Do you blog for your business or are on the fence as to whether you should? And if you are blogging, are you using it to its full potential? As a ghost blogger I often get asked whether blogging is worth doing. And if it is - how do you fit it in with your other marketing activities.
The problem is, blogging has gotten itself a bit of a negative reputation. It’s often seen as the poor relative of it’s louder, more demanding social media counterparts and a lot slower to show any results. In fact, there are many online business owners who see a business blog as something you just keep throwing good value content into - only for it to sit lost, unread and forgotten about. It isn’t given the time and effort it needs to reach its full potential. As a consequence, many small business owners aren’t blogging at all.
This negative reputation is a huge misjustice and I’m on a mission this year, to change that. A blog isn’t something that deserves to be forgotten about! In fact, it can actually be a powerful tool for good in your business.
So today, we’re going to take a look at how powerful blogging can really be for your business funnels.We’re going to look at:
So if you’re ready to go, let’s get started!
[And if you already know how great blogging is, but you just need some help getting started, remember to check out my FREE Guide to Writing Blog Posts. It covers all of the essentials without the fluff - to get you up and running in no time. Oh, and it includes a checklist, cheat sheet and 10-day mini blogging course too!]
Most businesses have a marketing, sales and lead generation funnel in their business. They can be combined in one big funnel or broken down into separate ones. For the purposes of simplicity, in this article I’m going to address each of them separately in turn.
A funnel is defined as the steps a website visitor needs to take, to complete certain actions, or to ‘convert’ and complete a desired goal on your business website. When you’re consciously aware of the steps they need to take, you can implement strategies to help make the journey an easy and natural one for each visitor.
So for lead generation, you want website visitors to sign up. You want them to go from casual visitor to someone who is showing an interest in your business services - and you want them to ideally do this by registering their email address with you.
From a sales point of view, you want them to go from casual browser to buyer. This involves having a funnel that takes them right from casual visitor, through your lead generation stages and on to the purchase part of your funnel.
The marketing strategy you use to attract them to your site is also it a type of funnel. It comprises of the actions you need to implement, to drive a new person into your funnels, as well as the actions you want that person to take as a result of your marketing efforts.
You want to implement a strategy that attracts people to your website. From there, you can make them aware of your business and what you can offer them, and if they’re interested, funnel them along the steps of lead generation and sales funnels. If they’re not ready to buy, you want to be able to use your funnel and your marketing, to retarget them at a later date, and share more value with them, until they’re ready to buy from you.
[Want to learn more about how funnels work? Check out this excellent blog by Neil Patel: https://neilpatel.com/blog/how-marketing-funnels-work/.]
No matter what type of business you have, you naturally have a sales funnel. Someone will automatically take steps to go from browser to buyer, even if you haven’t sat and devised a set funnel yourself. Your job is to be consciously aware of those steps they take, and do what you can, to help make the journey as easy and natural as possible for them.
Your sales funnel comprises of three separate steps or stages - awareness, consideration and purchase. The thing about your sales funnel is this; the time needed to make the journey from awareness to consideration can vary per person.
Some people can stay in the awareness and consideration stages. They’re still at an early stage of the buying journey and, for many, they’re only just becoming aware they have a need/problem. Others get stuck on the purchase stage. They’re not ready to invest in a solution or are not sure whether you’re the solution they need.
[Not sure if you need a sales funnel? Here Adam Erhart explains what a sales funnel is and helps you decide if you need one.]
Blogging can help you at each stage of your sales funnel. It gives you a great opportunity to build on the know, like and trust elements of business, that are needed during the awareness and consideration stage, and it can convince them you are their best solution, at the purchase stage.
For the awareness stage: You can use your blog to write and answer generic questions visitors may have - the general hows and whys, as well as tips to help.. You’re catching your ideal clients attention and raising awareness of a problem they may have and are interested in solving. You’re educating them on something, so you can show that you know what you’re talking about. You’re showing that you know them and that they can trust you as an expert.
Blogging for the consideration stage: Now they know and trust you, it’s time to help them see that you are the solution they need. You’re writing blogs to give them answers as to how specifically, you can help them and what that may look like. The blogs you write here will be answering questions specifically about how you work and what solutions you can provide.
