Content marketing is one of the most prevalent forms of marketing today, even for B2B businesses. According to the Content Marketing Institute's 2017 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends — North America reports, 86 percent of B2C marketers feature content in their strategy, and a whopping 89 percent of B2B marketers are using it.
For the majority, this means having at least a blog, an online publication where the brand can feature everything from photo slideshows to infographics to videos, all in a search engine-friendly format that's crawlable to notch higher results.
But even if your blog is getting millions of hits and generating lots of discussions and social shares, if sales are still stagnant, it's not doing its job.
Your blog should provide useful and helpful information to visitors who are then convinced enough to convert to purchasers. Here are four ways to turn those visitors into customers.
Cover the Basics
First things first: your blog should read well on any device and load quickly to prevent reader drop-off. A mere one-second delay in page response can result in 7 percent fewer conversions and decreases customer satisfaction by 16 percent, according to customer intelligence and web analytics platform Kissmetrics.
Besides speed, responsive design that allows your site to be read clearly on a smartphone, tablet, phablet or any other device not only influences customer satisfaction, but it will affect your blog's search results status. Google positively rewards mobile-friendly blogs in mobile search results, so if you want to be found, you need to optimize your design.
You'll also want your content to be high-quality enough for visitors to take your brand seriously. While you don't need to invest hefty amounts into professional production value, having top-notch equipment on hand can give your content a more polished look.
A smartphone with a dynamic camera like the LG G5 can shoot professional-looking photos wherever you are, since it has dual, rear-facing cameras, including a standard and wide-angle lens. A device with prime video capture is also beneficial, so you can shoot videos or photos whenever you're inspired.
Strategize Content Based on Customer Needs
A simple way to create content ideas is to build a list of questions your target customers have and are typing into a search engine to get answers. Use these questions as a guide for content ideas. As the blog visitor consumes your content, they will:
- Trust in your brand more because you're demonstrating expertise
- Build loyalty toward your brand because you're providing valuable information that serves their needs
- Look to you as a resource in the future when additional questions come up
In his best-selling book Youtility, author, and marketing expert Jay Baer expands on the value of helping, not selling. Even if your blog visitors don't instantly convert after receiving help from your brand, you'll be at the top of their mind when they're ready to purchase.
Keep Visitors Engaged
The more a blog visitor interacts with your brand, the deeper the relationship becomes. Keep blog visitors engaged with your business beyond the initial post they land on by taking them on a journey through your website and enticing them to interact with your brand in other ways. Some ideas include:
- Feature related “read more” links in the middle of or at the bottom of the page to relevant content the visitor might also be interested in
- Showcase your social media channels at the header of the blog so visitors can learn more about you and connect with you on those, and include social sharing calls to action at the end of a blog that tag your account if a visitor shares your content
- Enable commenting, and reply to comments to keep discussions about a blog going, which motivates commenters to keep returning to chime into the discussion
Don't think of your blog as the end point of how to get your customer. Nurture the bond every step of the way.
Capture Those Leads
One of the most significant benefits a blog provides is the ability to capture high-quality leads. They're interested in the content you're producing that ties into your brand. They may not be ready to shop right now, but you can continue to provide them with content they'll enjoy. Capture blog leads by:
- Offering a subscription sign-up box so visitors can get deliveries of future blog posts
- Present a free e-book related to the blog topic in exchange for an email address
- Include a coupon code or special offer within pages or posts
- Feature links to relevant products in the middle or at the end of a post or page that relate to the content
Treat blog content as a free resource that is focused on assistance and not the hard sale. When you do promote your brand, always make sure it is hyper-relevant and minimal. By going overboard on brand mentions or product highlights, your blog can come across as spammy and turn visitors off.
The objective is to build trust and provide engaging content that your visitors will enjoy and share with others, and that inspires them to continue to interact with your brand in the future.