When’s the last time you looked at your B2B blog hard in the face and asked it, “What have you done for me lately?”
Chances are, you didn’t start your blog for the fun of it. You started it so it would work for you. But no matter how hard it works, you still likely wish your blog could do more. Specifically, you want it to get you more leads. If that’s you, you’re in luck.
I’m going to go through six ways to get more leads from your B2B blog. I’ll explain how to do each one, and incorporate examples from my work writing blog posts for Capterra’s blogs.
1. Measure what converts
Spoiler alert: Every other step in this post is a test. The point of a test is to measure results. How do you measure results? Well, if your goal is leads, you need to know what’s leading to leads.
There’s a tendency in the B2B world to not worry about where leads are coming from when they’re rolling in faster than we can address them, then when the leads dry up we have no idea where to spend money to get them coming in again.
Don’t be like that. The first thing you need to do is be sure you are tracking lead sources at a sufficiently a granular level. That means you need to know not just how many leads your blog sends you, but ideally you’ll be able to track which particular calls-to-action in which particular posts posts sent the leads.
Most marketing automation software will track leads for you, with varying degrees of granularity. But if you’re not using it, the easiest way to track what’s leading to leads is to set up a goal in Google Analytics. Kissmetrics has a good guide to setting up goal tracking in GA.
Your goal is leads. The easiest lead to track online is a form submission. The easiest way to track online form form submissions is to make viewing a form’s “thank you” page a goal. So you need to make sure your form results in a “thank you” page and look at growth from there.
2. Test different topics
Okay, so you’re tracking lead sources. Now it’s time to experiment.
One test you can run to try to get more leads from your blog is by covering a diverse range of topics. A good way to do this on a B2B blog is to publish posts that target people at different parts of the sales cycle. For example, let’s look at three blogs posts I’ve written:
The first one is targeted at people who care about help desk technology, but they’re not necessarily shopping for it. The second one is targeted toward people who are wondering whether they need help desk software. The third is targeted toward people who are shopping for help desk software.
If you have tons of blog posts targeting top-of-funnel buyers, or bottom-of-funnel buyers, try posting some targeting the underrepresented part of the funnel. Then see how your lead acquisition rate changes. You can also look to see whether more top-of-funnel content leads to leads down the line.
3. Test different calls to action
We established earlier that you didn’t start this blog out of the kindness of your heart. Since the blog has a purpose, every piece of content on it should have a purpose as well. Every post should be aimed at getting someone to do something. And you know what makes someone more likely to do something? Asking them to do it.
That’s why every single piece of content needs a call-to-action.
Which call-to-action is going to work best with each post depends on who’s reading it. Going back to the funnel, I’m presuming that the following CTAs are most likely to work with the following posts:
Help Desk Technology Trends for 2016: Live Chat, Anticipatory Customer Service
CTA: Subscribe to our newsletter
Why: This post is written for peeps who are interested in help desk technology, but not necessarily shopping for it. A bottom-of-funnel CTA isn’t going to appeal to the vast majority of readers, who aren’t yet ready to shop.
New Video: What’s the Point of Help Desk Software?
CTA: Look at our comparison
Why: This post is written for peeps who are considering whether they might need help desk software. A top-of-funnel CTA takes them off the path they’re on. A bottom-of-funnel CTA takes them further than they’re ready to go.
Zoho Support Alternatives to Rock Your Help Desk
CTA: Look at our directory
Why: This reader is ready to shop. Our directory is made for this. It’s the reason we created it. We’ve got to get this person to the directory stat.
Okay, so those are my assumptions. However, I might be wrong. Maybe going straight to the directory works enough that it’s worth missing out on some email subscribes. The only way to know is to test. And even if I’m right about the kind of CTA I need, there’s still lots to test. I can test different placements, wordings, and design for the CTAs.
4. Test different content types
Another thing you can test is different types of content. Maybe a video converts better than an infographic. There’s only one way to know.
To get more granular, maybe an infographic works to get top-of-funnel shoppers down the funnel, but a white paper works to get the lead.
Further, maybe a slide show works for some products, but a podcast works for others. For example, one thing I could test with my blogs would be whether one content format yields more leads from legal software buyers and another yields more from help desk software buyers.
5. Test different keywords to get more leads
You see where this is headed.
One thing to add to the mix here is that it’s not just about creating content that yields the highest number of leads. You also want to pay attention to lead quality. For example, our “free and open source software” posts always get way more traffic than our “software compared” posts. But the percentage of people who click through to our directories (where we actually make money) is much lower. Traffic and leads make your company money. But only if enough of them turn into sales to cover what they cost your company to obtain them and convert them.
Some keywords might yield less or more traffic. Some higher or lower quality traffic. Experiment to see which are which.
6. Test different social networks
It might not occur to you to advertise your blog posts on social networks. After all, isn’t the point of content marketing to avoid the pitfalls of advertising? Well, yes. But that doesn’t mean you can’t make your copy do double-duty for you.
Whether you’re already advertising your products and services on social media or not, you should test advertising your blog posts. The goal is not to get people to read the blog post; the goal is to get people to complete the call-to-action. If you have a blog post where the call-to-action is “visit our directory” and an ad that clicks through to your directory, combine the two.
On social media, the content replaces the ad. So for example, instead of just an ad that promotes our directory, which only appeals to people who are ready to use a directory to compare software, we advertise this blog post, Zoho Support Alternatives to Rock Your Help Desk. This attracts people who want to learn more about their options but aren’t necessarily ready to compare.
The blog post gives people who aren’t ready to visit the directory a reason to click on the post, which will take some of them to the directory. Or in your case the lead form page.
What do we want? Leads! When do we want them? Now! How do we get them? Test stuff and measure the results!
What else can you test that is likely to have an appreciable impact on getting more leads? Let me know in the comments!