Have you ever taken a minute to consider why you blog?
To help people?
Because you enjoy writing?
Though these are all valid reasons, let's be honest, the main reason that you should be blogging is to make sales.
Which is why...
In this very blog post I will outline the 4 simple steps to turn your blog into a lead generation machine.
If you follow along and implement the 4 steps, I have no doubt that you will double, if not triple the lead generation from your content creation efforts.
1. Know Your Audience
Who are you targeting?
Without this knowledge, you are effectively "walking blindfolded". You need to know EXACTLY the type of person whose problems you will be solving.
I like to call this person a "Customer Avatar" and to build your "Customer Avatar" you must answer the following questions:
- Where do they live?
- What do they do?
- What is their level of income?
- What is their education level?
- What are their goals and values?
- What do they read/ watch/ listen to?
Now, do not be afraid of going "too niche" in the fear that you will be alienating part of your market. Remember, that in 2014 there were 2.8 billion people on the internet, how many customers do you need?
2. Know Their Problems
When your Customer Avatar is searching for your product and/ or service and stumbles upon your blog, what problem are they trying to solve or what goal are they trying to reach?
This is the most important part of the process, if you manage to identify these correctly and then deliver the solution (in exchange for permission to re-market to this person, more on this later), your blog is destined for lead generation success.
3. Develop Solutions
So, now you know exactly who you are talking to through your content and what they are trying to achieve, you now need to work out how to give these people exactly what they are looking for.
To do this you will need to map out a potential route to the solution that your customer avatar is looking for.
Let's look at an example...
I run an online marketplace connecting virtual assistants and entrepreneurs and I have set up a blog to target the entrepreneur customer avatar.
Let's assume their desired outcome is to be able to grow their business by employing reliable and excellent virtual assistants.
So what are the steps they would need to take to realise this outcome?
- Find virtual assistants
- Interview virtual assistants
- Hire virtual assistant
- Manage virtual assistant
So, on my blog I will provide content targeted to enable these entrepreneurs to solve each of these problems, for example:
- A blog post explaining the best places to find a virtual assistant
- A Google Sheet template to help tracking and assessing candidates
- An eBook outlining average virtual assistant salaries
- A video explaining the best practices for managing virtual assistants
You can then decide which pieces of content you are happy to post publicly on your blog and which pieces can only be accessed by providing a name and email address.
4. Capture Leads
Now you have your solutions ready to go, you need to ensure that your customer avatar is able to access them on your blog.
From my experience, these are 5 most effective methods of blog lead generation:
The Hello Bar
A free tool (with their branding) that enables you to place an opt in form or link at the top of any page of your site.
The Feature Box
Popularised by Derek Halpern from Social Triggers, this box placed above your latest post on your blogs main page can skyrocket conversion rates.
The Bottom Of The Post Opt-In
Your customer avatar is most likely going to want to take their relationship to the next level once they have finished a blog post, thus we must give them the chance to do this. This post explains how to do this. Also, conversion rate can be increased if the content offer is relevant to the blog post in which the opt-in box is placed.
The Content Gate
If you are creating an extra special piece of content that packs LOADS of value, it may be an idea to implement a content gate with Optin Panda, this plugin enables you to place a gate over the content that can only be unlocked by providing an email address.
The Welcome Redirect
If you have a piece of content that you are confident can add massive value to anyone that visits your blog, you could consider implementing a Welcome Redirect, this automatically redirects your users to an opt in page when landing on your blog. Use with caution though as this could increase your bounce rate.
So, to summarise, you must first understand your customers and their problems, build content that will help them with these... in exchange for their contact details.
After a couple of months of content creation and lead generation, you will have a list of relevant leads that have a strong affinity to your brand as you have already added value.
You are now in the position to realise the true purpose of a blog: to make sales.
Author Bio: Tom is the Founder of Virtual Valley, a platform that connects Entrepreneurs with Rockstar Virtual Assistants with the mission of giving Entrepreneurs back 10 million hours of their time by 2020. Tom writes about how to grow your remote business on the Virtual Valley Blog, you can follow him on Twitter @tomhuntio.