You've heard the rave reviews about how blogging helps generate new business. Excited and ready to give it everything you have, you jump right in. Blog posts are coming easily and quickly, and you're publishing regularly.
But there's just one problem: You're not getting leads.
If you're reading this article because your blog is not bringing in the business you want, let me just say this: You are not alone, friend. There are several reasons why your blog isn't generating new business for your company -- and they are quite common. Here's what to look for and how to fix the issue to start generating those leads!
1. You aren't getting enough traffic
The most common challenge with generating leads through your blog is simply not having enough traffic. The average website conversion rate (the number of people who convert into a lead out of all your website visits) is between 2% - 10%, according to MarketingSherpa. You can see in the chart below that these averages differ industry to industry; however, the fact remains that in order to generate enough leads, you really need traffic.
For instance, if you are a financial advisory practice, which on average converts 10 percent of its website traffic, you'll need 100 website visits to generate 10 leads. On the opposite side of the spectrum, non-profit organizations get 2 leads (or donors, in this case) from 100 website visits.
The Solution: Get More Traffic
Ok, ok. We know that's kind of a "duh," but it is absolutely vital to the success of an inbound marketing campaign to generate leads from your blog content.
There are many options to driving more traffic to your website. The most common are:
- Search Engine Optimization. SEO is a long-term play with the goal of driving traffic through organic search, someone typing in a search query relevant to your content. 70% of the links search users click on are organic. Making your sure content is following basic SEO guidelines can help you maximize your potential for search traffic. The best part? These are people looking for what you are writing about, so they are definitely qualified.
- Spread that URL! Put your website URL on every. single. touch point. If your customer interacts with it (it being a business card, email, flyer, bumper sticker, social media profile, office window, etc.), make sure your website URL is there. Many times your website is a second or even third touch point in your customer's journey. Make sure they have access to it.
- Email marketing. Do you have an email list? Are you sending your new blog posts to them every month? Remember that your customers are your biggest asset, especially when it comes to generating new business. Keeping in touch with them can help bring new people to you.
- Paid Media. Many businesses, especially those in competitive industries, turn to paid media to boost website traffic. Experts in Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising on Google or social media can help you target the right people and drive qualified traffic to your site -- while also optimizing cost.
- Social Media Promotion. Lots to say on this. See #2.
We've said this before, but we'll say it again: If you want to make money, you should plan on investing money into your marketing.
Even if you decide that the best options for your company are non-paid, organic traffic growth, consider hiring an agency to help you meet your goals. Many agencies can figure out exactly what needs to be done by looking at your data and industry. With so many levers to pull, you want to make sure you're spending money on the right ones.
2. You are not promoting your posts on social media (or not enough)
Social media is so valuable to driving traffic. Even if you are a very traditional B2B business, the right social media sites can help bring potential leads to your website. (Hint: Social media doesn't just mean Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+ -- Interest-based networks like Pinterest and Instagram, as well as industry forums and networks, such as inbound.org, groups on LinkedIn and subreddits on Reddit).
A study conducted by KissMetrics found sharing content at least three times on Twitter, Facebook and Google+ increase shares more than 100%.
Even if you are publishing to social media, you may not be doing it enough. If you are only posting your blog articles one time and that's it, you are missing out on a lot of potential traffic.
The Solution: Find New Places to Share, and Share Often
The more your content is shared, the more potential there is for people to click through and visit your site. Consider posting a couple times to each network you participate in -- both as a business and as an individual. If you are not sharing your content on your LinkedIn profile, Twitter account, Facebook account, etc. you are missing out.
"But, Sam. I don't want to be annoying and pushy." I hear you, I do. But here's the thing: If you are writing good content, articles that are going to truly help people and solve their problems, it won't be a big deal. Plus, I can't tell you how many people I'm connected to realize I do marketing only after they see a blog post. Trust me. As long as you aren't sharing an article every single day, a couple times a month will be beneficial for your business and no one will complain.
