Learning Hub | Content Marketing
How We Use Blogging To Get New Business (And How You Can, Too)
October 10, 2015 | Jon Teodoro
Everyone’s talking about blogging and content nowadays. In terms of small or local businesses, however, it can be hard them to view blogging as a way to attract new customers.
At first, we had a hard time making the connection ourselves. We thought, “how the heck will a blog help us grow our business?”
But after a few months of consistent blogging with a mindful strategy behind it, the leads started to flow in. The crazy thing is, we weren’t only getting leads from our local area, but we suddenly had people contacting us from all over the world.
If the previous few sentences sound interesting to you, keep reading and we’ll walk you through how you can turn your blog into a stable source of leads for your business.
First, Define Your Audience and Their Needs
Aimlessly writing a blog without a goal is like hopping in your car and driving without a destination. It’s fun, but it’s just a waste of gas (and isn’t tax deductible).
Defining your blog’s audience means identifying who your best customers are. You can do this by building personas, or simulated profiles of people based on their attitudes, behaviors, and beliefs. Once you understand what makes them tick, then you can answer common questions like:
- Should I write in a formal tone or a conversational tone?
- Should my blogs be long form or short form? Or a mixture of both?
- What answers are my customers constantly seeking?
- What problems are my customers experiencing and how does my product or service solve them?
- Of all of their problems, what are the ones that really matter to them?
- Who else is involved in their problem solving process?
- If they seek advice from other people before buying, should I publish content for them as well?
Simply put, if you know who you are talking to and what their needs are, you can craft your message to speak specifically to that group of readers. The more your readers are able to “feel” your message, the more likely they are to trust you and initiate a conversation.
Next, Come Up With A Strategy (And Stay Consistent!)
If you’ve ever played chess before, you know that blindly moving pieces without thought is a sure way to lose a game. Don’t do this with your blogging and content strategy.
Once you’ve solidified your target audience, you can start planning out your strategy. Your moves should consist of the following (in order):
- Identify what kind of information your customers are seeking that is related to how your product or service solves their problems.
- Drill down this information into search queries that they are actually looking for by using something like the Keyword Planner.
- Brainstorm a list of potential blog topics with titles that have the search queries semantically incorporated into them.
- Create a calendar of when you will be writing each blog…and don’t deviate from it.
- Be patient.
It’s important to always keep points #4 and #5 in mind because getting organically listed in the search engines takes time. A blog could take weeks to show up in the search engine results, then another few more months to reach its “final” position.
From our experiences, it takes about six to eight months to start seeing consistent traffic from a single blog. However, if your business is very niche or your competition isn’t really taking advantage of online marketing, there is a possibility that you could yield results in a shorter time period.
Then, Give Them A Reason To Contact You
Let’s say that you’re finally starting to get some traffic to your blog. What next?
You’re going to have to do some more work, unfortunately. But if you do this part right, you’ll start to get contact information from people who have expressed a pain that your product or service can solve.
At this point, a lot of the people visiting your blog will be completely oblivious of your brand. This is where you have the opportunity to come in and show them what your brand is about.
When your visitors hit your blog, they’re now in your territory. This is where your website’s design and information architecture needs to be solid. If you have a cluttered website design with no clear steps on what your visitors should do next, they’re just going to read your blog and leave.
If you have a cleanly-designed blog with a clear call-to-action, or a statement that says “hey visitor, do this!”, then your readers are more likely to continue exploring your website.
The path you want them to follow will depend entirely upon your business’ marketing objectives. If you want them to learn more about your product, it might be wise to implement a call-to-action that links them to a landing page where they can download an eBook on how your product solves their problems. If you want them to contact you directly from your blog, you’re going to have to make sure that you’ve written an article that appeals to a very urgent need or pain.
This is the part where you’re going to really put yourself in your customers’ shoes and ask, “If I was a customer reading this blog, what would make me want to trust this website enough to give them my information?”
Finally, Nurture Them Into Customers
If you are successful in driving pain-stricken blog readers to your website, and you’ve given them enough reason to share their contact information with you, you’re going to have a list of customers that are in various parts of the buying process. Some will be ready to buy right away, and some will still be in the early stages. You need to be ready for this.
We all know what to do with those customers who are ready to buy. But what about those who are still comparing you to your competition? Or those who still aren’t aware of your brand but have a stated pain or need that you can fulfill?
This is where you need to revert back to your content strategy and make sure you are writing blogs that appeal to people in all stages of the buying process. By doing this, you can nurture your leads by making your brand a one stop shop for answering all of their questions. For example, a customer’s thought process might look something like below:
- “I have a problem, maybe I can solve it myself. Let me go online and find out.”
- “Oh crap, I can’t do this myself, what kind of business can solve this problem for me?”
- “How do I make sure these businesses are legitimate?”
- “How many businesses are available nearby that I can go to?”
- “How do the prices differ between each of these nearby businesses?”
- “Why do the prices differ? Is it because of quality?”
- “OK, I think I found who I want to work with. How do I contact this business?”
If you can have a piece of content lined up to answer each one of these questions you can dramatically increase your chances of a customer choosing to work with your business.
Also, Don’t Forget To Measure!
Make sure you have Google Analytics or something similar setup on your website. You will definitely need to track the following things:
- Sources (where are my visitors coming from?)
- Blog engagement (are they even reading my blogs?)
- Bounce rates (are they exploring my website further?)
- Conversion rates (are they actually contacting me or downloading my premium content?)
Wrapping It All Up
Using your blog as a part of your marketing strategy is a long term commitment. If you expect results right away, you will be disappointed. If you want to expedite the process, you could augment your blog campaigns with paid ads, but that’s another topic of discussion all in its own.
With a solid content strategy, you’re building equity into your brand. If you use paid ads to promote your business, once you disappear once you stop spending money. On the other hand, once you write a blog and it gets indexed in the search engines, it’s there to stay.
Which one would you choose?
For more tips on how to generate leads, download our eBook below!