Your Blog Is Bait - How To Use Blogging To Generate Leads
A comment by a left by reader (we'll call her Angie) inspired this article.
Angie expressed that her blog, although noteworthy (30+ hits a day) on a daily traffic scale, was failing to produce leads. So much so, that after more than a year of regular blogging, she and her partner were losing their zeal as daily contributors to the real estate blogosphere. It seems that she was at the right fishing hole with pole in hand, but not a bite to speak of. Where were all the leads? How could thousands of hits have produced not even a fish tale?
Leads are generated when a visitor feels compelled to contact you requesting either a direct service or access to a service. Blogging is not the service. Blogging is the bait. Blogging is what you use to attract traffic to the platform where you must present your services.
Blogging creates traffic. Traffic does not equal leads.
A quick overview on generating traffic through blogging:
Advertising, Participation and Search Engines are the main vehicles with which you expose the blog's content and value.
In your advertising, you need to create incentive to visit your blog/website. "Sacramento's Most Active Voice In Real Estate" or "Your Home's Value, and Every Reason Why Zillow Has It Wrong" make for nice pitches to come and read your blog. For more on the topic of creating incentive to drive traffic to a website, read this and this.
Your participation helps you get the word out among not only your peers, but it also gives you a fighting chance to generate some relevant readership. Participation is the effort of reading and commenting on other blogs that are writing around similar core topics as your blog.
Your comments (when intelligent) will be read and offer a link back to your blog. 2 Big benefits here:
1. Readership from a friendly and relevant audience.
2. The link back to your site helps the SEO (Search Engine Optimization).
For more on Participation read here.
The search engines seem to handle blog content as something that deserves preferential treatment. Relevant, unique, consistent, linked and pinged content seems to be the formula that starts to attract the search engines to your articles. This topic deserves more than a few lines to fully grasp the idea, so for more, keep reading here and here.
Angie was doing all of this, and it has been working great for her. But still no leads.
A little over 3 months ago I started the Real Estate Tomato with 3 goals in mind.
1. I enjoy writing and wanted an outlet for my creativity.
2. I teach Realtors how to embrace the tools of technology in an effort to better their business. None of the little talks I gave nor the step by step training had been documented. I needed a destination for people to read me, not just hear me.
3. I saw the blog as the next phase in successful internet marketing, and as a self proclaimed internet consultant I felt that if I failed to embrace the blog, I would be left behind.
I figured at best the blog would be a nice tool to educate new clients and leverage the title I use in my email signature: consultant.
3 months later I have found myself in the middle of a great fishing hole. But what to do with all the traffic?
As I followed a formula to generating great traffic for this blog, it became apparent that others would like to know what I have learned. I just had to give them the opportunity to ask me. Up went the form and TomatoBlogs was born. Before the this, some 22,000 visits to the Tomato, and not one potential client contacts me. I give the fishing hole a chance to bite and BAM I get 2 in less than 12 hours. Since then, there has been a steady stream of interest. It is now very clear that there was a 4th reason for getting into blogging: To help others join the community, and embrace this newest tool that will make them more successful.
Angie's site, full of hundreds of articles, all relevant to her industry, was offering no opportunity for readers to feel compelled to contact her. Links to the Local MLS, Home Value Reports, and a Newsletter, all potentially good lead generation opportunities, were left to link back to the homepage. No lead generation form. No reward. No destination. The missing component to generate leads through the blog was simply an online form. A soft barrier if you will. Earn your readership through consistent blogging and participation. Earn your leads by giving them an opportunity to exchange their contact info for your services: Email Newsletter, IDX MLS Search, Detailed Home Value Report, Email Blog Blast, eBook For Home Buyers, eBook For Home Sellers... just offer something.
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