There’s a reason why most online businesses run their own blog. It offers a great way to engage with existing customers and it can double as a pipeline to bring in new ones. With the right approach, blogging can bring in new business almost passively.
To get to that point, you need to approach blogging strategically. That means researching what your potential customers want and publishing content that targets those needs, so they can find you.
In this article, we’ll talk about blogging and content marketing. Then we’ll break down how you can use blogging to find new leads. Let’s get to it!
Why Blogging is an Excellent Way to Grow Your Business
There’s no shortage of people selling their services online who can’t find enough clients. Often, those guys are incredibly talented, but it doesn’t matter because they don’t know how to market themselves.
A mediocre service with a good online marketing strategy will beat out a better-quality alternative almost every time. When it comes to marketing, there are tons of ways you can promote your products, including:
All of those are viable strategies. Up-and-coming service websites, in particular, can greatly benefit from building a social media presence and an email list.
When it comes to marketing a website, though, I prefer to do it through blogging. It’s not just because I love to write. Blogging doesn’t require me to sink any money upfront and I can do it at my own pace.
If you pay attention to Search Engine Optimization (SEO), every post you publish should bring in a unique stream of traffic. Once you’ve been publishing consistently for a few months, that traffic should start getting you a decent number of conversions, almost on auto-pilot.
How to Use Your Blog to Find New Leads (3 Tips)
Keep in mind – growing a blog takes time. On top of everything we’ll discuss below, you’ll also need to publish new articles often.
Ideally, you’ll spend a lot of time working on your blog during the first few months. Then once it gains a bit of traction, you can take your foot off the pedal a bit and focus on optimization. For that to work, though, there are few things you need to understand.
1. Identify Your Audience and What They Want
If you want your blog to bring in traffic and new clients, you need to target the right audience.
Let’s say, for example, you’re a freelance writer (which if you’re reading this, you probably are!). You have a portfolio you use to wow new clients but you want to set up a blog that brings new leads in on auto-pilot.
Depending on what type of writing you do, your audience might be wildly different. If you focus on writing email copy, that audience would be businesses looking to improve their campaigns and increase conversions. Ideally, what you write about on your blog would reflect that, so you’d want to go with ideas such as:
- X Ways to Improve Your Email Marketing Campaigns
- How Your Email Titles Affect Click-through Rates
- 3 Ways to Engage Your Audience Through Email Marketing (that’s actually a real post!)
Your goal, in this case, is to target business owners looking for ways to improve (or launch) their email marketing efforts. If they find you through your blog and you impress them with your expertise, they might hire your services.
That same principle applies regardless of what type of service you’re promoting. You know what type of person can benefit the most from hiring you, so it’s your job to write content that speaks to them.
2. Check Out What Kind of Content Your Competitors Are Publishing
It’s easy enough for me to tell you to write to your target audience. However, if you’re new to blogging and marketing in general, finding that audience and figuring out what they want can be difficult.
If you’re already using content marketing and you’re not getting the results you want, one great way to come up with ideas is to check out what your competitors are doing. The same goes if you just set up your blog and you don’t know where to start.
To build upon our earlier example, if you’re a freelance writer, your main competitors will be others like you and agencies. In my experience, it’s more common for agencies to set up their own blogs, because they can afford the time investment it requires.
A quick search for ‘freelance writer blog’ will show you who some of your rivals are:
Every single one of those websites uses content marketing to sell a service. More importantly, they’re high up in the search engine result pages, so they must be doing something right.
The smart move is to take a look at those blogs, see what they’re writing about, and think about how you can improve on what they’re doing.
That means finding topics they haven’t written about, ideas you can expand on, and more. After a while, you’ll have a firm grasp on what your audience wants and you’ll be the one setting the rhythm for everyone else.
3. Don’t Go Overboard With Your Sales Pitch
If your blog’s primary goal is getting people to sign up for your services, then you need to become a little bit of a salesman.
In practice, that means using Calls-to-Action (CTAs), including links to your services, and more. Everyone does it and it works, up to a certain point.
When it comes to blogs, readers don’t want to feel like you’re pressuring them too hard for a conversion. It’s a whole different ballgame from, let’s say, email marketing, where people sometimes use language that would make door-to-door salesmen blush.
My personal rule when it comes to using blogging to promote services is that every post should provide value. When people read something you write, it should help them in some way, which means:
- Teaching them something they didn’t know about
- Showing them how to solve a problem
- Introducing them to tools or services they might not know about
If you provide value, some readers will trust you enough to sign up for your services right away. Others might come back later and convert, while some never will no matter how hard you drive your sales pitch.
On the other hand, if you push too hard, you might scare away part of those first two groups. Instead, focus on writing the best articles you can, publishing often, and helping your audience solve problems. If you do that enough, conversions will come in time.
There are a lot of ways you can promote your business online. You can pay for ads on social media, use email marketing, referrals, and more. The great thing about blogging, though, is you can do it on a budget and it’s highly scalable depending on how much time you put into it.
The downside to content marketing is it can take a long time to see results. You’re usually competing with a lot of other service websites, so your content needs to be better. It takes a lot of effort to build up a popular blog, but once you get there, it’ll pay for itself many times over.
Do you have any questions about how to use blogging to sell your services? Let’s go over them in the comments section below!
Image credit: Pixabay.