Turning visitors to your website into customers. This has to be the holy grail for today’s marketer.
We put reams of content online….share on social media…email out blogs, newsletters and research – all with the aim of converting contacts into clients.
But what should you really be producing to capture people’s attention and improve your conversion rate?
Here we look at what you should be putting out there and what you can expect in response.
Moving on from SEO
SEO has been such a focus of digital marketing in recent years, it can be hard to imagine that it’s not the be-all-and-end-all.
And of course search engine optimisation plays a very important role in getting your material out there. Better SEO means greater visibility – which should ultimately translate to more conversions. If you’re looking for SEO tips, you can read here how Google ranked websites in 2016 and what its decisions were based on.
But search engine visibility shouldn’t be your only or even your main objective.
Increasing your focus on customers
Content that is truly customer-focused – rather than search engine spider-focused – should be your aim.
If you write material that is of genuine interest to your audience, it will resonate with your readers. It will encourage them to come back for more. It will – ultimately – turn them into brand allies who turn to you for solutions, share it with others and advocate your brand.
So if this is your focus, how does that translate into practice?
1. You need to really understand your customers. Get a clear picture in your mind of the people you are writing for. Create a persona: how do they speak? What are their priorities and interests? What are their motivators? Where do they ‘live’ online – what blogs do they read; what forums do they belong to? Are they happy to read technical or detailed material, or are they time-pressed and prefer brief snippets?
2. You need to tell stories. Find something to say – it’s possible, no matter what area of business you’re in. In fact, your content should only map very loosely to your business. You’re not writing about your products and services – but about the challenges and topics your audience cares about.
3. Make it relevant. Your audience personas will help with this – ensure you focus on their ‘top of mind’ issues. Search hashtags and keywords used by your readers. See what topics they read and write about themselves. All of these will help you identify subjects that will capture their attention.
4. If you do want to touch on your solutions and services – focus on the end user. ‘Don’t tell me about your grass seed, tell me about my lawn’ is a good mantra to remember. And this self-interest among buyers is as relevant in B2B as in B2C. What will someone get if they buy into your solutions? More confidence that their money is being invested responsibly? The stability of an established bank? The reassurance of guaranteed interest rates? Concentrate on the ‘so what’ and see your interaction rates soar.
5. Keep it on brand. People should recognise material you produce because it’s in keeping with your house style. Although you may nuance communications for different personas, overall your tone should be consistent – as should your look and feel. Consistent branding can be a challenge, but it’s essential.
You can read more tips for compelling writing in our blog on maximising engagement with your content marketing.
Remember – conversion isn’t instant
While SEO can have immediate results, converting readers to customers has a longer lead time. Optimising landing pages is very different to writing for conversion. Even if you do all of the above, don’t expect an instant uplift.
It can be a far longer process, with a number of stages. Creating brand awareness is the first step. From there, you aim to build affinity, making people advocates of your firm and positively inclined to share and endorse your blogs, whitepapers and research.
Creating content that converts should be seen as a journey, not a single step in your marketing process.
And keep SEO in mind. Your audience are the main focus of your writing – but not to the exclusion of common sense search engine marketing. Don’t forget meta-descriptions (ie, the need to include keywords in your titles and page headings). If you provide your web team with meta-data alongside the material you want published, you control the words that describe your work. This can make a big difference in getting it noticed.
Compliance is crucial
Importantly – remember that if you’re a regulated firm, whatever you produce needs to be compliant.
Keep in line with the FCA’s rules on financial promotions by reading our blog on how to write content your Compliance team will approve.
If conversion-generating content is your objective in 2017, we hope this has given you some suggestions. One thing we touched on was the importance of brand consistency. For more advice on this, you can read our Five top tips for ensuring brand consistency. You can download a free copy here.