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Converting blog traffic is so darn frustrating, isn’t it?

After all, you’ve done everything by the book – posted new content regularly, optimized it to rock the search results, and promoted the hell out of it on social too

You’re now receiving good traffic.

The problem – in spite of all your efforts, no one’s signing up for your app’s trial from the blog.

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But you know, the reason might be as simple as a wrong conversion strategy.

And in this post, I’ll show you 2 strategies you should be using to convert blog visitors into trial users.

Intrigued? Then just keep on reading.

What Are the Typical Conversions from SaaS Blogs

Naturally, conversion rates depend on many factors – the type of a strategy, call to action, CTA placement…

But before we begin I thought I’d share with you some average results from the most common lead generation strategies.

Please consider them as an indication of the type of results you could receive from your blog.

So…without any further ado:

On average, a newsletter signup box in the sidebar or below the post converts at about 0.2% – 0.5%. Some companies claim to be getting conversion rates up to 1%, but I rarely hear of this strategy producing better results than this.

newsletter signup conversion rate

A hellobar/ribbon at the top of the page can convert at about 1%. Again, some people claim to see higher CTR, but we’re talking averages here.

Content upgrades, however, the most successful lead generation strategy today, typically convert at  12% – 20% or even more.

content upgrades

Popups convert at about 4%-5% (but of course, your results will depend on the popup type you use).

In-content links that point to a home page convert at about 1%-2%.

In other words, depending on the strategy you choose, you could expect conversion either at about 1%-2% range (if you go for the direct sign up) to 15% if you aim to convert users to your mailing list first.

Which brings us to the most important part – how do you actually convert blog visitors into trial users?

As I’ve already hinted, you can do it in two ways:

You can “push” blog visitors to check out your homepage or features page, learn more about your SaaS, and sign up (providing that your site does a good job in convincing them to do so).

OR…

You can convert them into your mailing list. And then, use drip campaigns to nurture them into signing up.

Both strategies require different approaches to conversions, so let’s look at them in detail.

Conversion Strategy #1 – Direct Trial Signups

People who land on your blog, typically fall into two categories:

Most visitors focus on researching their problem. They came to your site attracted by a headline promising a particular solution or answers. But they aren’t really interested in getting any solution yet (although they might be in the future).

However, some of them are ready to investigate any available solutions, including your product.

And you can target this group by displaying various calls to actions on your blog that would prompt them to visit your main website.

Note: I’ve seen companies trying to elicit trial signups directly on the blog. For example, they’d include the signup form or a CTA that, once clicked, displays a signup window. From experience, I can’t think of this strategy generating many conversions though as most visitors will want to learn more about the product before committing to trying it out.

And here are different ways to do it.

#1. Include a Relevant Link in the Blog’s Navigation

Fact: It doesn’t matter whether your page engages them or not, your visitors will always glance at the site’s navigation.

They’ll use it as a reference point about any other information they could find on your website.

And you could target this behavior by adding a relevant call to action that would prompt them to learn more about your product.  

There are two ways in which you could use this strategy:

A.) Arouse the Person’s Curiosity with a Question

Look – we’re wired to notice questions.

No matter how focused you might be on something, the moment your brain realizes that someone asks you a question, you’ll start paying attention.

Your visitors are the same. And you can target their curiosity by including a question in the call to action. For example:

curiosity link

B.) Command a Person With Strong Action Verb

Another option is to be very very specific about the next action you want them to take, and communicate that in the CTA. For example:

command based headline

directCTA

#2. Display a HelloBar/Ribbon That Attracts Attention

HelloBars (alternatively referred to as Ribbons) are small notifications you place at the top of the browser’s window, and typically set in contrast to the rest of the site (making them impossible to ignore).

Many sites use them to boost email signups. However, you can also include a relevant and engaging call to action compelling visitors to see your homepage.

