blogging for B2B lead generation“My company has a blog, but none of our readers are turning into leads. What gives?”

If you have asked this question, then you’re not alone. A growing number of B2B marketers are launching blogs to connect with potential customers. In fact, the 2013 B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends North America report stated that 77% of B2B content marketers are now using blogs. However, many struggle to get the most ROI from this platform. The same report states that only 59% of B2B content marketers think that blogging is effective.

To improve the ROI from your blog, you may want to increase the number of qualified leads that come from your blog and move them into your sales funnel. To do this, you need to motivate your blog’s visitors to subscribe to your e-list. Here are five ways to make your B2B blog more lead-friendly:

1.     Blog More Often

According to Polaris B, companies that have published 200 or more blog posts generate 5 times as much traffic as those that have published 10 posts or less. Meanwhile, companies with 101-200 web pages generate 2.5 times more leads than those with 50 pages or less. Just be sure that you don’t sacrifice content quality to increase your page count.

2.     Increase Your Internal Links

One underused blogging strategy is building links from within your blog to direct visitors to other articles. This not only includes the “You May Also Like” box that appears at the bottom of a post, but also linking keywords within your body copy to related posts. This can enhance your SEO, as well as increase the amount of time visitors spend on your site. Look through your blog to see if there are any keywords you can link to related posts.

3.     Don’t Be Afraid to Advertise

While your B2B blog should focus on educating your audience – not selling to them – you should still provide visitors with ways to join your list. Include banner ads for premium content such as webinars and white papers. You can also customize ads for each blog post. For example, if your blog contains an e-commerce category, run a banner ad for your latest e-commerce white paper on every page in the category. Visitors on your e-commerce pages are already interested in the topic, so there is a greater chance they will opt in for more information.

4.     Consider Email for Blog Subscriptions

The default subscription method for most blogs is an RSS feed. However, you have more control over your messages and deeper insight into your analytics when you get people on your list. For this reason, I recommend providing an email subscription option for your blog. This allows you to send out a branded message every time you publish a new post or compile a digest, depending on how frequently you want to contact your list.

Your email opt-in box should be more prominent than your RSS option. You can even experiment with removing your RSS button and requiring everyone to sign up via email. The amount of new subscribers may drop when you do this, but your leads will be more targeted.

5.     Include a Call to Action at the End of Every Post

Inserting a call to action at the end of every post is another way to increase the number of leads that come from your blog. The request in your call to action should not be too big (i.e. contacting a sales rep to learn more about a product). Instead, it should focus on getting leads to opt in for premium content, visit another page on your website, subscribe to your blog or connect with you on social media.

For more ideas on how to blog to build brand awareness and drive more leads to your content, see “3 Keys to Corporate Blogging Success”.

What about you? How do you think lead generation tools should be integrated into a blog? Feel free to share your comments below.

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