In the early days blogs were looked upon as a bit silly, however early adopters learned to turn them into tools for search engine marketing. Now though, blogs have become much more than that. Blogging for lead generation is part of the on-line mix.
Blogs are an outlet for creativity and a place where you can influence people. They’re communication devices, community builders, educational corner stones and sources of entertainment operating at the very heart of what the internet is all about.
They help connect people, spread ideas, foster relationships and even change opinion and sometimes even the news. You can even build thought leadership and your brand around them.
There are lots of ways businesses can monetise (create income or profit) from their marketing activity in the form of leads, sales and loyalty either directly for themselves or indirectly for other partners. The same goes for blogging. However many businesses fail to recognise the opportunity or capitalise effectively on blogging, because they fail to turn blogging into a lead generation machine, which ultimately results in sales and loyalty.
More importantly by adding blogging to your marketing mix it helps to create a long term marketing asset which can significantly impact the future stability and value of your business if done correctly.
What Is A Blog
Conventional catalogue websites are static, in that once the main pages have been defined and published little or no updates are made, until the sites is either re-branded or redesigned once again.
Blogs on the other hand are a live feed of content that can be quickly and consistently updated just like a live conversation to;
- Provide articles listed in a chronological order organised in themes or categories that provides a useful archive of information.
- Makes absorbing content quick, with a content structure similar to newspaper articles. Interesting title followed by engaging article body.
- Provide two way conversation with feedback from readers such as communities participants, customers, stake holders and partners.
- Allow an individual or organisation to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding about a certain topic or customer situation and build trust.
How Blogs Create Leads
This is quite a long and complex topic so I’m going to summarise the basic elements of a blog that generates leads.
- Volume and quality of traffic – if you’re not brining people to your website blog that are interested in what you or your company is doing then people won’t read your blog – you need to win peoples attention online.
- Good content and visibility – if you’re not providing something useful then people won’t read your blog or continue to read your blog – your blog needs content and distribution to engage readers.
- Reasons to take action – if you’re not giving people a reason to take action and become a lead, then you’re not going to create any leads – you need interesting and useful offers.
How to Maximize Your Blogs Lead Generation Capability
- Publish Great Content. If you’re thinking that this is about writing MORE about your product or service then think again. The type of content that is interesting and useful to potential prospects is usually content that is related to a problem that your readers face. Its true that to receive your must give first and that is what blogging is about. Your opportunity to give something useful and receive something in return.
- Create Compelling Offers. Having people read your blog is only scratching the surface. You’ve got to go beyond readership and into relationship, where people raise their hand and say, “yes” I’m interest in knowing more. Your offers are a way for people to say “yes” and get more information that is both interest and behaviour targeted. As an example you’ll find at the bottom of this blog post an offer to download a short guide which is related to this blog post on lead generation. One offer is never enough, you need multiple offers through your blogs and site connected to topics relevant to your audience and your business. This is the educational part of the process from which potential customers move from understanding their problem to determining a potential solution.
- Test Killer Calls to Action. Calls to Action are the things that readers click on to access your offer. Its a mini sales proposition for moving to the offer itself. Ideally you’ll rotate different versions and test lots of them to try and determine which ones get peoples attention and having them taking action on your landing page.
Are you using your blog for lead generation? If so, how? What tips can you share with other B2B marketers to get their blog tuned up for lead generation?