Your customer acquisition strategies are more important now than ever before, with the cost of acquiring a customer having risen nearly 50 percent in the last five years. That’s probably why this was one of the top four challenges for marketing execs, according to a piece I recently wrote for BlueSteps.
The good news is, you have a tool you may not be using yet: your blog. Like any other tool in your sales and marketing arsenal, a blog must be used strategically if you want it to drive customers.
Customer Acquisition Strategies for Your Blog
Say goodbye to posting articles as ideas come to mind, based on assumptions or fleeting trends. To drive customers and ROI, your content and the way you use your blog, needs to be strategic. The ultimate goal is always to get readers to revenue-driving pages before leaving your site—and here are five ways to do that.
1. Create Lead-Driving Blog Opt-ins
Opt-ins allow you to direct the reader to complete an action that’s most important to your business. For example, you can use opt-ins to:
- Get readers to make their first purchase with a first-time customer discount.
- Drive readers to a specific page, like a product page related to the blog post they’re reading.
- Get readers to sign up for a free download, pushing them into your email marketing funnel.
Before creating an opt-in, you need to figure out how it fits within, and can best supplement, your current marketing strategy. If email marketing is your most lucrative marketing platform, offering a downloadable freebie may be the best way to get more people into that high-converting funnel. Conversely, if you’re struggling to sell products, this is a great opportunity to offer a promo code.
The challenge for me was not creating the opt-in, but finding a platform that would allow me to manage every part of the process for a good price. While you can connect MailChimp to a tool like HelloBar—what I did for a long time—it leaves a disconnect, which leads to a lack of data.
If you’re looking for a solution, recommend MailerLite. Despite its low prices, it’s the best fully integrated tool I’ve used, with its competitor being ConvertKit, which I used but didn’t like at all.
Pro tip: If you don’t like the idea of using exit-intent or timed pop-ups on your blog, use embedded opt-ins instead.
2. Tell the Story of Your New Product or Service Launch
A blog post to announce the launch of a new product or service gives you a chance to establish the story around your latest creation. This is an opportunity to elaborate on how the product or service came to be, the problems it can solve, and the innovation that made it possible.
As you develop this content, Marcus Andrews, of Hubspot, explains: “The story should explain why the product is important, who it was made for, how it can be used, and the value it adds. It’s these stories that bring to life campaigns across marketing and sales.”
The key is integrating this blog post and the content within it, with the rest of your marketing efforts for the launch. The photos, quotes, and data included in the blog post make great marketing fodder that will drive hype leading up to the big day. Don’t forget about making use of CTAs and opt-ins in this post; this is your chance to get people to purchase after engaging with a story that they connect to.
Pro tip: Check out my recent post for The Next Scoop, 5 Types of Content for Your Next Product Launch, to get some ideas to include your strategy.
3. Naturally Include Your Service/Product in Value-Add Blog Posts
This strategy is organic content marketing at it’s finest. The idea is simple: you help your reader answer a question in a way that makes it possible for you to naturally highlight the benefits of your product or service. Here are two examples:
Example #1: A natural skincare company might have “how to choose natural skincare products” as a topic. This would allow them to naturally feature their product in the article as an example of a great natural skincare product. This is likely also a term their audience is regularly searching for, making it a perfect topic to focus on.
Example #2: For one client of mine, Whooo’s Reading, natural product mentions are a top driver of traffic from blog posts to our free tool. We’ll write a post like, “8 Best Critical Thinking Tools for the Classroom” and include our tool as one of them. This is a great way to get your product or service in front of blog visitors without being sales-y.
In this way, your blog is doing two important things: highlighting your product or service at a time when a potential customer is in need while also helping reader solve a problem. This is crucial in earning the “like, know, trust” factor.
Pro tip: If you don’t know what your audience wants to learn about, or what they’re searching for, start with some basic keyword research. One step before that may even be polling your customers or audience via social media or email survey.
4. Create Blog “Ads” to Drive Customers to Landing Pages
A blog “ad” is just an internal promotion. It’s like an ad on another site, but one that you create yourself and place on your own site. Depending on your blog’s theme and set-up, these can be embedded within the text, used as a banner at the top of the page, or placed in the sidebar.
The idea is to draw attention to the products or services that the reader may not otherwise know about. For small businesses who don’t have a well-defined brand just yet, this is a great way to drive brand impressions. Ideally, this will bring the reader back to your site when they have a need for what your business offers.
Check out a sidebar ad example from Salesforce. Notice how simple the ad is, while standing out from the rest of the content.
Here’s another example—this is a banner ad. Notice how non-intrusive the ad is, while still standing out with a logo and simple language.
Pro tip: Tag all your links (with a third-party tool, not Google Analytics) to see which ads are driving the most traffic back to your landing pages. This will allow you to optimize over time and repeat what’s working.
5. Refresh Your SEO Strategy for Sales
Did you know that educational content makes consumers 131 percent more likely to convert? Get content in front of potential customers when they’re searching for a solution to turn your blog into a valuable customer acquisition tool.
If you’re totally new to SEO, start with my blog post: Blog SEO: A Foundational Guide. If you need to simply refresh your strategy, here are a few questions to ask yourself:
- Are we answering questions that our potential customers care about?
- Are we being too broad with topic choice? Should we get more focused on our niche customers?
- Are we creating truly high-quality content that provides value?
- At what point in the funnel are our blog readers and are we creating content for every part of the funnel—top, middle and bottom?
All of these answers will dictate what your next move is. Do you need to re-think topics, and therefore keywords? If you’re writing 300 word blog posts, it’s time to step up your quality. Provide more value and make a better impression.
Pro tip: Another important question to ask is: What is our top-converting organic content right now? How can we replicate that? This will tell you what content is driving from converting customers from search.
Level Up Your Customer Acquisition Strategy with an Optimized Blog
Need help strategizing how to drive more customers from your blog? Let’s have a free 30-minute consult about how I can help you get going.