Most buying journeys start online, with a general web search, specific vendor websites, or review sites as the first resources buyers use to inform themselves about their purchases.
The Content Marketing Institute found that 7 out of 10 customers like brands’ articles more than ads. As a visitor, you expect relevant content that speaks directly to your industry needs. You also want an intuitive, user-friendly navigation experience.
A great content marketing strategy isn’t only about growing an audience but mostly about delivering value while paving the way for the sale. Instead of hoping that visitors will somehow rediscover your blog later, you want to take actionable steps towards building a communication channel—so you don’t lose them.
Here are nine ways to leverage your blog to capture leads, build a relationship with your audience, and ultimately convert them into new customers.
Once you’ve built a popular blog, your readers will want to stay updated with new content. You should encourage them to take action and sign up. However, don’t use newsletters to send them offers. Value their trust and keep them updated with the new content just as they expect. As a result, they’ll be more receptive to occasional offers and convert more easily. The most popular ways to collect newsletter signups are navigation bars, static ads, pop-ups, and sliders.
Call To Action
Use Call to Action to recommend next steps, related content, or related offers. A blog is typically a good place for CTAs because it is a section of your site you continually update, bringing in new visitors who translate into new potential leads.
While you probably won’t convert a first-time visitor to your blog, the chances of converting a returning one are high. In any case, as a marketer, you want to stay loyal to the ABC (Always Be Closing) rule.
Also of note: make sure they lead a prospect to the relevant page or landing page designed specifically for that purpose.
A lead magnet is the content your prospects find valuable enough to give you their contact details and an opportunity to develop a business relationship to get it. Someone filling out a form to download your latest eBook or white paper is undoubtedly considered a quality lead. Not only have they visited your website, but they’ve also found your content so interesting that they want to learn more.
Lead magnets are a powerful conversion tool. Because they provide a lot of value, you can ask for more than just email (e.g., job title, phone number). You can take it a step further and qualify your leads by asking them to answer one or two questions that will allow you to split curious eyes from actual leads. For example, asking how many employees work at their company or what their role is at a company will help you spend time on the leads most likely to convert.
Remarketing is advertising to an already existing audience. It allows you to drive back lost website visitors. The remarketing funnel groups users based on their actions on your site, i.e., viewing three or more product pages, spending more than one minute on a product page, or viewing three or more blog posts in one session. Then you can target these visitors with different offers in hopes that it leads them to take action.
As it is with advertising, one thing you have to keep a close eye on is your customer acquisition costs—you want to make sure you have a positive ROI.
If you’re selling a product or a service, you should consider running regular webinars that focus on providing value. For example, if your ideal customers are small business finance directors, you want to provide valuable information on the topic of accounting, taxes, and SMB finance.
By hosting webinars, you place your company as an expert in your field. One way to convert prospects into customers using webinars is to offer them a special discount or ask them to sign up at the end of the webinar.
You must understand the changing mindset of your customers and run campaigns according to their interests. Look for what kind of prizes appeal to your target customers and make special offers. Another creative way to drive signups is to close partnerships and offer bundled deals with other products.
A few years ago, Appsumo, an e-commerce company that targets web entrepreneurs, ran a series of viral giveaways for prizes such as 100 books on entrepreneurship and lifetime paid accounts for online tools like Evernote or Dropbox.
Engineering as Marketing
In the book Traction, the founder of DuckDuckGo has coined the term “Engineering as Marketing.” It means creating free products or services for your customers to generate leads. If they are good, consumers will be naturally inclined to use them. They will bring you more website traffic from both current and potential customers.
One significant advantage of using engineering as marketing is that you can easily differentiate from your competition.
Building an intelligent tool will result in journalist attention and PR boost. At times, if your product proves itself valuable, you can have opportunities to monetize it.
Email Drip Courses
You also can create a simple educational course in the form of an email drip campaign. You may offer free easy-to-consume lessons that can turn into an excellent way for your audience to get familiar with a new topic. Or you may provide statistics, insights, and tips for their area of interest.
How does this work? Your prospect will receive a series of emails regularly (e.g., bi-weekly) once they sign up.
For example, if you’re selling health supplements online, you can create a ten-step course on how to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Or, if your product is accounting software, it can be a set of tips on using tax breaks to save money.
A content upgrade is a lead magnet specifically designed for readers of a particular blog post. Even if you offer a solution to the problem in the body of the article, you can provide more value. You may show a step-by-step process implementation or pictures and videos. You can provide templates or even a mind map with all the insights or concepts.
It’s a complementary piece of information or a bonus the reader can download in return for their email address, but you’ll have to make it worth it!
Your blog’s online presence will either shoot up or splash, based on how good your content marketing plan is. By providing quality, routine materials, you’ll ensure your current audience stays engaged. They will always come back for more educational opportunities. They’ll trust and value your knowledge, and eventually, they’ll convert from visitors into long-term customers.