I was on a discovery call recently with a potential client, an international business owner. He is in the food subscription business, and wanted to start doing some SEO. He had been spending about $20k to $30k every month on Facebook and social media campaigns and wanted to understand how he could leverage search engine optimization to help him gain more traction and increase sales.
When I started looking at his market, we quickly realized that he’s in a business where people are not immediately looking for a subscription box service. It’s more of an impulse buy on part of the consumer. This equates to a low demand for his solution even though it’s a good one.
When there’s little to no demand for your business or the solution your company offers, this means people are not searching for you or your business solution on Google. It is in this case where SEO is not likely going to work in the typical way. SEO campaigns will work, in terms of finding the key words, then binding those words that have search volume to increase rankings and get traffic. In this case, there is not one specific key word that has the ability to focus on gaining traffic.
With that said, we figured out his target audience and who would buy his subscription food service. We then developed a content marketing strategy that would add value to his customer when they’re looking for specific needs. We turned his target audience into a media hub for his food delivery service by focusing on consumer needs and wants.
As an advertiser, he has a product by teaming up with other companies and putting products together to sell. Now, just by talking about their products online they will in turn advertise his product. This way, it’s a free way for him to get traffic to his audience and advertise his product to them. That’s going to work tremendously well for his business.
Your business may not be the typical business that has keywords with search volume baked in with demand. That’s not to say you can’t also find your audience and target some trigger points to meet their actual needs to solve a problem they didn’t know they had. Using campaigns or events on various scales where people are looking for specific products you work with, and then showcase your product, to get more sales that way.
Does your company blog? If so, you’ve created not just a great platform for teaching customers and prospects more about your business; you’ve also built an incredible platform for generating email list signups, leads and conversions.
By adding a unique call to action to each of your blog posts, you can drive sales and turn your blog – something that many brands view as an informational asset – into one of your most profitable sales tools.
In this blog post, we’ll cover the reasons to add a call to action to each of your blog posts, as well as the best ways to customize your calls to action to match the content of your blog posts.
Why your blog posts should feature a call to action
When readers reach the end of one of your blog posts, what do they do? When you delve into your Google Analytics data, which pages are most frequently visited after readers leave your blog?
Blogs have some of the highest bounce rates – the rate at which visitors leave after viewing just one page – of all website. In fact, many blogs have bounce rates similar to landing pages and product pages – two far less informational page types.
This is because many bloggers focus entirely on creating content and spend barely any time on optimization. As readers come to the end of a blog post, there’s no path guiding them towards the next step in the website’s sales process.
Because of this, it’s essential that every blog post on your website features a call to action that guides users towards another page. This page could be a landing page, a long-form sales letter, a contact page or even another blog post.
Customizing your CTAs to suit your blog content
While most bloggers don’t add any CTAs to their blog posts, others add a generic (or sometimes, automated) call to action to each of their posts. This is typically a byline that links readers to a category page or a landing page for a specific product.
This is better than nothing, but far from ideal. If your blog covers a wide variety of different topics – from purely informational How To guides to the latest news – it’s important to have a call to action that matches the content you’re publishing.
Calls to action for informational blog posts
Informational blog posts – How To guides, case studies, and more – are typically the bulk of most company blogs. They’re designed to educate and inform and generally appeal to people who want to learn.
Because of this, it’s best to use a call to action that directs readers towards more of your informational content. Readers of informational blog posts are there to learn; they’re unlikely to respond to a link advertising a product or service.
Instead of directing readers towards a product page or landing page, send them to a similar informational blog post. You can also use an email newsletter signup form – if you have great content to share via email, many readers will register.
Calls to action for product-related blog posts
Not all of your company’s blog posts will be purely informational. Others might talk about a specific product or service that you offer and outline its advantages for your target audience.
The ideal call to action for this type of post is obvious: a link to the landing page for the specific product or service you’re talking about. Since readers are primed to the product or service’s benefits, they’re highly likely to click on your call to action.
In this case, it’s best to think of your blog post as a pre-landing page. In addition to informing customers of what your product or service offers, it also ‘soft sells’ them so that they’re less likely to bounce upon clicking through to your landing page.
Calls to action for news-related blog posts
Does your company blog cover recent news developments? If you report on events and developments in your industry, your calls to action should be designed to make readers subscribe to your email list.
Why? Because the type of readers that tune in to a news-focused blog are generally less interested in your product or service than readers that tune in to a post which specifically discusses a product or offers information.
In short, they’re temporary visitors who aren’t as likely to return unless a certain news event draws them back. By encouraging them to subscribe to your email list, you can create a communication link that you otherwise wouldn’t have.
