EVERY b2b digital marketing plan should include blogging, but do you know why?
My job is to help businesses explore different ways to grow, so I end up talking to a lot of CEOs, Managing Partners, Founders, and Presidents like yourself, and I'm running into some common themes.
Most of you understand that blogging is a critical ingredient to growing a business today, but on the other hand - you don't know exactly why that is... which is a big problem for those of you making this investment, since you'll likely never see a return.
With a dash of clarity and a pinch of commitment, I can change all of that.
Why you don't JUST need more traffic
Let's start by dispelling this widely accepted myth that website traffic is all that's missing in your life.
It is just one part of your problem, and we could spend hours talking and hypothesizing about all of the reasons why numbers are dipping, but there's very likely a bigger issue on the table. In fact, your traffic volume may NOT be the problem at all!
As a part of my marketing assessments, I walk prospective clients through different scenarios based on their existing lead and customer conversion percentages. Yes, we look at traffic volume as well, because there's always room for improvement, but if we left all things equal in those other categories, the leap from where they are today to where they WANT to be is often overwhelmingly enormous.
To give you an example, we're working with a SaaS start-up that gets a very small number of visitors (1,500) every month. Visitors-to-leads conversions are incredibly low (.3%), and customer conversions are so-so (3.1%). That's not to say that the app is the problem, because they have quite a strong customer-base, but most of their business is currently generated through b2b sales and PPC ads, which is outside of these numbers.
Their main marketing objective is to increase sales from 1 new customer every 8 months to 25 new customers per month purely through the website. It's a tall order, but there are much bigger issues here than traffic, because if we were to leave our conversion numbers as-is, we would need 800 leads per month, and to get there we'd also need 300,000 visitors. 300,000!
So, we started tweaking some numbers with their conversions, and if we targeted 5% for visitors-to-leads and 10% for leads-to-customers, we would *only* need to increase their website traffic to 5,000 per month - a much easier to obtain goal.
Traffic is important, but it's only the first step in generating quality leads for your sales people.
But how does blogging influence traffic? And how does it improve conversion rates?
1. The SEO play
Your SEO strategy will depend largely on the pages and/or offers you're trying to promote.
When we go through our journey mapping exercises (well after the personas have been created), we come up with a handful of contextual content offer ideas, blog titles, and email subject lines. Then, we connect the difference concepts to one another until we've generated our first editorial calendar.
SEO today relies on more than just keywords an backlinks. You have to connect the experiences of your visitors from one page to the next, so many are leaning into the "Pillar" model as seen below:
You'll notice that the pillar page (middle) is not an offer, but a service page on our website. It an be either depending on the actions you feel are most important. For us, we house the lead generation playbook on the service page, so there's definitely still a connection, but the main goal here is to get people who are looking for these services to said page, so they can see what we do, and hopefully convert on a consultation form or something similarly bottom-of-funnel (BOFU).
Within the posting module within Hubspot, once a keyword has been identified, it will tell you what steps you need to take in order to maximize its visibility in searches.
2. Other forms of distribution
In addition to attracting eyes to your blog through SEO, you have other options for getting people to read. Mind you, this method of digital marketing has a specific end-game goal - generate leads... well, technically, the end-game goal is to grow the business... but as far as the blog and digital marketing function are concerned, we're really trying to generate leads.
Blogging is a great step for this, because it leads people TO your website through SEO, but also gives social media, other offers, and your sales peoples' efforts additional support by giving something to share and talk about.
Here are a few different ways you can get eyes on your blog posts:
Number 1: PPC ads
Number 2: Social sharing (company and employee levels)
Number 3: Other blog posts that have more traffic
Number 4: Sales sharing (1-on-1)
We had a software client that was trying to scale their business through inbound lead generation. They were 23 years old at the time, and generated the large bulk of their business through referrals and a lead generation service that sent qualified leads based on side-by-side reviews.
They were moderately successful in closing deals through that other lead gen provider, but not happy enough about it to keep them 100% committed. They were closing 5% of those deals.
After launching our inbound program, which included a regular blogging cycle, they saw that number shoot up to almost 50%! The one difference? They were interacting with our blog posts. Sales was using them on phone calls, and after somebody was semi-engaged, they sent them to our articles to further establish credibility.
Within 4 months of launching their inbound program they were up 500% Year-over-Year!
3. Lead generation
One of the most valuable things your digital agency can do for you is generate a steady flow of inbound leads - which will mostly originate through your content marketing and your blog plan (if not directly, then simply because your supporting blogs boost the rank of your pillar pages, which can be both service or offer-related).
When I review your blog to see if it has any potential, the first thing I look for are links to content offers. When I don't find them, it's an easy conversation... without content offers, the only chances you'll have for people to convert on your website is through the contact form and a blog or newsletter signup.
Neither of those are going to capture the large bulk of opportunities visiting your website.
Learn more about inbound lead generation with this free Guide to Getting Started with Inbound.
Your b2b marketing plan should include blogging if the goal is to turn your website into a source for your best business deals. To learn more about growing your business through digital marketing services such as blogging, click HERE: