MIMA March Meetup RecapApril 6, 2016
Save the Date for the 2016 MIMA SummitApril 19, 2016
As many of us marketers have hopped on the content marketing bandwagon, we’ve transformed into lean, mean content-creating machines (or so we’d like to think!). However, while we might be able to pull a rabbit blog post out of our hats at a moment’s notice, one of the biggest challenge content-creators face is getting content to convert.
Of course, we want our content to educate, inform, and delight our audiences; we want content that establishes our brands as thought leaders; and we want content that will be highly shareable on social. But, when it comes to reporting business value for content marketing, we also need our content to do some heavy lifting for us by converting suspects into prospects, and prospects into paying customers.
Our April monthly event featuring Clay Collins from LeadPages will show us just how the fast-growing B2B software company used content marketing to land over 40K paying customers in 3 years without a single sales call.
In the meantime, here are 4 tips for getting your content to convert.
Don’t Neglect Context – Create an Engaging Content Experience
I’ve been hearing this at multiple marketing conferences lately: content doesn’t live in a vacuum. Rather, content is highly dependent on the context that surrounds it—the web layout, design aesthetics, navigation, etc. That context may be just as important to content success as quality writing, innovative thought leadership, or effective content promotion. Once you get readers on the page, consider how you can make them want to stay there and how to make it easy for them to find additional pieces of content that are most relevant to their stage in the buyer’s journey.
Personalize the Content Experience
Just like your individual pieces of content are ideally tailored to buyer personas, shouldn’t your overall content experience also be personalized? While you probably need advanced software to serve up a totally personalized experience for each buyer persona, you could start with something simple like displaying one version of your site to current, logged-in customers and showing a different version of the site to unregistered users. In addition, a simple WordPress plugin can allow you to show a subscribe form only to first-time blog visitors, possibly converting would-be one-time visitors into new subscribers that can be nurtured into leads.
Strike a Balance Between Free and Gated Content
To gate or not to gate content? That is the question every content marketer asks—with tradeoffs regardless of which you choose. Free content = lots of exposure but no leads. Gated content = leads but less exposure. For example, you notice a free PDF at the end of a blog post is getting tons of downloads, but the second you slap a form over it, downloads come to a screeching halt (no matter how many different “submit” buttons you A/B test). The more form fields, the fewer conversions. But the fewer the form fields, the less valuable data for CRM.
To mitigate this, consider which pieces of content to gate based on the target persona’s stage in the buyer’s journey. Keep top-of-the-funnel content free to encourage awareness, but gate middle-of-the-funnel content when potential customers are seriously considering your brand. Also consider David Meerman Scott’s hybrid approach: a first (totally free) offer, with a second offer (that requires registration) embedded within that first piece of content.
Use Data to Replicate High-Performing Content
Most of us have a Google Analytics account, but are you using it to its fullest potential? One of the greatest features of Google Analytics is the ability to set up goals to track conversions and assign business values to specific actions taken by site visitors.
Of course, you will first need to define what high-performing content means from a data standpoint. Does it mean a certain amount of time on a page? Set up an event goal for each time someone spends x amount of time on a page so you’ll know exactly which pages hold the attention of readers longest. Is a high-performing blog post one that leads to the most blog subscribers, the most offer downloads, or the most link clicks to a product page? You can create custom goals for each of these scenarios. By tracking those successes, you will gain greater visibility into the types of content that convert best, discover why they are successful, and be able to replicate those pieces of content in the future.
Interested in more tips and takeaways for content that converts? Join us next week at our monthly event where Clay Collins will lead us in discussion about content marketing, how it’s changed, what it can do for a company’s bottom line, and tips to apply to your own work. And remember, all monthly MIMA events are free for members. See you there!