Browser Media was recently added to a list of top inbound marketing blog sites – very flattering, especially considering the effort we go to with our posts despite busy workloads and blahblahblah. Blogging regularly is a big commitment, and one that we encourage all our clients to make time for (we gotta practice what we preach too, right?!) but the best way to prove that time is well-spent-and-not-wasted when blogging, is ROI. And ROI means conversions.
If you’re spending all your time hammering the keyboard, and seeing little return, try some of these ideas for turning readers into customers:
Get to know your readers
Your audience should drive what you’re writing about. And how you’re writing about it. If you’re selling software, your blogging topics are likely to differ to those of a site selling children’s clothing – it’s as simple as that.
Except… it’s easy to get it wrong. It’s easy to pick a topic you enjoy, write for your industry, but only appeal to those already in your industry, and not your would-be customers. Peer-to-peer content is great for showing the world you know what you’re talking about, but your readers want to know how to solve their problems. They want to know how you can solve their problems. Which brings me onto idea number two:
Successful blog posts are those that add value and that are informative. Your readers will likely have a problem they need to solve, for example:
Pain Point: My PPC ads aren’t converting
Helpful Blog Post: “5 tips for improving ad copy that you haven’t thought of yet”
Pain Point: My website’s disappeared from organic search results
Helpful Blog Post: “How to get your website to recover after a Google penalty”
Pain Point: I’m blogging my buns off, but my readers aren’t converting
Helpful Blog Post: “Blogging to convert”
People coming to your site to read these posts are looking for guidance. They’ve already identified that they need help, and you could be the site that gives it to them. Maybe you’ll be thorough enough that they’ll go away and fix it themselves (in which case, you’ve engaged in a little brand awareness, and could become the go-to next time they have a problem), or maybe their new found confidence in you will lead them to get in touch so you can solve the problem for them.
Enter the cycle
Through the “Awareness” stage into the “Research” and “Risk Assessment” stages, and then finally the “Decision” stage, your blogging can slot into the customer buying cycle. Here’s an example:
Awareness: I recently passed my driving test and so I became aware that I needed a car.
Research: I hopped online to go find me the perfect first car. There are a lot of places to buy cars – some looked more risky than others – but I started whittling my options down in terms of budget etc.
Decision: I found a car I fancied, went to take a look at her, and then purchased.
Your blog posts need to aid in those research and risk assessment stages. Non-sales-y and brand-neutral writing is great for awareness, but guides and how-tos, using engaging, informative and mega-persuasive language will encourage readers through to the decision stage.
You can encourage readers not only to convert, but to keep on converting, and become committed customers using attachment theory. Through being consistent, responsive, and earning the trust of your readers when blogging, you can work toward building a loyal customer base and brand advocates.
Regularly blogging about subjects specifically suited to your readers’ needs and interests, responding to comments and questions about your posts, and knowing what you’re talking about are good ways to use attachment theory to connect with customers. There’s a lot of psychology behind it, and it’s worth your time to look into it properly, but an honest writing style and a thorough post is step one.
Blow your own trumpet
If you can reference and feature a customer’s kind words about you in your blog post, you can look forward to enjoying an increase in conversions of as much as 25%. You could feature a quote in a relevant case study, for example.
By being exposed to others’ positive experiences with you and your brand, your readers are brought into a story. Stories are very persuasive, and promote trust in a brand… and when people trust a brand, they’re more likely to trust their products and services.
… But don’t be too promotional
If you’re too sales-y in your blog posts, you’ll turn readers off. You know one of the reasons you’re blogging is to encourage conversions – heck, your readers know that as well, really – but you don’t have to make it obvious and in yer face.
Remember to be helpful, and offer guidance or instruction in your blog posts. Customers won’t buy from brands they don’t trust, and the best way to garner trust is to be authoritative with honest, upfront advice. You can still promote what you do, but stay away from the hard sell or you jeopardise your brand’s credibility.