Building the bridge between Blog Traffic and Lead Generation

Building the bridge between Blog Traffic and Lead Generation

Phil Young content marketing, customer journey, marketing intelligence Leave a Comment

Before you jump into this post, I would like to say thanks Kristen Deyo @ SmartBug Media for articulating a topic running around inside my head for some time for many of my clients. They are the highest-rated agency among all of HubSpot's partners.

Kristen says "Turning your blog into a lead generation engine is no easy feat, but it is worthwhile and—better yet—completely achievable."

In fact, marketers who consistently blog see 67 per cent more leads than those who don’t. And 57 per cent of marketers say they have “gained customers specifically through blogging.” This is a neat link to the Ultimate list of Blogging statistics by OptinMonster.

The payoffs of Business Blogging

For businesses looking to build an expandable content marketing strategy, one of the most impactful places to start is blogging. And in today's pandemic environment you need to be looking hard at what are your buyer's looking for and how to connect with them. In fact, according to HubSpot, marketers who prioritize blogging see 13x more ROI than those who do not.

Here are just a few of the benefits of blogging for your company:

  • Helps drive additional traffic to your website
  • Establishes authority and thought leadership
  • Builds trust and helps guide personas through the Buyer’s Journey
  • Can get you discovered via social media

Kirsten says "By creating blog content designed to educate your personas and answer their pain points, you position yourself as a thought leader when your personas need you most. But driving traffic to your website from your blog is really only step one. Next, you need to successfully convert that traffic into leads to be nurtured and added to your sales pipeline."

She continues by thoughtfully giving us a hit list of ideas to change our thinking about blogging which are well worth reading.

Six Ways to Turn Your Blog into a Lead Generation Engine

We know why it’s important to have a blog, but creating content for the sake of creating it and having a “set it and forget it” mindset is not going to result in a free flow of leads. Instead, we need to be data-driven and get ourselves into a habit of routinely optimizing our efforts to ensure we’re getting the most value. Here are six ways you can help bridge the gap between your blog traffic and lead generation:

1. Understand Your Buyer Personas 

Everything starts with understanding our buyer personas and ensuring you’re developing a content calendar that speaks to their specific needs and pain points. In fact, according to Salesforce, 51 per cent of consumers expect that companies will anticipate their needs and make relevant suggestions before they make contact.

Mapping blog content to our personas helps ensure we’re not falling trap to creating content for the sake of content, but instead ensuring that it meets the needs of our personas. If you are unclear about personas jump over to the importance of customer personas.

2. Give Visitors the Opportunity to Subscribe to Your Content

Even if our blog content is useful for our personas, they might not be ready to convert just yet. If that’s the case, it’s important to give them the opportunity to subscribe to our content so that they can conveniently have new content delivered to their inbox and convert when they are ready to do so. Adding a subscription mechanism helps get more people into our database to be nurtured until they are ready to take the next step.

3. Use a Call to Action (CTA) at the End of Your Blog Post

Part of providing a compelling experience is ensuring you’re eliminating digital dead ends wherever possible. This includes your blog posts. Because blogs often help during the awareness stage of the Buyer’s Journey, it’s important to give your readers a call to action (CTA) of what we want or expect them to do next.

As a best practice, at SmartBug, as we do at Ys, recommend incorporating a CTA at the end of your blog post that drives to a gated, consideration stage piece of content. This not only helps provide a conversion opportunity on every post, but it gives people the opportunity to dig deeper into a particular topic that builds on the blog post that brought them there in the first place. If you write any google post for your business, you will see they automatically offer you a CTA at the end of your post, a must-do!

4. Focus on Writing Quality Content

This feels obvious, but writing quality content is the single most important thing you can do when it comes to content marketing. Focussing on content that is useful, relevant and helps guide our personas through the Buyer’s Journey is critical. So, how do you actually do this? Here are some quick tips to writing quality blog content that Kirsten loves from Yoast:

  • Write for your personas, not yourself.
  • Ensure your content is readable, engaging and built with SEO best practices in mind.
  • Think about search intent and conduct keyword research based on what your audience is searching for.
  • Build trust and offer value. Remember: Is your content helping your personas solve their pain points?
  • Keep your content fresh and up-to-date.

