Conventional wisdom has it that your blog is most effective for improving brand awareness, driving qualified traffic and leads to your website and for middle of the funnel (MOFU) lead nurturing. You need something else, more substantial "salesy" material (like brochures) for nurturing sales-ready leads into customers. I don't think so. A few well-timed bottom-of-the-funnel (BOFU) blog topics can go a long way toward improving your lead-to-customer conversion rates. Here are some prime time examples.
Why do people subscribe to your blog? Well, in most cases they learn from you and value your advice and knowledge on topics that are of mutual interest. Chances are they have already explored your website and know what you do or sell. You should already have in play several important content pieces aimed at nurturing the sales-ready or nearly ready leads into customers from the middle of the funnel to an inside sales call and closing. Case studies demonstrating your solutions and happy customer results are a natural fit for these cases. Why not extend that strategy to your blog? Every now and then publish a post that summarizes and highlights the key points of one of your best case studies, then include a call to action to download the full case study. What does this accomplish?
Tip: Don't just copy content from your case study into the blog post. Add your "spin" or some kind of update to the content to make it fresh and interesting.
In a similar way, a "newsy" blog post that informs your subscribers about your business side is also a great way to remind them that your products and services are selling well and that other potential customers are winning by purchasing them. Announcements about new projects, new clients (if they will cooperate), new products or services are all fair game for this sort of post. Again, don't do this too often or you will risk losing subscribers, but every now and then it's appropriate, especially for newsworthy events.
Tip: Use caution when announcing new employees, unless hiring those people really makes a difference to your potential customers. An example might be hiring a well-known expert in the field who may be perceived as a "game changer" by your subscribers.
Involving your customers in your content marketing strategy is a great idea throughout the sales funnel. A guest post can be like a testimonial on steroids. Ask them to talk about their challenges and how they are solving them. A video is ideal because it adds that extra level of credibility. If they choose to mention your solutions in the post or video, all the better. If they don't, it's still relevant to your potential buyers. Either way, your blog takes on a more open level of participation and becomes more believable. Don't forget to include a brief bio and photo of your guest blogger at the end of your guest post. That's a standard courtesy for guest posting.
Tip: Don't forget to mention the benefits of guest blogging to your customer—increased brand awareness, thought leadership, and a link or two to their website. Yes, I would be generous with that, because the benefits of an extended testimonial far outweigh the potential loss of SEO juice due to outbound links. You can always use "nofollow" links to prevent search engines from crawling away from your site. If your blog happens to get syndicated by major independent sites, all the better for both you and your customer.
Don't forget about the strategic nature of your BOFU blog posts. You're deliberately reaching out to subscribers in the MOFU part of your funnel with the intention of stimulating them to move closer to a sale. Make sure that your calls to action and BOFU offers are appropriate types of content and that you score leads higher as they move towards a sale. Create a behavior driven lead nurturing campaign that sends additional sales-ready materials and notifies your inside sales team about these new "warmer" lead conversions. In short, include your blog in your overall sales funnel optimization strategy, and you can improve both lead quality and the sales cycle.
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