In a recent post about bad blogging habits I touched on the subject of conversion. This is an important issue for any business blogger, so let’s examine it in a little more detail.
Every business blog should have a conversion plan. It’s really as simple as figuring out what type of response you’re looking for, and then crafting deliverables that visitors can act on. Strategic goals and deliverables are limited only by a blogger’s imagination; here’s a short list of possibilities to serve as a starting point for some brainstorming.
Strategic Blog Conversion Goals
- Generating orders (sales)
- Setting up meetings (lead generation)
- Encouraging social shares (referrals, brand awareness)
- Improving search rankings (SEO)
- Order forms embedded in blog posts, limited time offers (sales)
- Webinar scheduling, white paper downloads (lead generation)
- Strategically placed social share buttons, social media contests (referrals, brand awareness)
- Keyword research, content optimization (SEO)
The two points I want to stress:
- Always have strategic conversion goals and deliverables to support them
- Don’t rely solely on brand awareness and SEO — as so many bloggers do
Why do so many bloggers shy away from conversion and instead operate information charities, giving away great content and getting nothing in return?
Well, I can’t speak for other bloggers, but I can summarize the things that interfered with my ability to achieve business goals with my business blog, to develop a conversion mentality. Does any of it sound familiar?
Eliminate the Build-It-and-They-Will-Come Mindset
All content needs to be marketed, pushed, promoted. Big media outlets have big marketing budgets: if advertising is good enough for The New York Times, it should be good enough for us, too! The fact is there’s a wealth of great information being promoted online. It finally dawned on me that no matter how valuable my posts were, I’d have to compete for attention.
Overcome the Fear of Selling
Even though I have lots of sales experience, I feel awkward going into sales mode in social media — probably because social media is so informal, conversational and relationship-oriented. If I’m reluctant to push myself and my services, I can only imagine how difficult it must be for bloggers who have never sold anything. The best way I’ve found to overcome the fear of selling is to start doing it. Thinking about it doesn’t get you anywhere, but practice really does make perfect.
Package Up You Services
It took me a while to figure out how to bundle up my services into packages that can be effectively promoted on a blog. This involves things like writing and designing an attractive whitepaper for download, creating a polished presentation for a webinar, building out a formal, written training curriculum, etc. People are more inclined to say “yes” to a tangible, well defined product, service, or consultation. Calls to action that are vague, such as “contact us to learn more” or “let’s talk about your needs” don’t provide sufficient motivation.
Brad Shorr is Director of Content and Social Media for Straight North, a Chicago SEO and digital marketing agency. The firm specializes in helping middle market B2B firms, with clients that do everything from vehicle tracking devices to dust exposure monitoring. Brad has been blogging since 2005 and writes frequently on social media topics. Follow Brad on Twitter and connect with Brad on Google+.
- Guest Blog Post – 7 Bad Habits for Business Blogging (zemanta.com)
- Everything You Need to Sell Your Boss on Business Blogging (hubspot.com)
- Social Blog Carnival: Getting the 411 on Social ROI (crm2.typepad.com)