You’ve invested in SEO, your organic traffic is better than ever, but…. your blog content just isn’t converting in a meaningful way.
Optimizing your software company’s blog for conversions entails more than slapping on a newsletter signup form or a demo request button. It requires insight into your visitors’ buyers’ intent, careful matching of your content with relevant CTAs, and improving the user experience – just to name a few things.
Curious? Good! Because we’re about to break down how to convert blog traffic to boost your bottom line.
Table of Contents
The Role of Blog Content in the SaaS Sales Process
Before we dive into how to convert your site traffic and – more specifically, your blog traffic, we need to talk about the types of conversions you can expect from your blog posts. Everyone wants more sales, but the goal of most blog traffic is not to deliver you those sales directly.
Instead of pushing visitors toward demo requests or to reach out to you, informational blog posts funnel leads deeper into your website so you can build rapport with them. After all, why would they show interest in a product they likely know nothing about, by a brand they might have never heard from before?
On top of that, they have clicked on your informational blog post to get – indeed – information. They probably aren’t ready to buy yet, and so what your posts need to do is establish your authority and help them to get to know your product better.
Some examples of other website pages and assets your blog can funnel traffic to are:
- Feature pages
- Solution pages
- Your contact page
- Case studies
- Customer stories and testimonials
By guiding potential customers to content that positions your product as a solution to their problems, you’re building your reputation with them and making them more likely to buy from you when they are ready.
Another way to do this is by getting them onto your email list. Someone who has just found you through a Google search is more likely to take action on a CTA that invites them to sign up for your newsletter or to give you their details in exchange for a valuable lead magnet than they are to book a demo or get in touch with you.
And once you have their email address (and their consent to do so), you can start nurturing them with an email drip campaign.
What about bottom-of-the-funnel content?
But what about bottom-of-the-funnel content, you may ask? Contrary to informational blog posts, content such as buying guides, “best software” listicles, and comparison posts is indeed created with the goal of converting website visitors into customers.
An example is this post on the best conference and mobile event apps by SpotMe.
- It comes accompanied by a sticky sidebar widget with a clear CTA to “contact us”.
- It lists SpotMe in the top position for being the best conference app and links to both the sales page for the app and several feature pages.
- It concludes with a section dedicated to pitching SpotMe and a CTA to “request a demo”.
While this type of content aims for a different type of conversion than purely informational posts do, you can use the same best practices for a converting blog for bottom-of-the-funnel content as you can for informational content.
How to Convert Blog Traffic: Best Practices
For the purpose of this post, let’s assume that you have a solid SaaS SEO strategy that attracts qualified leads. Once you’re getting steady and relevant traffic to your company blog, converting that traffic depends on a combination of:
- Your offer
- Your website’s user experience (UX)
Auditing the UX of your site and frequently running A/B tests on it is the best way to find out what works and change what doesn’t. This includes improving the UX of your blog.
To get started, go through the below list of best practices for creating a blog that converts.
Be mindful of search intent
As mentioned, a lot of the traffic to your blog will come from leads looking for information. In other words, they entered an informational query into Google and that’s how they found you. Other visitors might look for “best x software” and find your website that way.
These two types of visitors are at very different stages of the buyer’s journey and so you can’t expect them to convert in the same way. Offer information (whitepapers, reports, guides, …) to leads looking for information, and demo requests, sales pages, or contact prompts to leads ready to buy.
Sounds obvious? Many companies still add the same generic email signup form across all of their blog posts and are then surprised they don’t get any signups. They have traffic but no conversion. By offering your visitors something related and relevant to what they were looking for, you’ll more easily increase your blog conversions.
Optimize your CTAs
First things first: your blog posts need calls-to-action. Otherwise, visitors might just leave your website once they’re done reading, or they’ll start clicking around randomly. You want to guide them into taking the most logical next step.
