How to Convert Blog Traffic: Making Dollars and Sense
It’s no secret that blogging is a great way to increase your website visitors. And when you post more often – 11-16 articles a month – you generate even more traffic.
But once you’ve captured your audience, how do you convert the traffic into leads, those leads into prospects, and finally, prospects into paying customers?
Easy. By moving them to the next step.
Blogging is traditionally a top-of-funnel practice. And regardless of their entry point, the goal is to lead consumers from one level to the next. Therefore it’s important to provide avenues for traffic to be converted as leads.
The best way to do that is with email marketing.
Content marketing pioneer and founder of Copyblogger, Brian Clark, turned a one-man blog into an eight-figure business without a single dollar spent on traditional forms of advertising or pay-per-click advertising.
How was he so successful in conversations?
- He blogged consistently for a target audience
- He over-delivered content that was relevant, educational and entertaining
- He directed traffic to landing pages and sales pages
- He used lead magnets and content upgrades to generate email subscribers
- And he nurtured subscribers through an optimized and personalized sales funnel
The key to successful lead generation stems from having a deep understanding of your audience’s needs and wants as well as providing an avenue for your audience to engage in your brand. Ultimately, how to convert blog traffic is determined by how much you know about your subscribers.
What we want to focus on today is encouraging your blog readers to subscribe to your email list. Whether or not email is how you distribute your most recent blog post, building an email list is a proven strategy to increase your conversion rate.
This blog will focus on three key elements that will encourage and convert your blog traffic into email subscribers: landing and sales pages, lead magnets, and content upgrades.
Land Pages and Sales Pages
The strategy behind a landing page and sales page, also known as a squeeze page, is to eliminate distractions from your website visitors. This means you are removing navigation options, honing in on a singular topic, and narrowing the focus on a specific call-to-action.
An effective squeeze page will keep your audience in one place long enough for you to convincingly deliver your message, whatever that may be.
These dedicated pages are effective when it comes to converting your blog traffic into email subscribers, and they have a positive impact on lead generation as well.
According to Hubspot:
“Companies achieve a 55% increase in leads and conversion rates when increasing their number of landing pages from 10 to 15.”
Okay, so how do you convert blog traffic using a landing page?
Optimize for SEO
Even if your current traffic is strong, it’s important to recognize levels of SEO that your web page may be missing out on. Don’t just rely on your current blog or web content to convert traffic. Optimize your web page for SEO standards first:
- Adopt SEO tactics and optimize current pages for keywords
- You’ll want to share posts on social media platforms (i.e., Facebook, Twitter, Instagram)
- Direct your content to address different stages of the buyer journey/search intent
- Add video to keep your audience engaged and include social proof to create trust
Once you’ve addressed these strategy-level items, you can look at optimizing your current and popular pages.
Include a bold call-to-action (CTA)
Using a CTA in your posts drives traffic to a focused page. If your audience likes your content, then they’ll feel inspired to interact with your brand on a deeper level. Provide a discernible way for them to move along in this relationship.
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Use high-traffic pages
For bloggers who have stacked up their content, you don’t have to create a landing page for every single post.
Go through your archive and identify popular blog posts or the articles that rank well in search engines. These posts will most likely have good engagement levels. Group these posts based on the content topics.
Do the same with your squeeze pages and then include a clear call-to-action in the past posts relating to each topic. Moreover, if the subjects can be expanded while still offering value to your audience, publish additional articles with a similar strategy.
Highlight Social Engagement
According to Search Engine Journal, 63% of Americans are more likely to buy a product or engage with content featuring social proof such as customer reviews. Highlight reviews and quotes from satisfied customers on your landing pages (or in your blog posts) also helps to tip the scales towards a positive conversion.
Lead magnets are highly valuable pieces of content given to your blog readers upon receiving their email address. The typical marketing strategy will offer lead magnets as downloads on a major landing or sales page.
Social media expert and CEO of VaynerMedia, Gary Vaynerchuck, explored the concept of ‘giving to get’ in his book, Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook. He argues that making something your competitors sell and giving it away for free is an undeniable strategy to create trust and build relationships with your audience.
Everything on the page works together to communicate the lead magnet’s benefit to the audience, from copy and design to your calls to action – you must justify the value to encourage website visitors to divulge their email.
