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Once upon a time, blogs were personal online journals of ordinary people.
In time, they turned into a lucrative source of income for the lucky chosen folks who were the first in line to monetize the perks of online diaries.
Nowadays, blogs are an indispensable digital marketing tool. Here we will show you how to harvest the power of personal conversation to generate more leads.
When you use blog as a content marketing tool, the first thing you need to be aware of is that blog posts are not a mere advertisement or sales copy.
A blog is a slow-burning tactic that allows you to build a long-lasting relationship with your audience by informing, educating, and entertaining them.
According to marketers worldwide, content marketing was a strategy with the largest commercial impact on their business in 2018.
So let’s see how your blog can become a part of this statistic.
Before we talk about generating leads, we need to address generating traffic. Traffic is a prerequisite for stacking up sign-ups.
1. Don’t be afraid of creativity
You need to create engaging content, that’s a given. But how do you create engaging content?
The beauty of content marketing is that it is such a broad and welcoming category. Your blog posts, no matter what you sell, don’t need to be about your product specifically.
Sure, the best converting articles will probably be closely connected to your product or service. However, don’t think that these articles are the only valuable ones.
When it comes to building awareness and attracting the audience, just about anything concerning your niche and industry can be a valuable piece of the larger marketing puzzle.
For example, if you sell hiking shoes, a listicle of best waterproof footwear is most likely to lead to sales.
The organic traffic on this article is likely to be generated from people who are interested in buying what you sell. Good SEO is a prerequisite for organic traffic, but more on that in the next section.
On the other hand, an article about backpack packing techniques or the best tourist destinations will not attract a visitor who wants to buy shoes this instant.
But if they are interested in hiking, they are bound to need your product sooner or later.
If you offer them great content, they will sign up for your newsletter. And once they want to buy shoes, you will be right there in their inbox, at the right moment.
So, think about news, interesting experiences, funny stories, tutorials, educational content. It can be in the form of text, images, comics, infographics or even videos.
Make sure you follow a schedule. You don’t have to insist on quantity, but try to stick to a weekly quota.
Apart from writing about relevant, engaging topics, there are other ways to boost traffic on your blog. You can publish guest posts by relevant experts and influencers in the niche or industry. You can also return the favor on their blogs, sites, and social networks.
Finally, make sure you are active on social media. It is one of the best ways to promote your blog content and get people to engage with you and your brand.
2. Devise your SEO strategy
Now, the second part of the equation is to make sure your SEO is on point.
No matter how amazing your content is, if you don’t write and optimize it following the certain rules, nobody is going to be around to see them.
I won’t waste too much of your time explaining the basics of SEO. Most blogging platforms are equipped with built-in tools or add-ons that audit the SEO status of your website.
For example, WordPress has Yoast, which analyzes everything you write and lists recommendations for improving the individual SEO score for each post.
In order to do that, each topic you write about needs to revolve around one focus keyword (or a cluster of connected keywords).
Now, this requires a bit of strategizing if you want to reach your target audience organically (which is really the whole purpose of content marketing).
There are likely plenty of people who sell what you sell. You will probably face fierce competition if you want to rank high on Google with some focus keywords.
One way to “beat the system” without paying for expensive ads is to focus on industry and niche keywords with:
- High search volume. The average monthly number of searches for the target keyword in the selected country. Start by filtering results that have a volume higher than 1,000.
- Low keyword difficulty. Estimated number of backlinks you will need to rank in top 10 for this keyword. Start by filtering results that have a difficulty lower than 15.
I am sticking to the example hiking shoes business, so I ran “best hiking shoes” through Ahrefs keyword tool. The results were pretty solid.
According to Ahrefs, among top-ranking posts for this keyword, there are articles that garnered more than 1,000 clicks with zero backlinks – which is fairly solid.
Now, Ahrefs is a powerful and robust keyword research tool, which also means it comes with a price.
There are also alternatives such as more affordable SEMrush or a free Keyword Tool.
Maybe you already have plenty of blog posts written without the focus keyword? You can always optimize them to double your traffic following this SEO strategy.
3. Use pop-ups – intelligently
Once people are on your blog, you want them to stay around, or at least come back next time.
Well, the odds are against you. More than 70% of people who leave your website never come back.
This doesn’t necessarily mean your website is terrible. Partly, it’s just the nature of the online world. There are so many distractions, offers, and choice.
If you don’t impress your blog visitors to the point of actively looking for a subscribe button, they are likely to fly away to the next shiny thing.
Pop-ups, sliders, welcome mats or hello bars are one of the effective cures for this problem.
The gist of these tools is tracking your blog visitors’ behavior. Pop-up windows are activated based on actions such as exit intent or dwelling on the page.
This way, you can poke a blog visitor and make them your best offer or ask for a sign-up.
Despite pop-ups’ obvious perks, many (bad) marketers have been giving them a bad name lately.
I bet you’ve recently visited some website and spent the first 15 seconds on page closing annoying windows that didn’t allow you to see what you came for in the first place.
So don’t abuse pop-ups. Yes, they are great but try to put some thought into their content and timing.
There is no point in asking for a sign up before a visitor even gets the chance to read your content.
Let people read for a minute, set different pop-ups with offers that complement various blog post topics.
For example, product listicles can contain a pop-up with a sales offer, while tutorial posts can be paired with an offer to sign-up in exchange for a free e-book.
Which brings us to the next point – getting people to give you their contact information.
4. Incentivize sign-ups
Why would someone give you their email? Apart from being interested in your blog content, most people need a little bit of extra nudge.
So, putting the right bait on the hook that is a pop-up window can make or break your lead generation strategy.
I already mentioned you can offer people a free e-book in exchange for their email.
Similarly, you can offer your blog visitors coupons, discount, access to premium content or rewards. If your budget allows, you can combine these incentives.
Gamification is another way to pique your blog visitors’ curiosity.
For example, you can place a pop-up with a quiz on a blog post about beauty products.
After the visitor completes the quiz and gets their result, you can offer them special personalized content in exchange for an email.
The quiz sales strategy has been incredibly successful.
The psychology behind online quizzes makes them a powerful lead generation tool. They satisfy your blog visitor’s need for introspection, self-confirmation, and personal engagement.
With a quiz, you become their friend, advisor, and trusted source.
On top of that, quizzes are not only a lead generation tool. You can also use them to segment your audience based on their answers and preferences.
Another way to encourage users to spend more time on your blog and sign up are games and challenges.
For example, you can place hidden images or Easter Eggs on certain blog pages, and reward visitors who find them.
Looking for hidden clues game plays into people’s feelings of curiosity, competitiveness, and sense of accomplishment.
5. Analyze interactions
It is of utmost importance that you analyze your blog visitors’ interactions with your website.
This final step closes a lead generation circle. You use information from previous visits to improve website experience for the visitors that are coming.
After a while, their onsite behavior patterns will create a clear picture of your blog’s strong suits and weaknesses.
Pop-up tool, quizzes, and gamification software all come with reporting features. However, it is always a good idea to use a more robust tool such as Hotjar.
This software uses heat maps, click recordings, and pop-up surveys to track blog visitors’ behavior.
You can run several heat map tests. They will enable you to see whether people can find their way around your blog, how much they will scroll and engage with content.
Click recordings analyze mouse and scroll movements, mouse clicks, and keystrokes.
These replays will give you the most detailed picture of the way the blog visitors interact with your content.
In turn, this information will help you understand what are the best locations and timings for pop-up placement. Also, it will help you decide which incentives are the most fitting.
These little tricks that will improve your chances of attracting an audience to your blog, capturing their attention, and keeping them close.
However, keep in mind that blogs as content marketing are a slow-burning strategy that requires a lot of time and dedication.
If you follow these steps, you should be able to see the first results within a month, but don’t relax with the first sight of improvement.
Keep track of your results and interaction analysis and try to add improvements to your blog on a regular basis.