Most companies these days realize the importance of having a blog. A blog is not only to inform the readers about what is happening within an organization but it is also to disseminate information and educate the reader. Blogs have come a long way and now they are more professional and stage-managed. Unfortunately, they are so stage-managed that they are no longer considered as blogs, which brings us to another part of the story.
Professional corporate blogs that are slick and well written usually have a good audience. However, if they look too salesy and persuasive, they will not have the kind of impact you probably want to have. Readers will remain readers or they may even stop being readers. In order to ensure that blogs are helping you to turn readers into customers, you need to understand how a blog works.
Moreover, it is also important for you to understand how to capture the imagination of your readers and engage them so well that they will never think of other options when it comes to buying a service or a product. With that in mind, let us take a look at how we can convert readers into clients and customers. However, we will first try to understand how readers become customers.
Do readers always turn into customers after reading your blog?
Readers do not become customers in a linear fashion. We usually have this idea that people visit blogs, read content and then when they are impressed, they enter their email address and subscribe to your email newsletter. After doing so, they will hit on the call to action button within a newsletter and purchase a product or service. This really does not happen in real world and nothing is so linear.
It is sometimes an old customer who comes back to read what is happening with the company that he patronized earlier. It could be possible that someone else is a promoter of your product because he or she has heard many great things. Then, they begin to dig deeper into what you do and sell. They may later buy something on a whim from your website and then subscribe to your newsletter.
Or else, someone else could be a subscriber to your newsletter and then, they may move forward to being an advocate of your product. At that point, they may decide that they should become your customer and later, come back to your blog to leave comments about how they felt about your products and services. What we actually are trying to say here is that the process of becoming a customer or the reader of a blog does not take place in a linear fashion as believed earlier.
Content marketing is more complex than you might imagine it to be
One could be a reader, promoter, subscriber, advocate and customer at any point in time. With this insight, how do we go about traditional way of blogging and for what must we blog? This is where we need to understand the importance of content marketing. Content marketing does not happen overnight. Its sole aim is not to convert readers into customers. Its aim is to slowly but surely build your brand and create an authoritative identity which will work well for you, whether the reader is already a customer or has just accidentally arrived on your website.
Thus, understanding how content marketing works and how one can use blogs to enhance the marketing experience are a few tricks that we need to know and understand well. Blog can be a powerful tool to retain existing customers, build interest among prospects, to collect email addresses of potential leads and also to inform and educate our audiences’.
In this section, let us specifically take a look at how we can convert readers of blogs into customers.
1. Focus on the blog
Whether you want to retain existing customers or turn readers into customers, you must focus on the blog. The blog must be attractive, informative and useful to the reader. The blog is not a marketing piece of content and should not be treated as such. It is an intimate way to connect with those who are interested in what you do.
They may never buy your products or services but they still are your readers. With that in mind, update your blog section regularly and consistently. Write on topics that are specifically related to your business and ensure that you are genuinely authoritative when it comes to your topics. Readers always know them who know their subject well.
That authority will build your credibility and if the reader doesn’t buy your product, he will advocate your company to his friends or family and they will end up becoming your customers. To cut a long story short, write excellent articles and blog posts and hold your reader’s attention and build your credibility. This alone will fetch you a lot more leads than you might expect.
If you have a product or a service, you could try and conduct weekly webinars. You should not focus just on your products and services but you must focus on your areas of expertise. This will help you to build an audience and that audience should specifically be people who may be interested in what you do.
For example, if you sell biscuits, you could hold a webinar on the different kinds of biscuits that can be cooked with rye flour. At the end of the webinar, you could ask people to subscribe to your email newsletter as well as follow your blog. You may also ask people to sign up for a free trial of your product at the end of the webinar. This will help you to retain more prospects and convert them into customers.
What has this got to do with a blog? It is always a good practice to write a blog post before a webinar and also after a webinar, which will help people who missed it when it had happened. This way, the same content can be showcased in a webinar and a blog format, with each asking people for their email addresses.
3. Special promotions and giveaways
Every blog post should offer something to the reader. You could offer the reader a link to a whitepaper that you have published, a small token of appreciation in the form of a freebie, promotional offers which will help them to access your products at a lower price, discounts that are specifically given away to those who enter their email addresses, so on and so forth. What is most important is to collect emails of your readers, at the end of your blog post.
While not everyone will enter their email addresses, some people will definitely do it. Even if a few people enter their email address, it should be enough for you to build a database of the actual interested prospects. You could ask people to enter their email addresses in pop-ups, sidebars and at the end of the blog posts. There are several applications which help you to manage your readers’ email addresses.
At the end of the day, the blogs should help you to form an intimate connection with your reader and that usually entails collecting their email addresses. Another way to turn readers into customers is to actually place advertisements along the navigation bar or display static ads, scrolling ads and banners ads.
Blogs are an excellent way to build readership. The trick is to turn these readers into advocates, promoters, subscribers or customers. We need to remember that the transition from being a reader to a customer is not a linear relationship. It is not unidirectional and any of the five statuses mentioned above can occur at any point in time.
The focus should thus be on building great blogs with impressive content that will last for a long time. Relevancy, usefulness and authority will help you to succeed in your content marketing strategies. Content marketing, which includes blogging, takes a long time and one must work patiently towards it.