5. Group Like Posts Together into Topic Clusters

What is a Topic Cluster?

HubSpot defines topic clusters as “groups of related web pages that all link to one core pillar page. Organizing your site content into clusters helps search engines distinguish your area of expertise and better understand the relationship between these pages.”

To start building topic clusters:

  • Determine what topic clusters you want to focus on and which ones you’ve already started.
  • Evaluate which of your topic clusters are converting well (highest traffic and conversions), and see if there is potential white space.
  • Use data to map out a content calendar.

Cluster content can help both readers and search engines alike. When people are searching for a particular topic and see that you’ve written a variety of quality, timely content around it, you will rank higher and build more credibility.

6. Test Pop-Up Forms on Your Blog

Kirsten says "I recommend pop-up forms with caution. While many pop-up forms can be unobtrusive to visitors, some can be downright annoying (*thinks about every cooking website and the million pop-ups you have to go through to simply view the recipe*). The important thing to consider is whether or not you’re using a pop-up form to add value or to sneak in another lead generation opportunity.

The truth is, pop-up forms can be a powerful way to promote additional content, grow your database or create a lead generation opportunity across your website and blog. When aligned with behaviour intent signals (like someone reaching the end of your blog post, or leaving your website), they can entice visitors to take action."

We can vouch for this running pop-ups for a CTA with multiple phone number options, the stats show they are a winner when used frugally.

Pro Tip: Because pop-up forms come in all shapes, sizes, layouts, and formats, we recommend testing pop-up forms on a few select blogs to see how they perform. Try this one, it has a get-going offer you may not be able to refuse. 

It simply isn’t enough to create blog content for the sake of it. Driving more traffic to your blog is great, but the true measurement of bottom-line success is your blog’s ability to fill your marketing and sales funnel. If you’re using blogging as a key part of your content marketing strategy but want to drive more leads, use the above tips. And if you’re in the market for more helpful lead generation tips, be sure to download Smartbug's Inbound Marketing Quick Wins for Lead Generation.

Before you jump into this post, I would like to say thanks Kristen Deyo @ SmartBug Media for articulating a topic running around inside my head for some time for many of my clients. They are the highest-rated agency among all of HubSpot's partners.

Kristen says "Turning your blog into a lead generation engine is no easy feat, but it is worthwhile and—better yet—completely achievable."

In fact, marketers who consistently blog see 67 per cent more leads than those who don’t. And 57 per cent of marketers say they have “gained customers specifically through blogging.” This is a neat link to the Ultimate list of Blogging statistics by OptinMonster.

The payoffs of Business Blogging

For businesses looking to build an expandable content marketing strategy, one of the most impactful places to start is blogging. And in today's pandemic environment you need to be looking hard at what are your buyer's looking for and how to connect with them. In fact, according to HubSpot, marketers who prioritize blogging see 13x more ROI than those who do not.

Here are just a few of the benefits of blogging for your company:

  • Helps drive additional traffic to your website
  • Establishes authority and thought leadership
  • Builds trust and helps guide personas through the Buyer’s Journey
  • Can get you discovered via social media

Kirsten says "By creating blog content designed to educate your personas and answer their pain points, you position yourself as a thought leader when your personas need you most. But driving traffic to your website from your blog is really only step one. Next, you need to successfully convert that traffic into leads to be nurtured and added to your sales pipeline."

She continues by thoughtfully giving us a hit list of ideas to change our thinking about blogging which are well worth reading.

Six Ways to Turn Your Blog into a Lead Generation Engine

We know why it’s important to have a blog, but creating content for the sake of creating it and having a “set it and forget it” mindset is not going to result in a free flow of leads. Instead, we need to be data-driven and get ourselves into a habit of routinely optimizing our efforts to ensure we’re getting the most value. Here are six ways you can help bridge the gap between your blog traffic and lead generation:

1. Understand Your Buyer Personas 

Everything starts with understanding our buyer personas and ensuring you’re developing a content calendar that speaks to their specific needs and pain points. In fact, according to Salesforce, 51 per cent of consumers expect that companies will anticipate their needs and make relevant suggestions before they make contact.