Unlike navigation links, Hellobars allow you to add longer copy, and communicate a compelling reason for visitors to click the link.

hellobar

#3. Under the Post Call to Action

This strategy has worked particularly well for some SaaS companies I know.

Instead of adding a newsletter signup box at the end of each post, they include a call to action driving visitors to the homepage.

For example, Drift uses a fantastic text-based CTA outlining benefits of trying their app:

drift

Beacon uses a similar approach (disclaimer: the company is our client)

beacon

KlientBoost, a killer PPC management agency focuses all their lead generation efforts on their product, using visual banners to attract new leads from the blog:

klientboost

#4. Add a Slide In Outlining Your Product’s Benefits

This is a call to action that has worked particularly well on our blog, I believe mainly because it involves an element of surprise.

You see – all the calls to action I mentioned so far appear on the page when a person lands on it.

But you can set a slide in, a little window that pops up on the side of the screen, to show after a person has spent a certain amount of time on a page or scrolled to a particular section.

slidein1

(Our Slide-in’s setup)

Plus, given its size, you can include much more information on a slide in, than on any other call to action, we’ve discussed so far.

For example:

slidein2

(Kissmetrics’ slide in)

(Our slide-in)

Conversion Strategy #2 – Mailing List Signups

Look:

Not every blog visitor is ready to investigate your product.

(And that’s the primary reason why direct signup calls to action deliver far lower conversion rates than email signups.)

Many people visit your site in search of questions. But you can still build a relationship with them until they are ready to try your product.

You can use many different strategies to achieve it, like launch complex drip campaigns and using marketing automation.

However, the simplest way to ensure you stay on top of those users mind, and regularly remind them of your product is by adding them to your mailing list. And then, letting them know about any new content you’ve published.

In this post, I’ll focus on the first step – converting visitors into the mailing list. (Note: I will write a separate guide on best ways to ensure they click to your new content, so watch this space.)

Also, note that in this guide I deliberately omit the generic newsletter signup strategy. As I’ve shown you earlier in this piece, it delivers hardly any results to consider it a viable strategy.

And as it happens, there really is only one good way to convert visitors into your mailing list:

Offering Content Upgrades

You know:

Content upgrades – Bonus PDFs that provide additional information someone interested in the topic might want to discover as well – are probably the hottest lead generation strategy today.

For one, they convert like crazy. It’s not uncommon to see them delivering double digit conversion rates.

content upgrades

Good examples of content upgrades include:

  • Lists of resources that could help a person complete or implement solutions you described in the post.
  • Checklists that would help ensure that they don’t skip any part of the process.
  • Additional tips or advice that you didn’t include in the post.

NOTE: To learn more about creating content upgrades, listen to my interview with Kevin McGrath, a CEO of Beacon – an app that simplifies the content upgrade creation process. You can listen to it here:

[EMBED Soundcloud]

During the chat, Kevin and I discuss various ways in which you can create content upgrades in minutes.

How to Offer Content Upgrades to Visitors

Content upgrades work only with the post they expand.

As a result, to offer them, you need to create individual calls to action for each content that features a content upgrade.

This isn’t a problem, and most lead generation plugins or products offer the functionality to create individual calls to action per post. However, I felt it’s best if you understand that upfront.

So where do you place the content upgrade CTA?

We use two locations when generating leads to our clients:

1.) We place one CTA right after the post’s introduction. For example:

CUcta1

CUcta2

2.) And then, add one more after the post but before the direct signup call to action (if you have one)

CUcta3

But Should You Choose Only One Strategy or Implement Both?

And the answer is – it depends on your bandwidth.

Setting up direct trial signup calls to action requires some effort. But you don’t have to do much with them once everything’s working (unless you want to start A/B testing them to boost conversions even further, of course).

But constantly creating content upgrades takes time and effort.

And so, if you’re already struggling with maintaining a rigid publishing schedule, then I’d recommend you focus on the direct signup strategy.

However, if you can add a content upgrade to every piece, then by far and away, do it.

You’ll be blown away by the results!

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