Batman has his utility belt, lead-generation marketers have their blogs.
If marketers aren’t blogging, they’re passing up a valuable tool that helps them accomplish many of their goals. Here’s a quick look at why blogs can be so useful for marketers and why they should be part of their daily arsenal.
Qualify and push
Companies don’t want just any kind of lead in their sales funnel – they want qualified leads, and blogging is a great way to draw them in. Blog content builds awareness, educates and creates connections, which all point leads toward the end of the funnel.
“The more qualified a lead is, the faster the close rate,” says Lorrie Thomas Ross, CEO and “marketing therapist” for full-service marketing agency Web Marketing Therapy, and author of “The McGraw-Hill 36-Hour Course: Online Marketing.” “If companies want to get people into their sales funnel, the need to use content to connect, educate and get in front of readers. When people are educated they are empowered, and when consumers are empowered they feel powerful and choose to engage a company’s products or services.”
Producing helpful content on a blog can also shorten the length of the sales cycle, according to Eloqua’s “Grande Guide to B2B Blogging.” According to the marketing automation company, “The average B2B sales cycle can range from 117 to 156 days. You need to produce and share compelling content to keep buyers engaged over that time.” Eloqua adds that blogging is a way to build leadership and trust by way of helpful content instead of pitches and slogans. This continual interaction will shorten the sales cycle.
“It’s also a fantastic way to build up your natural rankings,” says Michael Harbron, sales and marketing director of Internet marketing company SEOhaus. He explains that incorporating relevant keywords and phrases can get a business exposure on the first page of search results for long-tail keywords. “These types of keywords bring in minimal searches, but if you end up ranking for over 500 of them, that’s a lot of extra traffic coming through to your site each month and a lot of new customers.”
Engagement and trust
“Blogs are a key vehicle for engaging prospects, addressing their problems, discussing potential solutions and — if you do it right — converting them to leads,” says Tim Riesterer, chief strategy and marketing officer, Corporate Visions, Inc.
“By producing consistently interesting content for our customers, we’re able to build our brand credibility and status as elder-care experts so visitors trust us enough to eventually call an advisor for help,” says Marika Francisco, director of SEO and content for the nation’s largest senior-living referral service A Place for Mom.
Once a company engages their readers of its blog by responding to comments and offering them helpful information, the content hub becomes a great place to get leads simply by putting up a form and phone number. “Ask for it and make it easy,” Francisco says.
By Jason Hahn