How to Optimize Your Blog for Maximum Conversions
Keep reading part 1 of our Content Marketing series
Since Custom Marketer was a new startup, we’ve been on a constant evolution in content marketing! We’ve dug into every resource available to uncover the best strategies and advice, for writing an effective blog that converts visitors.
Something we noticed in our research is that, while every marketing blog has a guide for content marketing, most focus on writing blogs. Very few focus on getting conversions. What’s more, those that do only focus on a single aspect.
So we decided to share with you the top 5 lessons we’ve learned along the way for getting the most out of your business blog. After all that’s the ultimate goal, right?
Transparency statement: Every business seeks to convert. But as we’ll soon cover, there must be something more to it. Our hope is that by the end of this post, you’ll be better informed and inspired to do one of two things: invest the time it takes to make your blog convert, or… let us do it for you! But if it’s only the former? Great! That’s our goal with this post: to help as many businesses as possible with their content marketing, whether DIY or new clients.
Tip 1: Set Your Conversion Goals and Triggers First
This is one of the most commonly overlooked aspects of creating a blog that actually converts readers into customers. Look for any random small-business blog, and you’ll likely see a “sign up now” section in one place, a comment section at the bottom, and contact info in the header. And whatever their Call to Action (CTA) is, most likely it will point to only one of these.
What’s the reader’s motivation to sign up? To engage? To call you? Setting a clear goal for conversion makes it possible to design and structure your blog around that goal.
- Do you have a consultancy that depends on clients calling you? Then point your content and CTA toward your phone number and contact page! Consider disabling comments and saving “sign up” forms for a popup triggered when a reader tries to leave your site.
- Is your blog the landing destination from your social media? Are you trying to create a community? Emphasize comments and engagement! Both in the content of your post and in all of your CTA’s. (Especially if you have a community-based paid service.) These are the blogs that wind up with hundreds of comments and shares.
- Is a large part of your business seminars, webinars, o? Podcasts, ebooks? Include a signup form in the sidebar and then again at the end of your post! Also consider adding an “alert” to your header announcing your next event.
The point is to match your conversion strategy to your goals. If you can’t exactly say what you want your reader to do next, they won’t know, either.
Tip 2: Find a Good Reason to Blog (Beyond Making Money)
We hope you found our “Transparency Statement” refreshing. That’s the point! No one is going to come to the blog of a business expecting them not to try to sell something. Pretending otherwise is pointless.
On the same token, if that’s all you’re trying to accomplish, your reader will be able to tell. And most likely, they’ll bounce.
Your blog exists to engage with your target audience. Trying to exploit them will only turn them off. Trying to exploit them while pretending you have their interests at heart? That’s literally adding insult to injury.
Even if your main reason for having a blog is converting readers into leads (and then, customers), that can’t be your only purpose. So what’s the best purpose?
Well, we think the best reason to blog is to help your readers. Use your blog to put the “serve” in your service. Identifying their needs is crucial to your business! And if you can help them in some way that costs you little but saves them money or time? That’s a first impression worth investing in!
Tip 3. Offer Content of Value
We cannot stress this enough. Content marketing — like all marketing — is all about value exchange. When you publish a blog to the internet, you’re asking for the most valuable resource people have: their time.
At Custom Marketer, we consider any such first impression the digital version of handshake. Try following that up in real life with, “Here’s why you should give me money.” If that sounds ridiculous, it’s no more effective online.
For your readers, your content is only as valuable as it is useful. If you’re offering advice, make sure it’s actionable. Give examples (a great place to insert case studies). Don’t just tell, show.
Keeping your reader’s interest is key. That’s what motivates them to keep reading. The easiest way to keep their interest? Understand their need, and offer actual, useful solutions.
Of course, this does not mean to give away all of your secrets. The point is to provide just enough value to demonstrate your skills and knowledge, establish trust, and generate interest in what else you have to offer. This also demonstrates respect for your reader’s time…
Tip 4. Show Your Reader Respect
If you want conversions, it’s essential to immediately establish the kind of service you intend to provide after your reader becomes your client. The overall tone of your blog post needs to reflect the tone you use with your clients.
Far too often, businesses simply post dry, informational articles. They talk at their readers, rather than with them. When trying to inform and educate your reader, this can even come off condescending.
On the other hand, talking over their head is no better. This is a mistake that’s far too easy to make, in part because a lot of the content marketing advice you’ll find online is by content marketers for other content marketers. So they’re often stuffed with insider marketing terminology.
Want a real-world example? Just consider what you’ve read so far. Yes, we’ve used a few marketing/sales terms. But, odds are, if you’re a small business owner, you’re already familiar with “conversion,” “leads,” and “Call to Action.”
This is a big part of creating engaging content. Engage your reader as an equal. Your blog isn’t a dissertation; it’s a conversation.
Tip 5. Be Honest and Authentic
That’s a bit ironic for a marketing firm to say, right? However, the fast-talking, simplistic “Mad Men” days of marketing are long gone. Consumers are constantly inundated with ads, calls to action, and marketing tactics on a daily basis. And, as we all know, a good portion of those ads are misleading.
Keep this in mind when writing for potential customers. They’ve been burned before. They’re wary. At the first scent of misdirection, you will lose readers.
That’s another reason we included a “Transparency Statement” at the beginning of this post. Of course we want your business! But we’re happy to provide you some insight and assist you in writing your blog, in exchange a little bit of your valuable time.
Stating one’s intentions right out of the gate disarms suspicion. Our intentions are clear, open, and true. Our kind of bluntness may not be for everyone or fit every blog. Regardless, this is an important aspect of business in general, let alone blogging.
In the same vein, here are a few quick do’s and don’ts for establishing and maintaining an honest, authentic approach in your blog posts:
- Make a clear promise of what your post offers in its introduction.
- Keep that promise! Fail to deliver and your reader will have no reason to trust you.
- Stay on point. If you find yourself trailing off in another direction, consider making a different post for it.
- Keep a consistent tone. Humor is great! Where appropriate. Too dry is bad, but random and confusing is worse.
- Watch out for self-contradictions. They’re surprisingly easy. Come back to your post later and read it as a whole. You might be surprised at what jumps out at you.
And Don’t Forget the Conclusion
See what we did there? ←Appropriate humor.
There are plenty of impatient readers who will skip to the end just to see if your article is worth their time. That’s why your conclusion needs to be thorough and well-thought out. Summarize your content, reemphasize your takeaways (main points), and bridge your content to your closing Call to Action.
Like we said, it’s better to show than tell! So…
Maximizing your conversions from your business blog requires that you have a clear goal and strategy before you start. This will dictate your design, which influences your content.
From there, it’s all about establishing your rapport with your prospective client:
To be considered trustworthy, you need to establish trust and keep your promises. To engender confidence, you need to be consistent in tone and message. And, with an authentic voice and honest approach, exemplify the respect you show your paying clients. After all, that’s what you want your readers to become!
These may all sound like common sense, but many of the strategies it takes to implement them come from hindsight and experience, not to mention many hours of research and training.
If all this sounds daunting, we invite you to consult with us, for free, to determine if our Custom Content Marketing may be a better investment for you.