Why Your Blog Isn’t Translating Into Sales (and What to do About it)
If that’s the sound you hear after publishing an article on your blog, it’s frustrating for sure.
All that work and no one seems to care.
Oh sure, a few people clicked on it. Some even liked it and commented on it.
But they’re not leads.
No one is contacting you to find out more. No one is asking about your services.
You thought it was a good post and spent time making it so — but it’s not generating sales — not even one sales conversation.
“What am I doing wrong?” you ask as you throw your hands up in the air and say, “Oh well — I guess it’s good for my branding. Maybe it will improve web traffic,” as you’re tabulating in your head how much it’s costing, and if it’s truly worth the effort.
You suspect something’s missing, but what?
Are you marketing like it’s 1999?
The internet has changed the way we market. We have new opportunities to target our customers: blogs, social media, Google advertising, etc.
“Thanks, Captain Obvious,” you say. “So how does that help me generate more leads from my blog?”
In short, you’re using these great new tools with the same objectives that marketers had in 1999 which was branding and positioning and not lead generation.
Back then, lead generation was a function of sales. Marketing was for branding, positioning and getting the word out.
The strategy is called one-to-many, and it focuses on mass media to carry the messages with their audiences. Marketing placed advertisements, hired PR firms, attended conferences, built fancy trade show booths, produced sales sheets and slick brochures.
All of this was designed to create enough “brand recognition” to open doors for salespeople so they could book appointments with prospective customers.
Therefore, a salesperson’s strategy was one-to-one.
A good salesperson (many were business owners) could leverage off of the brand recognition that marketing created to book appointments.
And there’s another important distinction about how it worked back then — companies found out about new products and services largely through talking to salespeople. (They may not have liked talking to salespeople, but it was necessary).
But now, we don’t need to talk to salespeople (or we think we don’t) because we have the internet and we can find that information on our own. This has made it difficult for salespeople to produce consistent results, especially for the small or individual-based businesses with fewer resources.
Today, marketing’s job is not branding. Its job is customer acquisition and retention — the same as sales. It can’t operate in a silo separately from sales or any other business function anymore.
When salespeople struggle to engage with enough prospects, marketing must fill that void — or it’s a waste of time and money.
That means that marketing strategy is also one-to-one, and it should supplement (and not compete with) the sales process.
In other words, marketing needs to also generate sales conversations.
It shouldn’t be disruptive and shoved down the prospect’s throat (yet that’s exactly what you’re doing when you’re spamming people with your sales emails.)
This is the main reason that business blogs fail to generate leads — because they have been written too generally and distributed too broadly.
How many emails did you delete today before 9 AM?
Finding actionable sales intelligence
Everything marketing produces (including writing blog posts) should help you identify prospects that have might have a problem that you can solve.
And therefore, every headline you generate should give you intelligence about the problems that the person reading it has.
For example, would you be reading this article if your blog was generating so many leads that you couldn’t keep up? (If so, stop reading, and follow up with your prospects!
And when someone clicks on the article, don’t make the mistake of spamming them with “You should take a meeting with me” emails when they click on the article.
But it does, however, provide some insight about how a salesperson might reach out to nurture that prospect along until she is ready to schedule a sales call.
“Hi blog reader,
Thanks for reading my blog about ‘Why Your Blog Isn’t Translating into Sales.’
Others that have read that article have also found value in this as well:
We’ve helped many companies like yours get more leads out of their marketing. If that’s worth a conversation, let’s grab 15 minutes next week.
I hope that’s helpful for you, and I look forward to your response.”
What we all want — more order taking
To me, the greatest sales job ever would be one where I could take orders — where marketing serves them up, they contact us directly, I qualify them, and close them.
Maybe you get a few of these “hand-raisers” now.
And if you want to attract more of them, you’ll have to look at blog posts differently than you have in the past because branding, messaging, and positioning won’t inspire that action.
Think about why people take the time to read a blog in the first place.
