This article is a guest post, written by Emir Atli from HockeyStack.
You are investing heavily in your content marketing game like every other intelligent business owner, and it is probably the best investment you can make in your business.
Although content marketing and SEO’s primary goal is to rank for specific terms on search engines, they must help you get more sales like every other investment.
As the overall average percentage of organic traffic that should be converted into leads is 16%, you have to be sure that you are constantly improving your content and conversion rate.
This article will go over some of the best practices and give you actionable tips that you can implement today.
1. Start With Your Content
Your content has to be different and top-notch to impress the visitors.
So many articles have been written on every topic imaginable.
What is going to make your article different and worth reading?
Understand Your Customers’ Pain Points
People have become less keyword-oriented in the last few years.
Google affirmed that 15% of searches have never been searched before, which means that understanding your customers is more important than ever.
You need to understand your customers’ pain points, their current problems, how they are trying to solve them, which tools they use, why those tools are not the best, and how you can help them with their problems.
Interview your customers.
Research what they are interested in.
It’s vital to hang out in places that your customers are hanging out, listening to them, talking to them, and taking notes of every single insight that can help you with your content and product that you will sell them.
As you do your keyword research, you should reverse engineer the search engine and understand the intent behind that search.
For example, while I was researching this article, I have seen that top pages on Google are mostly “Top Tips” type of posts. I immediately understand that people are looking for some quick tips to increase their organic traffic conversion rate.
They are not looking for videos, case studies, lead-generation agencies, consultants, or keyword research.
To make my content better than what is out there, I wrote down an outline with more tips based on my experiences, statistics, and actionable insights.
I did the exact search on YouTube to understand the search intent better and found “Top Ways” videos again, but this time they also included some SEO tips, which tells me some of my target readers are struggling with SEO.
Therefore I included SEO-related content on my outline to cover that need.
After your search intent research, you should also think about your “Thought Leadership” approach to your content.
Thought leadership marketing is a form of inbound marketing where you serve as an industry expert, generating and publishing content for your target audience.
The point of this type of content is to establish you as an industry leader whose advice and recommendations are worth following. And, it can help you build your brand and get better visibility in other relevant media outlets as well.
Thought leadership help answer questions your prospective customers may have, which can earn you more opportunities to make a sale.
Some common ways to be a “Thought Leader” in your industry:
- Strong social media presence
- Strong opinion for/against ideas in your industry
- New/novel ideas related to your industry
Of course, not every content you publish can be in this category. But it would help if you considered diversifying your content with some thought leader content as people buy from people, not brands.
If they believe that you are an expert in your industry, they will buy from your brand. This is a long-term strategy that requires a lot of constant effort, but it’s well worth the effort.
As with every page on your website, your blog must have an excellent user experience too. Some of the most valuable tricks are:
- Content Table
Especially if you are writing on a broad topic, the content table allows people to find the paragraphs related to their search intent, decreases bounce rate, increases time spent on a page, and gives positive signals to Google.
And, of course, use short paragraphs with simple and straightforward language.
- Bold Text
The majority of people don’t read all of your articles; they skim.
Using bold text allows them to find the most critical sentences like this sentence. If you don’t use bold text, they will just skim through your article, won’t find the sentences they are looking for, bounce, and enter the following page result.
This will show Google that your article is not informative enough to leave and view another article.
- Mobile Optimization
It’s no surprise that mobile traffic increases every single day, and it’s more important than ever to have a mobile-optimized website.
Your blog must be optimized for mobile users to read the article on their phones without a struggle.
- Page Speed
How many times have you closed the tab because it took longer than expected to load? According to studies:
- Improving your load time by 0.1s can boost conversion rates by 8%.
- 40% of the visitors will leave your site if it takes more than 4 seconds to load.
- It takes into account your site speed and user experience when ranking your site.
Utilize the Marketing Funnel
The marketing funnel defines the steps that a lead goes through before being converted. Every single lead belongs to one of these steps, and each content you publish should belong to one of these steps.
In this step, the lead is not aware of the problem you are solving, so they are not actively looking for your product.
In this step, the lead is aware of the problem you are solving or has other problems that you might solve with your product or content.
In this step, the lead is aware of the problem you are solving and searching for a solution on the internet.
These steps might not be familiar to you, or even they might not make sense for you. Let me give you some content examples for a lead generation service blog that targets SaaS and e-commerce businesses.
- Best SaaS websites
- Shopify vs. Amazon
- Top SEO tools
Notice that I didn’t mention any lead-generation-related topic?
It’s because they are not looking for it.
These topics will get the most traffic with the lowest conversion rate, but you will increase your domain authority and get some exciting leads to the next step.
- How does lead generation work?
- How to increase the e-commerce conversion rate?
- How to increase SaaS conversion rate with A/B testing?
I mentioned lead-generation, but in an informative way, not salesy.
Other topics are also related to the main problem that the lead is trying to solve: conversion. As a lead-generation service also increases conversion rate with other methods, I included them in the content.
- Best lead-generation tools and services
- Why are my leads not converting?
- How can I convert leads from organic traffic?
These topics are for the people who have a lead-generation/conversion problem and want to solve it now. Therefore my service can help them do this.
In this step, high-intent & long-tail keywords are targeted. The traffic is lower than other steps, but the conversion rate is much higher.
