Sunday, October 01, 2006

Using Blogs as a Lead Generation Tool

Business blogs have many different objectives. They can be used to allow a company CEO communicate directly and more personally to the masses, demonstrate industry expertise, promote product/service launches etc... etc... This post focuses on using blogs for lead generation. As a disclaimer, my blog's purpose is NOT for lead generation. If it was, it would be a HUGE failure. :) It's purpose is to educate both myself and everyone else who is interested in the topics I write about.

By lead generation I mean very simply: "generating new prospects that will buy your products or services". How can you use your blogs for this purpose? The obvious way to do this is to create great content that your potential readers will read as well as ensuring that you promote your blog so that those potential readers will find it and possible subscribe to it or read it on a regular basis. This is all obvious stuff that many people have written about. The question is: "How do you translate your regular readers into real leads?"

Engage Your Blog Visitors

What does this mean? Blogs provide you with the unique opportunity to not only see what people may be visiting your blog but also to see what comments they may have left as well as potentially read posts that may have been written about your blog on on other blogs.

How do you engage your blog visitors? If potential prospects leave you comments or provide feedback on your blog, don't just respond by saying "Thanks for your comment!" or even worse, not responding at all. Engage you blog reader and by asking them well thought out questions. Don't just say "If you have any additional questions, please let me know". Try and find out why they were interested in your blog post and what problems they may be experiencing that led to them landing on your blog.

This requires you to do some work. If you have a good web analytics tool, you should be able to find out which search query they used to get on your site or which website they came from. If they left their company name, do some research on the company and find out what is going on with that company. This is extremely powerful information that you can use to start up a real conversation. Here are some possible responses to blog comments when you're attempting to foster lead generation:

  • You can say something like "I'm glad that you liked my post, it seems that you're interested in the following.... Here is some additional information that you may find useful (point the person to a whitepaper, archived webinar etc...)."
  • You can also ask engaging questions that will encourage additional comments "You mentioned X, but have you considered Y?" or "What issues are you facing that would have led you to that conclusion?" or "Thanks for mentioning that you liked my post, is there something that you particularly liked that stroke a cord with what you are facing?"

  • If they have a blog, consider going to their blog and leaving a comment.

  • Ask them if they would like to write a post on a problem they may be experiencing

  • After you have done your research, you may determine that this may be somebody worth meeting in person. If they're in your area, perhaps ask them if they would like to do lunch. This may be something to do after you've established more of a relationship. In addition, you may be attending an upcoming conference (this should be advertised on your blog). Ask them if they are attending this conference or if someone from their company is and request an informal meeting or a "see ya at my booth".

  • Help them get in touch with the right people. We all know it's about "who you know". If you are someone with contacts in the field they're in, help this person out by suggesting they get in touch with so and so.
The other thing that you can do is engage your subscribers. Perhaps fire out an email to those people that have signed up for email updates and ask them straight up "Why are you reading my blog?" "What problems are you facing that you need help with?" "Are you facing the following problems....". One solution in particular that I know of allows you to understand exactly what pages your prospects have visited which will help you craft your messages. This helps when crafting these messages. Also look at the search query that led to them landing on your blog as recommended above.

What is the end result? If your goal is lead generation then these tips should get you there. At the least your readers will respect you for responding to them and engaging them. This further demonstrates your expertise and should lead to loyal blog readers (again, I wouldn't know). Remember - don't spam your readers - be respectful.

Do you have any additional ideas for using blogs as lead generation tools?

Chad H.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I think there needs to be a strong connection between your blog content and your product. If there's no overlap between the demographic that reads your blog and the demographic that buys your product, you're going to have a hard time converting your blog readers. For that reason, I think it's important to keep your blog posts on topic, and talk about something unique that you or your product does that your competitors do not. Our Lead company is considering implementing executive blogs to increase lead gen, but we're still working on this precise piece ... convincing the readers to convert without being too obviously on a sales push.

Chad H said...

Good luck with your blog! I agree that if you have a business blog there definitely needs to be a strong connection to your product - the balance between being overtly sales and being the trusted advisor is key.

Maegan Anderson said...

There are many tools to be used in lead generation. Yes, blogs can be very helpful as an aid where you as a seller can communicate directly to the customers. Social media also is a great way to have a conversation with your market and make and mange connections with prospects, customers, bloggers and other influences.

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