With so much attention directed toward the creation of great content these days, sometimes that’s all we focus on. The reality is that having a compelling blog requires more than just good content and pretty pictures. Another purpose of your blog is to move people through the marketing funnel, which you can achieve through optimization.

In this article, we are going to discuss how to better optimize your blog for a specific stage of the marketing funnel: turning subscribers into leads.

This is a tough crowd, as you may have already discovered. It includes people who are active subscribers but haven’t yet committed to trying out your product or service. Some people refer to them as the “inbetweeners” because they are more than casual visitors but haven’t yet made it to lead status.

Let’s begin with ways to encourage your active subscribers to convert to leads for your business.

Wow Them with a Welcome Email

When someone first subscribes to your blog, give them a nice warm welcome. A virtual hug, so to speak. An automated welcome email is what many companies choose to do, and it works well. You don’t want to start off too aggressively with loads of content, otherwise you may scare the new subscriber away.

Your automated welcome email doesn’t have to be anything fancy, but now is a good time to go over a few basics. Let the subscriber know what they signed up for and that they can change their settings at any time. You can also encourage new subscribers to follow your social media accounts for additional news. Oh, and don’t forget to let them know how much you appreciate them!

Give Them Options

Hopefully your blogging software gives you options as to how often you can send out emails. If that’s the case, let your subscribers know that they can change the settings to fit their needs at any time. This way, they don’t have to receive alerts every time you post something new. While some of your subscribers may prefer to get the notifications with each new item, others may want more subtle reminders.

Touch on Pain Points

The best blog topics are those that solve problems or answer questions. Content that helps people to make more money, be more efficient or discover new ways of doing things are some of the most popular posts. In other words, create content that helps your readers solve their pain points.

In order to do this, you will need a good understanding of your audience and the types of pain points they experience. Create frameworks for the different pain points and fill them in with useful, actionable information. At the end of the content, include a firm call-to-action that lets readers know what you want them to do next.

Segment CTAs on Blog Posts

Smart CTAs, or dynamic CTAs, allow you to optimize your blog for visitors in the various stages of the marketing funnel. For instance, blog subscribers that aren’t yet leads do best with top-of-the-funnel marketing materials such as ebooks, webinars, checklists and tips sheets.

Because they are just learning about your business and what you have to offer, future leads prefer content that is engaging, simple and informational. Segmented CTAs help to make the content feel more personalized and relevant, which can help move people through the funnel.

Focus on Formatting

The formatting of your blogs also makes a big difference on whether or not people stick around. If your blogs contain a lot of text that is hard on the eyes, it’s going to deter people from engaging with it. Keep in mind that many of your readers will simply be skimming the content, so make it accommodating for people with limited attention spans.

Here are a few tips to follow for your formatting:

  • Write in short paragraphs (2-4 sentences is plenty)

  • Use subheadings, bullet points and numbered lists to break up text

  • Choose a font and font size that is legible

  • Use images or videos to expand on points and separate your paragraphs

  • Use bold typeface and/or capital letters for areas where you want your reader to pay attention

Engage with Emotion

People who feel connected to a brand are less likely to hit the unsubscribe button. Luckily, there are ways that you can capitalize on your readers’ emotions. It just takes a bit of crafty thinking.

Remember that people buy things based on emotion. Say you want to purchase a new car. What are some of the first things that come to mind with a new car purchase? Probably that you would look great in a new car and that your friends would think that you had lots of money. These are emotions. Of course, you can’t tell people that these are reasons for making a $20,000 purchase, so you validate it by saying that you need a reliable vehicle to get to work each day. Otherwise, you would lose your job, lose your house and be living on the street!

Think like your customers and find ways to connect with the emotions they may be feeling early in the purchase funnel. Use language that evokes positive emotion, put to rest any fears they may be having and provide lots of useful information. Also continue building good relationships.

Bringing it all Together

Your blog is a very important piece of your marketing mix, and you should be using it to your full potential. Simply publishing content a few times a month isn’t enough to move subscribers through the marketing funnel. Put together a content calendar that outlines the topics of your content, the pain points you want to address and the emotions it will bring out in your readers.

Also keep in mind the various stages of the buying cycle – need, initial research, final research and purchase – so that you can create content that aligns with these stages. Taking this approach will help you get more from your blog and turn active subscribers into lucrative leads.