If you run business networking events, coworking events or business training workshops, or if you are one of our growing number of Business Hub franchise owners, an important way of generating interest in oyur events is to blog. A business blog is a great way of attracting potential attendees or members, and then converting them into leads and customers.
How does it work?
It’s an easy formula.
- Write about something your target audience will be interested in. For example, advice on growing a business or a post about where to find local business support in your town.
- Include a clear CTA (call to action, such as to ‘book a place at your next business event’), or include a lead gen CTA (like a free download that allows you to capture contact details).
- Publish the post.
- Promote it widely by using your social media channels, boosted Facebook posts, email campaigns etc.
- Measure your metrics to help you create better content that results in more conversions. Did the post attract people from other channels to your blog? (measure the volume of clicks from social media and email to the post) Did visitors read your post? (measure the bounce rate and time spent on the page) Did visitors convert into leads or customers? (measure the number of click on your CTAs)
Sounds straightforward but I know from experience that many people find it hard to come up with effective content. You’ll need some great ideas for blog titles that will grab the attention of your target audience, and some compelling ideas for CTAs, including lead generating content such as eBooks and other downloads.
Below I share some of our tried and tested methods.
Calls To Action (CTAs)
The way I recommend you use CTAs is to consider what the next logical step is for a visitor when they read your blog post. So if you’ve written a blog post about the joys of business networking events, the next step could be to give that visitor a free pass to your next event.
Alternatively if you’ve written a post about using social media for business, the next step might be to attend a business workshop specifically about social media for business.
However, not every visitor will be ready to take that next step from the virtual world to actually attending one of your ‘real life’ events, talks or workshops. They may be interested but not quite ready to commit, and of course they may not be able to get to your event because of other commitments.
This is where a lead gen can be invaluable. Essentially it’s a CTA that takes the visitor to a landing page with a form where you can capture their contact details in exchange for a download or other value-adding content.
In it’s most basic form a lead gen could be a sign up form for your newsletter so that visitors can find out about other events. This can be effective for those readers who can’t attend a specific event such as that social media for business workshop, and want to be kept informed about future similar events. Your CTA could say – If you can’t make our social media for business workshop, sign up here for our newsletter to find out about future events designed for business owners like you.
However, newsletter sign ups are not always effective. Many of us are overwhelmed by the amount of email we receive, and therefore signing up for more is the last thing we want to do! This is where lead gen downloads can be really successful. Although you’re still asking the visitor to part with their contact details (and therefore they know they will receive emails from you), in exchange you’re giving them content of value that they want and see as a fair exchange for a few more emails in their inbox.
When a visitor clicks on the lead gen CTA they get taken to a landing page with a form, enter their details and then either get redirected to a page where they can download your content; or it arrives in their inbox.
This new lead can then be added to an appropriate funnel to receive targeted emails from you. The content they download will help you put them in the correct funnel and deliver relevant information to them. If, for example, they’ve downloaded your ‘Social Media for Small Businesses’ eBook you can assume that they may also be interested in attending your talk about using Twitter for business next month.
Help Creating Lead Gens and Blog Posts
Of course, getting these marketing funnels to work involves writing a lot of content. However there are ways to streamline the process. For our Business Hub franchise owners we’ve developed a content plan that helps them create blog posts and lead gen content at the same time.
It’s known as a ‘content pyramid’ and it involves either writing blog posts that can be repurposed into lead gen content, or writing your lead gen content and repurposing that into individual blog posts.
Here’s an example of how this could work.
- You create a ‘Social Media for Small Business’ eBook. It’s approximately 3,000 words and includes 5 chapters or sections. The content is written in the 3rd person, and branded for Your Business Hub or your own company if you’re not Hub franchise owner.
- You create a landing page with a form to download this lead gen. As well as the form, the landing page also includes text that gives the visitor some compelling reasons to download the content.
- You create a list in your email CRM to ensure that anyone who downloads your eBook will be in the right email funnel.
- You design an email funnel for those contacts.
- Taking a chapter or section of your eBook you repurpose it as a blog post. I recommend that you change the tone so it is more personable (1st person), and less corporate.
- You add a CTA to get your eBook – this can be an eye-catching graphic to insert at the end of your post (linked to the landing page) with a compelling reason to get the download.
- Once the post has been published you should promote it on social media – I have found boosting these posts on Facebook to be particularly effective at reaching new prospects.
Alternatively you can reverse the process so it looks a bit like this:
- Create a plan of blog posts that once written can be repurposed into a lead gen download. For example, a post about Twitter, a post about LinkedIn, etc. You may also want to align these with your events schedule so that individual blog posts relate to events and can be used to promote them.
- Start writing and publishing your blog posts.
- Remember to use a CTA to attend a relevant event, sign up for your newsletter, get another download (if you have one) etc.
- Promote the posts.
- Once all posts have been written, collate them into your eBook and change the tone from personable/ 1st person, to 3rd person and slightly more professional and corporate. Brand the content, and include images and graphics etc.
- Now follow steps 2 to 4 in the first example.
- Write new blog posts that are relevant to the subject of your eBook, for example a post on digital marketing is likely to talk about social media and therefore this CTA would be appropriate. Subjects such as social media, sales and marketing, or digital marketing will be topics that you will return to again and again in a blog aimed at business owners, so if you will have amble opportunities to include a CTA linking to your social media download.
- Publish the post and promote!
NB Thinking of buying a Hub franchise? All these skills and techniques will be covered in your initial training!
A download about social media is just the start. There are many subjects that your target audience will be interested in that can be used to create blog posts, and downloads.
The content plan we’ve designed for Business Hub franchise owners also targets location specific SEO. Each blog post title relates to the town their Hub is based, with important keywords related to business support, learning, networking etc. At the top of the content pyramid is a download / guide for growing a business in that local area, a valuable piece of content for any local business owner.
It’s a win-win. The download is highly targeted at a specific group (i.e. business owners in a precise location – your potential event attendees and members), and each blog post – once published – provides great SEO opportunities for location and business specific keywords.
We’ve also included other blog titles in the content plan so that you can publish a variety of content throughout the year that will engage and convert visitors to the blog.
If you haven’t yet started to use the content plan and would like some help to get going, give me a call or email and I can talk you through it.
If you are reading this thinking ‘what’s a Business Hub?’ and ‘how can I start a Hub in my town?’ – click here for more details!