Do you need more visitors to convert into leads? Use these tips to help you improve your business blog.
You’ve done your keyword research, you understand when and how to use an H2 header, and you remember to include alt text on your perfectly sized featured image.
In other words, you’ve optimized your blog so that search engines can find it. You might have even reached SEO nirvana: page one.
But there’s one issue: your articles aren’t making you any money.
No matter how much SEO optimization we apply to any piece of content, if the articles we write aren’t converting those who read them, we’re wasting our time as writers and content managers.
As an IMPACT content trainer, I work with content managers all over the world, and I can assure you that no one has time to waste.
While high traffic to a page may be beneficial (and this is a debate I would gladly engage in), a high click-through rate on that page is far superior.
Great blog articles drive traffic to your website, educate your audience, build trust, and pique people’s interest in learning more about your brand. When done correctly, your visitors are more likely to convert because they have faith in you.
I’ll share with you the tips I give my clients to help them increase conversions.
If you’re asking these questions:
- How do I turn more visitors into leads?
- How do I earn a higher click-through rate?
- What can I do to optimize my blog for conversions?
This one’s for you. Let’s dive in and start learning!
Tip 1: Answer your audience’s toughest questions
Any business’s true currency is trust. All too often, as marketers, we create content to reach as many people as possible. We write for our keywords to boost our search rankings.
We do this because the wider the net we cast, the better our chances of catching the fish we’re after.
However, if your goal is to generate revenue, there is a much better way to connect with your audience than simply targeting popular keywords.
The first step is to answer the tough questions they’re asking to help them make a decision that works for them.
The majority of these questions are asked later in the buyer’s journey. They’re frequently questions your competitors don’t want to answer until they’re speaking with prospects one-on-one.
The answers to these questions can be complicated or uncomfortable at times, but by answering them directly and not avoiding the discomfort, you give your audience reason to believe you have their best interests at heart.
Tip 2: Work with sales to start with the right topic.
Again, SEO is meaningless if you’re wasting time writing about topics that aren’t relevant to your buyers.
Talk with your sales team to determine the types of questions your prospects and buyers are asking regularly to ensure you’re writing about what matters. Then, take those questions and turn them into article topics.
And, yes, you may be thinking, “But won’t asking sales for ideas just result in a long list of sales enablement content?”
The majority of what you’ll get from your sales team is sales enablement content. After all, that’s the type of content they want: it simplifies their jobs, helps them sell more, and generates more revenue.
Isn’t the ultimate goal of the content you create to make money?
Tip 3: Understand the buyer’s journey
Understand that not all blogs are created equal when it comes to conversions; some article topics are more likely to convert than others.
Articles in the consideration and decision stages of the buyer’s journey are more likely to convert sales-ready leads than articles in the awareness stage. Yes, all of the sales enablement content you just obtained from the sales team is designed to convert.
Articles in the awareness stage, on the other hand, are more likely to convert people who want to learn more from you but aren’t quite ready to buy from you yet.
However, depending on where people are in their buyer’s journey, certain types of content offers are more likely to convert.
If people are just becoming aware of your brand and enjoy reading your content and learning from you, but aren’t ready to make a purchase anytime soon, encourage them to subscribe to your blog. Checklists, templates, tip sheets, and workbooks are also excellent lead magnets for capturing top-of-funnel leads.
At the consideration stage, people have a better understanding of their problem and the various solutions available. They are now looking for resources to help them choose the best one. Offer product/service buying guides, comprehensive ebooks, informative videos, a webinar, or a pre-recorded demo to entice them to convert.
Offer a personalized demo, get them on the phone for a consultation, or even read a guide that explains what it’s like to work with your company to those in the decision stage.
There are numerous types of offers you can use to entice visitors to engage with your brand, but remember to consider where those readers are in their buyer’s journey and what they are most likely to convert on at that stage.
Then, to boost conversions, make sure that the offer attached to your blog article (via calls-to-action, buttons, and so on) is the reader’s natural next step.
Tip 4: Develop a content map
Creating a content map is one of the best ways to give people what they want at the right time in their purchasing journey.
This is where you take all of the great topics you’ve brainstormed, as well as the articles and offers you’ve written on a specific topic, and plan a natural path for your buyer to take.
