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How to Write a Blog Post (That People Actually Want to Read) in 9 Steps

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How to Write a Blog Post (That People Actually Want to Read) in 9 Steps

Type a couple of hundred words and publish them somewhere—poof, you have a blog post. Or do you?

If a blog post is published and no one reads it, is it still a blog post?

Anyone can write a blog post. But not everyone can create one that people want to read.

In this post, you’ll learn how to write blog posts that actually get readers.

Låt oss börja.

Step 1. Find a proven topic

A proven topic is a topic that people want to read about. 

If you’re familiar with the niche, then this shouldn’t be a biggie. You probably already have a lot of ideas you want to cover. Open Google Docs and write all of them down (use a notepad if you prefer analog).

Otherwise, there’s no better way to find proven topics than to write about topics people are searching for. After all, if there are many people searching for the same topic month after month, then it’s very likely it’s something they want to read about. 

Here’s how to find these topics:

  1. Go to Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer
  2. Enter a term relevant to your site or niche
  3. Go to the Matching terms report
  4. Switch the tab to Questions
The Matching terms report, via Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer

Shop around a little and look for the topics that interest you. Make a list—5 to 10 should be enough to start with. 

Ideally, they should have some traffic potential too. Our metric, Traffic Potential, is the estimated amount of search traffic you can potentially gain if you rank #1 for that topic. You can see if a topic has Traffic Potential by looking at the TP column. 

Step 2. Decide on the angle of your post

With more than 4.4 million new blog posts published each day, your blog post has to stand out. Otherwise, it won’t get discovered and no one will read it. 

The key ingredient here is novelty.

Enligt Julian Shapiro, there are five novelty categories:

  1. Counter-intuitive – “Oh, I never realized the world worked that way.”
  2. Counter-narrative – “Wow, that’s not how I was told the world worked!”
  3. Shock and awe – “That’s crazy. I would have never believed it.”
  4. Elegant articulations – “Beautiful. I couldn’t have said it better myself.”
  5. Make someone feel seen – “Yes! That’s exactly how I feel!”

For example, check out this blog post by finance writer Morgan Housel

An example of a blog post written by Morgan Housel

He states something that is counter-intuitive to what most people know and think. The best idea or “truth” doesn’t win—instead, the best story does. This is incredibly compelling to people in his field of finance. Indeed, it stands out from the other news-based, fact-driven kind of articles they read. 

Morgan does this all the time. He rarely writes about finance directly—instead, he’s always looking at the topic from the lenses of history, biology, anthropology, psychology, and more. It makes his posts unique, and the angle of his articles always stands out. 

It’s what you must do. So take your time and think of an angle that is unique and novel to your target audience. Use these questions to get started:

  • Do you have personal experience with this topic? For example, if you’ve successfully implemented the keto diet, you can write about your experience and how you did it. 
  • Can you interview experts? For example, you can interview an expert about the latest research and findings in the keto world. 
  • Can you crowdsource opinions and ideas? For example, if you’re writing about making keto-friendly ice cream, you can crowdsource recipes. 
  • Can you provide data or back your post with science? Consider running a study (if possible) or looking through scientific research papers. 
  • Can you be contrarian? Don’t be the devil’s advocate just for the sake of it. But if you truly have an opinion that’s opposite to everyone else’s, it can be a great angle.

Editor’s Note

If you’re blogging with SEO in mind, then you’ll likely have to match search intent. Search intent is the why behind a search query. We can look at the current top-ranking pages to figure it out. 

Specifically, we want to understand the three Cs of search intent:

  • Content type – Is there a dominant type of content on the SERP, such as blog posts, product pages, videos, or landing pages? If you followed step #1, this is most likely a blog post. 
  • Content format – Is there a dominant content format on the SERP, such as guides, listicles, news articles, opinion pieces, or reviews?
  • Content angle – Is there a dominant angle on the SERP, such as freshly updated content or content aimed at beginners?

For example, let’s look at the topic of “date ideas”:

SERP overview for the query "date ideas," via Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer
  • Content type – They’re all blog posts.
  • Content format – They’re all listicles.
  • Content angle – A potential angle is “fun date ideas.” 

If you’re writing about this topic, you may have to create something similar. 

But note that this is not a rule but a guideline. Even if your post is ranking high on Google, it still has to stand out from the rest of the ranking articles. So it goes back to finding a novel and unique angle for your article. If you can create one that’s better than the other top-ranking articles, go for it.

Joshua Hardwick

Step 3. Create an outline

The hardest part of writing is facing the blank page. It is possible to sit in front of your computer for six hours and churn nothing out. It happens to the best of us. 

