When it comes to driving relevant visitors to your site and increasing the ROI of your marketing efforts, creating content that meets your users needs is a must. Delivering content that answers questions and addresses pain points for each stage of the buyers journey adds brand value and builds trust. Your blog impacts way more than your web traffic. It helps move your visitor from browsers to leads and finally to customers. Blogging is a great way to create persona centric content to super charge not only your Inbound Marketing strategy but your sales as well.
Blogging is a powerful tool in all stages of your inbound marketing and sales strategy. From attracting and coverting new leads into customers to continually adding value to you current customer base, your blog can turn into one of your companies greatest assets. Below are a few ways blogging can help super charge each phase of your inbound marketing and sales strategy.
Attracting Visitors With Compelling Content
In order to generate leads, you need traffic. In order to generate traffic you need persona centric content that is sharable and optimized for search. Your blog is the perfect place to answer questions and share helpful tips your persona is searching for online. Creating content around keywords your target audience is searching for will help grow your site and increase your search-ability. "The average company that blogs generates 55% more website visitors, 97% more inbound links, and 434% more indexed pages." (Hubspot) The key isn’t just creating content, but content that is actually helpful and engaging. But what good is great content if your buyers can’t find it? Google’s Andrey Lipattsev (Senior Search Strategist) confirmed in a Q&A session that links and content and content are the primary ranking factors in Google’s Search algorithm.
What you share and how you share it is more important than how often you publish. Blogs have been rated as the 5th most trusted source for accurate online information. But, in order for your blog to be trusted, you have to earn that trust. This is why really understanding who your audience is is key. Do your homework, invest in learning and you will reap the benefits. One tool I find extremely helpful is the empathy mapping tool from Xplane. This forces you to go beyond traditional buyer persona research and put yourself into your personas shoes. The better you understand your audience, the more relevant your content will be.
Blogging is not just great for attracting visitors, it’s also a powerful way to generate leads. If your content engages your audience, answers their questions and adds value, they will be more likely to take action. This is where a number of companies fall short. If you are going through all the trouble to research your personas and creating content around and for them, you must have a way for them to take action. Having offers that address each stage go the buyers journey and using your blogs to promote those offers is key to lead generation. According to Social Media B2B, B2B companies that blog generate 67% more leads per month than those that don’t. This number would probably be even higher if all companies that blogged used best practices for lead generation.
Every blog you create should have a way for your readers to take action. This means using internal links and CTA’s (call-to-action) to give your reader a clear next step. One thing to remember is your offer needs to match the content. If you are writing a blog post that's focused around new visitors, having a CTA for a free consultation is probably not a good idea. Ideally you need to have at least one offer for each stage of the buyers journey.
In this stage your persona has just begun realized and expressed symptoms of a potential problem or opportunity. They are in research mode and are looking to identify the problem.
Some good offers for this stage include: Research reports, eGuides & eBooks, White Papers and Checklists.
In this stage the persona has clearly defined and given a name to their problem or opportunity. Now they are committed to researching and understanding all of the available ways to solving their problem or opportunity.
Some good offers for this stage include: Comparison White Papers, Expert Guides, Webinars and Podcasts.
Here the buyer is close to making their final decision. They know what the problem is and how they want to solve it. The only thing left is to decide who to partner with. They are researching supporting documentation, data, benchmarks as well as endorsements to make or recommend a final decision.
Some good offers for this stage include: Vendor Comparisons, Product Comparisons, Case Studies, Trial Download, Consultations and Live Demos.
By understanding each phase and creating appropriate offers, you can create targeted blog posts that speak to each stage of the buyers journey. This will help you to contextualize your conversation and increase the likelihood of converting leads and moving them along the process.
Closing the Deal with Content
In today’s world about 80% of the buying process is done before a client ever talks to a vendor. This means that companies need to be proactive in reaching their base as well as making sure that marketing and sales are in alignment. Using your blog to nurture leads through the buyers journey is essential in today's fast moving buyercentric sales process. According to research done by Hubspot, 57% of businesses have acquired a customer through their company blog. By creating content to meets your personas needs, you build trust. Trust is key to closing a sale. With the change in buying patterns, businesses have to adapt as well. Instead of selling products, we have must instead focus on selling solutions. The sales process begins the first time a visitors reads our blog. The impression we leave of them with the first visitor will set the tone and expectations for the next engagement.
In order to use our blog as a sales tools, we must create transactional content that helps the reader to take the next step. This is where your decision stage offers takes center stage. Writing a article about how your specific service solves a solution and following that up with a well timed CTA can go a long way in turning a visitor into a customer. This issue here is being able to set your self apart from the rest of the world.
With over 100 million blogs out there, it’s safe to say there is a lot of noise. One way we set ourselves apart is by using personalized marketing. With the help of one of our partners, Brightinfo, we create a personalized experience for both anonymous and returning visitors. This tools allows us to deliver the right piece of content or offer based on our the users interactions. By helping them find the answers they need, we become more of a trusted source which helps us better position ourselves to close the deal.
Keep 'Em Coming Back
We discussed how your blog helps drive and covert traffic as well as helping your sales process, but there is one more very important way your blog helps your business. Serving your customers is essential is you want to grow your business. Word of mouth is still and will always be there best from of marketing. Creating content that speaks to your current clients, updates them on your new offerings and engages them in the process will help you turn them into promoters. To often we are so focused on nurturing leads we forget to nurture those who have already partnered with us. Don’t forget about the people who got you where you are.
No matter the size of you business or organization, blogging can be a powerful tool. Attract new visitors and convert them into by creating compelling content that helps them solve their problems. Help your leads take the next steps with transactional content. Continue to serve your customers by adding value to their experience with more in-depth customer-centric pieces. Use you blog not just as a part of your inbound marketing strategy, but as a sales and customers retention tool as well. Your brands voice will be determined by the content you produce.
Ryan is passionate about helping companies make a more personal connection online with their customers and prospects. He is a regular contributor to Search Engine Land, the largest and most popular SEO news site on the web. His works have also been featured on the HubSpot Blog, Business2Community and by LinkedIn Marketing Solutions.
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