I get it.
You write blog posts – making sure they’re focused around a long-tail keyword – and they’ll get rankings and bring in traffic. Maybe not a ton of traffic, but a dribble of visitors each week… and some of those visitors will sign up for a free trial.
Nice theory, shame about the reality.
The reality is that, for blog posts, the conversion rate – that’s people taking out a free trial – is usually pitiful.
For example, a couple of years ago, I saw Oli Gardner of Unbounce give a presentation where he said only 0.26% of Unbounce’s blog visitors became trialists.
And, if you think that’s bad… it gets worse… only 0.09% of blog views resulted in someone clicking the CTA on the page. (e.g. “Start Free Trial.”)
That’s not a typo. 0.09%… one in every 1,111.
Sadly, Oli didn’t say how those rare trialists converted to paid. Was it better than, say, PPC traffic? Or much worse?
I suspect the latter.
So does that mean blogging is a waste of time?
Because you can do a lot with those visitors.
#1: You can cookie them and use retargeting ads to get them into your sales funnel.
#2: You can offer freebies on your blog pages – special reports, etc. – to collect their email addresses. And then you can email them about your product or with affiliate offers for related products.
#3: And, of course, you can use your blog posts (if they’re good) to increase engagement with your existing users, trialists and email signups.
#4: And, finally, as Oli revealed in his Turing Fest talk, you can do things to increase the percentage of visitors who sign up for a free trial. In fact, he increased trial rates by up to 68%, just by making a couple of design changes to Unbounce’s blog pages.
So, SaaS blogging isn’t a waste of time – but it’s something that you need to think about strategically if you want to get a good return from it.