The first step is to categorize your assets according to the stages of the buyer’s journey: awareness, consideration, and decision. Then, determine which offer (or offers) will move the reader from one stage to the next.
Your content map will show you the gaps that need to be filled as well as the areas where you’ve already made significant progress.
This will help you add relevant topics to your editorial calendar and determine the right article-CTA pairings when the time comes to publish.
Tip 5: Run a topic litmus test.
The topic litmus test is a great tool to use when trying to decide if a topic is the right one to move your business forward.
This test consists of four seemingly simple questions that you (or the person who suggested the topic) should be able to answer easily:
- Is the topic relevant to your buyers? (Bonus points for being able to pinpoint how the topic is relevant.)
- At what stage of the buying process would someone need this information?
- What are the exact words the buyer is using to ask for this information?
- Is a blog article the best format to relay this information to the buyer?
If you or the subject matter expert (SME) cannot answer these questions, then it’s best to put the topic on hold until you can get a better understanding of its relevance. If weeks or months pass by and this isn’t resolved, then you can most likely cross it off your list.
We offer a course on how to identify blog content topics that will impact sales in IMPACT+, our learning platform, which can get you started.
Tip 6: Hook the reader with a powerful introduction.
Most case study intros jump right into the who-what-how without providing the context of what’s to come. A “P-E-P” intro, however, hooks the reader by forming a connection with them. To do this, you’ll follow three simple steps:
- Identifying the problem: Start by connecting with the reader by showing them you recognize the problem they’re experiencing.
- Show your expertise: Then you’ll want to provide the context of the article by telling them who you are and the expertise you have to solve their problem. This provides a level of transparency to the reader, which helps build trust.
- Offer a promise: Your intro should make a promise to the reader about what’s to come. This is the space where you’ll preview to your reader what the payoff is for reading through to the end.
Check out our course, Creating Memorable, Money-Making Content for Beginners, to learn how to hook your reader.
Tip 7: Follow the content compass.
Here’s a great writing tool that can help you capture your readers’ attention so that they more fully engage with your writing (and therefore are more apt to click on the relevant links and CTAs you’ll include).
The content compass relies on four questions that you can ask yourself (or your SME) to more easily set up your writing—and your writing efficiency—for success.
At its core, the content compass reduces your article to the basic questions: who, what, why, and how.
- Who is asking the question you’re answering in this article?
- Who are they and why are they asking this? What’s going on in their lives that they have this question in the first place? What could happen to them if they solve the problem their question relates to? What will happen if their problem goes unsolved?
- What do they want to know?
- There are usually a handful of questions that follow the main topic. What questions does the reader have that will help them fully understand the answer to their question?
- Why are you the best person/company to answer their question?
- What makes you specifically qualified to be their trusted guide in this process? Do you have a shared background? Does your team have decades of experience? Are you uniquely qualified to answer their questions?
- How will you help them?
- Here’s where the rubber hits the road as you pull your expertise together to provide a helpful answer.
Copy the document above and use it to start writing better content. Or, to see the tool in action, check out our course: Creating Memorable, Money-Making Content for Beginners.
Tip 8: Ensure your content passes the ‘blink test’
One of the best ways to increase conversions on blog articles is to make sure you’re giving people a great reading experience.
You might not realize it, but simple things like how your article is structured and how easy the copy is to read can go a long way toward increasing your conversions. In fact, according to HubSpot, you have 3-5 seconds from the time a visitor lands on your page to convince them to hang around. This is known as “the blink test.”
In the blink test, readers quickly scan your article to determine if they think it will answer their question. They’re looking for visual cues that either get them to scroll back to the top and start reading, or head back to Google to review other results.
Part of giving people a great experience is making your content visually more digestible. It should feel like it’s easy to read.
If you think of your blog article as a textbook, what are the important chapters and sections?
Your articles need signposts, or in this case, headers, that help people quickly see how you plan on tackling the subject at hand. Headers help readers understand the important sections and subsections of your article.
Other visual cues that help readers feel like your content is easily digestible are things that break up long sections of text. In your articles:
- Make sure you have short paragraphs and lots of whitespace on the page.
