through the conversations and engagement you may have with them through your blogs. Regular blog postings will also provide the latest updates about your brand and business to your regular audiences. Although not all will engage with you through every post, sending them updates will put your brand or business at a higher recall level in their minds.
Higher visibility and recall level for your brand not only will make your business the first one they’ll tap when a particular related need arises, or the first brand they will recommend to friends and colleagues who have similar needs. If the recommendation comes from people they trust, these referrals are 4x more likely to avail of your products or services.
4. Focused Posts
Posts that ramble about several things at once or show no clear flow or direction as to where they are taking their targeted audiences will turn off potential customers as fast as they can click on to a much more interesting blog. Good business blog posts are clear and concise in the message and important points you are trying to convey and are usually focused on a single concept or idea that is related to your business.
Good business blog posts provide great value to targeted readers who find such content useful enough to connect with. In turn, business blog owners generate lead information from this connection, which they nurture and optimize until leads eventually convert as customers. Business owners may then ask, what would be considered as useful content? Content considered useful will depend on your targeted audiences, but Jeff Molander provides a more meaningful definition:
“Content that creates leads is content that fosters confidence in buyers. The difference between content that converts and all the other crap out there is the ability to give prospects a taste of success. “
Useful content that generates leads are those that educate and help targeted audiences solve problems and issues they may have at that moment, and empowers them to take action towards solving these particular problems – by responding to your call to action.
5. Headlines and Power Words
With short attention spans and the deluge of information flooding the virtual waves, it will only take you a few seconds before you can effectively catch the attention of your targeted audiences. Headlines and power words can help you achieve just that so they must be crafted well enough to entice targeted audiences to dig more and consume the rest of your blog content. Your headline not only tells readers what your content is all about but is actually your first marketing pitch that will eventually turn them into valuable leads or even sales.
In similar manner, Power Words embedded into your content will entice them to take action and compel them to respond to your Calls-To-Action pitches. Use powerful action words and verbs instead of words that imply vague meanings that will leave them undecided whether they should take action or not.
6. Link Love
As an extension of your main website, your blog should be properly linked to important contents in your web pages. Resource pages that provide important and more detailed information about your products or services that can be a big factor towards converting traffic into valuable leads should be linked or embedded within the contents of your blog posts using text links or call to action buttons. You can also directly your targeted readers to a landing page or a subscription page through these text links.
7. Calls To Action
A business blog will not be an effective tool for lead generation without the embedded calls to action. As mentioned earlier, CTAs must have clear and compelling power words that would entice visitors to respond and click on the button or the link. CTAs should also make it clear to audiences that clicking the CTA button will give them more information or provide them with an opportunity to download an eBook offer or sign-up for a newsletter.
Calls to action or CTAs can be in the form of banners, buttons or lines of text that links directly to a landing page or a particular page in the blog or main website. These buttons are placed in strategic locations in your blog that will give then better chances of being clicked through by potential leads or customers. These CTAs include:
- Banner CTAs – these banners are placed in prominent locations at the top or bottom of the blog’s homepage and usually spans the entire width. Aside from location, banner CTAs are designed with compelling power words and prominent colors that make the banner stand out
- Sidebar CTAs – these are smaller banners or ads placed in the blog’s sidebars and can appear in square and rectangular form with maximum widths similar to the sidebars’
- Navigation / Sidebar / Footer Links – CTAs can also be on a form of links placed strategically on the navigation, side or footer bars of the blog
- End-Of-Posts CTAs – these calls to actions are placed just after the blog post or article, placed there strategically to entice readers to click on the CTA button while the information presented in the post are still fresh in their minds
When placing CTAs on your blog pages, it’s not necessary to maximize every space available and fill them all up with buttons or graphics and other forms of content. Doing so may be detrimental to the effectiveness of your CTAs. Make use of negative spaces or white spaces around your CTA buttons to avoid any distractions that will keep your targeted audiences to click on these action buttons or links.
8. Subscription Services
Lead generation may not occur during your first contacts with prospective business blog visitors. Favorable responses including conversions may occur after multiple contact points and engagements. You can keep in constant contact with your targeted readers by offering them subscriptions to newsletters, email lists, or blog updates. Subscription plug-ins can be integrated into your blogging platform or CMS, or you can make use of third-party subscription services and autoresponders to keep in constant connect with targeted audiences.
9. Contacts and Social Buttons
You should also make it easy for your targeted audiences to contact you particularly if they get interested with what you have to offer after reading about it in your blog posts or articles. Put links to a contact page after every post or include contact forms on your blog pages so interested audiences can get in touch with you, share information and simply engage for more.
Aside keeping touch with potential leads and customers, you should also make it possible for satisfied readers to share your thoughts about particular subjects you are focusing on in your blogs. You can do so by incorporating social sharing and bookmarking buttons with your posts to make it easier for readers to share your blog posts to their favorite social networks.
10. Visuals and Testimonials
While business blog posts can be quite interesting in themselves, you can boost their effectiveness and credibility by adding compelling visuals and testimonials. Just like the 55% increase in leads Twitter Cards are getting with the addition of visual elements that enhances the 140-character limitations of tweets, visuals can also boost the effectiveness of your blog posts for generating leads.
Aside from photos and images, you can also leverage videos to deliver your message, which are far more effective in generating leads and converting users. On top of videos and images, you can also leverage on trust and security seals to increase the credibility of your blog. On top of that, the presence of trust seals can increase conversion rates by as much as 7.6% compared to blogs who don’t make use of these trust seals.
Business blogs are not only great tools for marketing your brand, products and services to targeted customers, but they can also be very effective ways for connecting with your targeted audiences in real time in a highly engaging and more personal way. Done correctly, business blogs can be very effective lead generation tools that can bring loads of potential customers for your business.