- They have a problem
- They want to do something about it
- They go out and research solutions
Your articles must speak to prospects directly by tapping into that problem and directing them to a solution.
When they find what they’re looking for, they’ll be compelled to take action.
So if your blog articles haven’t produced sales leads in the past, it may be because your topic was too general and didn’t tap into any pain.
But don’t let that frustrate you — that’s part of the marketing process. Every day we talk to new prospects, as well as past and current customers, and we get a better sense of what problems they’re looking to solve.
Supercharge your sales leads
It’s much easier to generate sales when the prospect has read your blog, self-diagnosed her own problem, wants to solve it, and thinks you’re the one to help them.
To accomplish this, your content has to speak directly to that problem. But if your content has failed to produce leads in the past, it doesn’t mean that you have to generate something new.
Supercharging your content for lead generation with these four steps:
Step 1: Identify three overarching pain topics and determine what new content (if any) needs to be developed. If you can’t readily identify three main problems that attracted your current customers, conduct some research to find out.
In other words, ask them. But beware of “surface pain” which is where they give you a reason but it’s not really the reason. You may have to dig a little.
- What problems were you searching for that led you to us?
- What had you tried that didn’t work?
- What would have happened if you didn’t solve this problem?
- How did solving this problem affect you personally?
As you talk to more prospects, keep a list of new problems that come up so you can wrap them into your stale content and develop future blog topics.
Step 2: For each overarching pain point, make sure you have a key lead magnet — something that’s so valuable to them, that they want to give you their email address in exchange for it (such as a webinar, white paper, ebook, infographic, etc).
If not, you may have to develop one.
Step 3: Identify all of the supporting blog articles that you already have that can be used to promote the lead magnet on that topic and build a content library. If the blog articles have failed to produce traffic, see if you can re-write the headlines and update the text to speak more directly to the overarching pain.
Step 4: Schedule those topics in a quarterly rotation and determine how you’re going to send those articles out (email, social, etc.).
That’s what the Matrix Management Institute did on the topic of corporate restructuring, and if you’ve ever been through one, you know how much chaos it creates:
In their analysis of the buyer journey, MMI learned that a majority of their customers did business with them because of an organizational restructure. They had moved boxes around on the organizational chart and when the consultants were done, they had left a lot of chaos left in their wake — people didn’t know who they now should report to, what their new role was, what their new boss would be like, and in some cases, if they still had a job.
MMI had already created many blog articles and videos about the problems restructuring causes. So instead of creating new content for general distribution, they decided to develop a webinar about what to do next after a restructure and use the existing content to promote it.
Because it is a highly targeted topic, everyone that registered for that webinar was potentially a good prospect, and sales had actionable intelligence using the content library to follow up appropriately with these prospects. And because they could anticipate typical problems, they were able to move several leads to take consultation calls because they felt like they were talking to them directly.
The goal of content marketing for lead generation is to develop a repeatable process based on solid measurements.
That means it’s not about increasing web traffic unless there’s a direct correlation as to the number of leads you generated. And most importantly: how many of those leads converted into actual sales conversations?
No Pain, No Rain
When you need business coming in the door and you’re looking for qualified prospects to pursue, it’s frustrating when marketing doesn’t seem to be on the same page.
I mean, who cares if your web traffic is up if no one is converting into leads?
That won’t get the phone to ring or help you find qualified prospects to pursue.
But viewing marketing through the eyes of the prospect’s pain instead of your company’s brand recognition is the fix.
Remember the goal of marketing today — to attract customers to you without having to bang out cold calls and knock down doors.
With this new understanding of marketing’s function of customer acquisition, take action today by cataloging at least three common pain points that you’ve heard first hand from customers. Then, identify what content you already have that pertains to those topics and how you can use it to help them find a solution.
And then get busy nurturing prospects with quality content that helps them solve their problem.
Because when they’re ready, the sales process seems effortless, and you’ll be well on your way to creating that lead machine you’ve always wanted.