In the digital marketing world it is not uncommon to place a great deal of emphasis on conversion rate improvement. We pay to drive traffic to specific pages on our site and we optimize those pages to the best of our ability to try to capture a return on our investment. Unfortunately, for most of us that means that only these pages are being optimized for conversion– which means a large portion of your website isn’t converting as well as it could.
Your Website’s Conversion Rate is Not Optimized
How many pages do you have on your website?
Now how many of those pages are landing pages for promotions or ads?
If you’re like most online brands, then the number of landing pages is minuscule compared to your total number of pages. All of that content makes up a vast portion of your website that you’re neglecting. What’s worse is that you’re (hopefully) spending money on your content marketing efforts, but you aren’t optimizing the content you’re promoting and distributing for conversion.
With all the fuss over trying to find the ROI on content marketing, has anyone in your business stopped to consider that it’d be a lot easier if you could track conversions from that content (or get conversions from that content)?
Are your content pages abandoned once their publishing cycle is complete?
Your Content Must Align With Your Objective
The first step is to ensure that your content strategy aligns with your business objectives. If your branded content looks a lot like Buzzfeed, then you’re going to have a hard time converting via that content (though this can be great for improving brand awareness and promoting shareability).
Fortunately, most of us create content that addresses some need, even if it’s a need for more information. By the time the visitor hits one of your content pages, they either know what you do or are in a position to be introduced to your company.
How to Fail Miserably at Converting Organic and Social Traffic
Any good marketer will keep a landing page clear of ads, pop-ups, and any other sort of intrusion that might distract the viewer from reading the sales copy, entering the desired information, and clicking the big shiny button.
There are tons of sites out there ignoring best practices for all of their content pages. It’s not uncommon to click a link and have three or four different inbound marketing widgets load. If you do this, you’re making a bad first impression. You’re telling your visitors that marketing is your number one priority, not them.
The visitor is not there to sign up for your mailing list. Their primary objective is to get the info for which they came. So let them have it. Let your readers enjoy your content. If they do, they might share it and provide even more leads (or sales)!
Quick Tips for Writing Content That Converts
Your content shouldn’t be about you. It shouldn’t be self-promoting. It should be honest, simple, useful, and thoroughly unable to be confused with an ad.
If you want to capture their email address or get them to buy something, place your widget near the end and in a place that doesn’t interrupt the flow of content. Don’t be afraid to use images or video to grab their attention, but don’t rely on it. Bolster those eye catching, click-inducing assets with just a little bit of text (perhaps some context, or analysis).
If you have an opportunity to tastefully plug your company or product in a content piece, do so. Provide a link, too. Just be sure to keep it subtle. Don’t try to sell, just mention that you have something (just one click away) that solves the problem you’re discussing. Avoiding interruptions to the user experience ensures you don’t leave your readers with a bad taste in their mouth.
Authority Aids Conversion, Builds Trust
Author profiles and head shots can lend authority to your content and help secure your brand image. This helps also you build trust with your audience.
Additionally, an author’s byline at the end of a post can be a great place to promote your company offerings (especially if the author of the piece works for your company). The byline is a great place to stick a link to that white paper or product video, leading the visitor further into your funnel.
The Scientific Approach to Conversions Via Content
One of the best things you can do is to create content templates. Use a specific template for a specific kind of content. Then, do a little A/B testing. Find out how your content is best laid out. Figure out what page elements need to be there and which don’t. If you’re using templated content, you can use landing page optimization software like Unbounce to perfect each of your templates.
Heat-mapping (a color coded visualization of where your readers are looking on the page) is another great tool for increasing conversions. Knowing where your audience’s eyes go once they’re on the page can tip you off as to where those email sign up widgets might best be placed. You can then use the tool again after placing your widget to ensure that reader’s eyes are being drawn there.
You can also use Google Analytics to find the pages that are drawing the most traffic from search and are getting the most social shares (Tip: look at social shares per number of page visitors to get a ratio which will provide more value than raw numbers). Look at the type of content, how it’s laid out, and how it is presented, then see if mimicking that post using a different topic yields similar results. You can also find ways to expand on popular subjects to produce new content, just be sure to link to the new content from the old post.
Your Most Important Pages
Your homepage and pages directly off your homepage (About Us, Products/Services, Contact Us) are critical. For visitors landing on your homepage, these pages are typically what they thumb through as they try to get a feel for who you are and what you do. This is another chance to convert!
For business websites, particularly ones who offer a limited number of products and services, I prefer to tell a story using the navigation–meaning the site’s architecture and navigation work together, flowing in such a way that a user’s natural navigation of the site educates, convinces, and converts. In the end, what you’ve created is a sales funnel.
Each of these pages should be written in a way that is easy to read, easy to understand, and builds on the previous page. There’s a lot of structural nuance to this approach, but at its root is the copy. Check your visitor flow in analytics to see if traffic starting at the homepage is flowing through your top nap as intended. If not, look at the drop-off points and see what can be improved on those pages using the techniques above.
Need Some Help?
That’s a lot of information to absorb. You might agree entirely with this post, but you may not know how to go about making these changes to your site or you might not have the time or resources. If that’s the case, find out how I can help you improve your site’s content conversion rates. Contact me now.