- Use bullet points and numbered lists to condense information.
- Use bolding to draw attention to key points.
While these formatting elements may not seem like they’d increase conversions and would instead increase dwell time, the longer people stay on your page reading your content, the more likely they are to learn from you and build trust, which, in turn, makes them more willing to convert.
Tip 9: Speak to your readers like they’re human.
The more you write with a human-first mindset, the more the SEO layer (especially the sought-after keywords) will work its way organically into your writing. That is not to say you should ignore SEO — far from it. However, it should not be your only goal.
As if you were sitting across the table from a prospect, write as if you were. Consider how you’d react if a friend turned out to be a future customer or client.
Skip the jargon, the sales pitch, and the keyword stuffing, and just be your (human) self.
Tip 10: Infuse your text with personality.
When’s the last time you sat down to research something you were thinking about buying and wished for a dry, textbook-style breakdown of features?
Almost certainly never.
So why should we expect our audience not to want to read something entertaining or, at the very least, personable?
Displaying personality can help you stand out in a crowd of information written by people who are most likely still trying to replicate the five-paragraph essay they were taught in middle school.
Turn your personality into a competitive advantage by writing in the manner in which you speak, referring to things that distinguish you, and using examples and stories from your life.
You can get started with our course, Creating Memorable, Money-Making Content for Beginners.
Tip 11: Use the 80/20 rule
A big problem a lot of businesses have is that when it comes to answering questions, they always find a way to steer the conversation back toward themselves.
These “articles” they create end up sounding like advertisements or boring sales sheets. That’s because they’re more about sales than anything educational.
If you want to build trust with your audience, focus on answering their questions as honestly and transparently as possible. Think about the buyer, their pain points, and what they need to hear rather than what you want to tell them.
Sure, you want to tell them all about your brand and all the amazing ways you can help them, and I’m not saying you can’t do that. All I’m saying is focus on education first and save your pitch for later.
Your content should be at least 80% educational and only 20% promotional.
Honesty and transparency are the foundation for building trust. When people feel like they can trust you, they’ll want to learn more about you and begin to explore other areas of your website beyond the blog they landed on.
Tip 12: Have relevant links on your page
It seems obvious, but it’s shocking how many blog articles I read don’t have a single link or CTA for the reader to further their journey. While you don’t want to distract from the topic at hand, relevant links can be used to go deeper into a subject and nurture leads so that they are closer to being ready to convert.
Each blog article should answer a specific question on a topic, but it’s only one piece of the topic pie. If your audience is hungry to learn more, give them what they want and lead them to the other slices of the pie.
Tip 13: Sprinkle links throughout your article
Look for conversion opportunities beyond the big button. It’s far too common to see pages that have tons of links at the beginning of an article, nothing in the middle, and a handful at the end. To increase your chances of people clicking on your links, sprinkle them throughout your content.
A great way to further catch your reader’s attention is to provide key, relevant links at the ends of paragraphs or sections. This helps further guide the reader and stands out from the rest of the body text.
Tip 14: Optimize your anchor text’s color
The anchor text itself can often determine whether someone will click on the link or not.
Choose a color for your anchor text that helps the link pop off the page. There’s a very good reason why the anchor text on this page is underlined — it’s hard to miss. Check your anchor text and see if it’s easy to blow right past as you scroll down your page.
At IMPACT, we keep most anchor text the same color as the rest of the copy, but we change the color for prominent links to add emphasis.
Tip 15: Use great anchor text copy
Your anchor text should give clear context as to where your reader will end up if they choose to click. Choose a text that is descriptive of what the linking page is about.
You’re not trying to create a surprise for the reader here. If people see your links, but can’t guess what kind of page is on the other side of that link, they’re simply not going to click on them.
And remember to use phrases and sentences rather than single-word links to increase visibility and provide context. This is a helpful practice to keep in mind for your visitors who might be visually impaired. Screen reading software that jumps to links won’t provide much help if the anchor text is simply “Click here.”
Tip 16: Check the placement of your calls-to-action (CTA).
Links are used to direct visitors to other pages on your website. The goal of keeping people reading your content is to gain their trust so that they feel compelled to connect with you.
