Once you’ve attracted lots of potential customers to your website, you need to keep their attention, provide them with great value and prime them to buy your product or service, without trying to sell anything to them, yet. This is often called lead nurturing or sometimes keeping in touch with not-yet-ready customers/clients.
Lead nurturing can be done with lots of different types of content. A blog post is just one type that can be very effective but it’s a great option as blog posts are popular with consumers and they’re easy to either produce or purchase. They can also include other content like pictures and videos so they’re a great way of disseminating different content types in order to reach several audiences with one piece of content.
So what do you need to do to write an awesome blog post that nurtures your leads and primes readers to buy your product or service? Read on to find out.
In this blog post I’m going to cover the following topics:
- Provide real value with your blog post
- Be strategic
- Choose relevant topics and demonstrate your authority
- Topic examples
- What to read next
Provide real value with your blog post
Yesterday a guy reached out to connect with me on social media. I didn’t know anything about him but after looking at his profile I thought he seemed decent so I accepted his connection request. Within half an hour he’d sent me a direct message asking me to buy his novel. Do you think I bought it? Not only did I not buy the book, I refused to even click on the link to read more about it.
Where did this guy go wrong? He should have done a bit of lead nurturing before he tried to sell me his book. He could have told me a bit about himself, shared why he’s passionate about what he does, described his favourite books in the genre and shown me that we have similar interests in books.
In fact, if he’d been able to say ‘I love x, y and z book because of a, b and c’ and I also like some of those books for the same reasons, he could have gone on to show how the book he’s written is enjoyable for the same reasons. If he’d done that, I’d have gone and read a sample of his book. If I liked the writing style, characters and settings, I’d then have bought the book. And if I enjoyed it, I would have left a positive review at my point of purchase and I’d have shared the review on social media.
Instead, he ensured I’m unlikely to ever even consider reading a sample of his book, meaning I’m never going to buy his book. That’s one less sale he’s made, but it’s also one less review he’s received. And he’s also missing out on all the free advertising I would have given him had I shared his book and my review on social media.
So what can you learn from this example?
The most important thing to remember when you’re writing a lead-nurturing blog post is that it has to provide real value to your ideal customer. Shoppers are pretty savvy these days. They know when they’re being fed self-serving marketing content and they’re not afraid to go elsewhere to get answers to their questions and solutions to their problems.
If you make an effort to give first, to create content that you think will really help your audience solve their problems, they will keep coming back to you when they need more help. They’ll feel connected to you and your business and they’ll prefer to support you when they’re ready to buy a product or service to solve a problem they’re facing.
People are also going to be much more likely to buy from you if they like you. And potential customers and leads are probably going to like you if you provide them with real value before you try to sell something to them.
It’s also important to note that you don’t just need to provide value to your readers. You need to be providing value to your ideal customer. There’s little point nurturing leads that will spend very little money at your business and there’s no point nurturing leads that will never hand over any money to you.
Don’t fall into the trap of investing in content that gets you lots of comments and social media shares from random people. Comments and shares are only valuable if they’re from or reach people who will actually give you money. Leads don’t have to be ready to part with their cash now, but they do have to be willing to do so in the future.
Aim for the best quality you can afford
Answering your prospective customer’s questions and providing solutions to their problems is crucial to providing real value with your blog posts. But it’s not the only thing you need to do if you’re going to provide value to your ideal customers.
Your blog posts also have to be high quality.
What does that mean? It means providing well-written, easy-to-consume blog posts that aren’t full of fluff. It means ensuring the other media in your blog posts are clear, convey the messages intended and complement your written words. (Extra media like pictures and videos need to add value to your blog post, they can’t just be there to look pretty.) It also means producing distribution and promotion assets that reflect the quality inherent in your blog posts.
Part of this is making sure you get the anatomy of your blog posts right. Part of it is making sure the writing is the best it can be.
Some bits you can do yourself; if you’ve got great writing skills and the time, you can probably write all your blog posts yourself. You may need help with other bits; if you’re not sure about SEO, you might need the help of an SEO expert or some SEO templates, for instance.
The key to producing great quality blog posts is knowing your strengths and weaknesses.
You have expert knowledge about your business that you need to inject into your blog posts. That’s a significant strength.
Are you a great writer? Do you understand SEO? Can you plan out a series of content that achieves your business goals? These could be strengths or weaknesses. If any of them are weaknesses, you can learn the skills you need to turn them into strengths (blog posts like this are designed to help with that) or you can delegate the work to an expert as soon as you can afford to do so. The quality of your blog posts will skyrocket when you address your weaknesses in this way.
Just because blog posts are easy to produce or purchase, doesn’t mean you should churn them out willy nilly. Just like any other content, blog posts are an investment, whether that’s an investment of your time and effort or a financial investment in expert assistance.
High-quality blog posts require significant time and resources to produce or money to purchase.
Having a solid strategy for what content you’re going to produce/purchase and when, is crucial to maximising your return on that investment. Strategic blog posts make a more substantial contribution to achieving your business goals and they minimise wasted time, effort and expense.
What do I mean by a strategic blog post?
I’m talking about creating blog posts that have a specific goal in mind. And having a plan for how each blog post works with your other pieces of content to move your potential customers through the sales cycle. When you sit down to write a blog post, you should know exactly what you’re trying to achieve with the post, why none of your existing pieces of content can achieve that goal and how that blog post fits together with and supports all your other content.
The best way to develop and manage this kind of strategic approach is to build and maintain an integrated content strategy.
Choose relevant topics and demonstrate your authority
So, in order to produce really great blog posts that nurture your leads and get them ready to make a purchase, you need to focus on providing real value and being strategic. But what do you actually write about?
