Most of you small business owners out there want one thing from your blog…more leads. Pure and simple. I get inquiries from you saying you want:
- More traffic
- More comments
- Better search rankings
- Higher visibility on social media sites
After a quick conversation, I find out WHY you want these things. At the end of the day, you probably could care less how much traffic you get. You could probably care less about any of this noise. What you really want is more leads.
This post is about how to get more leads. Here are 5 tips you may not have heard before:
- Widen your sidebar: A lot of blogs have these skinny ass little sidebars. It’s fine visually, but if you have a call to action in your sidebar you probably want people to notice it. So…make it bigger! Geesh, it’s rocket science, right? 🙂 Obviously you don’t want your sidebar to be obnoxiously large, but it’s entirely appropriate for it to be 50% as wide as your content. So in other words, if you content is 600px wide, your sidebar could be 300px for maximum exposure. Smaller is fine, but fewer people will notice it the smaller it is. Thems the breaks, kids 😉
- Do some housekeeping: Bloggers love to add stuff. New widgets. New plugins. New features of all sorts. Before you know it, every page on your site has 50 calls to action. What happens when you give someone 50 options? That’s right…they do nothing at all. Revisit your layout every once in a while. Look at ANY page on your site and ask yourself “What is the number one most important thing I want people to do on this page?” Then proceed to remove anything you can from that page that is not directly related to producing that result. Do you need that “latest posts” widget, or is it just a distraction? Do you need to have your “connect with me” social media icons on every single page of your site, or do they serve as a distraction? Sometimes the most powerful thing you can do to increase conversions is to simply remove distractions.
- Shorter posts: Let’s face it, we all struggle to come up with new content from time to time. There is a time and a place to write that 5,000 word manifesto. But many of you also place a lot of undo pressure on yourselves to write a paradigm-shifting, world-changing blog post each and every time. Optimize it? Yes. Obsess over it? Absolutely not. If your post is crossing the 1,000 word threshold, use that as a queue to step back and think for a second. Are you rambling? If not…if your idea truly warrants 1,000 words or more, why not make it a series? Instead of a single post, you probably have something that could be split up into 2-5 different posts. This means more posts and more content to get indexed in search. Also, shorter posts take up less space on the page, giving your calls to action higher impact visually. It’s just the basics…the sooner someone finishes reading your post, the sooner they look for what to do next.
- Link to squeeze pages: Squeeze pages are simply pages on your website that are dedicated 100% to lead generation. No content other than a call to action. If you want high conversion, you need to use them. Instead of relying on the traditional opt in form in your sidebar, try linking up a squeeze page instead. I’ve moved a call to action from the sidebar over to a squeeze page, and I sent from a 3-5% conversion rate to a 40% conversion rate. Squeeze pages can be linked in your sidebar, from the text in your articles and even directly from your navigation bar. Headway makes squeeze page creation a piece of cake. You have the tools, so take full advantage of them! If you’re running Headway and not using it for squeeze pages, I’d argue you’re missing out on one of the biggest values this theme offers with regard to lead generation.
- Install a call to action at the end of your posts: Headway has hooks that allow you to easily place an opt in code or other call to action, so it automatically displays under each and every one of your posts. Place the opt in code in a hook, and you can instantly publish hundreds of new opt in forms on your site (or however many blog posts you have). I’ve learned that these forms don’t typically convert at a high rate. I recently discussed this with Derek Halpern who confirms this is generally true in his experience also, so it’s not just my personal situation. But the leads I get from these opt in forms are of the highest quality. I may only get a 1% opt in rate from this, but I almost invariably end up working with the people who sign up using these forms. So…low quantity but VERY high quality leads.
Lead generation from your blog isn’t too difficult. It’s a matter of taking advantage of every single opportunity possible. For example, take a look at my about page. There are 9 calls to action on just that one page. It’s not in-your-face or invasive at all. Do you see all 9? You have to really look for them, but they’re there. Here’s the main point: no one sees all 9. There’s a reason for this…
People skim your content. Everyone knows this, but very few of us optimize our content accordingly. Very few people hang on every word you write, even your avid followers skim your articles. Some people will read just your subheadings. Some will read just the bullet points. Some will read just the first paragraph and the last paragraph. If lead generation is your goal, make sure a call to action is visible to each of these visitors. They won’t see them all; they’ll just see the ones they want to see.
Questions or concerns? Hit me up in the comments. I’m at your service 🙂
Christian Russell is the blogger behind Dangerous Tactics, a unique small business marketing strategies blog with no tolerance for B.S. His latest report, How to Get (a lot) More Leads from Your Website teaches you – surprisingly – how to get a lot more leads from your website