Conversions are not usually on our minds when we think about blog posts. They are naturally more associated with sales-oriented pages, while blog posts are seen as value- and information-driven.
However, visitors can convert on blog posts too. Whether they fill out an email capture form, click through on an affiliate link, or end up converting through one of your own sales pages, they are still able to complete that much-desired action.
Let’s take a look at six different tactics you can use to prompt them to act and convert.
Tie Your Keywords to Your Customer Lifecycles
Every blog post you choose to write and publish needs to target a specific keyword (or set of keywords). Ideally, you’re looking for keywords that have a decent monthly search volume but where the competition is not too demanding. What these numbers actually are will vary from brand to brand, so always base your research on figures relevant to your online presence.
However, the keywords you choose should also target all the different stages of a customer’s journey down your sales funnel. Top-, middle- and bottom-of-funnel audiences will be looking for very different topics and posts.
Top-of-the-funnel audiences are looking for more general information about your products. The blog posts targeting this audience segment are usually aimed at generating valuable leads and traffic.
Mid-funnel audiences are looking for more value. These posts need to go more into detail about your products, how they solve the issues your audience is faced with, what the features of these products are, what the best ways to use them are, and so on.
You can still cover wider topics for mid-funnel audiences but include a more thorough insight into your own solutions.
Posts for your bottom-of-the-funnel audiences are the most sales-oriented, as they are targeting an audience that is practically ready to convert. This is where you can get the most technical and practical.
Here’s an example of a top-to-mid-funnel post from Skillcrush. It targets a very wide audience that’s likely to be interested in their services, but it aims to answer a popular question as well. The conversion that’s being promoted here is tied to email collection, and it’s executed via the quiz at the top of the page. Now, that’s perfect alignment between audience interests and conversion incentive.
Align your Offers and CTAs with Customer Lifecycles
So, you now know that the keywords you target should also target different stages of the sales funnel. But that’s not all. You’ll also need to ensure that the offers you promote (and the conversions you’re looking for) target these stages too.
Pairing your offer with the search intent and lifecycle stage of a visitor will ensure they’re more likely to convert.
The offers and CTA you use in your top-funnel posts should aim to generate leads and capture emails. You can promote your newsletter in these posts and design your CTAs accordingly. Once you establish a regular communication channel with these leads, you can work on moving them further down the funnel.
Your mid-funnel posts can promote a specific product or they can be used to capture leads as well. You can even have several CTAs in your posts, where one is a lead generation one, and the other promotes a specific sale or offer.
Bottom-funnel posts should target your main offer and product. Highlight its key features and underline why someone should convert now and make that purchase. What makes the product special, and why is it worth the expense?
Sleep Junkie has come up with a great CTA. They literally spell out the best features of a product left of the CTA, making a conversion much more likely. This little box also adds immense value to the page and is very user-friendly.
Warm up Your Audience
The worst thing you can do in a blog post is slapping a CTA to its tail without any rhyme or reason.
If your post is discussing one thing, and then randomly asking the reader to convert via an unrelated CTA, chances are they will just scroll right past it.
The CTA needs to be an organic part of the post. It needs to be the logical step to take, and never appear to be a pushy sales pitch. It should blend in contextually but stand out visually.
If you include a CTA in the middle of your post, make sure you introduce it properly. Speak about the product you are about to link out to, and explain why it makes sense in the context of the post.
If you are adding the CTA at the very end, make sure you lead up to that hard sell in a natural way. Perhaps the entire post discusses a problem your product solves?
Here is this in-depth post from Real Thread that essentially provides a 3000-word setup to the CTA. The convert now prompt never appears out of place, and it’s a natural extension of the article.
Improve Your Copy
While we’ve been talking about adding value to your blog posts from the sales and conversion perspective up until now, we also need to mention an even more important conversion factor.
The content you write needs to be engaging and valuable. You want your writing to speak the language of your audience and appeal to them. Boring posts don’t convert large audiences.
You’ll need to make sure that your copywriting skills are up to the task too. Part of that is making your offer and the CTA seamlessly blend into the post.
Don’t suddenly switch from a friendly to a salesy tone. Don’t attach the CTA to the bottom of the post using any old wording. Consider how best to get to the point of the CTA and what kind of context it needs to sit in.
Make sure you always rework your initial idea, as it may not be the best one. Read the post a couple of times and consider it like an outsider would. What is it they want to hear? What would make them click?
Let’s do a bit of an unorthodox example. If you are using ads on your blog to monetize it, your main goal is to keep people on the site as long as possible. A good example of how to achieve it is to use the kinds of roundup posts Recipe Fairy does, which can quite quickly have you falling down a recipe exploring rabbit hole.
This will ensure users stay on the page and view the ads longer, and time on page is also a ranking factor, so you’ll reap other benefits as well.
Make Your Posts Skimmable and Readable
If your CTAs are located at the bottom of the post, your key goal is to get visitors to scroll down that far. If the post is boring and it provides no value, they won’t get very far.
You want to distribute nuggets of value all throughout the post and use design and formatting to your advantage. Here are some key practices:
- Start by providing plenty of white space. It will make the post light and spacious, as opposed to claustrophobic and oppressive.
- Break your paragraphs down into smaller chunks.
- Emphasize important points with bold and italic.
- Use plenty of bullets to make your main points easy to digest.
Here’s an example of a post that has been formatted well, that’s full of valuable and actionable information that will ensure a reader gets all the way down to the bottom of the page.
Test Your Theories
When you first write your post, you are basing all of your decisions on the performance of previous ones. You don’t actually know whether what you’ve written, the CTAs, and the offers you’ve chosen will work.
However, you can rework your post once it’s been up for a while and ensure you’re giving your audience what it wants.
Perhaps you discover after a month that your audience is not really interested in your 30-day money-back guarantee. Maybe they would like to hear about your free shipping? You can easily go back and rework all of your CTAs if this is the case.
Perhaps your audience is not scrolling far enough down the page, in which case you want to move the CTAs further up. Maybe they want to also sign up for your newsletter, but you don’t offer this option on every page?
Start by additionally optimizing your most important pages, which are the ones that see the most traffic. You can then slowly work your way down through the rest of them over time.
Conversion optimization is a lengthy process that will require plenty of testing and a lot of effort. What works for one audience may not work for another. That’s why it’s so important to target different stages of the sales funnel with your posts.
Don’t forget to periodically go back and rework your posts. Maybe you have CTAs from a couple of years back that call attention to products you no longer stock?
Try and test and try again until you discover the best practices that work for your brand.