When it comes to the optimization of your calls-to-action, there is a lot you can experiment with:
- Design (buttons, boxes, bolded font, colored font, …)
In general, it’s a good idea to have a visually clear CTA after the first and the last paragraph of your blog post, as well as one or more in-line CTAs. Use a tool such as Crazy Egg to figure out where in your articles people are dropping off, and add an enticing CTA right before that point.
Workforce platform Beekeeper does all of this nicely in this post on hospitality trends with a colored-button CTA before the body of its post, an in-line CTA at the top of the post, and a form to download its trend report at the end of the post.
To give your CTAs some extra power, you can combine them with social proof such as having your CTA preceded or followed by a testimonial.
Match your CTAs to specific assets
Instead of adding general CTAs to sign up for your newsletter (for example) to your content, try linking your blog posts to related assets. Examples could be specific lead magnets, email sequences, case studies, and reports.
HR software Personio is great at this:
Personio creates unique studies, reports, and guides that it then offers as a free downloadable in related blog posts. To get the downloadable, users need to give Personio their details as well as information about the companies they work at:
Note how the form includes a subtle checkbox for those who are interested in getting a demo of the software.
Other articles funnel Personio’s site visitors to its Marketplace, which is really a page that shows all the tools Personio integrates with:
On still other posts, the brand has CTAs to sign up for its newsletter or to book a demo. And while Personio has a lot of different actions it guides its visitors to take, each blog post only pushes one of them.
Have one type of CTA per post
As Personio showed us, you can have different places to funnel your visitors to, but you don’t want to confuse them by asking them to do five different things within one blog post.
For your blog content to convert, each article needs to have one dominant call to action. “Dominant,” because you can still choose to run an exit intent popup that invites them to sign up for your newsletter, but ideally, it should be very clear to the reader which action you want them to take.
Experiment with popups
Different studies show different results but as annoying as we may find them, popups still work. How well they work for your audience, however, is something you’ll need to test. You can use popups to enforce the dominant CTA of your post or to nudge visitors to take a “softer” action before they leave the page.
If, for example, your post’s CTA asks readers to download a report but a reader is about to click away without having taken that action, you could have an exit intent popup invite them to sign up for an email sequence that’s relevant to the article they just read.
Lightboxes, floating bars, scroll-in, and fullscreen popups are just a few of the many options you have to play with. Check this post by OptinMonster for more ideas and don’t just experiment with the type of popup but also with the design and copy of your popups.
Optimize your sidebar
Don’t let that sidebar space go to waste. At the minimum, add a newsletter signup form. Even better is to have different sidebars depending on the category a post is in. That way, you can display a different CTA depending on the content that is being shown.
For example, all of your content categorized under “e-commerce email trends” could have a CTA for your E-commerce Email Trends Report in the sidebar while all of your content categorized under “e-commerce email strategy” could have a CTA for your downloadable “Ultimate Guide to E-commerce Email Marketing” in the sidebar.
For maximum effect, you can make these widgets sticky so that they stay visible to the reader as they’re going through your blog post.
Add social proof
You could already read it earlier in this post, but adding social proof to your blog posts is a great way to give them some extra power and increase their chances of converting. Adding customer testimonials is an obvious way to do this, but when you add them to an informational blog post, they can easily come off as salesy. So what are your other options?
A few ideas:
- Weave a customer success story into your article to prove that the tips you’re giving actually work.
- Insert quotes from other industry experts to back up your claims.
- And don’t forget an author name, image and biography on your articles.
Showcase your software
To work your product into your content more subtly, add variations of phrases such as: “To achieve x, use a tool such as *your product*” to your content. For example, “To keep track of all your leads, a CRM such as *your product* is of great help.”
For more bottom-of-the-funnel articles, you can increase conversions by showing the reader how they can use your software through screenshots and/or GIFs. Ahrefs does this really well, like in this post on how to do an SEO audit.