And don't be afraid to venture outside of your comfort zone when it comes to sharing content. Do a Google search to find those forums and networks I mentioned earlier. The more places you promote, the more potential you have for traffic, and therefore leads. Make sure to pay attention to referral traffic so you can see which channels are referring the most traffic.
Next time you hit the "publish" button, be sure to rememeber that blog post promotion is an absolute must.
3. You don't have the right conversion points to capture leads
I've seen it time and time again. A business has done a killer job creating content and even has a decent amount of traffic, but there aren't any conversion points! Or not much better, there is one conversion point and that's a "Contact Us" form on every single page.
Here's the problem with that: Not everyone coming to your blog content is going to be ready to hire you after one read.
50 percent of qualified leads are not ready to purchase immediately, according to Gleanster.
That means that you may be missing out on a lot of potential leads, simply because they aren't quite ready yet to reach out. These conversion points are essential to a successful inbound marketing program.
The Solution: Create Softer Conversions
For the visitor who isn't quite ready to reach out and become a customer, you need to offer them softer conversions. These are often offers for an exchange in value: The visitor gets something from you for giving up their identity. You get the value of their contact information and the ability to continue to communicate with them.
Consider trying offers such as the following to start generating more leads:
- Free downloads and resources, such as ebooks, checklists, templates, calculators, etc.
- Exclusive coupons or discounts
- Email newsletter subscriptions
The best way to get someone to convert into a lead with an offer is to surface up an offer that is relevant to the article they are reading. For example, if they are reading about how to figure out what housing price point they can afford, use a CTA to offer a mortgage calculator alongside the article.
All of these should be gated, mind you, meaning that in order for a visitor to access the offer they must give you their contact information. From there you can nurture the leads that aren't quite ready to buy with more content. You may even consider reaching out via email or phone to follow up later on. Needs change, and capturing a lead at different points in a lead's decision making can end up in a sale later on.
4. Your content isn't solving problems
Okay, so maybe you are getting traffic and you have some great offers set up to capture leads -- but it still isn't happening. Leads are just not coming in. If that's the case, it's time to look at the content of your blog posts.
When people visit your blog, it's because they have a challenge and they are looking for the solution. They have questions, and you have the answers. At least, that's how it's supposed to work. If someone gets to your blog and leaves pretty quickly (check out your bounce rate or time on site), then that's a pretty clear indication that your content isn't doing it for them.
The Solution: Edit Your Content
First of all, make sure you are writing content that your ideal client is looking for. Use topics that come up during sales conversations and in emails with existing clients. If you're not sure what to write, ask your clients.
If you are sure that your articles are on point, grab someone you know well and trust in your industry (or company) and have them read through your content. Ask them to write down any questions they may have as they read through your content. If they reach the end and they have lots of unanswered questions, that is a good sign that your content is the problem.
The best thing to do is to simply re-write or bulk up the article. HubSpot has a fascinating case study about how they optimized past posts to boost traffic by 106 percent. It really can help!
5. Your website design is getting in the way
What if your content is great, and your offers are wonderful. What could it possibly be?
Well, the foundation of an effective inbound marketing campaign is your website. If your website design hasn't been updated in years, there's a chance that things are broken. If it's been quite a while, there's a chance that your site is not responsive, which means that the way it looks on a desktop is not translating properly to other sized screens, like mobile devices. And remember, 60 percent of traffic now comes from mobile phones and devices.
The Solution: Test Your Website & Refine As Needed
Get out your mobile phone and tablet and look at your blog. How does it look? Is it easy to read and navigate? Are all the buttons itty bitty and impossible to hit?
If so, then you should talk to your agency about redesigning your website to better serve your inbound campaign. Design can be a huge factor in whether or not a prospective client trusts your company (not having met you yet). It is important that you put your best foot forward so that your blog has the best chance possible at generating business for you.
Small Tweaks = Big Changes
It can be discouraging when your blog isn't converting, you should pat yourself on the back for just having one! Companies that blog generate 67 percent more leads on average than those that do not. Figure out what's going wrong, and fix it using these tips. One small change can lead to big wins in the near future.
photo credit: drocpsu