Mapping blog content to our personas helps ensure we’re not falling trap to creating content for the sake of content, but instead ensuring that it meets the needs of our personas. If you are unclear about personas jump over to the importance of customer personas.

2. Give Visitors the Opportunity to Subscribe to Your Content

Even if our blog content is useful for our personas, they might not be ready to convert just yet. If that’s the case, it’s important to give them the opportunity to subscribe to our content so that they can conveniently have new content delivered to their inbox and convert when they are ready to do so. Adding a subscription mechanism helps get more people into our database to be nurtured until they are ready to take the next step.

3. Use a Call to Action (CTA) at the End of Your Blog Post

Part of providing a compelling experience is ensuring you’re eliminating digital dead ends wherever possible. This includes your blog posts. Because blogs often help during the awareness stage of the Buyer’s Journey, it’s important to give your readers a call to action (CTA) of what we want or expect them to do next.

As a best practice, at SmartBug, as we do at Ys, recommend incorporating a CTA at the end of your blog post that drives to a gated, consideration stage piece of content. This not only helps provide a conversion opportunity on every post, but it gives people the opportunity to dig deeper into a particular topic that builds on the blog post that brought them there in the first place. If you write any google post for your business, you will see they automatically offer you a CTA at the end of your post, a must-do!

4. Focus on Writing Quality Content

This feels obvious, but writing quality content is the single most important thing you can do when it comes to content marketing. Focussing on content that is useful, relevant and helps guide our personas through the Buyer’s Journey is critical. So, how do you actually do this? Here are some quick tips to writing quality blog content that Kirsten loves from Yoast:

  • Write for your personas, not yourself.
  • Ensure your content is readable, engaging and built with SEO best practices in mind.
  • Think about search intent and conduct keyword research based on what your audience is searching for.
  • Build trust and offer value. Remember: Is your content helping your personas solve their pain points?
  • Keep your content fresh and up-to-date.

5. Group Like Posts Together into Topic Clusters

What is a Topic Cluster?

HubSpot defines topic clusters as “groups of related web pages that all link to one core pillar page. Organizing your site content into clusters helps search engines distinguish your area of expertise and better understand the relationship between these pages.”

To start building topic clusters:

  • Determine what topic clusters you want to focus on and which ones you’ve already started.
  • Evaluate which of your topic clusters are converting well (highest traffic and conversions), and see if there is potential white space.
  • Use data to map out a content calendar.

Cluster content can help both readers and search engines alike. When people are searching for a particular topic and see that you’ve written a variety of quality, timely content around it, you will rank higher and build more credibility.

6. Test Pop-Up Forms on Your Blog

Kirsten says "I recommend pop-up forms with caution. While many pop-up forms can be unobtrusive to visitors, some can be downright annoying (*thinks about every cooking website and the million pop-ups you have to go through to simply view the recipe*). The important thing to consider is whether or not you’re using a pop-up form to add value or to sneak in another lead generation opportunity.

The truth is, pop-up forms can be a powerful way to promote additional content, grow your database or create a lead generation opportunity across your website and blog. When aligned with behaviour intent signals (like someone reaching the end of your blog post, or leaving your website), they can entice visitors to take action."

We can vouch for this running pop-ups for a CTA with multiple phone number options, the stats show they are a winner when used frugally.

Pro Tip: Because pop-up forms come in all shapes, sizes, layouts, and formats, we recommend testing pop-up forms on a few select blogs to see how they perform. Try this one, it has a get-going offer you may not be able to refuse. 

It simply isn’t enough to create blog content for the sake of it. Driving more traffic to your blog is great, but the true measurement of bottom-line success is your blog’s ability to fill your marketing and sales funnel. If you’re using blogging as a key part of your content marketing strategy but want to drive more leads, use the above tips. And if you’re in the market for more helpful lead generation tips, be sure to download Smartbug's Inbound Marketing Quick Wins for Lead Generation.