You've done your research. You've seen the articles on how content marketing can boost website authority, drive traffic and get eyes on your products and services. You sit down and meticulously type up a blog article about your new service, post it on social media, sit back and wait for the orders to roll in...except they never do. Where did you go wrong? The article is engaging, provides hard data and explains why your service is better than that other company's service.
It sounds like you need help improving your content conversion rates.
Consistently producing relevant, interesting content is no easy task. Getting potential customers to convert on that content is even harder. Between doing keyword research, analyzing what's already being said, and then figuring out not only what to say, but how to say it, you'll have your work cut out for you. On top of that, you need to figure out how to get people to buy what you're selling. But this process doesn't necessarily have to be immediate. In fact, since around 98% of customers won't make a purchase during their 1st visit to your website, compelling content acts more as a long-term strategy by building brand awareness, establishing authority and bringing a unique perspective -- all of which play a significant role in customers' minds when it comes time to convert later on.
By producing unique content, you're sowing the seeds of a good reputation. Now it's time to figure out how to harvest it and improve your content conversion rates.
Note: while "content" is an all-encompassing term for many types of media, for the purposes of this article, "content" refers to web pages.
Consider Tangential Content
Tangential content: articles, videos, podcasts, infographics, etc. that delve into a topic that's...well, tangentially related to your products/services/brand, but isn't intended to encourage an immediate conversion. For instance, let's say you hypothetically own a small taco restaurant called Let's Taco 'Bout Tex-Mex. You could consider writing an article about the essential kitchen equipment necessary to create delicious tacos because it's interesting and informative, it may gain social shares and even an influx of organic traffic; however, it probably won't do much to bring foot traffic to your doorstep. But that's not the goal of tangential content, anyway. It's supposed to be different from your typical, branded, here's-why-you-should-buy-my-product articles because frankly, those articles often struggle to get viewership.
Tangential content is more shareable because it isn't a sales-oriented pitch. It strives to improve website authority by link building, establishing a voice, solidifying your reputation and reaching a wide, top-of-funnel audience. