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There is a lot of debate in content marketing strategy circles about content that increases conversion rates; that is, turning your website’s visitors into leads and, ultimately, buyers, members, or subscribers. Whatever kind of business relationship you’re trying to convert your leads’ actions into, you need the right content marketing strategy to achieve those goals.
Experts are bandying about a dizzying array of ideas insisting that the strategies behind their ideas are the right moves for every marketer to make to ensure increased profits from content marketing.
You’ll also still read article after article about tips, tricks, and hacks that focus on almost entirely SEO or SEM and provide supposedly quick ways to drive eyeballs to your content. (Moz calls this “SEOcentrism” and aptly so.)
But, these authors gear much of that information toward “gaming” the search engines and social media platforms. Many business owners haven’t learned yet that trying many of supposed hacks leads to abysmal failure in the age of continual search engine and social media platform algorithm changes.
Part of the reason for that is because so many organizations have launched content marketing campaigns. They are flooding the internet with more information than ever. To overwhelmed readers, much of the content is just noise. Yet, content marketing programs in most organizations still are being launched or expanding. But, what gets the attention of your target audiences? As importantly, what kind of content increases conversion rates?
There are several aspects of high converting content that have been consistent over time. Today, they are more imperative to employ when developing, writing and distributing content. Here are several keys to successfully converting content.
It must be relevant to your audience.
Your firm’s content must have context for the end user, not just focus on the message the organization or marketing and sales team wants to convey. In the last couple of years, as content marketing has become obligatory, many marketing teams have fallen back into the role of a broadcaster rather than an educator. The focus has become message rather than the audience needs and building a genuine relationship with the principal audiences.
Naturally, it’s important to tell your organization’s story and convey all of the benefits of your product or service. But your reader is still asking “How will this help me?” and “Can this company solve my problem?” and, of course, “Why should I care?” You answer those questions by making the content relevant to the needs of your end user, not just an opportunity to broadcast your message. Otherwise, you can expect to lose your target audience’s attention because your message wasn’t audience-driven.
It must be immediately useful and transfer valuable knowledge or information.
Your goal is to transfer your knowledge to your audience in a way that causes them to think you’re a brilliant problem-solver. So, your content must solve a problem or answer a question that your reader or customer has. These days, studies show prospective clients will research you before they call you about two-thirds of the time. In fact, most people are online researching to solve some problem.
That means many of your prospective clients may be up in the middle of the night researching their issue. They’re hoping to find someone who can give them some answers and, in some cases, relieve some pain they’re experiencing.
Your site might be at the top of search, but visitors are coming to your site wanting to find the solution to their problem or at least a partial one and evidence that you can solve the problem. If they don’t find it there, they’ll continue to search until finding someone whose content has convinced them their brand they can help.
So, give your target audience ebooks, checklists, calculators, blog articles, video demonstrations, on-demand webinars, slide presentations—anything that is relevant to them that will help them choose your business as their solution.
Your content needs to be expertly produced and high-quality.
There is a lot of “thin” content out there that is no more than poorly constructed drivel. Authors wrote much of that content with SEO or SEM in mind and not only do Google and Facebook know it, but your target audience does, too. They probably find it offensive that your organization apparently thinks they lack the intellectual capacity to discern good content from worthless content. They know the difference between authentic and misleading content.
Take the time to research your audience’s needs, wants, desires, pain points and other aspects of their audience profile. Do real buyer personas. Content creation must be data-driven activity, not just an intellectual one based on best guesses. Develop content that targets your target audience precisely and conduct research on the fundamental elements of each piece of your content to make sure it’s factually correct and sounds intelligent to that audience.
Be willing to provide the names or organizations associated with the sources you used and prepared to answer direct questions about what you wrote or created when a prospective or current client calls. Creating content in any other way is insulting to your customers and may kill your credibility, your organic SEO, and your revenue.
Your content must keep it real.
Your reputation and brand value depend on the level of integrity you inspire, and your prospective customer’s first contact with your organization will often be through your content. Readers and visitors can see straight through content that pretends to be helpful but is a thinly-veiled sales pitch. Moreover, by now, most internet users know they are signing up for your email newsletter when they download content and that you want to sell them something.
Be genuine about your intentions that your goal is to make them a client (without being flagrant about it too often, which is where marketing automation becomes necessary in email marketing). Show them you’re trying to do that with content that solves your their problem and changes their situation as a result. If you offer them an ebook, for example, do so with the goal of truly helping them, not with the intent to make an immediate sale.
Don’t try to fake readers out with your content. Make it filled with immediately executable strategies, not just teaser content designed to get them to buy something. It’s still important to make them some offer in an email newsletter or ebook. Just be creative about it so you don’t come off as more “salesy” than helpful.
Moreover, “do brand you”. Show who you are in your content offerings. People buy from other people, not from organizations or brands. People care about the personalities of those they may work with so be real. And, skip the jargon, the hyperbole, and the million dollar words.
Skip the hard sell and cut straight to the heart of their need and meet it with good content. This way, you’ll connect with them in a way that doesn’t smack of aggressive used car salesperson rather than trusted advisor and potential ally.
Your content must engender trust.
All of the previous aspects of higher-converting content, if carefully considered, will help create trust with your audience. Of course, there are other elements like consistency and careful visual branding that also help generate trust with your target market.
But, the bottom line is what author and speaker, Bob Burg says. “All things being equal, people will do business with, and refer business to, those people they know, like and trust.” If you don’t inspire genuine confidence in your target audience, and that usually starts with your content, then you can’t expect the kind of conversion rates that make you profitable.
Your content must gratify your reader.
To achieve the bottom line results you need, you must create content that consistently and thoroughly pleases your target reader. Use it to make them want to return repeatedly to your organization as “the” resource for such content. As there is more content of inconsistent quality is flooding the internet, it’s become harder to rise above the din and grab and keep your audience’s attention.
If you want to keep your primary audience interested in your brand and make them loyal followers, you content must be excellent, interesting, immediately useful, trustworthy and consistent. That content helps convert leads into revenue.
(c) 2015-2017. Dahna M. Chandler for Thrive Writing, Inc., a division of Thrive Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This article may not be reproduced in whole or in part without express written permission of the author.
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