Like many business owners, you may have originally decided to start a blog to boost your site’s ranking on the major search engines. Indeed, maintaining a regularly updated blog is one of the best ways to enhance your search engine optimization efforts, but it can help you to achieve a lot more, too.

After all, your blog shouldn’t just attract people to your website; it should prompt them to become paying customers. This doesn’t mean that your blog should blatantly promote your business, products or services. Instead, you should use it as content marketing in a way that increases the odds of conversion. This may sound tricky, but you can get there by implementing the following five techniques.

1. Create Content for Every Stage of the Buying Cycle

Educate yourself about the buying cycle, which is more commonly known as the sales funnel in the marketing world, to ensure that your blog meets prospects’ needs wherever they happen to be. A basic sales funnel in an inverted pyramid that begins with the awareness stage, in which people first become aware of a brand. They then progress to education, which is where your content should reflect why someone might need your product and how your product works.

During the evaluation and engagement stages, people are mulling things over. This is the perfect time to offer something for free. The cycle wraps up with commitment to purchase, and then a purchase. Don’t stop there, though. Create content that keeps them coming back for more.

2. Know Your Audience

Your blog needs to be written with your target audience in mind. The best way to approach this issue is by creating detailed buyer personas for the various demographics that might benefit from your offerings. After all, it’s highly unlikely that your offerings only appeal to a single type of person.

When developing each persona, describe their most urgent pain points, or the problems that they face. Are they most concerned about value, or are they mostly worried about getting a quick resolution to their problem? Are they looking for a fix that will last them years or even decades? By fleshing out these personas, you can then write content that speaks directly to them. This type of content is much more engaging, and it is far more likely to convert prospects into actual customers.

3. Nurture a Positive Relationship

While working on your blog, remember that acquiring customers is a two-way street. To get something, you have to give something—and that applies to more than just taking money in exchange for products. The goal here is to demonstrate through your blog that you understand your prospects’ needs and problems. They should come away feeling like you and your company are in their corner, and that they can trust you to help them solve their problem.

A huge part of developing a positive relationship with a prospect involves establishing trust. This can be done through well-written blog posts that make readers feel as if someone finally understands them. Put yourself in readers’ shoes while coming up with new blog topics and while writing new blogs. What can you say to reassure them that they are in good hands with your company?

4. Create a Sense of Urgency

If one thing is certain, it’s that internet users are fickle. They can afford to be because if they’re unsatisfied with what they’re seeing, they can click away in an instant. You can’t expect prospects to hang around indefinitely. At some point, you must create a sense of urgency, and your blog is a great place for doing so.

When it is appropriate to do so, create a sense of urgency by warning readers of limited quantities or approaching cut-off dates for special offers. Another technique is to take whatever problem they are experiencing and remind them that the sooner they act, the sooner they will get relief. Don’t be too heavy-handed when employing this approach, though. Limit yourself to a few careful reminders here and there.

5. Let Satisfied Customers Promote Your Brand

Finally, avoid sounding overly promotional or “too salesy” in your blog. If people get the idea that you are just there to sell them something, they are unlikely to hear you out. After all, they are constantly bombarded with advertisements every minute of the day.

While you should avoid blatantly promoting your company or offerings, you still need to demonstrate why your company is worth doing business with. A great loophole is to include occasional customer testimonials within your blog content. You don’t have to create a separate testimonials section. Instead, within any given piece, occasionally include a quote from a satisfied customer. Ideally, use quotes that directly address common pain points that your products solve.

Conclusion

In a perfect world, simply having a company blog would be enough to attract new business to your company. However, people are pummeled with content and information constantly and from all sides. If you want your company blog to do more than to increase your brand’s online visibility, you need to be a little more strategic about how you produce your content.

By incorporating the techniques highlighted above, you should start noticing a spike in conversions before too long. As always, continually analyze the effectiveness of your content so that you can continually optimize it. With this approach, you will deliver incredible value to prospects while dramatically improving your ability to attract new customers online.

Robert Mening has been interested in technology and the web since he can remember. A web developer and designer since 2004, he created WebsiteSetup, a website he has dedicated to helping people learn what they need to setup their own websites.