The purchase stage: This is where you use blogging to ask for the sale. The blogs here will be promoting your special offers, telling them how to buy from you and what they’ll gain as a result. You’re sharing stories and testimonials of previous clients and giving an insight into what they get once they buy from you. You can also use blogs to explain how they can get the most out of your product or service, once they’ve purchased.
[If you want to learn a little more, on how to blog about your products without being spammy, check out this blog I wrote on How to blog about products and services (the right way!).]
Your lead generation activities may form part of your sales funnel ‘awareness’ stage, but they also can make a little funnel of their own. You’re taking someone from from cold visitor, through to warm, and eventually hot lead - nurturing them and building a relationship with them, along the way.
Your lead generation activities are all designed to encourage people to sign up to your mailing list, so you can start building a relationship with them. This means you’re turning a cold visitor into a warm lead.
Typical lead generation activities include hosting webinars, advertising, lead magnets, networking, social media and yes - blogging!
A hot lead, is someone who moved on from the warm stage and has already raised their hand to show an interest in one of your products or services. This could be by booking in a strategy call or purchasing a lower priced product in your range. They are then usually contacted direct via email or telephone call and the relationship is further extended, as they turn from hot lead to client.
[Want more lead generation ideas? Hubspot has an excellent blog on 15 Creative Lead Generation Ideas To Try.]
Blogging can cover both cold and warm lead generation activities. The blogs you write are getting you known by the people who matter - your ideal clients. You want to write blogs that attract them to you, so you can get them to register their interest in your business and the solutions you can provide.
This is why lead generation magnets, free opt-ins and content upgrades are popular. They’re used to encourage readers to sign up to your mailing list or give you their email address to receive the freebie. The freebie itself can be the main focus of your blog, but you can also write a generic (awareness piece) and add a call to action (CTA) at the end, encouraging them to sign up to receive it.
Once they’ve given you their email address and agreed that you can contact them, they move onto the next step in your lead generation funnel - the email nurture sequence. This is where they have gone from a cold lead to a warm lead and you now want to build on the relationship with you, by keeping them interested and giving them more value. But you can now do this through their email inbox.
And one of the things you can use to give them more value is - yes, you guessed it - your blog. Point them to additional blogs that can help them. Remind them of a blog that can solve an additional problem they may have and point them to blog posts that can help them in other areas of their business.
Your content marketing strategy is where you detail your social media plans and advertising plans etc - the things you will do to resonate and attract your ideal clients to you. And of course, blogging plays a big part here, too.
If you blog consistently and use a keyword-driven strategy for your blogs, you’ll increase your SEO rankings. This gets your website showing up in the search engines and in front of more people. But with the blogs you write, you’ll also be creating content that can be shared on the other online platforms.
[There’s an awesome post on VACT website that illustrates the different content solutions that help a VA business grow and, if you’re not sure whether as a VA, you need a content and marketing plan at all, go take a read of: What is a marketing plan and how do I easily create one?]
You can share snippets of your blog and include a link to the blog URL on your social media profiles. The content within a blog can be broken down into small pieces (or repurposed) into quotes, tips and videos for your other online platforms, including Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram. You can use blog content to drip-feed your social media accounts, so you don’t have to be so active on them.
Blog posts can quickly be rewritten to create new blogs. These can be published on sites such as Thrive or Medium. And you can rewrite blog posts to create guest posts that drive traffic back to your site.
[If you want more ideas for repurposing your blog posts, check out the first blog in the three-part mini-series I recently wrote: How to repurpose blog content for social media.]
As you can see, blogging can be a powerful tool for your business and one that easily fits in with your existing business funnels. Not only can it complement your marketing strategy and drive traffic to your site, it can also help convert visitors to subscribers on your list.
But it doesn’t stop there.
Blogging is an essential and powerful tool in your sales funnels too. There it can help you build awareness in your brand and move website visitors onto the consideration stage of the journey. Powerful blogging techniques can also be utilised to educate visitors at this stage too - before helping turn them into buyers. Plus, it can also help feed its louder and more demanding social media counterparts.
So next time you wonder if blogging is worth doing, stop and consider why an earth you wouldn’t use it in your business - and then devise a plan to use it to its full potential!
If you’re struggling to use blogging as part of your marketing strategy, simply because you don’t know how to write a blog - make sure you grab a copy of my FREE Guide to Writing Blog Posts. It covers all of the essentials without the fluff - to get you up and running in no time. Oh, and it includes a checklist, cheat sheet and 10-day mini blogging course too!