Build Your Blog to Attract New Business
January 9, 2013 4 Comments
We all love getting traffic to our blogs, but we sometimes miss the larger picture. We forget to focus on how many of our readers are actually potential buyers that will contribute to our bottom lines. On the Affinity Express blog, we discuss a large array of subjects under the heading of marketing and design. Sometimes, there are posts that generate huge amounts of traffic but are not directly linked to services offered by us. This leads to a high volumes from people who are not necessarily looking for our services. This traffic is not irrelevant, as it comes from the small- to medium-sized business community that we serve but we still want to know which topics and content appeal to those who mean business.
Here are some tips on how to blog for business by developing content to attract buyer traffic and the metrics that help us understand whether visits are casual or have a business purpose.
- Go beyond targeting keywords: To build volume in their business blog, many marketers incorporate relevant keywords for their products and services to get better ranking on various search engines. One way to do this is to try the Google Keyword Tool to know what words, phrases and search terms people are using to find information related to your business. Keywords also help get the blog posts featured in social media discussions and online directories so you can get backlinks and referral traffic. Some corporate blogs never get popular among their target audience, as their entire focus is on hyping their products and services. But readers can recognize self-serving hype a mile away and will only read blogs if they shows some independent views versus PR and promotional content. Blogs developed for SEO purposes alone might get volume but not potential customers.
- Answer consumer questions: If your blog is producing content that answers the questions that your sales team gets everyday from prospects and customers, you’re going to be extremely successful. To make this even simpler, ask yourself what are the questions your potential customers ask during your initial conversations as those are the most important to address. Understanding what our target audience is looking for and what excites them enough to visit our blogs is the key to generating business with this vehicle. Our posts like Using Color in Ad Design and Designing Business Cards for Your Brand answer some questions often asked by our clients.
- Incorporate predictions to make your content relevant: We all read with the hope of finding out what will happen and how we can deal with it successfully. I am big follower of Hubspot because they do that effectively and make digital marketing easier for their customers. Similarly, marketers and companies that look ahead and talk about trends to help people navigate them are trusted more by customers. For example, our blog post on 7 Tools for SMB Marketers demonstrates how new marketing technologies improve companies’ present ways of doing business.
- Share facts for better customer confidence: Based on my personal experience, it is difficult to question statements that are backed by facts. Quoting numbers from research firms and industry leaders in your posts gives more credibility to your blog. Presenting statistics as infographics allows you to share info while enhancing posts visually. Featuring industry statistics and trends is also a very good pull strategy, since adding your take on the situation could make for interesting reading and guarantee repeat visits.
- Showcase your work to get future orders: Viewers notice and appreciate when we share designs we’ve created so they can see our expertise and skills. Many of the posts that have the highest views include specific samples to support our advice. Our recent post on New Year’s Ads, got a huge response and many were repeat visitors.
- Use social media to market to the key decision makers: One of the best places to market your blog is LinkedIn. This channel has the highest number of key decision-makers. Targeting them becomes much easier on LinkedIn, as they hang out in industry-related groups and others based on their expertise, education and professional roles. One of the best ways to connect with them is by actively participating on LinkedIn groups. Find discussions to which you can contribute value. Then once in a while, you can modestly mention in an “oh-and-by-the-way” fashion that your business solves this or that problem and attach some relevant content to back it up.
- Invite guest bloggers for a fresh perspective: Having outsiders such as clients or industry leaders contribute to your blog brings new ideas. Whenever you come across an associate interested in topics related to your blog, ask him or her to do a guest blog post. You could publish an introductory article before their guest post to let your audience know about it in advance. SEO tips shared by George Bounacos were in line with our offerings and drew quite a bit of traffic as he shared SEO guidelines to help businesses establish a presence online and increase their profitability.
Some metrics that we follow to see if our blog is targeting the right people are:
- Number of views on specific posts and their geography and growth trend
- Comments received (i.e., number, quality and increase over time)
- Referral traffic to your business website from your blog and pattern of growth
- Time spent by visitors referred by the blog on your website (as a general rule, anyone spending more than two minutes on your website could be a potential customer)
- Ranking in search results for the brand and key domain keywords for the blog, consistency and addition of new keywords
- Building list of blog followers and level of influence in your industry or the media
- Mention in other industry blogs and publishers. To share an example, one of our posts, The 6 Marketing tactics for 2013 and Beyond, was recently picked up by ASEOHosting on their Best of December 2012 blog list
- Number of inbound links to the website by other blog forums, referral sites and social media websites, like the link to our post from Bizsugar
- Response levels to your blog posts on social media websites like Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook, as seen through the increase in number of followers and frequency of responses
A blog is a critical marketing tool that helps position your brand and give it a voice. Your content strategy should include guidelines for social media interaction. While you are making major efforts to maintain an interesting and active blog, it is logical to also have it contribute to your company’s growth.
How do you plan your blog content strategy and which key indicators do you look at to gauge your blog’s performance?