Creating an outline “solves” this problem. When you have an outline, you’re not writing from scratch. Instead, you’re filling the “gaps” in it. 

What’s even better is that you don’t have to create the outline from scratch either. Spend enough time online, and you’ll realize that most blog posts’ structures are pretty much the same. 

So don’t be afraid to use templates. For example, we use this template for almost all our list-style posts:

A template for writing listicles

Here are three more templates for other blog post styles you can use.

When you have the skeletal structure in place, the next step is to figure out what you need to fill in, especially the H2s, H3s, H4s, and more. Here are some ideas to help you out:

A. Use your personal experience and expertise

Nothing beats your own experience and expertise. If you know there’s a right way to do something, use that knowledge to create your outline. 

For example, I’ve been breakdancing for more than 10 years now. If I had to create a blog post on how to do the six-step, I wouldn’t even need to do any research—I can simply pour the information directly from my brain. 

B. Run a content gap analysis

If there are subtopics that almost all the top-ranking pages cover, then it’s likely that they’re important to readers too. 

Here’s how to find these subtopics:

  1. Paste a few top-ranking URLs for your main topic into Ahrefs’ Content Gap tool
  2. Leave the bottom section blank
  3. Hit Show keywords
  4. Set the Intersection filter to 3 och 4 targets
Ahrefs' Content Gap tool
Results from Ahrefs' Content Gap tool

Here, you’ll see that these pages are ranking for subtopics like:

  • What is inbound marketing.
  • Inbound marketing strategies.
  • Inbound marketing examples.

And more. 

If you’re writing a blog post on “inbound marketing,” they’ll likely make good H2s.

Note that your goal is not to copy and rephrase the top-ranking pages. The internet’s full of that—cookie-cutter content no one’s interested in. 

Your goal is simply to use top-ranking pages as inspiration. If they make good points, you can consider including them in your post. If they’re stating something that’s completely wrong, then even better—take the chance to correct the misconceptions. 

Step 4. Write your first draft

With your outline in place, it’s time to flesh that skeleton out into a rough draft. 

I write mostly in Google Docs. An immediate perk is that I can turn the headings I’ve created into actual headings. I just have to click the “Styles” dropdown on the menu and change them:

The "Styles" dropdown in Google Docs

You’ll be able to see your outline on the side too:

Outline of this post, as shown in Google Docs

From here, use your headers as a guide and write your first draft. This stage is all about “getting it out.” That means: 

  • Avoiding any interruptions to your writing.
  • Not self-censoring as you go along.
  • Not repeatedly rearranging your outline to make things flow better.
  • Not rewriting the same sentence 10 times just because it “doesn’t read quite right.” 😅

I know, I know. It’s easier said than done. Still, try to minimize interruptions. There’s time to edit for perfection later—this stage is all about getting everything down on paper (or screen) so you have something tangible to work with. As author Shannon Hale writes:

I’m writing a first draft and reminding myself that I’m simply shoveling sand into a box so that later I can build castles.

One “trick” you can consider is to use the Pomodoro Technique. It’s my go-to if I’m stuck, distracted, or procrastinating. 

The basic idea: Set a timer for 25 minutes, write as much as you can, then take a break for five minutes. Rinse and repeat. You can use a Chrome extension like Marinara to automate your Pomodoros. 

Recommendation

Struggling to put pen to paper because you can’t figure out your intro? Use the PAS formula to get started. Here’s how it works:

  1. State the Problem
  2. Agitate the problem by digging more into the pain (felt by the reader)
  3. Offer a potential Solution
An illustration of the PAS formula

Here’s what it looks like in the wild:

An example of the PAS formula in action

Step 5. Polish and edit your post

"I have rewritten—often several times—every word I have ever published. My pencils outlast their erasers.” 

Vladimir Nabokov

Here’s the surprise: Even though the activity is known as “writing,” the magic is not in that. Rather, it’s in the editing phase where the true blog post appears. 

This stage—after you’re done with your first draft—is all about editing, polishing, trimming, and rewriting. 

My recommendation is to only edit after one or two days have passed. Why? Because you’re too emotionally invested when you’re first done drafting. The time gap will be helpful to remove this attachment so you can actually edit with fresh eyes. 

Here’s what you can do during the editing process:

  • Use Grammarly – Great for checking grammar mistakes.
  • Read your draft out loud – Catch where it doesn’t flow well.
  • Break up long sentences – Turn sentences with endless “ands” and “thats” into short, punchier ones.
  • Add formatting where relevant – Images, GIFs, bullets, numbered lists, bold, italics, and more make your writing easier to read.
  • Pepper in “flow” – Wherever the opportunity arises, consider adding transition words and cliffhangers so that the rhythm of your post is not static.

