Feb 8, 2017
Many brands use content marketing to build awareness and extend their reach – much fewer use it to generate revenue. Blogging may not be the first conversion channel that’s front of mind for marketers, but it has the potential to be a powerful and authentic method for generating and nurturing leads. In fact, marketers who prioritize blogging are 13 times more likely to achieve a positive ROI on their efforts.
When it comes to blogging, your ability to convert customers is intrinsically linked to the strength of your CTAs. You already know that they need to be explicit and succinct, but what else can you do to optimize them for success?
Most blog CTAs are found at the end of an article, which isn’t exactly an illogical placement decision – if a reader has managed to finish your article in its entirety, you can safely assume that they are invested and engaged enough in your content to consider taking a follow-up action. However, if you consistently implement a statistic end-of-post CTA, the most popular placement for most blogs, you run the risk of your target audience becoming immune, and eventually ignoring them altogether. That’s why it’s always important to consider the available alternatives.
Slide-in CTAs, for example, enjoy a proven efficacy. These appear in the form of a box when a reader is scrolling down a blog article. As the name may suggest, the box containing your chosen CTA slides in from the side of the webpage in visually impactful fashion. Usually, it’s best to use this CTA as an opportunity to offer your blog readers some additional content that relates to the article they’re already reading, rather than confront them with an incongruous incentive. This CTA placement can drive significant results – over the course of a month, HubSpot ran a test where they added slide-in CTAs to ten of their highest performing blog posts. They compared the impact of the slide-in CTA to that of the static end-of-post CTA and found that the slide-in had a 192% higher click-through and generated 27% more submissions.
Full screen opt-in CTAs, though infinitely less subtle, can also make the right impact. Undoubtedly, they are intrusive to your blog visitor’s experience, but they are only shown once and are clearly demarcated so a user can exit it easily, and a full-screen CTA does the best possible job of securing their attention! You can use a tool like OptinMonster to ensure that your blog readers aren’t redirected to a new page, and can easily provide their email address through a script overlay on the article they want to read.
You can customize a super targeted message based on the specific user’s location on your site, the images and links they’ve clicked, and the referral source that brought them to your blog, be it a search engine or social channel. This level of personalization can set you up for success – marketers who make the effort to personalize their audience’s online experience see, on average, a 19% uplift in sales!
The promotion of your blog content can often seriously impact its performance, including conversion rates. Yet beyond effective distribution through owned, earned and paid media channels, there are other strategies you can adopt to enhance the strength of your blog and its accompanying CTAs.
Make it easy for readers to share your content. Simple tactics can include making social share buttons prominent on your blog article’s landing page and incorporating a Click-To-Tweet function into your CMS which enables readers to share a pre-populated tweet and present themselves as an informed authority without even having to write a social post! Though not explicit, these are subtle CTAs that gently prompt readers to share your content with their own audiences, which can extend its reach exponentially.
Another approach is to consider User Generated Content. This involves encouraging your readers to contribute to the creation of your blog content, which will make them feel more personally invested in and engaged with the article. This in turn will make them predisposed towards sharing it – they feel like they played a valuable part in its conception. You can collate content by emailing your subscriber list or inviting comments on a previous piece of content, be it a blog article or webinar. You could also coordinate a Twitter chat, a live event that is hosted and moderated by a brand on a particular topic, and organized using a catch-all hashtag. Collecting user answers to your questions could help to form an engaging blog article that benefits from a variety of opinions!
Influencer outreach can also facilitate convincing Calls-To-Action. Influencers are authoritative industry experts who generally already enjoy impressively large social followings. By collaborating with them on content creation, you can harness their existing audience (with whom they will share the article), and attract additional, previously untapped target audience segments who may not know your brand, but are willing to engage with a reputable, trustworthy source of insight. Better yet, just as your brand benefits from association with an influencer, readers are more likely to share this blog content in order to establish their own thought leadership too!
Creating a sense of urgency to incentivize customers to convert is a staple tactic in many marketers’ arsenals. It’s an approach that capitalizes upon a consumer’s fear of missing out on a valuable promotion or offer. Equally effective is leveraging your target audience’s affinity for exclusivity – the prospect that something special is available to them, but that availability is restricted. If you can combine urgency and exclusivity – you can strike an undeniably winning balance!
One of the easiest ways of doing this is, of course, to target your blog readers with a special promotion. If you have an e-commerce website, for example, you could provide your readers with the opportunity to avail of a percentage discount on your products. Turn this into a method of lead gen by emailing them a discount code when they sign up to your blog’s newsletter, which not only builds your subscriber list, but encourages your blog readers to consume your content on an ongoing basis, which could result in customer loyalty and repeat purchases. You could further incentivize readers by letting them know that, as loyal subscribers, they’ll receive exclusive news of more offers and promotions in the future. Fashion retailer H&M’s newsletter signup is the perfect example:
Another way to cultivate that all-persuasive sense of exclusivity is to offer your blog readers access to one-time events such as webinars. If your brand has already acknowledged the importance of content marketing, you should strongly consider hosting regular webinars. Not to be confused with self-promotional video testimonials or product demonstrations, these webinars should cover topics complementary to your blog content that are well-researched and provide value based on their relevance to your target audience’s needs and interests. Use your blog articles to advertise these webinars – direct readers to the landing page where they can sign up. By collecting their email addresses based on such a specific topic, you can use this data to market to them with the most relevant content in the future.
This example from Hootsuite demonstrates how you can use your webinar signup to gather a detailed level of information that will help you to nurture your leads in a tailored, targeted manner.
If you’re interested in receiving more tips on how to boost your blog’s performance, you can access our free ebook, “How to Succeed as a Content Marketer” here.