Does your blog use customized calls to action in each post?
Every blog post you publish with attract a different audience, from your passionate supporters to people who only recently became aware of your business. Appealing to all of them with the same call to action is easy, but it’s far from effective.
By using a customized call to action for each post you publish, you’ll maximize the results your blog generates for your business. Before you click “Publish,’ for your next blog post, make sure the call to action matches the post’s target audience.
As a business owner, it’s easy to write off blogging as something that’s peripheral to the major goals of your business. After all, blog posts inform and educate users, and not directly market your product or service to them.
While blog posts typically aren’t as commercial or ‘salesy’ as the copy on your other pages, they’re still valuable sales tools for your business. They also have huge value from an SEO standpoint, helping your business rank higher for a range of keywords.
In this blog post, we’ll share five ways that consistent blogging helps your business generate more leads and conversions, increase its online exposure and improve its search engine rankings.
Consistent blogging keeps you in the spotlight
The more frequently you blog, the more frequently readers will visit your website to catch up on your latest posts. Writing two or three blog posts a week might feel like a time-consuming activity, but it’s surprisingly simple (or surprisingly inexpensive.)
As well as keeping your business in the spotlight with your readers, publishing fresh content keeps your brand in the eyes of online influencers. From journalists to other bloggers, frequently updated blogs are often read by people that can help you grow.
Consistent blogging synergizes with social media
Do you often struggle to think of things to post on your company’s Facebook Page or link to from your Twitter account? When you have two or three new blog posts each week, you’re never short on content for your social media profiles.
From industry updates to How To guides, blog posts are the ideal subjects of social media updates. If your content is evergreen, you can also link to it every few months from Facebook to drive fresh traffic and give your website a promotional push.
Consistent blogging gives you more pages to rank
Many digital marketers focus on vertical SEO – ranking the few pages that they have as prominently as possible. Blogging allows you to practice horizontal SEO; since the total size of your website is larger, you can use blog posts to target small keywords.
Instead of building a strategy around short-tail, high-traffic keywords, blogging lets you expand your SEO strategy using ultra-targeted blog posts that rank for focused and specialized long-tail search keywords.
Consistent blogging creates a content-to-sales funnel
Think blogs are purely informational? Think again. With the right combination of design and content, your blog can drive traffic to your product and services pages, towards your email list or even straight to your checkout.
Add a call to action to the end of each of your blog posts that directs readers to the parts of your website that are monetized and optimized. From email capture forms to links to your new product, blog-based calls to action can be hugely effective.
Consistent blogging makes your brand an authority
If you were comparing two different businesses, which would you trust more: the one that last published a blog post two years ago, or the one that’s updated its blog five times in the last month, each time with an engaging and interesting post?
The answer is obvious: the frequently-updated blog wins every time. Blogging isn’t just a promotional or informational strategy for your business; it’s also a great way to increase your target audience’s level of trust in your business.
Many businesses think of their blog as a content-driven accessory to their primary website. To them, it’s a content-driven promotional tool that’s ideal for promoting via social media and generating buzz.
Far fewer businesses realize that their blog, far from being a content-driven social tool, can also be an incredible asset for driving conversions. In this guide, we’ll talk about how you can use your blog to produce leads and sales for your business.
We’ll share five proven tactics for using your blog to drive profitable traffic to your lead capture pages or order form. We’ll also show you how not to blog, and how an ineffective blog could be costing your business a significant amount.
Know your blog’s audience exceptionally well
Many companies blog, but few understand their audience. By paying attention to the people that read your company blog, you can tailor your content to answer common questions within your target audience.
The more closely aligned your content is with your audience’s needs, the better it is as a conversion-driving sales tool. Look at the audience of your Facebook Page and your blog’s comment section and tailor your content and web design to suit your reader profile.
Include a call to action below every blog post
Far too many companies think of their blogs as purely informational. They write in-depth, detailed blog posts that inform and educate their audience, only to give them nowhere to go once they’ve reached the conclusion of the post.
Every blog post your business publishes should have a call to action at its end. This call to action could direct users to a landing page, encourage them to enroll in your email list or simply encourage social sharing to expand your audience.
Incorporate your products or services in posts
It’s easy to market your products and services using your blog without coming off as ‘salesy’ or overly commercial. To drive conversions of a certain product, link directly to it from one of your posts and mention its benefits and advantages.
Make sure you link to your product and service pages – just mentioning them alone is rarely enough to inspire action. This tactic has the added advantage of directing a small amount of PageRank towards your product pages, improving their rankings.
Keep visitors on your blog once they’ve finished reading
When you reach the end of a blog post, what do you do? Many companies include a list of sharing buttons at the end of each of their blog posts, typically in an effort to encourage sharing of their content on social networks and online communities.
More often than not, this is a mistake. It’s often far better to include links to some of your other blog posts for readers to use. This tactic keeps readers on your website by suggesting new content instead of sending them off-site to share your blog post.
Sharing isn’t always the best marketing strategy. If you’re in the B2B field, in which a single lead is often worth thousands of dollars, it’s often far more effective to keep prospects on your website and increase their trust in you than to share widely.
Embed calls to action within your blog posts and content
Most marketers leave their call to action for the end of a blog post of video. This is typically done under the assumption that a reader who has made it to the end of a detailed blog post is the most engaged, and thus, the most likely to convert.
This isn’t always the case. Many of your blog readers will skim read or only read a section or two of your post before clicking away. Embedding several calls to action within your content gives you several changes to direct them to product pages.
Instead of adding a single call to action to the end of your blog post, include several calls to action. Try adding one every 3-4 paragraphs linking to a different product or service page; this also lets you market a variety of offers in each blog post.
Does your blog convert visitors into leads and customers?
If you’re blogging frequently, is it paying off? Without the right strategy, it’s easy to publish post after post without seeing any results. If your blog isn’t producing the results you’ve hoped for, consider applying the five techniques listed above.
Trends come and go in digital marketing, but the most effective ways to reach your audience and sell your product or service rarely change. One highly effective digital marketing strategy that’s been around for decades is email marketing.
Email marketers in all industries will agree that for an email campaign to be worth pursuing, it’s essential to have a large and diverse email list. The bigger your reach, the greater the promotional effects of a carefully timed sales email.
In this blog post, we’ll look at the interesting synergy that exists between content and your in-house email list. We’ll also share five strategies that you can use to get more email opt-ins to your email list using your blog content.
Add an overlay pop-up email capture form
Have you ever read a blog post, scrolled down the page and then noticed a modal box pop onto your screen asking for your email address? Overlay pop-ups aren’t subtle, but they’re highly effective at increasing your opt-in rate.
The key to success with modal pop-ups is avoiding being annoying. Don’t let your overlay email capture form get in the way of your content; if it does, readers aren’t likely to opt in and may get a negative view of your business.
Invite users to opt in at the end of a blog post
Instead of adding a modal dialog box that asks users to opt in, you can be far more subtle and simply request their email address at the end of a blog post. This can be as easy as adding an email capture form below the byline of your company blog.
Opt-in boxes at the bottom of a blog post tend to have lower opt-in rates than their more invasive pop-up counterparts, but with a higher lead quality. Since users have read your content before opting in, they’re more likely to respond to your emails.
Offer an informational eBook or white paper
One of the best ways to encourage users to opt in to your email list is by offering an eBook or white paper with more information. The more related the eBook is to your product or service, the more targeted and valuable your subscribers will be.
In order for an eBook to be an effective email capture incentive, it needs to address a problem your target audience is facing. Check your ideal customer profile and think of a common question within your industry that you could answer in detail.
The logistics of offering an eBook as an opt-in incentive are simple. Almost all email marketing platforms, including popular tools such as AWeber and MailChimp, allow you to redirect users to a download page after confirming their email address.
Make users opt in to view your free content
Does your blog post feature an instructional video or free download? If so, you can increase your opt-in rate from your blog posts by requiring users to provide their email address before they can view your dynamic content.
This list building strategy can be annoying for visitors, particularly if you use it in a wide range of blog posts. However, many readers will happily opt in to your list if a high quality resource or detailed, helpful video becomes available.
As with any incentive-based opt-in method, there’s a decline in lead quality with a method like this. Generally speaking, incentivized opt-in leads like these are least likely to convert into customers or clients further down the line.
Offer an exclusive discount or free giveaway
Discount offers are fantastic tools for encouraging your website’s visitors to opt in to your email list. If you offer a product or service, give email subscribers a special discount that’s only available via email to prompt them to opt in.
You can combine the discount strategy with other opt-in methods to maximize your email opt-in rate. For example, your blog’s modal pop-up box could mention pricing benefits and special offers that are only available to email subscribers.
As with the content locking method above, there’s a tradeoff in lead quality when a discount offer is part of your marketing strategy. Be aware that a tactic such as this could attract subscribers and customers who are only interested in discounts.