You should also pay extra attention to your intro, as that is how your reader will decide if they will continue reading. 

When you’re done with the self-editing, get feedback from someone else. If you have an editor to show your draft to, great. Otherwise, a friend or colleague works absolutely fine as well.

What’s important here is to get an impartial pair of eyes on your work.

Chances are that a third party will be able to point out things like logical loopholes and poor flow that you won’t be able to spot on your own. 

We do this for every blog post at Ahrefs. We even “call out” the contributors:

We show the contributors for each Ahrefs' blog post in the author's box

When they’re done, incorporate their feedback where relevant. Build off their ideas and opinions to produce the best piece of work possible.

Take the time to think about each point that was made. Set aside your ego and really try to see things from a third party’s perspective: Which points do you agree with, which are you unsure about, and which do you definitely not agree with?

Make edits based on the suggestions you believe in and leave out the things you feel strongly against (but be sure to have a logical explanation for doing this). If you’re on the fence, it all comes down to how much you trust the person giving you feedback.

Also, be careful not to accidentally adopt the writing style of a third party, especially if they give feedback in long form or if you’re incorporating many of their suggestions. Again, if possible, take a break from drafting and work on something else. Then, when you come back to it, try and rewrite the section in your own voice and style.

Now is the time to rewrite sentences until they “sound right” or rearrange your points over and over again until they flow the best they can.

Keep getting feedback and revising your draft until you’re happy with the final product.

Step 6. Create an amazing headline

"On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy.”

David Ogilvy

Your headline is one of the most important aspects of your blog post. It determines whether someone decides to click through and read. So you should take the time and polish it until it is compelling.

Don’t stop on the first headline you create. Come up with a few and see which one looks best. Viral site Upworthy notoriously created 25 headlines for each article it published. 

A reply on Quora by the former editor-at-large at Upworthy

I’m not asking you to create clickbait headlines like it. But the exercise can be a fruitful one. As singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran puts it, and I paraphrase, “It helps to clear the wastewater from the faucet.”

That said, here are some tips for writing better headlines:

  • Use “power words” – Words like “remarkable” and “noteworthy” help trigger an emotional response. Sprinkling one or two can make your headlines more compelling. 
  • Add parentheses – Parentheses strengthen your title tag by adding the “icing on the cake.”

Step 7. Sprinkle on your on-page SEO

Even if you’re not blogging with SEO in mind, you’ll want search engines like Google to find your post and rank it. After all, Googling is still one of the major ways people discover new content to read online. 

It’s a good idea to follow simple SEO best practices for every blog post you’re publishing. At the basic level, you should:

  • Include the topic in the title – You’ve probably naturally included this while you were brainstorming your headlines. After all, if you’re writing about intermittent fasting, it’s difficult to not mention it. Don’t worry if you haven’t, though; a close variation works too.
  • Write a compelling meta description – This is not a Google ranking factor, but it helps to “sell” your article in the search results. 
  • Use short, descriptive URLs – This type of URLs makes it easy for searchers to understand what your post is about. The simplest way is to make the slug your topic. 
  • Add alt text to your images – Google uses alt text to understand images. Create a concise but accurate one for every image you use. 
  • Link to internal and external resources – Cite other people where relevant. It’s also helpful for readers who want to learn more. 

If you’re using a content management system (CMS) like WordPress, installing plugins like Yoast eller RankMath can make doing all of this a cinch. 

Recommended reading: On-Page SEO: The Beginner’s Guide

Step 8. Publish your post

You’re finally ready to publish your post! 

Upload your post into your CMS. Or if you’re using WordPress and have some budget, consider using Wordable. This allows you to do a one-click upload from Google Docs into WordPress. Really easy. 

Then give it another quick look to make sure all’s looking good. Finally, hit “publish”!

"Publish" button in WordPress

Step 9. Promote your post

It’s the truth—blogging is extremely competitive today. Your content, no matter how good, will not be discovered by itself. You need to go out and let people know it exists. 

Consider using some of these tactics to promote your content:

  • Share it with your audience – You may think you don’t have an “audience,” especially if you’re just starting out. But you have friends, family, colleagues, and followers on existing social media accounts. Share it with them! They’ll be your biggest supporters. Then, over time, as you build up your audience (e.g., an email list), you can share your articles with them too. 
  • Email people you mentioned in your contentFind the emails of those people you’ve cited or linked to and reach out to them. They’ll be happy to know they’ve been featured. 
  • Share your content in relevant communities – Facebook groups, Slack communities, Discord, Reddit, and forums—if you are a member of any communities, you can consider sharing your content there. But remember, don’t spam! 

