Your Prospects Don’t Want To Do The Work, So Make Sure Your Content Marketing Strategy Doesn’t Ask Them To
This is probably going to sound ridiculous, but bear with me, because it’s relevant to this topic. When I go to the supermarket, I don’t want to bag my own groceries and I don’t want to have to return my cart to the store. I have a job, and I don’t want to work at the supermarket, too.
This applies to the content on your inbound marketing website. I’ve noticed a trend at other agencies and with clients that are asking for and creating these large repositories of content called “resources.” Here, they very cleverly package up all of their content in nice categories for visitors to self-serve and select exactly what they want.
There’s only one problem: Your visitors don’t want to nor do they know how to wade through massive amounts of content to find the one relevant and contextual piece they need at that minute. While this might sound like a great idea on paper, it can’t be the only way you provide helpful, educational, insightful, lead-generating content to your visitors. It can be one of the ways, but it can’t be the only way.
Here are some better ways to use content to improve conversion optimization and generate leads outside of your resources section.
Understand The Buyer Journey
Before we go any further, let’s get on the same page. Why do we create content? To generate leads! Yes, I know content helps our prospects and clients, but the goal of inbound marketing is to generate leads. The more content you create and the more often you publish something new, the more leads you generate.
If the goal here is to generate leads, then the goal is not to build the biggest and best library of content, but rather to strategically present content in context within a buyer journey so that your visitors want to download your content. In other words, you want to give the visitor (your prospect) the most remarkable online experience, where content is being strategically presented to them at the perfect time, in the perfect format, so they say, “Wow, this company understands me, my pain and how to help me.”
I’m not asking them to wade through categories to find what they need; I’m giving it to them before they even ask for it. The only way to do this is to understand the buyer journey and make sure your website, web pages, site architecture and content deployment match perfectly. This should be where you start when it comes to content marketing — not with the topics but with the journey and your prospects’ questions.
Content In Context Generates DOUBLE The Leads
About a year ago, we made a commitment to start adding CTA buttons at the bottom of the blog that were contextual to the content in the blog. For instance, if I write about social media, we have a social media offer at the end. If I write about metrics, we have a metrics offer at the end of the blog. This turned our 5% conversion rate on blog article lead gen into a 10% conversion rate on blog article lead gen.
This led to another improvement in that it quickly identified where we had gaps in our content offering. When I wanted to write about search, we didn’t have any related search material, so we created it. When we wanted to start writing about account-based marketing, we didn’t have any tip guides, e-books or infographics on ABM, so we created those. While we’re not perfect and not every article has contextual offers, most do and the conversion rate data proves contextual offers always outperform non-contextual offers.
It’s Hard To Test In Resources, But Easy To Test On Pages
Testing and continuous improvement is everything in marketing. Hidden inside the data is all the information you need to improve performance month over month. Remember, the goal is to generate leads, so you want to set up your content in a way that allows you to measure its performance. Now I know you’ll get performance data on the content in your resources section, such as the top-performing pieces or resources getting the most clicks, but will you really get a sense of what pieces are working your prospects through the funnel? I’m not sure.
Once you start putting content on your site pages, analyzing prospect behavior on those pages, and tracking the clicks and conversions and the scroll data, you’ll get valuable insight into what your prospects are interested in — on those pages. It’s much easier to know which pages are converting, which offers are converting, which offers are getting clicked on but not converting and which types of content are moving prospects down and out of the funnel.
Page Quality Is Key To Rankings; Conversions Drive Quality Scores
There are very good reasons why you want content on your pages and why you want that content to be in context. Today, Google scores each page and the pages that convert get higher rankings. If someone comes to your page and bounces, the page gets a low quality score — even if that pages is only designed to be informational, because Google doesn’t know that.
But if your page triggers another click or a conversion, Google sees this as a success and improves rankings. You can execute a similar effort in your resources area. If you want that page and that content to be highly ranked in Google, then the resources approach might deliver. But if you want your site pages, your content, your story and other aspects of your site to rank, you need to have offers on all of your pages and they need to be in context to the stories on that page.
I get it; on the surface it makes a lot of sense. You have a ton of educational content that you want to share with your visitors and you can organize it in easy-to-access categories, so you put it all out there. It’s an idea based in solid thinking and some visitors will be willing to work through all of your categories, looking for what they want and reading/watching/listening to other stuff along the way.
But (and it’s a pretty big but here) what about the people who don’t have the patience or the time to self-serve your content? What percentage of your visitors have the time and patience vs. those who simply want to find it now or, even worse, might not know what they’re looking for? They’re relying on you to serve up what they need, when they need it. Isn’t that what good content marketing and thoughtful inbound marketing does?
It creates an ongoing conversation that’s been thought out from first click to final close. If that’s not how your marketing is working, we can help so your marketing produces leads, sales opportunities and new customers.
Square 2 Marketing – Innovating Marketing And Sales To Match Today’s Buyer Behavior!
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.