For a long time, the conventional wisdom has been that outbound marketing – sales, in particular – is the lead generation method of choice for those in the B2B space in need of prospects and opportunities.
Even as Internet marketing has developed over the past two decades, many in the B2B sector have stuck with the traditional sales methods, pitching prospects over the phone or in person at trade shows.
While these outbound marketing methods are undoubtedly effective in their own ways, they’re far from the only way to bring in qualified leads. In fact, they’re not even the most effective way to generate qualified, high-value B2B sales leads.
The best choice, even for those in the B2B space, is inbound marketing. In this blog post, we’ll show you how a combination of blogging, search engine marketing and social media savvy can help your B2B company attract hundreds of sales leads.
Creating content to match the search habits of B2B customers
Whether you’re a manufacturer or a service provider, your customers are searching for information about how you can help them. A massive range of B2B search terms are typed into Google every single day, and your business can profit from them.
Most B2B searches are informational. They’re questions asked by business owners and potential clients that you can answer. The best way to answer these questions, and in turn generate B2B sales leads, is by creating high quality content.
Let’s use two B2B examples to illustrate the value of informational content for B2B marketing: an accountancy firm and a cleaning company. Both of these companies, which primarily target other businesses, can answer questions using content.
For example, some of the most common searches made by prospective accounting clients are about tax information. Keywords like “California tax rates” or “Payroll taxes Delaware” are all huge inbound sales opportunities for your business.
Despite them not being the “buying keywords” that most SEOs focus on, they both have the potential to generate leads for your business. By answering these simple questions and providing information, you generate qualified B2B traffic.
Our second example, that of a cleaning company, can also benefit from targeting its content to common search questions. Searches for “How to clean office carpet” can bring in qualified customers seeking information on the service you offer.
Both SEO and SEM can be used for B2B inbound marketing
The search queries used in the above examples are relatively broad, and many may come from outside the area that your business targets. This is often the case if your B2B business is local; obviously, a customer in another state is worth little to you.
Because of this, you needn’t make the above keywords the focus of an SEO campaign that’s built for long-term rankings. Instead, you can target only informational search queries from within your target area using search engine marketing (SEM).
By offering actionable, useful information that answers the questions of searchers and including a call to action on each page of your website, you can generate a huge number of B2B leads every single month using just highly focused content.
Inbound marketing can complement outbound sales
Many B2B businesses focus exclusively on one form of marketing, whether it’s direct mail, phone-based sales or Search Engine Optimization. While this is a great way to increase ROI within the most profitable marketing channel for your business, it can also be quite limiting.
Not all of your prospective customers will be accessible over the phone; many will have little to no interest in sales calls and simply won’t respond to a pitch for their business. These same prospects, however, may respond to inbound marketing.
Don’t think of inbound marketing as a replacement for outbound sales or a suitable alternative for it, but as a complementary marketing method that your business can use to generate even more sales leads.
By combining traditional outbound sales methods and today’s most effective online, inbound marketing techniques, your sales team will constantly be busy closing new deals and bringing in lucrative new business.
Thinking up ideas for your company’s content plan is always a struggle. It’s easy to spend all day staring at your computer screen daydreaming about the effect of this blog post or that video without coming to a conclusion on any idea’s value.
In this post, we’ll show you how the process of creating a content plan and schedule can be simplified using Google Trends – a powerful online tool that offers insight on the topics web users are searching for.
Using Google Trends to find hot topics and ideas
Every now and then, a certain event or piece of content goes viral. It could be a video of someone saying or doing something outrageous, a news event that starts a global conversation or simply an everyday event that people find interesting.
Google Trends tracks people’s searches and reports them in almost real time. With a click of your mouse, you can see the most popular searches for the last 24 hours and learn more about what Internet users are searching for.
You can do this with Google’s Hot Trends feature. Scroll down the list to view the top searches for the last few days, ranked in order of popularity with web users in your specific region.
Breaking down Google Trend by region or industry
Do you want to learn more about a specific type of event? Click on Top Charts in the Google Trends sidebar to bring up a list of the top searches for a massive number of categories and niches, from baseball players to whiskeys.
Monitoring the Top Charts lets you learn which topics are popular with a wide range of specific niches. This can be a great source of content inspiration for websites with a broad focus; by seeing what’s popular, you can decide what to blog about.
It’s also a great strategy for discovering popular trends to link your business to. If a certain person – Nikola Tesla, for example – is trending, you can think of unique and engaging ways to relate that person to your business.
Turning people and trends into business content
As a business, finding subjects to blog about can be difficult. Most businesses don’t have the luxury of being able to write about anything in the same way that an online magazine or newspaper can, limiting their reach.