Recommended reading: 13 Content Promotion Tactics to Get More Eyeballs on Your Content 

Slutgiltiga tankar

Hopefully, this post has shown you writing a blog post that people want to read is not a difficult process. You can do it too. 

Now, go on and get started—that blog post isn’t going to write itself.

Any questions or comments? Let me know på Twitter



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Everything You Need To Know

Now more than ever, marketing and sales leaders are taking a critical look at where to allocate their resources and how to staff their teams.

Attribution modeling is one of the best tools for providing clear guidance on what’s working, and what isn’t.

What Is Marketing Attribution?

Marketing attribution is the approach to understanding how various marketing and sales touchpoints influence the prospects’ move from visitor, to lead, to customer.

By implementing attribution in your organization, you’ll have a better idea of:

  • Which channels are most influential during different phases of the sales cycle.
  • Which content formats are more or less impactful in your marketing or sales enablement efforts.
  • Which campaigns drove the most revenue and return on investment (ROI).
  • The most common sequence of online or offline events that prospects interact with before becoming a customer.

Why Is Attribution Important In Marketing?

Analyzing attribution data provides you with an understanding of which marketing, sales, and customer success efforts are contributing most effectively and efficiently toward revenue generation.

Attribution modeling helps you identify opportunities for growth and improvement, while also informing budget allocation decisions.

With accurate attribution models, marketers are able to make more informed decisions about their campaigns, which has allowed them to increase ROI and reduce wasted budgets on ineffective strategies.

What Are The Challenges Of Marketing Attribution?

Developing a perfect attribution model that guides all of your decisions is a pipedream for most marketers.

Here are five challenges that result in inconclusive data models or total project abandonment:

Cross-Channel Management

This is a common challenge for enterprise marketers who have web assets across multiple websites, channels, and teams.

Without proper analytics tagging and system settings configuration, your web activities may not be tracked accurately as a visitor goes from one campaign micro-site to the main domain.

Or, the prospect may not be tracked as they go from your website to get directions to then go to your physical storefront to transact.

Making Decisions Based On Small Sample Sizes

For smaller trafficked websites, marketers using attribution data may not have statistically significant data sets to draw accurate correlations for future campaigns.

This results in faulty assumptions and the inability to repeat prior success.

Lack Of Tracking Compliance

If your attribution models rely on offline activities, then you may require manual imports of data or proper logging of sales activities.

From my experience in overseeing hundreds of CRM implementations, there is always some level of non-compliance in logging activities (like calls, meetings, or emails). This leads to skewed attribution models.

Mo‘ models, mo’ problems: Each analytics platform has a set of five or more attribution models you can use to optimize your campaigns around.

Without a clear understanding of the pros and cons of each model, the person building the attribution reporting may not be structuring or configuring them to align with your organizational goals.

Data Privacy

Since GDPR, CCPA, and other privacy laws were enacted, analytics data continues to get murkier each year.

For organizations that rely on web visitors to opt-in to tracking, attribution modeling suffers due to the inability to pull in tracking for every touchpoint.

How Do You Measure Marketing Attribution?

Measuring attribution is all about giving credit where it is due. There are dozens of attribution tools out there to assign credit to the digital or offline touchpoint.

Attribution measurement starts with choosing the data model that aligns with your business goals.

Certain attribution models favor interactions earlier on in the customer journey whereas others give the most credit towards interactions closer to a transaction.

Here is a scenario of how to measure marketing attribution in a first-touch attribution model (we’ll get to the different models next):

A prospect comes to the website through a paid search ad and reads the blog.

Two days later, she comes back to the site and views a couple of product pages.

Three days later, she comes back through an organic listing from Google and then converts on the site by signing up for a discount coupon.

With a first-touch attribution model, the paid search ad will get 100% of the credit for that conversion.

As you can see, choosing the “right” model can be a contentious issue, as each model gives a percentage of credit to a specific interaction or placement along the path toward becoming a customer.

If your business relies on paid search, SEO, offline, and other channels, then likely one of the individuals working on one of those channels is going to look like the superhero, whereas the other marketers will look like they aren’t pulling their weight.

Ideally, when you are choosing an attribution tool, you’ll be able to build reports that allow you to compare various attribution models, so you have a better understanding of which channels and interactions are most influential during certain time periods leading up to conversion or purchase.

