Blogging for Leads: How to Generate, Nurture and Convert Part 1
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Continuing on from my last post, I am going to wrap up this series on corporate blogging by talking about how to measure, qualify and convert leads, how to evaluate the overall effectiveness of your blog and then recap the process that I recommend you follow to maintain a successful corporate blog. So here goes…

Measuring and Qualifying Leads

How do you really know if a lead has any real value to the business? When should the sales team take over? The best way is to use a marketing automation/lead measurement tool, depending on the size of your organization and your budget. There are various options available; my experience has been with Hubspot, which targets small and mid-sized businesses.

The most important measurement of a lead is engagement. How many times have they filled out a form, visited a particular page on your blog or website, downloaded a whitepaper? And how are these events to be ranked in terms of indicators that a prospect is getting ready to buy? Most lead-scoring systems measure these activities when determining whether a lead is hot, warm or cold. Hubspot gives you the particulars of what pages were viewed, what forms were filled out, what eBooks were downloaded. This not only provides a lead score but also gives you valuable insights as to what the prospect is most interested in. Any sales call or marketing follow-up should focus on the interest that has been shown, in order to increase conversion.

If you are a small business and not quite ready for marketing automation, this is where content marketing is one of the best lead generation tactics. If you are posting content on your blog that you know is relevant to your target audience, and your target audience responds by signing up for something, you can feel fairly confident that the lead is worth following up with.

Converting Leads

The more relevant your content is to your target audience, the more they will respond. Your conversion rates will increase if your leads match the characteristics you have established for your “ideal client”, and if you did your homework on what content your target audience is most interested in. If the content is there, prospects will find it when they are doing their research.

Measuring the Overall Effectiveness of your Blog

You can track your stats using your marketing automation software, Google Analytics or there are a variety of paid services that track different metrics such as: Mint, Clicky, Hittail, Web-stats and Crazy Egg to name a few. Here are some critical metrics to monitor ongoing:

Blog traffic overall and per post: is it growing, remaining stagnant or declining?
Conversion rates from visitor to lead; by event or type
Engagement: comments and social sharing
Most (and least) popular posts and authors
• Lead conversion to customer
Lead quality and score
• % of leads with original lead source “blog”
• % of customers with original lead source “blog”

There may be other metrics of importance to your company. Just be sure to continuously monitor the results of your efforts and adjust your strategies and tactics as needed to maximize your results.

Blogging for Success

Let’s recap the process for a successful business blog:
• Establish your blog objectives
• Clearly define who your “ideal client” is, aka your target audience for the blog. You may want to work with an outside consultant to help you define this through a formalized process. Many companies I work with struggle with this important step (I will likely do a separate post on this).
Research the content interests of your ideal client and establish keywords
Develop the big picture: purpose and objectives of the blog and your content marketing strategy based on your research
Properly plan all aspects of your blog implementation in detail
Develop a marketing plan for your blog and how you will drive traffic and generate and nurture leads
• Measure the overall effectiveness of your blog on an ongoing basis and tweak your plans and strategy as required.
• Bring real value and return to your organization by following the steps above.

Don’t give up! So many business blogs are abandoned due to lack of proper planning and resource allocation. Many are started on a whim. If you don’t have the resources internally, my best advice is to hire an expert to do it for you. Thus ends my series on corporate blogging. Any comments or questions please post below!

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