7 Ways To Leverage Your Blog For Your Business
Seems like everybody and their grandmother has a blog these days and why not, it is so easy to make. Well, setting up and having a blog is pretty easy but getting a loyal following and using that following to help your business is an entirely another matter. Whether you are a one man start up or a fortune 500 company, you need to have a blog.
This post is not going to be talking about how to get traffic to your blog, that’s a post for some other time. I am going to assume that you already have a ton of loyal followers and receive a lot of daily traffic. This is a post about how you can use that amazing blog for your business.
1. Become an Email Marketing Expert
Use your blog to create a list of subscribers. If done right, email marketing can be a powerful way of generating sales. Email marketing is an art that may take a little while to learn, but it can be done.
The number one way of getting your audience to subscribe is by using sign up forms. These forms should be as simple as possible. The more fields that your visitors have to fill out to sign up, the less likely they will be to do so. Research at Hubspot showed that going from four fields to three fields increases the likelihood of someone signing up by almost 50%.
As you add more forms to your blog, it will start becoming cluttered. It is your job to decide when the negative aspects of that clutter outweigh the increase in subscribers you get. Regardless, here are a few things you can add to your site to gain more subscribers.(The pictures are from this blog and Matt Carter’s marketing blog.)
- The sidebar. The sidebar is the default location your visitors will look to when they are looking for what to do next. Take advantage of this, by giving them the task subscribing to you. You can place something simple like this in the side bar.
- The end of the post. The point isn’t to place as many subscription forms in front of their face as possible. The point is to earn their trust through good content that they will naturally want to subscribe, but this doesn’t mean you should make it hard for people to find the subscription box. This is why placing a form at the end of the post is perfect. Most people who will see it are people who have bothered to read to the end of the post and these people are most likely interested in more things you have to offer. Placing the form here serves as a simple reminder to those that are interested in getting more content from you.
- Popups. You can also show a popup to your visitors asking for their name and email address. This will greatly increase your sign ups but also really annoy your visitors. Stay away from this method of getting subscriptions if you do not have a loyal following or if your main goal is to increase your traffic.
2. Link Within the post
You write great content that your followers love to read. Use that to your advantage. When it is relevant and only when it is relevant, link to your business landing page from you post. Be very careful not to overdo this. It is very easy to come as spammy when you are trying to promote yourself. I strongly suggest staying away from this entirely unless you have a strong following or you know how to make it seem natural. Here are a few rules to follow.
- Only mention your product or service in relevant posts. The trick is to come up with genuinely great ideas to blog about, that are related to your product or service.
- For every post that you link to your business in, have 5-10 posts where you don’t.
- Be sure to provide other useful content and links in the post that you mention your business in. You do not want that post to come off as being made purely market your product. This will cause people to distrust you.
3. Take advantage of the sidebar
Have a direct ad for your business in your side bar. As mentioned before, the sidebar is where your eyes land when you are looking for the next thing to do. Push for directly sending your blog traffic to your business landing page by placing a sort of an “Ad”. Here is how Neil Patel of Quick Sprout does it.
Understand that this only works for Neil because his followers trust him. He constantly gives his followers useful and unique content that helps them out. If there isn’t a strong trust there, far fewer people are likely to even bother clicking on the ”Ad” and even if they do, the lack of trust and reliability will make it harder for them to go ahead and buy whatever it is that you are selling.
Think about it, if one of the bloggers you trust and have been following for a long time says “hey, here is something I made and put a lot of work into”, even if it looks mediocre wouldn’t you be more inclined to give it a try?
4. Grow and use your social media presence.
As you blog, you should be building a social media presence with the help the traffic and the followers of your blog and then turning around and using that social media following to send traffic to your posts and introduce your blog to new people. ( Managing your social media channels can be very time consuming. Using the best social media monitoring tools can not only help you save time by automating a large portion of this process but give you more control on what you do on these sites.)
Right off the bat, this will indirectly help you grow your business by sending more traffic to your blog. But there also ways to use your social channels to directly send traffic to your business.
- Share and like from these accounts, your business promotions, contests and discounts.
- Retweet tweets from your business account.
- Share and like updates and new releases.
- Follow your business accounts.
As always be sure not to overdo this because you never want to come off as too self serving. If you sprinkle this in with the rest of your social media activity where you share other useful content with your followers, you should be more than fine.
5. Take Advantage of The ‘About Me’ Page
People will check the about me page when they are more interested in finding out about you. “Well, yes, obviously Mark.. ” Okay, okay, but there are generally two kinds of people who do this in two different ways.
- Person A will check the “About me” page before reading any post on the blog, to find out who is doing the talking.
- Person B will check the “About me” after they read a post or even after they have been following your blog for a little bit. Most of the times this person was a already a person A (meaning he or she already read your about me page but is going back to read it again in more detail after he or she has been following you for a while).
You should take advantage of the interest people have in you to introduce them to your business. If this type A person reads that you are a big shot at this business then they are more likely to follow your blog because they understand that you are someone who knows what they are talking about. Chances are they will also just go ahead and check out your company and if it interests them enough, they might even end up trying your product or service right then and there.
If the type B person goes ahead checks out your about me page after you have earned their trust, they are going to be very compelled to check out your company or the company you work at. Because they trust and respect you from all the quality content and information you have provided for them over time via your blog, they understand that you probably wouldn’t associate yourself anything but the best. This transfers a bit of value and trust from you to your business and they more likely to give it a try.
6. Build Relationships
Naturally as a blogger you are going to have to reach out to a lot of people. Whether it is sending outreach emails that actually work to ask for guest posts or just commenting to thank a blogger for a mention, you are always building new relationships.
I probably don’t have to tell you that networking is a key element in any successful business. But sometimes bloggers forget that the relationships that you build from your blog do not have to be separate from those that you build from your business. They can help each other out.
Use your blog as a tool to reach out to more people than you would have been able to with you business alone. Foster all relationships and do not let them die right after you get that guest post you wanted. Always, give, give and give. Help those in your network so that when the time comes and you need their help for spreading the word about a new update, a new company you are starting, etc. they will be more than happy to do so.
7. Recommended Tools Page
Have a recommended tools page. In this page you can list different tools and services that you find to be useful. Among these tools and services can be your business. As always, the main objective is to not come off as self serving, so this only works if you follow a few rules.
- Never place your product first. Just don’t do it. Even if your tool or service is the best, it comes off as very untruthful if you place it first. Place it second.
- Don’t order or number your list in any particular way, this way it doesn’t cause problems with where your product is.
- Full transparency. You have to tell your audience right off the bat that you are a founder/creator of this or you work there. You do not want your audience to feel tricked.
- Chances are, you probably already know a bunch of great tools for your target audience, but you should still do a lot of research into these tools and other potential tools before you put your reputation on the line and recommend them. You are going to have to kill any impulses to procrastinate because this might take a while.
- Have more than three or four items on this list because otherwise it will just look like the entire reason for making this page was to promote your product.
The advantage of having a recommended tools page is that it will be listed in the menu or in the sidebar and never go away.
8. Bonus: Use The Hello Bar
Recently, I have been seeing the Hello Bar all over the place. Which only makes sense because it drives attention to your most important website content without being too intrusive. It doesn’t interrupt the flow of your content. People who visit your blog also have the option of hiding the bar making it really un-intrusive. Use the Hello Bar to send visitors to the landing page of your business. Have one line of call to action that you know will work best with your audience.
How do you leverage your blog for your business?