What Are Different Marketing Attribution Models?

Marketers can use various marketing attribution models to examine the effectiveness of their campaigns.

Each attribution tool has will have a handful of models you can optimize campaigns and build reports around. Here is a description of each model:

First-Click Attribution

This model gives credit to the first channel that the customer interacted with.

This model is popular to use when optimizing for brand awareness and top-of-funnel conversions/engagement.

Last-Click Attribution

This model gives all of the credit to the last channel that the customer interacts with.

This model is useful when looking to understand which channels/interactions were most influential immediately before converting/purchasing.

Last-click attribution is the default attribution model for Google Analytics.

Multi-Touch/Channel Attribution

This model gives credit to all of the channels or touchpoints that the customer interacted with throughout their journey.

This model is used when you are looking to give weight evenly or to specific interactions.

There are variations of the multi-touch model including time-decay, linear, U-shaped, W-shaped, and J-shaped.

Customized

This model allows you to manually set the weight for individual channels or placements within the customer journey.

This model is best for organizations that have experience in using attribution modeling, and have clear goals for what touchpoints are most impactful in the buyers’ journey.

Marketing Attribution Tools

There are several different tools available to help marketers measure and analyze marketing attribution. Some attribution tools are features within marketing automation platforms or CRM systems like Active Campaign or HubSpot.

Others are stand-alone attribution tools that rely on API or integrations to pull in and analyze data, like Triple Whale eller Dreamdata.

As you are evaluating tools, consider how much offline or sales data needs to be included within your attribution models.

For systems like HubSpot, you can include sales activities (like phone calls and 1:1 sales emails) and offline list import data (from tradeshows).

Other tools, like Google Analytics, are not natively built to pull in that kind of data and would require advanced development work to include these activities as part of your model.

(Full disclosure: I work with HubSpot’s highest-rated partner agency, SmartBug Media.)

Additionally, if you need to be able to see the very specific touchpoints (like a specific email sent or an ad clicked), then you need a full-funnel attribution system that shows this level of granularity.

Attribution modeling is a powerful tool that marketers can use to measure the success of their campaigns, optimize online/offline channels, and improve customer interactions.

It is important, though, to understand attribution’s limitations, the pros and cons of each model, and the challenges with extracting conclusive data before investing large budgets towards attribution technology.

Fler resurser: 


Featured Image: Yuriy K/Shutterstock



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Lead Generation: How To Get Started

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Lead Generation: How To Get Started

Today’s consumers have an almost limitless amount of information at their fingertips. Podcasts, videos, blog posts, and social media – are just a few of the sources that can drive them toward one brand over another.

If it’s your job to attract these potential customers, you know the struggles of generating high-quality leads.

In this piece, we’ll take a closer look at lead generation, discussing the different types of leads you could attract and providing some strategies and examples for lead gen that you can put to use right away.

What Is Lead Generation?

Lead generation is a marketing process of capturing potential consumers who show interest in your product or service.

The goal is to connect with people early in the buying process, earn their trust and build a relationship so that, when they’re ready to make a purchase, they buy from you.

But lead generation also serves secondary objectives, including building brand awareness, collecting customer data, and fostering brand loyalty.

With this in mind, it’s important to remember that not everyone who visits your store or website is a lead.

That’s why successful lead gen goes after specific targets, using a variety of platforms and strategies including:

  • Landing pages – Using a tracking pixel, landing pages collect information about visitors you can later use to target them for sales.
  • Email – Email is a great lead generation tool because the recipients will have opted in, which means they’re already familiar with your brand.
  • Social media – With unmatched opportunities for engagement, your social media accounts are a great way to encourage your targets to take action.
  • Blogs – A great way to establish authority and provide value, blogs are also a great place to promote specific offers.
  • Live events – When it comes to qualifying leads, live events are a great way to meet your target audience and quickly identify the ones more likely to make a purchase.
  • Coupons and other promotions – Offering a discount or free item is a great way to encourage targets to provide their contact information.

What will ultimately work best for you will depend on your niche and your audience.

As you experiment with different lead generation strategies, you may find one more successful than the others. This means you should probably make that channel your priority, whereas others may not be of any use at all.

But we’ll get to all that later.

First, let’s talk about leads.

The Different Types Of Leads

Sales is the engine that drives any business. Without sales, there’s no revenue. Without revenue, there’s no business. So, it’s kind of important.

But it’s a massive field. The approach a medical monitoring sensor salesperson takes is going to be very different from a used car salesman.

