Stop us if you’ve heard this one before. You outlined an amazing blog, you poured your heart and soul into crafting its content, you posted it to your website, and now the readers are flooding in. But why aren’t you seeing an increase in qualified leads?
Chances are, it wasn’t because of the writing. That’s subjective, anyway. It’s most likely because your content just didn’t resonate or because the reader wasn’t given a clear path forward after they finished reading.
So, how do you turn a reader into a qualified lead?
If your content is focused solely on you, the reader won’t feel like an active participant in the conversation. They’ll be a passive observer, standing by as you toot your own horn.
Think about it this way: when you walk into a coffee shop, the barista doesn’t start off by saying, “I’m having a great day!” (At least I hope not.) No, they start by asking how you’re doing. This is customer service 101, and it applies to every facet of your business, including your website, blog, email, and social media.
Most visitors are on your website because they’re seeking a solution to a problem or challenge, so don’t leave them wondering if they’re in the right place.
Address their pain point immediately. All good stories begin with a hook, something that catches the reader’s eye, and won’t let them go. It’s no different for marketing. You only have a split second to catch people’s attention before they move on. According to recent studies, humans now have an average attention span of 8.25 seconds, and will only take in about 28 percent of a web page before losing interest.
You know your audience better than anyone else, so use that to your advantage.
You know your audience better than anyone else, so use that to your advantage. What are your customers talking about? What new products, services, tips, and best practices are they clamoring for? Your customers are like patients telling the doctor what hurts, now it’s your job to diagnose the issue and provide a recommended treatment.
The sales cycle can vary from organization to organization, but we like HubSpot’s 5 Stages of the Customer Buying Cycle. All stages are important and content marketing can cater to each one of them, but blogs excel in the first two stages.
In this stage, a customer has identified a specific problem or need, but not a solution. Customers are more likely to be acting on emotion, rather than logic, at this point. This is the place to call out those specific pain points with key words that resonate with both the reader as well as search engines. This allows your brand to showcase your understanding of the issue while optimizing your site for search queries around the subject matter.
In this stage, a customer is actively evaluating how your organization, and potentially other organizations, can address their specific needs. By this point, customers will be thinking more logically. They’ll be evaluating price, reputation, and quality. In-depth, thought leadership pieces can do the heavy lifting in this stage. Especially when they can be used as teasers for more robust pieces like webinars or ebooks.
In the U.S, consumption of media and information is now higher on mobile devices than on desktop. So, keep in mind how mobile users will be interacting with your content. They’ll be on-the-go, and they’ll be viewing content on much smaller screens. That means you need to get to the point. Fast.
Make it skimmable. Most readers, especially those in the Awareness stage, don’t want to commit to reading a 2,000-word article until they know if it will help them. Just like we’ve done in this post, highlight the big ideas and call them out in section headers. That way, readers can jump right to the info that serves their needs.
This serves multiple purposes. By saving more complicated ideas for those webinars and ebooks we mentioned earlier, you won’t overwhelm readers who are in the Awareness stage. But, you’ll also give readers in the Consideration phase to take the next step toward a purchase. Offer a CliffsNotes version of the content, but be sure to provide a convenient way for them to request access to the detailed study, ebook, etc. via form.
Someone just read through the blog you spent hours and hours researching and writing. Mission accomplished! Well, not really. What are they supposed to do now?
Give your reader at least one option to continue their interactions with your website/business.
If your reader is met with a dead-end, they’re far more likely to exit your site, and you’ve missed a chance to move them into the next stage of the sales cycle.
Form gates require readers to provide their name, email, and/or phone number before they can access the information they seek. You can use form gates as a way to entice readers with additional content they might find relevant (the aforementioned ebooks, webinars, reports).
With form gates, never ask for more information than you need to reach out to a lead. Name, company/title, email/phone are all you should need. The more information you ask for up front, the more opportunities you’re giving readers to ask themselves “is this really worth it?”
Don’t put all the pressure on your website and blog. Potential customers need to be nurtured throughout the entire sales cycle. While your blog is a great place to provide quality content, you can’t neglect email, social media, and search engine marketing. Use your other marketing platforms to provide previews of larger content pieces, and then drive people to your website or blog.