Road Trip! 5 Ways Conversions Drive Your Content Marketing

Content marketing starts with driving traffic and engagement. Content is the fuel that both ignites and feeds that fire, bringing people to your website for valued information that makes their work (in the case of B2B) or their life (in the case of B2C) better. Shareable content is particularly important in getting this process going.

But content marketing is all about conversion too. Unfortunately, many marketers forget that idea, opting instead to pay more attention to glamorous topics such as content strategy and development, along with related traffic and engagement analytics.

I’m all for traffic and engagement. But they don’t pay any bills. So how are you going to make your content efforts pay? In the end, a conversion of some type is essential to prove out content marketing success.

Let’s define conversion. Conversion is simply convincing someone to share their information with you, sign up for something (probably some more content) or otherwise raise their hand to say they are interested in and ready to learn more about the topic in which your brand is an expert. Then they are a prospect.

In this sense, think of the conversion stage of content marketing in the same way you would direct marketing: Getting the “order” is paramount. Whetting the consumer’s appetite for more information starts the conversion … and then having an offer to fulfill their desires brings them home.

So how can you create more conversions? Put these 5 approaches to work and watch those strangers warm up to you, take action, and become prospects.

Create Calls-to-Action (CTAs) that Look the Part and Work Hard

 Make every CTA big and bold. Don’t go nuts, but do make it stand out on the page or within the content. Make sure your CTA provides real value too, and is specific. When you’re dealing with content, a “Contact Us” CTA means nothing. But “Sign Up for Our Newsletter” or “Receive Your Free Ebook” does. Finally, make a button that is clearly the place to click. And everywhere, keep words simple, crisp, clean and direct.

Position Your CTAs Logically and Visibly

 Notice we said CTAs in the plural. It’s always smart to have CTAs in a couple spots, because readers consume content in different ways. Some are ready to convert early, some are only convinced enough to act once they reach the bottom of a page or the end of a piece.

So serve the consumer efficiently and place one CTA above the fold, and one below, at the end of the content. For above-the-fold CTAs, the right side of the page (especially top right) is a proven winning spot.

Finally: Test CTAs. Don’t just assume a dud CTA is not performing because it’s a bad offer. Maybe the problem is a bad design, or a bad spot on the page. So try new looks and new places and see what works before assuming the offer is bad.

Keep New CTA Offers Flowing

You still have to keep the flow of new content and new offers coming. Any offer is going to wear itself out after awhile. Testing your CTA creative and positioning (above) is important. But never fall into the trap of thinking that one single offer is good for now and going to last you forever to boot. Everything goes stale … so keep the fresh stuff coming.

Create Great Landing Pages

Never link a CTA to your Home Page. Send people to a page geared to the offer (you have an offer right?), and make sure that page fulfills that offer in a clean, simple and straightforward way. Don’t overthink landing pages, but do pay these building blocks ample attention:

  • Bold Headline
  • Descriptive Subheadline
  • Minimum of one supporting image
  • Short, crisp, direct and benefit-oriented copy block describing the value (use bullets too)
  • A form to capture information and relay the reader’s request

Make the Form Friendly and Easy

 The form is everything. Everything about conversion in general, and great landing pages in particular, comes down to a form that is obviously a form, easy to fill out, and eminently clear in how to submit it.

But note: SUBMIT itself is a bad word. Who wants to “submit” something? Use words like “Download Your Free Whitepaper,” “Join Our Newsletter” or “Receive my Free Guide” in the button.

As for how much information you ask for, the best plan is to get the minimum of information you need to follow up and fulfill the request … and to get your sales team started on their process. For B2C, First Name, Last Name and Email are a minimum, and you could ask for more as non-required fields. For most B2C offers, First Name, Last Name, Email and Company Name are all pretty fair game. You can ask for Phone, but requiring it may depress response (or just get you a bunch of bogus numbers.)

What’s our mantra today? Everything we do with content marketing comes down to getting conversions. If you don’t find out just who is interested in you and your topic, you’ll never make a sale that’s traceable back to your content marketing efforts. Convert your thinking, and make conversion a focus.

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