But both of them – and every other sales professional for that matter – have one thing in common: they need to spend most of their time pursuing the people who are most likely to buy.

In general, leads fall into seven categories:

  • Hot Leads – These leads are ready to convert. They are qualified and interested in your offering, and are the most likely to convert to a sale. For example, this might be the purchasing director who has had several conversations with you and received a product demo. They have purchasing authority and a timeline.
  • Cold Leads – These are potential customers who may be unfamiliar with your brand or offering. As of yet, they have shown no interest in what you’re selling. Generally speaking, these are the hardest leads to convert to sales.
  • Warm Leads – A middle ground between the two previous types of leads, these are people who are familiar with who you are and what you offer. They’re the type who watch your videos or read your blogs, but haven’t contacted you directly. Your goal is to warm them up into hot leads.
  • Information Qualified Leads (IQLs) – This is the kind of lead who has already shown some interest in your company and has followed a call to action. Maybe they signed up for your email newsletter or filled out a lead generation form. They are often looking for more information and will react positively to a nurturing campaign.
  • Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) – MQLs are one step further down the pipeline from IQLs. They are actively searching for a solution that fits their needs, and are trying to discover if yours is the right fit. These are the types of leads who will download your whitepapers, watch your videos, and attend your corporate seminars.
  • Sales Ready Leads (SRLs) – Sometimes called “accepted leads,” these are the bottom-of-the-funnel leads who are almost ready to pull the trigger on a purchase. It’s important to understand their budgets, purchasing authority, needs, and timeframe.
  • Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs) – These leads are ready to buy and should be in communication with your sales team. They are considered very hot, however, you should be aware that they are likely still considering some of your competitors.

The Lead Generation Process

As you have probably gathered by this point, lead generation is a multiple-step process.

Yours will vary, depending on whether you’re focusing on inbound or outbound generation – but both should follow a similar pathway.

Step 1: Do Your Research

Before you start trying to collect leads, you need to gather as much information as possible about your target audience. You want to know not just who they are, but where they live, what’s important to them, and most importantly, what their pain points are, particularly those that are the most pressing.

It’s often a good idea to create customer personas, in which you define the demographics, budget, and needs of typical customers. You may want to consider social habits, professional experience, and even psychological traits.

Once you know who you’re going after, it’s time to identify where they are. Are they active on Facebook, or more likely to respond to an email? Again, this will vary depending on your specific circumstances.

This is also the stage where you should check out the competition. What are they doing? What differentiates your offering from theirs? And most importantly, why is it better?

Step 2: Create Great Content

By now, you should know what needs your offering fills for your potential customers. Use this information to create content that solves it.

Your choice of medium will affect your content format. For example, videos work great on social media, but you can’t embed them in an email.

Likewise, if you’re going after your target audience on Twitter, your lengthy blogs are going to need to be linked to, or at the very least truncated.

Never forget your focus is on adding value. Each piece of content you create should serve a specific purpose, whether that’s educating your audience about your offering, building brand awareness or promoting a sale.

Step 3: Develop A Lead Generation Database

You can have the hottest leads on the planet, but they won’t do you a bit of good if you don’t handle them the right way.

You should create and use a lead database where you can record, study, filter, and segment your potential customers.

Ideally, you’ll want to get an automated CRM system to dramatically reduce the labor involved with this.

Most of these will allow you to tag leads based on the type and how hot they are. This allows your sales team to work through their lists in a more efficient manner, dedicating the most attention to those with the biggest chance of converting.

Step 4: Qualify And Score Leads

Not all leads are going to be in the same place in the sales funnel. Some will be ready to buy today, while others may just be getting an idea of what’s out there.

You need to adjust your approach based on this.

Most companies use a lead scoring system of 1-100, which indicates approximately where the lead is in the customer journey. They are assigned points based on their actions, with more serious actions resulting in more points.

For example, following your Facebook page could be worth 10 points, filling out a “Request a demo” form might be worth 20, and opening and reading an email could be 5. If a lead does all three of these, their lead score would be 35.

These numbers will give you a general idea of where they are from the following stages:

  • New leads, who have just made initial contact.
  • Working leads, with whom you have had contact and initiated a conversation.
  • Nurturing leads, who are not interested in buying right now, but might in the future.
  • Unqualified leads, who are not interested in your offering. These are sometimes called “dead leads.”
  • Qualified leads, or those who want to do business with you.

Obviously, you should focus more time and energy on the leads that have a higher probability of converting.

Lead Generation Strategies And Examples

The ways you can generate leads are practically endless, but in this section, we’ll discuss some of the more common strategies you can employ, plus give you examples of them at work.

