You don’t need me to tell you how powerful a business blog can be at generating traffic to your website. So that traffic should be turning into a bunch of customer and client enquires, right?
Unfortunately, usually not.
Many businesses with blogs that generate thousands of visitors a week still get only a trickle of new clients or customers contacting them from their blog. And if they’re not contacting you, they’re not buying.
The problem is that just because someone comes to your blog and finds the content useful doesn’t necessarily mean they’re going to think that you’re the person they want to work with.
It takes more than just valuable content on your blog to get a customer ready to buy from you.
There are 3 key steps you need to take to drive more enquires (and more clients) through your blog.
1) Blogging the Right Content
The first is to make sure you’re blogging the right content. Obviously on a business blog you’re blogging business related content. And you’re using that to establish your credibility.
But is it in the right areas? Are you building credibility in areas that make a difference to your clients? Or are you blogging about topics that you find interesting yourself, or that happen to be “hot topics” generally?
If you’re a marketing consultant and your blog posts have recently focused on Pinterest or Facebook timelines or whatever the latest social media trend is, have a think about your current and ideal clients and consider whether those are topics that they actually hire you for?
Or is it something rather more “old fashioned”: figuring out their USP? Launching a direct mail campaign? Getting a higher ranking in google?
Blogging about new trends is great, it can generate a lot of traffic and buzz. But unless it establishes your credibility for the things clients hire you for, all that traffic may be wasted.
2) Knowing the Intangibles
The second step is to make sure your blog gets across the intangible factors that play a huge role in customers deciding to hire you.
Think about it for a moment. What do your ideal customers need to know and feel to be ready to hire you (or buy your product)?
Firstly, they need to know you have the knowledge and skills to help solve the big problems they have (or help them achieve their goals and aspirations). That’s all about credibility and it’s what Step 1 is about.
But there are always other powerful factors in play.
Maybe they need to know you can translate your knowledge into the real world. That you’ve helped people just like them succeed before.
Maybe they need to know that the results will be worth it. In the case of that marketing consultant, will the shiny new USP, direct mail campaign and better google rankings turn into an improved bottom line?
Maybe they need to feel they’ll be able to work with you. That you’re easy to get on with and establish great working relationships with your clients.
Try the exercise yourself. Think through what your ideal client would need to know and feel to be ready to work with you.
You’ll end up with a list of factors that you need to “prove” to them before they’ll contact you or hire you.
And you can do some of that “proving” with your blog.
Of course, you don’t just blurt it out: “Hey, I get great results for my clients, I’ve worked with people just like you, and I’m a nice guy”. Just outright claiming these things isn’t believable.
What you do is demonstrate them through stories and examples.
So while the problems and challenges, goals and aspirations that your clients have will determine the topics for your blog. The way you illustrate your points on those topics is to use stories or case studies that demonstrate the “know and feel” factors.
Back to our marketing consultant. Rather than just writing a blog post on how to create a powerful USP (probably using the same Dominos Pizza example everyone else does) he could use an example of how he worked with a client on their USP and the impact it had on their business.
That’ll not only get across his credibility at developing USPs, it’ll subtly get across the sort of people he works with (especially if the client was typical of his target clients) and how his work delivers immediate results for them.
To trigger enquiries and clients through your blog, write about the topics that are important to them, but do it using stories and examples that prove the “know and feel factors”.
3) Making the Request!
The final step is the most obvious one – but it’s also one of the most overlooked. If you want people to contact you, ask them!
Very often on our blog we’re so concerned with getting people to comment or to share our content via social media that we forget what we really want them to do – contact us and then hire us!
So in amongst your blog posts with calls to action to share your material, tweet it, comment on it, or pin it somewhere, make sure that when your articles really hit the sweet spot of what your clients hire you for, your call to action is to contact you.
You can do that quite directly by saying something along the lines of “If your business is running into the sort of problems Lucy encountered in the article, why not drop me a note and we can set up a quick call where I can share some ideas and solutions. There’s no obligation and…”
Or you can link to other relevant areas of your website.
I worked with a client recently and when we were checking google analytics we noticed that she was getting regular traffic to blog posts on a couple of topics that she ran training courses on. But none of the visitors then went on to check out the web pages for her training courses or to contact her.
They just read the blog posts and either left, or read more blog posts. There was no call to action to take them to the training course details.
The simple solution was to put a link at the end of the blog posts saying “If you want to find out more about how my training courses on mmmm could help you nnnn, click here to find out more”.
Within a week she’d had an enquiry for one of the courses as a direct result of that simple sentence and link at the end of the blog post.
(By the way – did you see what I did there? That was Step 2 in action).
Are you willing to put in the effort?
None of these three steps takes gargantuan effort. It takes a bit of thinking (and a bit of self restraint) to focus on topics that your customers will hire you for rather than the ones you happen to find interesting yourself.
It takes a bit more thinking to identify the “know and feel” factors and to pull out some stories and examples from the work you’ve done. And it takes a few small changes to your posts to insert calls to action where appropriate.
Understanding what your customers want. Showing them you’ve got what they need. Using a call to action to guide their next step. What that adds up to is taking your blog seriously as a marketing tool and using the same discipline you would with any other area of your marketing.
Are you ready for that?
If you are, it can pay off big time.
This is a guest article by Ian Brodie. Ian specializes in helping consultants, coaches, trainers and other professionals to attract and win more clients. He was recently named by Top Sales World magazine as one of the Top 50 Global Thought Leaders in Marketing and Sales.
If you’d like to get free access to Ian’s Pain Free Marketing Blueprint for attracting and winning clients without the pain and expense of traditional marketing, click here: Pain Free Marketing
Tom Treanor is the founder of the Right Mix Marketing blog. He’s the author of the Search Engine Boot Camp, the co-author of Online Business Productivity, and regularly speaks at industry and corporate events. His writing has been featured on the Content Marketing Institute, Social Media Examiner, Copyblogger and other leading industry blogs.