Converting the Traffic Into Leads
After creating enough content for each step, adding internal links between them, having a clear content calendar and relevant keywords list, you now need to have a strategy to convert organic traffic into high-quality leads.
The best way to approach this is to create downloadable content for each step of the funnel and persona type so that you can get their contact information.
Then you need to nurture your leads with relevant email sequences.
For example, for the top of the funnel content, you can try subscribing them to your email newsletter; for the middle of the funnel content, you can try pop-ups with related downloadable content that will interest your visitors, and try making them schedule a live demo with you for the bottom of the funnel content.
I didn’t say that you should try downloadable content for the funnel’s top as they are not looking for a solution. They won’t subscribe to your email newsletter at their first visit, but as you rank for more and more keywords, they will understand that you create top-notch content.
After creating content for each step, optimizing for the search intent & SEO, creating a downloadable lead magnet, now it’s time to nurture those leads.
The marketing funnel will also help you lead nurturing as each lead’s current situation is different, and you need different email sequences for them.
Generally, email sequences comprise three informative emails and one sales email. You can build a customer journey for each segment of your email list using an email tool.
In this example, leads get an email after being added to the list; after one day, they get another email, after two days, they get the final email. The first email is the e-book they wanted to download, the second is a short article related to the book, and the third email is a discount code.
This is a short journey for the leads that are considering our product:
If you want to create a sequence for leads at the top of the funnel, it would be better to send them an email a week with your new blog articles, e-books, guides, etc., so that you create a connection with them before talking about your product.
By nurturing your leads, you create trust, which is essential in sales.
As buyers often visit or hear about your service before they decide to buy it, lead nurturing is an effective way to make them trust you and your brand.
Optimize Your Content Distribution Checklist
As with everything else, you won’t improve your organic lead process if you cannot improve it.
If you are not familiar with UTM tags, they help website owners uncover the “dark” traffic.
Dark traffic includes clicks from emails, from articles like this one, from mobile messengers, bookmarks, people typing in the URL directly into the browser, websites that don’t give analytics tools a referrer as Discord, and much more.
Site owners cannot see which referrer sources are sending that traffic.
With UTM tags, you will be able to differentiate one from the other.
How Do I Use UTM Tags?
To create your UTM tags, you can use a website like UTM Builder.
On UTM Builder and HockeyStack dashboard, you see UTM Source, Medium, and Campaign.
Let me explain them:
- UTM Source:
The name of the campaign source where you plan to share the link.
Such as Facebook, Google, Reddit, etc.
The utm_source parameter is required as it’s the most essential part of the tracking.
- UTM Medium:
The group or category of the source. For example:
- Email Newsletter
- UTM Campaign:
The name that you give to the campaign. For example:
UTM campaign allows you to remember your campaign. After six months, you might want to look at your campaigns, and the only way you can differentiate one Facebook ad from the other will be the name you give to them.
After you create UTM tags for your distribution checklist and distributing your content across the channels that you have previously defined, you can then check your analytics to see which channels you should double down.
From HockeyStack’s dashboard
Optimizing Internal Links
As I described previously, there are different marketing funnel steps that a potential lead can belong to.
Each content serves to one step, but you can push a lead to the next step with relevant internal links.
A helpful practice for optimizing your blog’s internal link structure is to create a table with your blog posts, blog post ideas, and the relevant posts that you will be linking in the published articles.
Suppose you have written a blog post on “Best E-Commerce Websites” for your lead-generation service blog. In that case, you can link it to “How to increase e-commerce conversion rate?” as the people interested in the content will be on the top of the funnel, and with this content, they will be in the middle.
Optimizing for Search Terms
No matter how much you optimize your content for the search intent, SEO, or relevant keywords with moderate difficulty and sound volume, there will always be some search terms you never knew existed before.
After creating your content, you have to update your content according to these terms.
You can try updating your H2, H3 headlines, and also other relevant parts of your articles around those new search terms.
For this, we have another table on Airtable, where we add all the content we publish, their URLs, last update date, and what the update added. Also, I check the searches that bring my blog traffic with Google Search Console.
As you publish more content, updating them regularly takes just as much time as creating them, but it’s well worth the effort.
Create Comparison Posts
Your landing page is your brand’s first impression and showcase, but it’s pretty hard to make it perfect for every persona.
You can create comparison articles comparing your product with your competitors, and then you can turn those posts into different landing pages that you can use for Google Ads.
These comparison articles will be a great add-on to the leads at the bottom of the funnel. They are looking to solve their problems, and if you can answer their potential questions on those posts, it will be easier to convert those leads.
To create compelling comparison posts, you can search your competitors on review websites, such as G2 or Capterra, and filter the reviews by 1-star. These reviews will give you great ideas.
If you solve the things that these reviews mention with your product, your blog posts must cover those as they come straight from your target audience.
Converting your organic traffic is a long process, but it’s a highly rewarding one. You should start with getting to know your potential customers more, understanding their pain points, and creating top-notch content for their needs.
Effective lead nurturing campaigns, marketing sales funnel, and measurement over time will be your best weapons on this journey. Please don’t forget that you will probably not get results for a while as building trust takes time. Just keep improving your content strategy and lead nurturing.
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