Online leads, the Holy Grail of internet marketing. So many seek, so few find. So why is it that so many business owners miss the mark when it comes to generating significant quantities of “high-quality” online leads? In our experience, it’s because a large portion of businesses are failing to use their blogs efficiently or effectively. Let me explain.
You see, to many business owners, a “blog” is just something they have heard about, read, and know they need to have. But so few business owners know what the exact purpose of a blog is, or how to leverage their blog into an online lead-generating machine. So if you are one of those business owners who is still guessing, this article is for you.
Online Leads Through Blogging, by the Numbers
You don’t have to take our word for it. Using your blog to generate online leads is a proven science. According to multiple sources, including HubSpot, businesses that use blogging effectively see an increase of over 97% in link building. For those of you that don’t know, internal and external links are a huge driver in Google rankings, so it’s important to have them. According to a blog put out by SyneCore:
- B2B companies that blog get 67% more leads/month
- B2C companies that blog get 88% more leads/month
- Companies that blog have 55% more website visitors
Read that again. Business to consumer companies that blog get 88% more online leads per month over those who don’t. Folks, 88% is a game changer, it’s staggering. Bottom line, if you are not blogging effectively and efficiently you’re dooming your company to a slow, agonizing death.
How to Increase Online Leads Through Blogging: CTA’s
To generate more online leads with your blog you must have an effective call-to-action (CTA). A call-to-action is an industry term that refers to the methodology used to get a user to interact with your site. Usually in exchange for them giving you their contact information.
But therein lies the rub. So many people are using CTA’s on their websites that many are simply becoming numb to them; while few users simply ignore them. That is why it is absolutely critical that you develop an “effective” CTA. This usually means subtly offering them “high-quality” information (whitepage, free assessment, etc.) in return for their email or other contact information.
But we have to warn you. Developing a highly effective CTA is equal parts art and social-science. You have to know your audience – intimately. This will allow you to develop a CTA that is specifically targeted to their wants and needs. For example, why offer a free 10lb bag of dog food to a cat owner?
How to Increase Online Leads Through Blogging: SEO
If you’re serious about increasing your online leads through blogging then you must become an expert in SEO (Search Engine Optimization).
SEO refers to the science of researching “keywords” that your potential clients are using to find an answer to a problem or question. This ultimately leads to a “lead” discovering your products or services online. You must ensure that those keywords and phrases are used judiciously throughout your blog. Too many and you get flagged or penalized by Google for “keyword stuffing.” To few and your blog won’t get discovered.
In fact, Google’s own Matt Cutts warned webmasters about SEO keyword stuffing and over optimization saying:
“We are trying to level the playing field a bit. All those people doing, for lack of a better word, over optimization or overly SEO – versus those making great content and a great site. We are trying to make GoogleBot smarter, make our relevance better, and we are also looking for those who abuse it, like too many keywords on a page, or exchange way too many links or go well beyond what you normally expect. We have several engineers on my team working on this right now.”
It’s simple. No one will be able to read your blog if they can’t find it. So you absolutely must incorporate strong SEO throughout your posts so that the people who are searching your keywords find you via search engines. So make sure you know exactly what you are doing when it comes to SEO and your blog.
How to Increase Online Leads Through Blogging: Repeat, Repeat, Repeat
We’ve all heard that old adage about sales. You know, about how over 80% of people will buy between the 5th and 7th “touch.” This holds equally true when it comes to generating online leads through internet marketing and blogging.
In fact, any model of the sales funnel will show you that a lead requires nurturing before they will trust you enough to become interested enough to buy. Read that again. Your potential client has to trust enough FIRST, before they will show any interest in buying. That means you need to establish a relationship. You do that through your blogging.
The new definition of marketing is the study and management of exchange relationships. In other words, the sole purpose of any online marketing strategy should be about building relationships and bridging the gap between the “online marketing world” and real human interaction.
Which brings up one of the more commonly asked questions: “What’s the average number of touches it takes to turn a prospect into a customer?”
Experts agree that the answer usually ranges between 5 and 20 touches.
But the number that pops up most often is seven. In fact, Dr. Jeffrey Lant’s “Rule of Seven” states that you must contact your customer a minimum of seven times in an 18-month period for them to remember you. Jay Abraham also cites seven as the number of times you have to contact someone and ask for a sale before you get a “yes.”
So bottom line, keep your readers coming back for more by posting “excellent” content regularly. Remember, your job is to provide awesome content and encourage a conversation. As Entrepreneur magazine so eloquently stated; “be part of the conversation, not above it.” You can do this by:
- Committing to a blogging strategy (XX times per week). Develop a content calendar, and hire writers who can regularly write for your blog
- Respond to comments with thoughtful and helpful dialog…
- Remember to help solve your customer’s problems or offer a solution
How to Increase Online Leads Through Blogging: Beautify That Blog
You must make your blog visually attractive and easy to read. It’s simple. If your blog isn’t easy to read, it’s going to be extraordinarily difficult to keep your readers attention. In fact, we have had clients with excellent content and a 100% bounce rate.
As per Google a bounce rate (sometimes confused with exit rate) is an Internet marketing term used in web traffic analysis. It represents the percentage of visitors who enter the site and then leave (bounce) rather than continuing on to view other pages within the same site. Realize that a high bounce rate generally means a low rate of lead generation, I.E. leads not signing up for content or making a purchase.
So make sure you use the right font and size. No fancy colors or horrible black backgrounds with eye straining colors for the writing. Break up texts with relevant photos (remember to use appropriate alt text) and use infographics where possible. Set your links to open in a new window, and speed up your page load rate by compressing images before uploading.
How to Increase Online Leads Through Blogging: Spread The Wealth
Sharing is caring. So make sure your readers are sharing your information. You have to be respectful and tactful in how you ask them to do so. Getting your readers to share your blog is a great way to earn free traffic to your site and increase your online leads.
One of the best ways of doing this is by including social sharing icons. Include them at the beginning and end of your blog, since most readers won’t want to scroll all the way back to the top of the page. By offering social-share links in both locations allows you increase the odds that they will share you blog. You can also find “floating” or “flying” social icons to install into your site.
Bottom Line: blogging is a great (and inexpensive) way to increase your online leads. But it is not going to happen automatically. You have to be actively blogging at least once a month. You must engage, comment, and respond to your readers, and you must promote your blog via external links and sharing. Follow these tips and you can practically guarantee a flood of new online leads.