Applying this viewpoint when developing your lead magnets makes for an incredibly powerful content strategy.
So.. what’s an effective lead magnet?
A common lead magnet is a case study specific to your audience. They provide insider information, curated market trends, or take a deep dive into popular content topics.
Other examples of lead magnets include:
- Industry Reports
- In-Depth Guides
Of course, these opt-in incentives are still useful, but with online users being savvier than ever, lead magnets aren’t as efficient as they once were.
Website visitors are well-aware of the strategy behind this tactic – it’s common for some to opt-out of your email after they’ve received the free download.
This furthers the importance of providing irrefutable value in your content to dissuade those from unsubscribing.
Content Upgrades (Content Bonuses)
A content upgrade is an ultra-specific piece of bonus content tailored to a post on your blog – it’s immediately actionable and highly useful to the audience. In essence, content upgrades are specialized lead magnets offered within an article as opposed to a squeeze page.
Brian Clark suggests giving your lead magnets away without requiring an email address. Instead, you obtain their email through a content upgrade embedded within the lead magnet.
The idea is to create as much trust as you can before asking the target audience for their personal information.
The perfect example of a content upgrade in action is Brian Dean’s first experience using the strategy at Backlinko.
After noticing his peers were utilizing such bonuses to grow their email lists, Brian wanted to see if he’d have similar success.
The outcome: “One day. Two links. 785% increase in conversions.”
Here’s his simplified 3-step process:
- Identify a top-performing post with an engaged audience
- Develop a supporting resource specific to the article’s subject matter
- Embed an opt-in form within the post to deliver the content upgrade
Let’s take a closer look at the strategy.
Using Google Analytics, Brian discovered the post, Google’s 200 Ranking Factors: The Complete List, was producing a lot of organic traffic. This made it a good fit for generating email subscribers.
After mining through the readers’ comments, he pinpointed a resource that would support the content: a checklist supplying the 10 most important ranking factors in Google.
Whittling down the main content gave the target audience quick access to the post’s vital elements. Offering a downloadable PDF checklist along with sensible tips on execution is an actionable resource.
Next, he positioned two opt-in forms within the post – one above the fold and one at the bottom – and included clearly stated calls to action.
Without being obtrusive to readability, the opt-in forms communicate what the content upgrade is and how it benefits the audience.
Again, the results speak for themselves: One day. Two links. 785% increase in conversions.
Other than a handy checklist, what else is considered a content upgrade?
- Creative Infographics
- Video Tutorials
- Audio Workshops
- Free Trials
- PDF of Bonus Tips
Just like lead magnets, these bonus pieces of content are only available within the related blog posts.
So, if you’re offering a three-part video series on how to manage a Facebook advertising campaign, only provide access to subscribers who have been emailed the private link – don’t publish the videos publicly on YouTube or social media.
What’s the Difference Between a Content Upgrade and a Lead Magnet?
A content upgrade and lead magnet might do the same thing, however they will operate differently. The main distinction is specificity of the topic and how quickly the content can be put to use.
A content upgrade is focused on a specific element of a blog post and is positioned directly within the article. On the other hand, a lead magnet, while being largely enticing, is more general in nature and offered on a dedicated landing page.
Consider a post about email marketing and its benefits to online retailers: an example of a lead magnet is a twenty-page guide to writing persuasive email copy that boosts your click-through rates.
Alternatively, a content upgrade offers five email templates outlining how to write an abandoned cart sequence for your e-commerce site.
Both pieces of content are valuable, but a lengthy guide isn’t something most readers can act on right away – more likely, it’s saved in an email folder to be read during their free time… or not at all.
It’s possible, however, to have the email templates completed by the end of the day and the sequence running within 24-hours.
Start Cashing in on Increased Conversion Rates
So, which strategy works best?
- Drive traffic from you blog posts to squeeze pages, and obtain email subscribers through lead magnets
- Offer content upgrades within your posts and secure subscribers with highly actionable and immediately useful bonuses
- Give away opt-in incentives freely and utilize content upgrades inside lead magnets to gain subscribers
Start testing and find out for yourself like Brian Dean did at Backlinko – maybe your next headline will read, “One day. Two links. 785% increase in conversions.”