Are you struggling to increase free trial signups? You’re not alone. Of course, if you have a SaaS product, you’ll eventually want to increase your conversion rates to get paying customers, but the process of getting a sustainable user base starts by getting more people to take free trials and check out demos. If you don’t, your business won’t last very long, because you won’t make the revenue you need to keep it going.
Blogs are a popular, effective, and affordable way to bring people to your digital domain. That’s the good news. But the bad news is that traffic generation is only half the battle. Page views, likes, tweets, and comments are nice, but none of them are the ultimate goal. You need to convert that traffic into leads.
Obviously, growing an audience isn’t enough. Content marketing is about delivering value while paving the way for the sale. It’s very rare that a first-time visitor of your blog will immediately buy your product. Thus, instead of hoping that visitors will somehow rediscover your blog later, you want to take actionable steps towards building a communication channel – so you don’t lose them.
Here are several ways you can capture leads to build a relationship with your audience and ultimately convert them into new customers.
The Reader to Revenue Strategy
Here’s a super simple framework for understanding how you’re converting readers into customers. You convert readers to customers in just 2 ways:
- Through direct links to sales pages
- By capturing reader emails and emailing them.
That’s it. Once you put your conversion strategy into that simple framework, you can move on to measuring how both funnels are doing and then increasing the conversion rate.
Methods to convert your blog traffic to leads
Offer an Irresistible Incentive
One of the main challenges with converting blog traffic is driving visitors to your main website. When you think of it, that’s not why they came to the blog for in the first place. And chances are they aren’t that much interested in your product or service. But you can motivate them to be by presenting an irresistible incentive.
An incentive is something that can motivate a person to take action. It works for a simple reason – it helps making the decision easier. In online marketing an incentive is typically an appealing element such as discount, bonus, special offer or promise constructed to stimulate a desired action. Whatever incentive you choose though, for it to work you need to communicate it to visitors. And there are 4 main ways to do that:
- Display a Static Ad
- Use A Scrolling Ad
- Display a Notification Bar
- Play on Visitors’ Curiosity with a Navigation Link
Improve your pitch
You’ve heard of an elevator pitch, right? It’s how you concisely pitch a prospect in less time than it takes to ride an elevator cab to the destination floor.
Elevator pitches work in digital marketing, too. In fact, they’re often more effective than long, drawn-out pitches. You just need to know what works for your audience.
Let’s say, for instance, that you’re selling shoes. Most people know what shoes are, so you don’t need to explain how they work or what they’re for. You just need to bottom-line why they’re the best shoes for your audience. If you search for Nike running shoes on Amazon and click on one of the models, you get very scant product copy:
That’s eight bullet points. Why? Because it’s all the prospective customer needs to know. How can you tell what pitch will work best with your audience? Test different pitches. Try long- and short-form pitches. Adjust the wording. Switch up your headlines and calls to action (CTAs).
You’ve put in the work to get people to your website; make sure you capture as much of it as possible. Walk them through the next step of becoming your customers. A newsletter signup is a great way to do this. There are a few methods you can use to motivate them to sign up for your newsletter. One way is a pop-up that opens on the screen when users have scrolled down to a specific piece of the content. Some great tools to set this up are JustUno or Popup Domination, either of which will open up a pop-up to attract visitors to subscribe to your newsletter, just like the one below:
Another technique is to have an email newsletter sign-up option on the right-hand side of the blog. This is always visible while being a bit less “obnoxious” to visitors who are reading the blog post. Some great tools for this are Get Drip or Hubspot, which allow you to create side opt-in forms, like the one below:
The cool thing about this pop-up is that it makes it easy for visitors to become subscribers because it gives them multiple options, depending on their preferred contact method.
Collect Immediate Feedback
The best way to find out what’s working to increase free trial signups is to ask your visitors. Collecting feedback will help you tweak your marketing strategy and messaging to increased effectiveness. Options for collecting visitor feedback include using a customer survey and interacting with visitors via live chat, as in this example from Missinglettr.
Popping up a survey just before people leave can help you find out why some people are ignoring your free trial. Then you’ll be able to adjust your marketing to get their interest next time around. Or you could email free trial signups immediately after they’ve signed up to ask what they’re hoping to get from the free trial. Again, that’s valuable information for future marketing.
Call to Action
Your blog posts need a call-to-action. Every one of them. You need to get your visitors to do something: sign up, download, click, read something else, subscribe, install, contact you, and so on. Giving prospects a clear action to take is the key to converting passive blog traffic into real, active, and engaged customers. This is arguably the most important persuasive skill you need as a marketer.
A high-quality blog post without a compelling CTA is a lead lost. They’re already on your site. They’re already interested and engaged with you and your brand. So, give them more. A strong CTA is action oriented, benefit-to-them driven, visual, persuasive, and ideally creates a sense of urgency.
I recommend including a clear call to action in every blog article you publish. Too many blog articles, even on the best blogs, don’t result in any action after a visitor reads them. Including social share buttons at the bottom of a blog article will help visitors easily share your article, further expanding the reach of the article. Having a contact us button with an action-oriented color, like orange, can make it easier for people to get in touch with you if they have comments or questions about what they just read.
Lead magnet is anything that your potential customers will find valuable. You’re going to offer it for free in return for their email and consequently a chance to develop a relationship with them. A classic lead magnet example is an eBook.
There are however many other content types you could use to collect visitors’ emails:
- Free tools - Hubspot’s Marketing Grader is a good example. The tool allows you to grade the marketing effectiveness of your site, in exchange for an email of course.
- Templates / Checklists - Whitespark offers a Review Handout Generator allowing users to print instructions on how to leave a Google review for their business.
- Discounts - Many Ecommerce and B2C websites offer discounts for the first purchase if you sign up for their mailing list.
- Email Courses - Create an educational resource your visitors need and offer it for a sign up. For example, Enchanting Marketing offers a free, 16-part writing course.
Show off case studies, testimonials, and social proof
Collect reviews from your customers, ask clients to create testimonial videos, and mention any high-profile clients you have (with their permission, of course). If a well-known person in your industry has tried your product and loved it, mention that fact on your homepage, landing pages, and elsewhere on your website.
Social proof, case studies, and testimonials are all excellent ways to convince your website visitors to convert. You want them to know they aren’t betting on something new and untested. You want to infuse them with confidence.
Generating blog traffic is only half the game. It’s knowing how to convert blog traffic that differentiates winning marketers from the rest of the crowd. Apply the actionable strategies we’ve discussed, and you’ll start seeing how your blog can be an effective tool to win you the sales you seek.