The SEO software company has a solid product-led SEO strategy that puts its product front and center and attracts readers who are looking for exactly what they’re selling. You can do the same for your blog. Not sure how? Get in touch, and we’ll gladly help you with your strategy. (See what I did there?)
Incorporate customer feedback
Use on-site popup polls and surveys to gather reader feedback and use it to improve the way your content guides users through your website as well as toward buying your product. Make sure you ask targeted questions that help you solve a specific user or conversion issue.
- “What did you hope to find on this page?” > To discover their intent.
- “Did you find what you were looking for today?” > To discover information gaps.
- “What is stopping you from signing up for a free trial?” > To uncover conversion issues.
Streamline the user experience
Aside from looking at the different elements of your blog content individually, you also need to offer the visitor a smooth reading and browsing experience. That means:
- Keeping paragraphs short and to the point.
- Respecting heading hierarching and clearly styling the difference between H2s, H3s, and so on.
- Making links stand out visually.
- Linking only to relevant internal content and external sources.
- Adding images (screenshots, photos, illustrations, …) to break up and support the text. You can also use colorful CTA banners for this.
- Having a large-enough font size (16 px is a good minimum size).
- Using bullet points and numbered lists when appropriate.
- Don’t have 5 different popups slide in and pop up over the course of the article read-time to not disrupt the reading experience too much.
Additionally, use a tool such as Hotjar to analyze where your audience is clicking, which content they’re only skimming over, and what impression your blog makes on them.
Retarget with ads
No matter how well you optimize your blog, there will always be leads who leave your site without having taken an action. Retarget them with ads on YouTube, LinkedIn, and Facebook to stay top of mind and to lure them back to your site.
Combining a targeted SEO strategy with paids ads is a powerful way to capture and convert qualified leads.
Revise existing content
If you already have a bunch of traffic to your blog post but it isn’t converting, it’s a good idea to revise those posts and check whether they follow all the best practices outlined above. Use this blog post as a checklist to add what’s missing and run tests on things that could be improved.
- Does your post have a clear CTA?
- Does it have one dominant CTA?
- Does the CTA appear, at minimum, at the top and the bottom of the post?
- Does your CTA match the intent of the post? In other words, do informational posts guide your readers deeper into your site, and do bottom-of-the-funnel posts invite them to book a demo, sign up for a free trial, or get in touch?
- Are you using popups? Do you run A/B tests on them?
- Is your sidebar optimized?
- Does your post provide a smooth user experience?
- Does your content have social proof? (Note that not every post needs this.)
- If relevant, are you showcasing your software?
- Did you receive any customer feedback you can use to update and optimize your article?
And while you’re add it, you might as well optimize your content to rank better in the search engines as well.
Measuring Blog Conversions
It’s a bit of a cliché but that doesn’t make it less true: you can’t improve what you don’t measure. If you only feel like your blog should be converting better but you don’t have the actual data to back up that feeling, your first step should be to set up some tracking.
Aside from some typical SaaS conversion metrics such as the number of blog readers that turn into email signups or demo requests, you can also track your on-page SEO performance and analyze how much readers browse around your site (pages per visit) and how much time readers spend reading your blog content (time per page).
The latter two will give you an idea of whether the people who land on your content actually find it interesting and engaging.
Once you’ve set up your tracking, you can establish goals for each of these metrics. This allows you to know with certainty whether the updates your making to your blog posts are truly helping your conversion rates.
Build a Blog that Converts
To build a blog that converts, you need to look beyond the golden SaaS conversion types of free trial signups and demo requests. Create assets that match your ideal customer’s search intent and let your blog guide them to those assets. Flow SEO clients who do have a blog that convers well generally invest quite a bit in creating case studies, whitepapers, and other unique assets.
In other words: optimize how and where you funnel your traffic to. That includes improving your blog posts by following the tips in this article.
Need some help? Get in touch and we’ll gladly discuss how you can turn your organic traffic into conversions.