Content Marketing

Content marketing is the practice of creating engaging and informative content that provides value for leads and customers, thereby generating interest in a business.

This can span both traditional and digital marketing, and is an important part of any successful marketing strategy. It can include things like newsletters, podcasts, videos, and social media.

You can use content marketing for any stage of the sales funnel, from growing brand awareness with timely blogs, creating demand or demonstrating thought leadership with white papers, driving organic traffic via SEO, building trust, and earning customer loyalty.

To make the most of yours, offer many opt-in opportunities and make them more enticing by adding discounts, guides, or something of value in exchange.

Email Marketing

Email remains a popular choice for lead generation for a good reason: it works.

A study by Mailchimp found 22.71% of marketing emails were opened, with some industries seeing even higher rates.

Whether you’re sending out a monthly newsletter or a cold outreach email to a potential prospect, email remains one of your best bets for generating new leads.

One of the more cost-effective means of generating leads, email marketing also allows you to segment your targets with customized content that promotes maximum engagement.

Another reason email marketing is a favorite for so many organizations is that it provides incredible opportunities for tracking. A quality CRM will give you a lot of useful data, including open rate, engagement time, and subscriber retention, allowing you to fine-tune your campaigns.

Social Media Marketing

Almost everyone is on social media these days, which makes it the ideal place to hunt down leads.

Social media platforms not only allow you to directly interact with your followers, but they also let you create advertising targeted at highly specific audiences.

Interaction is simplified thanks to multiple user-friendly CTAs like Instagram Stories’ skip option and truncated URLs on Twitter.

Screenshot from Facebook, January 2023

Social media is also a great place to run contests or share gated content.

You can use paid ads like the one above to target new leads,  share content that will generate them organically, or ideally, a mix of both.

Coupons, Discounts, And Free Trials

If you’re like many people, you may be reluctant to provide your email address to businesses in case they start spamming your inbox.

As a business, however, this can be a problem.

The way to overcome this trepidation is to offer people something of value in return for their contact information.

A risk-free trial or discount code is a powerful tool for overcoming sales barriers. And once a target has tried your offering, you can retarget them with additional offers to encourage a sale.

Give them a free gift, offer a coupon, or allow them to take your product for a test drive, and you’ll find many more people willing to give you their info.

Free pizza couponScreenshot from author, January 2023

Online Ads

Display advertisements are videos and images that pop up as you’re browsing websites, apps, and social media.

They, along with paid search and PPC, are a great way to reach your intended customers where they are.

Display ads are particularly useful for targeting leads across the buyers’ journey, as well as promoting awareness and sales, promotions, or new products.

google search ads result for chairsScreenshot from Google, January 2023

Remarketing ads are a great way to reengage leads who have stopped short of a purchase, while non-intrusive native ads are perfect for extending your content marketing efforts.

Referral Marketing

A great way to find new leads is to let your existing customers find them for you. Encourage them to write reviews or recommend friends in return for a discount or something else of value.

AAA insurance referral adImage from AAA Insurance, January 2023

This is an excellent way to fill your funnel of leads – and make more sales. Referrals and online reviews give you an authenticity and trust level that no in-house marketing campaign can ever duplicate.

Did you know that when shopping online, more than 99.9% of people read reviews? Or that 94% of consumers acknowledged positive reviews made them more likely to support a business? And that’s not even including the power of personal recommendations from friends and family.

Referral marketing is a great tool for lead generation because it presents your brand in a positive light to more people.

Best Practices For Lead Generation

To ensure you’re getting the most out of your lead generation efforts, keep these tips in mind:

Use Your Data

You likely have a lot of information about leads and the types of strategies that work for them already at your fingertips.

Gather yours by looking at previous pieces that have worked well, whether it’s blogs that get a lot of reads, emails that have a high open-rate, or display ads that bring in a lot of traffic.

Look for general themes or things you did differently on high-performers. This will give you insight into the kind of things that resonate with your audience.

Be Consistent With Messaging

Make sure it’s very obvious to any web visitor or email recipient what action they should take next. Offer them a reason to click your links and keep your messaging clear and consistent.

You should maintain the same tone of voice across channels as you move prospects through the sales funnel. Remember, you’re not just interested in capturing data – you’re trying to create a customer.

A/B Testing

Every marketer knows the importance of testing different versions of collateral. This is because, no matter how well something is performing, it could always do better.

You should experiment with different headlines, images, body copy, etc.

Just remember to only test one aspect at once, lest you miss which change made a difference.

And again, don’t forget the opt-ins.