But if they are left to their own devices, that could take a long time, and they may wait until they are near the end of their buyer’s journey.
You need great calls to action to get them to take you up on these offers, but what are some CTA best practices to follow?
To begin, each blog article must include at least one call to action (CTA). How do you expect people to convert immediately after reading your content if you don’t have any CTAs on your page?
If you’re only going to use a single CTA, it’s often best to place it at the end of the article. People are most likely to decide on what to do next after consuming the content. However, it’s often better to have more than one CTA on the page, especially if your content is particularly long.
You can place a relevant CTA at the halfway point of the article, or split the article up into thirds and have three CTAs on the page.
If your blog has a sidebar, you may want to include CTAs and/or forms in the sidebar as well.
Tip 17: Play with the designs of your CTAs.
CTAs can come in many shapes and sizes.
The most common CTAs are buttons. These are often small rectangular or pill-shaped boxes with some actionable text on them.
Image CTAs set themselves apart a bit more as they’re more visually striking and often take up more space. They contain more helpful text, but often still include the traditional CTA button within them (to not be confused with a regular image).
To up your game, try using video CTAs. They are similar to image CTAs, but instead of a static image, you can use a looping gif, which can draw more eyes with their movement and also provide even more context into what the offer is.
Tip 18: Use consistent messaging with your CTAs.
Your CTA copy should give a clear and accurate context for your offer. In other words, the messaging around your offer needs to be consistent. That means defining what it is, how you get it, and what its value is.
One of the biggest killers of conversions is when people click on a CTA after seeing certain promises, but your landing page doesn’t match their expectations.
Be very clear and consistent about what your offer is to avoid any confusion when people arrive on your landing page. I’ve seen many times where marketers may twist what their offer is to get people to click through, only to lose them once they’re on the landing page.
Even if your intentions are good, when the CTA leads to a landing page that doesn’t match exactly, visitors first become suspicious and then turn to someone else’s website.
I don’t want that for you.
A clear CTA leading directly to its relevant landing page is a match made in marketing perfection.
Tip 19: Use value-oriented copy for your CTAs.
It’s amazing how effective verbs are at persuading your readers to act. Use strong, actionable verbs that emphasize the value being received to increase CTA clicks.
It’s also worth noting that people are more likely to do what you ask than to guess what you want them to do. That is why, when writing a CTA, use strong language.
- Get started
- Sign up for free.
- Get your free copy now.
- Create an account
- Book a demo
- Request a quote
All of these phrases use strong verbs to tell you exactly what to do but also focus on what you’ll be getting, not losing.
Tip 20: Use smart CTAs
Smart CTAs are extremely effective at converting more leads. It makes no sense to show the same CTA to everyone because not everyone who reads your article will be at the same stage of the buyer’s journey or performing the same role in their organization. They might not be interested in the same offer.
Knowing this allows you to modify the CTA that is displayed to them based on what you know about them. Create custom CTAs in HubSpot based on their location, the device type they’re using, the source they came from, any contact lists they’re already a member of, and so on.
By using smart CTAs, you’re creating a more targeted experience for specific types of prospects, and by doing so, you increase the chances of converting them into leads.
Use conversion optimization to take your articles to the next level.
By now, you’ve learned that SEO, while crucial, isn’t going to save the day when it comes to converting your audience. But you’re also savvy enough to know that the work ahead will equate to dollars if you convert your traffic in the right way.
With 20 conversion optimization tips to choose from, it will take some sleuthing to determine which will work for your high-traffic, low-converting articles. As you look at your blogs, audit the following:
- Do you have the right topic? (Tips 1-5)
- Is your article compelling enough to keep the reader engaged through to the end? (Tips 6-11)
- Do they have a natural next step to take once they’re done reading? (Tips 12-15)
- Is it clear where you want them to go next? (Tips 16-20)
Use these strategies to reach out to your target audience, keep them engaged, and persuade them to convert.
Remember that there is always room for improvement. Even the best blogs can be improved, so keep your eyes peeled as you shop online. What designs make you want to click? What topics keep you glued to your screen? Which blog layout is more appealing to you?
When we adopt this mindset, we are constantly striving to improve our site for our readers, which is the surest way to generate more leads.