Ryan's experience ranges from higher education to SMBs and tech startups. When not doing digital marketing, he's sure to be enjoying some kind of nerdy pastime.
We’ve all done it. Stumbled upon a new blog or article by someone we’ve never heard of, with a plan or idea they believe we should listen to and try. But, if you’re like me, the chances are that you have dismissed that blog as fast as you found it. Wonder why? The probability is high that they weren’t appealing, had poor graphics, their content wasn’t up to par, and you didn’t feel they could add value to you.
Let’s face it, everyone only has twenty-four hours in a day. You’ve heard the adage, “Time is money.” That's true in some sense or another for everyone. With the amount of information that is contained in the world, between Google and Youtube, we possess an unlimited amount of knowledge at the tips of our fingers. Days are too short to be wasted on blogs or articles that aren’t appealing and lack quality content.
Questions People Ask When They First Read Your Blog
So, maybe generating a substantial amount of traffic isn’t the issue. The issue may be in producing quality leads from those first-time guests. When someone explores your blog for the first time there are questions that they will ask themselves. These question will determine if they’ll come back for more. With that said, it’s significant that you hold each and every article or blog post to the highest standard. You never know which post may be the one you have a first-time reader. People aren’t always forgiving. If you mess up the first time you may not get a second chance.
People need answers to these three questions:
1. Is this post appealing?
Is this blog that I’m reading appealing or characterless? If your post isn’t appealing both visually and contextually within the first few seconds, more likely than not, they’re going to click away to something else. You may be saying, “You’re being shallow.” Maybe a little. But in light of last years Hubspot article titled, “55% of Visitors Spend Fewer Than 15 Seconds on Your Website. Should You Care?.” I have an obligation to be.
In HubSpot's article, they delve into Tony Haile’s assertion that 55% of people spend 15 seconds or less on a website. You can read that article in its entirety here. That first-time reader you just had, did you capture their attention and compel them to read more? Or did they lose interest in that first 15 seconds?
Here are some tips to effectively engage them in that first 15 seconds. First, are the graphics you're using spectacular or drab? Wait, you used a graphic right? If you’re not using graphic images to help with your posts you're missing a huge attention grabber and attention keeper. Remember, you ONLY have about 15 seconds.
Second, format your blog so it’s mobile friendly. With more consumers using smart phones for EVERYTHING, it’s important that you use that to your advantage. Make sure your blog is mobile friendly. For more on why being mobile friendly is important the article 9 Reasons Your Website Needs to Be Responsive is a great place to start.
Lastly, Don’t forget the white space. White space gives your new reader the opportunity to focus on what's important. Your content.
2. Is this post adding value?
Don’t forget what a blog was designed to be. A place to share information with the world in a way that value is given. Your readers are presenting you with problems. If you construct your content so that you’re solving their problems and answering their questions they’ll want to keep reading and returning to the table for more.
In plain, they want to know what you can give them and what the cost will be. This is a great opportunity for your generosity to be presented. Disclose all you know with your readers. This builds trust and illustrates to them that you have something they need. Knowledge. Through adding value, you show your readers that you're not just in for money. Everyone loathes this type of person. You show them by sharing what you know that you genuinely care about them. Remember, customers don’t want be peddled to, they want to be educated.
By educating, you’re adding value, when you add value, you build trust. Which leads us to the next question that people will ask.
3. Is this post trustworthy?
Is what you are writing about considered to be trustworthy and authoritative?
Whether it’s right or wrong, most people don’t like car salesmen. Why? To a great extent when we think of car salesmen (again right or wrong), our impression of them is someone who is dishonest trying to tell us whatever we want to hear to make a sale. This is the exact opposite of what we are trying to accomplish when it comes to blogging and business.
Unfailingly, be upfront and honest. Your product may not be exactly what they're looking for. Never over-commit and under-deliver. In being transparent with your readers, they come to the realization that you are someone they can trust. Sure, in doing so you may miss a sale but you create an enthusiast of you and your product, even if it wasn’t a good fit for them.
Think about it like this. You sell a particular product, we’ll say one-piece fiberglass shower inserts. Your customer needs ceramic tile for their new bathroom. But you insist your product, all the while knowing it’s really not what they need. When the product fails, because it truly was not what they needed, guess what happens next? Anyone they know that is looking to update their bathroom, more specifically their shower, they’ll tell to stay away from you creating negative buzz and negative publicity.
Two of the fastest forms of communication are Telephone and Tell-a-man.
People talk. Make certain when it is about you, it’s that you provided the information they needed to make an intelligent decision. In doing so, you facilitate trust and gain more leads which turn into potential customers.
Creating a Long-Term Relationship of Trust
In answering these three questions for your first-time readers positively, they will become your regular guests. Remember, you want your content to be attractive and enjoyable, not a chore.
Our desire must be to assist them in making educated decisions regardless if that means you make a sale or not. Keep your customers’ best interest in mind (even if it’s not you) and they’ll keep you in mind. It will become a reciprocal relationship.
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