Use The Power Of CRM Technology

To ensure your sales and marketing teams are operating as efficiently as possible, but a lead generation platform to work for you.

The right tool can help you gather information about your targets, monitor their behavior on your website and identify what’s driving them to you.

Armed with this data, you can then optimize your pages and campaigns to better target your audience.

Create Enticing Offers At Every Stage

People at different stages of the purchasing journey want different things.

Someone who is just curious about seeing what’s out there isn’t likely to respond to a free demo offer, but someone who is further along the funnel might.

Make sure you’re offering something for every buying stage and that you have clear CTAs throughout your materials.

Integrate Social Media

Social media is the ideal platform for initiating conversations and interactions with leads at all stages.

While many marketers typically think of it as primarily for top-of-funnel targeting, by strategically using proven offers and other things of value, you can also go after those leads who are closer to making a purchase.

Clean Up Your Landing Pages

Users want information presented to them in a clean, easy-to-understand manner. No one is trying to read “War and Peace” to find a new vending machine supplier.

Put your important information at the top, and make it clear where visitors can input their information to contact you or get content.

Use Your Partners

Co-marketing is a great way to generate new leads because it allows you to piggyback on the efforts of partner companies.

Create mutually beneficial offers and you’ll spend the word about your brand to a larger audience, which will attract new leads.

Bring Your Sales Team In

Marketers prime the pump, but sales drives the action. Make sure to loop your sales team into the lead generation process early and often.

They will likely have personal insight into what works best to move targets along the purchasing path.

This will also ensure you remain on the same page as far as what terms mean.

Remarket, Remarket, Remarket

Almost no one makes a purchase on first contact, particularly in B2B sales. That makes remarketing an important arrow for your quiver.

It helps turn bouncers into leads and abandoners into customers – and it amplifies all your other marketing activities.

Make Lead Generation A Priority

No one ever said it was easy to find, score, and qualify leads, but it’s an important part of ensuring the growth and financial health of your business.

Nurturing customers and potential customers is hard work. But without it, you’ll struggle to make new sales.

This piece only covered lead generation from a high level, but hopefully, it has equipped you with some strategies you can employ to attract new leads and nurture existing ones.

If you only take a single thing away from this make it this: Put most of your efforts into higher-quality leads, because they’re the ones who are most likely to make a purchase.

And remember – lead generation is an ongoing process. You’re not going to see results overnight, but if you put in the work, you’ll start to generate the results you want.

Happy hunting.

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Featured Image: Andrey_Popov/Shutterstock



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Response to ChatGPT $20 Plan: Take My Money!

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Response to ChatGPT $20 Plan: Take My Money!

OpenAI announced a new subscription service to ChatGPT called ChatGPT Plus that offers several benefits over the free version. Fans of OpenAI were wildly enthusiastic about the prospect for a more reliable service.

Many users around the world were pleased to know that the free version will continue to be offered.

OpenAI ChatGPT

ChatGPT is a useful AI tool for writing-related tasks, as well as for obtaining general information.

The free version is used by millions of users. Although it is hosted on Microsoft data centers the service falters during periods of peak usage and becomes unavailable.

OpenAI benefits from the usage because the feedback is useful for training the machine to become better.

The new subscription model is intended to subsidize the free users.

OpenAI Subscription Model

The new subscription version, called ChatGPT Plus, will cost $20/month.

Initially, ChatGPT will be available to users in the United States and will expand to other countries and regions “soon.”

There is no estimate or indication of how soon the service will be available outside of the United States.

But the fact that there’s a waitlist for United States users to subscribe might be an indication.

The Public Is Enthusiastic

To say that potential customers are enthusiastic about ChatGPT Plus is an understatement.

The response on Twitter could be boiled down to one phrase: Shut up and take my money.

 

One person applauded OpenAI for keeping a free version available:

Multiple people asked about plans for non-profits and for students.

This tweet is representative of the requests for student plans:

Future of ChatGPT

ChatGPT will be launching a ChatGPT API waitlist soon, which will open up the service to new ways of interacting with it.

OpenAI also plans to learn more about user needs and how to best serve users during the course of the new subscription service.

Once they have more experience with it, OpenAI plans to offer additional plans, including lower cost versions.

They shared:

“…we are actively exploring options for lower-cost plans, business plans, and data packs for more availability.”

This could have been Google’s win.But OpenAI and Microsoft beat them with a useful product and have captured the fascination and admiration of users worldwide.

2023 is going to be an exciting year of AI driven innovation.

Featured image by Shutterstock/Max kegfire



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