I’m glad you asked 😉
There are two kinds of topics you can choose for these kinds of ‘middle-of-the-funnel’ blog posts:
- Problem-solution topics
- Authority-building topics
Your initial attention-grabbing blog post often identifies a problem that your ideal customer is facing (this is usually the case if your content series starts at the top of the sales funnel). So a key purpose of blog posts for the middle of the sales funnel is to propose a solution to that previously identified problem. If the first blog post is on a different kind of topic, you can identify a new problem and propose a solution to it in this part of the funnel.
So, blog posts designed to nurture leads can focus on:
- proposing a solution
- describing how a particular class of product/service can solve the problem
When you get to the bottom of the sales funnel your aim is to convert your leads into paying customers by convincing them that your specific product/service is the ideal solution for their problem. You lay the foundations for that argument in your middle-of-the-funnel — that’s why blog posts at this point are focussed on nurturing leads not converting them.
A crucial part of building a solid customer base is generating trust. You’ll convert more leads into paying customers and increase the lifetime value of your existing customers (that means you’ll increase the amount of money they’ll spend with your business) if they trust that you’re an expert in your field.
You can build trust by proving that you understand your prospective customers’ problems and that you’re an expert on the class of products/services that can solve those problems. In short, you can build trust by demonstrating that you’re an authority on the problems your ideal customers face and an authority in your industry.
Blog posts that focus on demonstrating your authority and building trust with your ideal customers are really valuable for lead nurturing and can be a part of your marketing strategy regardless of the industry you’re in. Once you’ve accomplished these tasks, it’ll be so much easier to actually sell your products/services to your ideal customer. In fact, you might even find them begging to sell you a solution to their problem.
So, now you know the principles behind writing blog posts that nurture your leads and prime them to buy your products and services, here are some examples of the kinds of topics you might write blog posts on.
Note, I can’t provide examples for every conceivable industry but I’ve tried to select examples from a broad range of industries and business types. If your exact industry or business type isn’t included, hopefully, you can use the below examples as inspiration for your own content marketing campaigns.
Business-to-consumer product sales
If you sell baby bottles designed to ease the transition from breast to bottle, you might have started with a blog post about how to breastfeed when returning to work. You might then write lead-nurturing blog posts on:
- how to express breast milk
- how to choose a breast pump
- how to safely make and store baby formula
- how to choose the baby formula that’s right for your baby
- how to choose the right bottle for your baby
- what to look for in a baby bottle
- how to prevent nipple confusion when you introduce a bottle
- baby bottle features that help prevent nipple confusion and ease the transition from breast to bottle
If you sell B2B financial services, you might have started with a blog post about how to get a better tax return. You might then write lead-nurturing blog posts about:
- how to save time completing your BAS
- what to do if you discover your cash flow challenges are negatively affecting your bottom line (when you complete your tax return or BAS)
- whether a loan is the only solution for your cash flow challenges
- whether alternative finance options are cost-effective for small business cash flow challenges
- how to choose a cash flow solution that’s right for your business
Sole-trader business-to-customer product sales
If you’re an author, you might have chosen to attract potential readers to your website with a review of a top book that’s similar to your novel. You might then nurture those leads with blog posts about:
- what makes a great novel (in your genre)
- how to tell whether you’ll enjoy a book (in your genre) based on the blurb
- the best book themes (in your genre)
- the elements that make a great book (in your genre)
- how to tell a good book from a bad one in the first chapter (this could be the final piece of content before you go for the sale, link to a landing page with your sample chapters)
- your list of the top 10 books in your genre (this could be the final piece of content before you go for the sale, include your book at the end and link to your book’s landing page)
Wholesale business-to-business product sales
If you’re a plant wholesaler, you might have written a blog post about the top challenges in the retail plant sector. You might then go on to write lead-nurturing blog posts about one of the identified challenges that affect some of the plants you sell. For example, if fruit tree sales are down because of a bad fruit fly outbreak and fruit trees are one of your key offerings, you might write blog posts on such topics as:
- how to sell more fruit trees in the wake of a fruit fly outbreak
- how to educate retail customers about fruit fly
- how to cross-sell fruit fly solutions with your fruit trees
- the most popular varieties of each type of fruit tree (that you sell) this year (one blog post on each – e.g. the most popular plum varieties in 2019)
- what to look for when buying each type of fruit tree (that you sell) when buying wholesale (e.g. what to look for when buying pear trees from a wholesaler)
- how to choose a fruit tree wholesaler (this could include a section on looking for value-ads where you could list useful value-ads that a wholesaler might provide to its customers and they can all be value-ads that you provide to your customers)
What to read next
I’ll be writing more articles about writing blog posts at each stage of the sales funnel. So keep an eye out for those. Or you can subscribe to my email list and I’ll let you know as soon as they’re published.
In the meantime, check out the next blog post in this series to learn how to move readers from your blog to your sales content so you can convert them into customers.
If you haven’t already got a copy, I’ve also produced an ebook guide to writing blog posts. It includes:
- a brief description of the anatomy of an SEO blog post — this gives an overview of all the bits and pieces that go into a blog post
- a blog post guide — this contains all the nitty-gritty information you need to know when writing a blog post such as how long your blog post should be and how many characters your meta description can consist of
- a blog post template — this cheat sheet is an invaluable tool that you can refer to every time you write a blog post no matter what kind of blog post you’re writing
This 50+ page ebook contains nearly 5000 words of pure blog-writing gold. You can get it for free if you subscribe to my mailing list.
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