Capturing and Captivating Potential Customers Through Your Blog
A business blog is not an option. Here is the place where you can do so many things. You can educate your audience; you can entertain your audience; you can inspire your audience, and you can convert your audience. Before you can do any of these things, however, you first have to get those readers to your blog. And once you get them there, you have to make sure they want to stay and read your content and then take some action as a result. How do you do this? You are about to find out. Here are very specific things you can start to do today to turn your blog into a magnet.
- Identify Topics Your Target Customer is Interested In
You know your product or service inside and out. You have identified your customer demographic – that group of consumers who will purchase your product or service. Now you need to know more about their interests, their problems, and their pain points. There are several things you can do:
- Survey your current customers
- Do some research on your demographic – it’s all over the web
- Access your competitors’ blogs and see what discussions are occurring
- Access your competitors’ social media pages and accounts and study the topics that are getting lots of conversation
Your topics don’t always have to relate directly to our product or service. They can relate to other things that are important to your demographic or to latest trends and news items. In fact, some of the most popular business blogs have a wide variety of post topics. For example, Dollar Shave Club is a company that sells a subscription-based razor program. Men can take one of three options for razors and have them delivered to their mailboxes every month. It’s convenient and wildly popular. But the company has not forgotten the importance of continuing to engage its demographic by solving problems, and doing it in a humorous way. Its blog is titled “Bathroom Minutes,” and here is a page showing typical topics.
None of these posts have to do with razors – they have to do with problems and questions that their audience has.
- Spend Lots of Time on Titles/Headlines
Take a look at the post titles above. They’re catchy. They capture attention. You should probably spend as much time on titles as you do on the post itself. This is the first thing that a potential reader sees – it has to pique curiosity, garner a chuckle, or provide shock or awe. When that reader sees our title, s/he has to be motivated to read the post to see what this is all about. There are plenty of online tools, many of them free, which can help you craft great headlines and titles. Use them.
- Promote those Posts
This is not a case of, “If you build it they will come.” You have to let them know that it has been “built,” so you want to put “teasers” to your posts all over social media. And don’t just do it one time for each post.
If you have written a great post, publish it and then immediately post your “teasers.” On that first day, post those teasers a couple of times, more on platforms like Twitter. Your audience may be online at different times of the day and night.
On the second day and after, post another time, perhaps for the first week. After that you can re-post more infrequently. The goal is to reach those who have missed your earlier promotions.
And if you come upon a conversation and remember that you wrote a post about that six months ago? Pull up that old post, add some new information, and promote it again.
- Have a Schedule and Don’t Deviate
There is nothing worse than a stale blog. Readers will drop off as fast as leaves in late fall. You have to post often and you have to be consistent. Write some in advance when you have the time and the ideas. When you are “blocked,” get online and find some good content that you add to and curate it. No plagiarism, please.
- Use Visuals/Media/Videos
If you will notice on Dollar Save Club’s blog, there is a photo or image for every post. If you are telling a customer’s story, ask that customer for a photo; if you are explaining a “how-to” process, don’t write about it. Film a short video instead. It doesn’t have to be professional – your iPhone takes great videos.
Any time that you can replace words with visuals or media your content has become “sticky” – people stay and take it in.
- Divide Up Text
You should already know this. Sub-titles, bullet points and such break-up text and let the reader scan your post, stopping at points of interest. It’s like when you take a road trip. Some points of interest will grab your attention and you’ll visit them. Others won’t and you skip them. It’s the same with blog posts. Give your reader the wherewithal to “snack.”
- Make Sure You Have Those Sharing Buttons
They need to be prominent. And you might even consider having scrolling share buttons that follow they eye as the reader moves down. Then, when s/he finds a point that will be of interest to his/her community, the button is right there to click.
- Have Conversation Plug-Ins
At the end of each post, you want to ask your readers for comments, questions or feedback. Be sure that the plug-in you use allows for discussion, not just comments. And you need to participate too.
- Check that Readability
You are aiming for about a 6th-7th-grade reading level on your post. Drop the industry jargon and the big words. Write simple sentences and use simple vocabulary. Drop the adverbs too. You can use a couple of tools here. One is Hemingway Editor that will help with the sentence structure and more; the other is Read-able.com – it will give you a reading level
- Offer Things of Value in the Post
Maybe it’s a discount or a content upgrade. Whatever you know to be of value to your reader, offer it. In exchange, you get an email address – these are all new leads for further conversation.
- Put a CTA at the End
You will want your reader to do something, take some action. You may want them to share the post with their communities; you may want them to subscribe to your newsletter; maybe you are starting a hashtag campaign and you want them to contribute. Whatever it is, ask for it, because “you don’t get what you don’t ask for.”
Now you have a checklist of 11 things. If there are any that you are not doing, you can start now without much effort. And be patient. It takes time to nurture and build an audience.