By relating trending topics to your business, however, you can write about a wider variety of topics than usual. Let’s use our Nikola Tesla example about to plan a blog post for an online store that sells consumer electronics.
Seeing that Tesla’s popularity is rising in the Top Charts (it’s up five points as of this guide being written), you could think of ways to link that rising search popularity to your consumer electronics business.
How about a blog post on “5 Devices in Your Living Room That Only Work Because of Nikola Tesla,” or a video outlining how his involvement in designing the alternating electricity supply system makes a certain product you sell possible?
You don’t need to report directly on trending topics; by using this strategy, you can turn a trending topic that’s otherwise only loosely related to your company into an excellent subject for a blog post or online video.
Start using Google Trends for content ideas today
If you’ve ever spent an afternoon struggling to come up with an idea for a new blog post or YouTube video, you’ll know how tough content marketing can be. You might also recognize how valuable Google Trends can be as a source of content ideas.
Instead of brainstorming blog post, news report or video ideas without a source of inspiration at your business, visit Google Trends every morning to see what’s going on in the world and what people are searching for.
With the right attitude and enough creativity to turn a trending topic of person into a topic that’s relevant to your business, you’ll never run out of great content ideas to turn into blog posts and videos.
One of the biggest problems online businesses face is coming up with fresh, effective ideas for content. From blog posts to videos, the process of creating content isn’t all that difficult… that is, after you’ve come up with the ideas.
In this blog post, we’ll share five simple tactics that you can use to create content – from ‘talking head’ videos to in-depth blog posts – that engage your target audience and generate demand, interest and exposure for your brand.
Create authoritative guides and tutorials
Some of the most common search keywords are informational. Searches for How To phrases are immense, and many online tutorials on websites like HowStuffWorks or About.com receive hundreds of thousands of pageviews every month.
What are the most common questions asked in your industry? Do people frequently ask how to complete a certain process? Are people interested in learning a specific skill? Are there any five-minute solutions you can offer to annoying problems?
Every good business offers a solution to a problem. Think about the questions your customers ask that relate to the solutions you offer and turn them into How To blog posts and instructional videos.
Capitalize on trends, fads and viral events
From Korean pop music to ice bucket challenges, certain events and ideas become vital fads that achieve huge amounts of popularity. This popularity, however, tends to be short lived and can fade away as quickly as it appears.
One of the best ways to create content that attracts traffic and generates interest in your brand is by piggybacking on an existing trend. Think of a way you can relate a product or service you offer to a current event, then turn it into a blog post or video.
Timing is crucial with this strategy – if your blog post, guide or video comes out too late and the trend is on the decline, you’ll end up with very little traffic and the risk of looking as if you’re behind the curve.
Express a controversial, refreshing idea
When it comes to the Internet, controversy certainly attracts people. Controversial videos, blog posts and products can generate huge amounts of press coverage and attention for your business, albeit often at a cost.
If you’re interested in harnessing controversy to attract attention, it’s important to avoid being offensive. Find an angle that lets you stand out within your industry as an innovative, refreshing brand without offending your competitors.
Do you remember the controversy surrounding Matt Cutts’ post on guest blogging a while ago? With one post expressing an opinion on an SEO trend, Google generated an incredible amount of discussion within the online marketing community.
Report on industry or local events frequently
The three strategies outlined above are all ideal for driving a sudden spike of traffic to your website and generating instant demand. However, they’re difficult to pull off frequently and tend to be inconsistent as a general strategy.
One of the best ways to drive steady, reliable traffic to your website and keep your brand in the limelight is by consistently reporting on events within your industry – or, in the case of a local business, your community.
From new products to upcoming events, make it a point of updating your blog once a day with new information on industry developments. Over time, you’ll become an authoritative online resource that people check for industry-related news.
Hone in on a specific audience and target it
One of the best ways to generate buzz and exposure within a specific community or online subculture is by writing specifically for it. Pick a small target that’s ignored by your competitors and hone in on it with an ultra-targeted blog post or video.
For example, pretend you operate a local bakery. Instead of writing about your new muffins and their great taste, you could write a super-targeted post about how good your muffins are as a treat for customers at local spas or nail and hair salons.
Publish the post and spread it locally via Facebook. This tactic requires a reasonable amount of work and an understanding of your target market, but it can be extremely effective if used properly.
What’s your favorite way to create great content?
From videos to blog posts, great content is the cornerstone of successful marketing for any online business. What strategy do you use to come up with ideas for content that generates demand, interest and exposure for your brand?