How To Create A “Lead Pipeline” With Your Blog (Part 2)
In this conclusion of a two-part series, columnist Daniel Faggella explores his favorite tactics for converting your traffic into leads and buyers.
When we left off in Part 1, we were just getting into the brass tacks of generating consistent leads with your blog.
Today, we’re going to go deep into the tactics, but I want to serve up a warning: If you haven’t read Part 1 of this series, you need to do that first. Tactics without the underlying strategy will not work nearly as well as having the complete picture.
Let’s dive in.
The Truth About Conversion
When people come come to us at CLVboost (my employer), they almost always think they need more traffic. It’s almost always not true.
Traffic is like gas. If you have a hole in your gas tank, you could sit at the gas station for hours, pumping gas into your tank non-stop, and it’ll never fill up.
Traffic is much the same way. It’s very unwise to “solve” your marketing problems by just adding more traffic, unless you know (with proven data and factual testing) that you’ve first patched up the holes on your site.
For the purposes of this article, we’ll call them “leaks.” If your blog or site has leaks in it, then your traffic will come in, and it’ll leak out the holes.
Today, I’m going to address three common leaks that most businesses can immediately address to double or triple the leads coming in, without having to increase your traffic one bit.
LEAK #1: Social Proofing
Look at the home page of one of my favorite websites, Conversion Rate Experts:
Let’s look at how many times they’re leveraging social proof right on the front page: four times — at the top right header, twice in the middle, and a banner towards the bottom, just on the top half of the home page.
When people land on your site, do they feel completely safe? That is what social proof does. Wikipedia defines social proof as “a psychological phenomenon where people assume the actions of others in an attempt to reflect correct behavior for a given situation.”
Social proof reinforces that you know what you’re doing. It engages the tribal trigger that we all have to operate in packs…
Your visitors will think, “Well, look at who else is trusting them… I trust them, too.”
If you aren’t leveraging this, figure out a way to do so. Of course, one of the best ways is to perform guest posting and relentlessly nail your PR “Hit List.” This allows you to add “Featured In” boxes on your site that will boost your social proof.
LEAK #2: Rapport With Testimonials
This is different from social proof. The desired outcome of testimonials is to produce rapport with your target prospects.
Trust and rapport are two sides of the same coin, but in order for you to generate buyer-qualified leads from your site, you’ll need to show them that other clients who’ve trusted you with real money have been happy with their results.
Again, using Conversion Rate Experts as an example, notice how they have a client testimonial right up top in the sidebar and a link to view more. You can be certain that the visitors clicking this link to view more testimonials are “on the hunt” visitors, which allows you to measure the effectiveness of your traffic.
If one traffic source is producing a ton of clicks to this testimonial page, and another is not, you have a good indication of which source is producing buyer-qualified leads. Check out how CRE does it in this picture:
LEAK #3: Ignoring The Buyer’s Journey
Not everyone who visits your site is going to be ready to buy. Maybe their business isn’t ready for what you do. Maybe they don’t trust you enough yet.
Either way, understanding the buyer’s journey allows you to plug this leak by giving them something immediately helpful in trade for their information.
Otherwise known as a “bait,” or “lead gen,” this is something designed to extract the visitor’s contact info (email, name and so on) so that you can push them back to your site and your offers consistently. This is one of the biggest leaks, and patching this up will allow you to leverage all the potential locked up in your traffic.
For CRE, they offer a “toolkit” you can download (see below).
The reason I love this so much is simple: I am collecting prospects who might not need my services now, but later on they will… and when they do, who do you think they’re going to trust the most? They’re going to trust the brand that has helped them without requiring anything in return.
Let’s switch gears quickly and move into another topic that I think you have to nail if you’re going to really turn your blog into a lead generation machine.
The Philosophy Of Lead Generation
I want to hit this quickly because I see so many businesses doing it wrong. You are offering real value and making a real contribution to your leads and prospects.
That means you should not apologize for getting their contact information.
When I get an email after opting in that says something like, “Thank you SO MUCH for signing up. We promise not to send you too many emails or bug you too much. Just about once per week or so. Again, thank you so much for signing up. Blah blah blah…”
I Immediately Unsubscribe.
You want to always be reaffirming the decision your prospects have made to join your “tribe” and get information from you. Do not apologize for sending helpful content.
It’d be like me giving you the keys to my BMW and apologizing for it. That doesn’t make any sense.
In fact, in some markets, I go so far as to recommend you NOT thank leads for signing up. The more affluent your target client or customer, the more they need to be attracted instead of pursued.
The key here comes with knowing your target customer. An extremely high-ticket product or service most often will require you to be powerfully positioned right out of the gate.
In this light, make sure that you can stand behind your product, service and lead generation offering. Here are three things to consider when producing lead generation content and material for your blog.
1. Make It Something You Could Sell. When you slap something together, people can tell. If you’re going to position your business and brand properly, you must spend time creating something that you are proud of.
If you feel the need to apologize after someone downloads your lead gen or opts in to your list, chances are you need to improve what you are offering them. This same concept applies to lead generation on Facebook, though some people seem to think that Facebook posts don’t need to be deliberate.
This is business. Everything is deliberate.
At CLVboost, we offer several cheat sheets for email copywriting and marketing that, frankly, we could sell for real money, and people would pay for them.
Why? Because I’ve spent time creating formulas, mastering the psychology of email marketing and optimization and packaging it all up into easy-to-use step-by-step methods that help people do the same.
I am not apologizing or profusely thanking people for getting this material, because in complete transparency they should be thanking me. Of course, I don’t say this, but in the messaging that follows, I make it a point to build up the value they’ve received and encourage them to go through it quickly.
2. Authenticity Rules. People love to know they’re dealing with people. Even if you’re Ford or Coca-Cola, pictures can do wonders when generating and stewarding the trust of your market.
Keep in mind that everything you do, say and offer should serve to build trust, and trust is most often shared between two people (not a person and a large corporation).
3. Make Next Steps Obvious. The “main goal” isn’t to generate leads or a big list. That is a goal on the way to the main goal.
The main goal is to generate as much profit for your business as possible. The lead generation process should lead people along the buyer’s journey, which means they had better know the next steps they’re supposed to take after they opt in to your list and read your material.
At CLVboost, it’s a strategy call. Some companies we help offer a discounted product or a trial of their SaaS (software as a service).
Whatever it is, make it obvious. After you’ve offered the information that they can use to create tangible results, let them know they can experience even better (and faster) results by doing X (whatever process you use to generate the money).
I hope you’ve enjoyed this article. Put these strategies to use, and you’ll notice measurable increases in your lead generation, and the more effectively you can build your “tribe,” the better you can grow revenues and recurring profits. A blog is a great tool whether you sell products, services or a hybrid of both.
Don’t just win the right traffic. Win the right subscribers.
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.