Experiments Improve Results From Content Marketing
Content marketing is one of those practices that require constant improvement if you want to see your results improve month over month. You can’t just crank out the same stuff over and over, expecting to get different or better results.
Instead, look at your content marketing strategy as a giant series of experiments. Not sure what to test or how to test it? Today’s article will detail a wide variety of tests that you can run regularly to improve your results.
All you Albert Einstein and Thomas Edison fans: Get ready to test, test and test some more.
Test 1: Write A Long-Form Blog Article
There have been a lot of articles that talk about how long-form blog posts (about 2,000 words) perform better than short-form blog posts (about 600 words). This may or may not be true. Only you will know the answer because every audience behaves differently.
Personally, I think most people are still looking for blog articles to be short snippets of valuable information that they can consume in bit-sized chunks. Yet, Google might be looking for longer articles. So, you have to test. Then, make a decision based on data, not on what some so-called experts suggest. We’ve seen both short and long blog articles hit the first page of Google for clients. Before you start creating 2,000-word articles, run a test and find out for yourself.
Test 2: Redesign A CTA Button For A Low-Performing Whitepaper
If no one is clicking on your CTA button, no one is converting on your site. It’s the first opportunity you have to market, to engage, to connect with visitors and to inspire them to become leads. If you have CTA buttons on your site that your visitors are not clicking on, one of your first experiments should be to redesign at least one of those buttons.
During this design exercise, consider the copy and graphics. For instance, "Download Your Whitepaper" typically converts at a lower rate than "Download My Whitepaper."
Another test to think about is adjusting the placement on the page. Our heat map and mouse-tracking data shows that while website pages have become longer, people are not always scrolling down to the bottom. So, if you have a CTA button down there, anyone who bails out early won't see it.
Test 3: Make A Title Change For An Underperforming E-Book
This test is easy to implement: Simply change the title on your content – especially if you think you have a piece of educational content that should be doing better. Work on making the title more compelling, more differentiating or more controversial. Subtle adjustments can improve click-throughs.
Test 4: Use A New Format For Content, Like Video Or Podcast
Many industries have seen a huge influx of educational content, and most of it looks similar. E-books, whitepapers, infographics and slide shows are everywhere. If you want to get your prospects' attention and get them to convert from visitors into leads, you have to step up your game and get much more creative.
Podcasts are back in fashion, and video continues to be extremely productive. People love watching videos. 60% of the population identify themselves as visual learners, which means they’re going to prefer watching a video to reading an e-book.
As I mentioned, our click-tracking experiments show clearly that people do not read all the copy on your website. That means they’re not reading all of your educational content. With video, you have a much easier way to capture that content and deliver it in a format that people love.
Test 5: Create A Redesigned Landing Page If Visits Are High But Conversions Are Low
The final test you should consider is one to improve your landing pages. This test is relevant when you have people clicking on a CTA to sign up for content and then bailing on the page. Some of the biggest mistakes we see on landing pages include too much copy, use of site-wide navigation and excessively long forms. All of these elements can contribute to low conversion rates.
When you test your landing page improvements, keep them simple. Make ONE change on the page and let it go live for at least two weeks. Then, evaluate the performance and see if it increases. If it does, this page is your new benchmark performance metric. If the numbers dip, go back to the original design and line up another change. Keep working on these simple, one-variable changes over time, and you could double or even triple the conversion rate, adding a lot of leads to your sales funnel.
As you’re looking at the timing, consider the number of experiences you want to include in the experiment. If you only get 10 views of your landing page per week, you might need to run the experiment for a longer period of time.
When you take an experimental approach to your content marketing, you have a much better chance of seeing a dramatic, month-over-month improvement in leads generated from your content and inbound marketing efforts. More important, this is the ONLY way to proactively manage your marketing based on real-time data. Welcome to the future of marketing.
Start Today Tip – Before you begin your first experiment, benchmark your current performance. Most types of marketing automation or inbound marketing software make this extremely easy. Then, create an experiment schedule. Think through what elements you want to improve and what tests you want to run. Give those experiments a time frame, and set a goal to quantify the improvement expectations. Both of these are important when planning out your experiments.
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Posted By Author Mike Lieberman, CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist
Mike is the CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist at Square 2. He is passionate about helping people turn their ordinary businesses into businesses people talk about. For more than 25 years, Mike has been working hand-in-hand with CEOs and marketing and sales executives to help them create strategic revenue growth plans, compelling marketing strategies and remarkable sales processes that shorten the sales cycle and increase close rates.