Content marketing is a valuable strategy for many reasons: among them, it’s responsible for increasing your ranks in search engines, it builds your brand reputation, and it attracts new customers to your site if your content is effectively syndicated. But the most important purpose for a content marketing strategy, and the ultimate goal for all of its peripheral effects, is getting more sales for your business, and sales are driven by conversions.
If you can optimize your content marketing strategy to generate a greater number of conversions, you can increase the ROI of your campaign and build a bigger customer base from your readership. Throughout this guide, we’ll cover the most important ways you can optimize your content for conversions.
Conversions aren’t the same for every business. An online marketplace might consider a conversion to be a successful purchase and cart checkout, while a B2B service provider might be satisfied with getting someone to fill out a short form with their personal information. However you define conversions on your site, getting more of them is going to increase your sales and justify the time and resources you spend on your content.
If your site is set up properly, there should be ample opportunities for conversion no matter where a user ventures. There should be some visible form or call to action on every page to help guide your users to a successful conversion.
Because you’ll have conversion opportunities everywhere, the longer a user stays on your site, the more chances you’ll have at successfully converting them. Bounce rates are the worst enemy of conversions; once a user leaves your site, there is no chance of getting them to convert. Therefore, your content should do a good job of leading your readers deeper into the site.
First, you’ll need to make sure your content is captivating. If a reader ventures into your site and finds your content to be irrelevant, non-useful, or poorly written, you will likely face an immediate bounce. Instead, make sure all your content is compelling, interesting, and entertaining. While this is easier said than done, having an appealing content strategy is an important foundation for optimizing for conversions.
Second, interlink your site heavily. On each page, include at least one link to another internal page (so long as it’s relevant to your content). This is especially useful on your blog, where you can link your readers to more specific information about related topics. These links are opportunities for your readers to venture deeper, and the more chances they have to do that, the better.
Next, you’ll want to ensure you have appropriate funnels set up for your inbound traffic. The bottom of your funnel is going to be your primary opportunity to convert: this could be a designated internal page, a separate landing page, or even just a form at the bottom of your page. However you choose to convert your users, place that conversion opportunity at the bottom of your funnel and build outward.
For example, if you have separate segments of users coming to your site, don’t funnel them all to the same destination. Use a separate funnel for each segment of your audience, and build outward. As a simplistic scenario, imagine you sell cars and trucks. You could have a separate conversion form for each category, and use your content articles (categorized as car-related or truck-related, accordingly) to drive users to the correct ultimate destination.
If you want to successfully get your users to take action, you have to make them want to take action. The best way to do this in the context of a content strategy is through strong language, generally toward the end of your article.
For example, if you’ve sufficiently covered the news and information on a new type of chair you’re selling, you could conclude with something like, “Contact us to find a perfect chair for your needs” or “Customize your own set of chairs today!” These phrases both include a strong prompt in the form of a command—in the first example, this is “contact us,” and in the second example, this is the pairing of “Customize” and “today.” Ideally, these would both have embedded hyperlinks taking the user to the intended destination for conversion.
Without a call to action within the body of your content, your users simply won’t take action. They may venture to different corners of your site through your interlinking structure, but they aren’t going to take any concrete action unless they are instructed to.
Conversions are difficult because people are reluctant to hand over their money (or their personal information, if you’re trying to convert through an informational form). In order to successfully convert, you have to convince them that the transaction is valuable for them.
If you’re selling products, your goal should be to convince your reader that your product is valuable before you confront them with the option to make a purchase. For example, in your blog, you can detail the reasons why a product pays for itself over time, or emphasize the value of your product versus that of a competitor. However you choose to do it, by the time your user has a chance to convert, they should be convinced that your product is worth buying.
If you’re simply fishing for information, you’ll have a slightly easier job. All you’ll have to do is have some kind of valuable offer in exchange for the signup. If you’re already engaged in a content marketing strategy, this can be something as simple as a free download of a whitepaper, or a subscription to an email blast with exclusive content. It could also be a free trial or free sample. Again, whatever you choose, make sure it is valuable enough to the user to warrant the transaction.
One strategy to getting more conversions is to interrupt your readers with an opportunity to convert. For example, you could set an automated ad to pop up when a user is on a blog page for a specific amount of time, blocking the content until the user either submits their information or closes the window. This strategy is annoying to many users, so you might get a few extra bounces, but the users who remain will be far more likely to convert. Just be sure to keep your form fields short so your users can submit their information quickly and keep reading.
No two companies are the same, and no two conversion strategies are going to be alike. When you first start optimizing for conversions, you may find it difficult to gain traction, even if you’re following all the best practices you can. It’s going to take time to learn how your audience behaves, and what drives them to make purchasing decisions after reading your content. As you learn more about your audience, make adjustments to your approach and continue to refine your strategy. You should notice your conversion rate increasing over time, and as a result, you’ll have more revenue to continually reinvest in your inbound marketing strategy.
Want more information on content marketing? Head over to our comprehensive guide on content marketing here: The All-in-One Guide to Planning and Launching a Content Marketing Strategy.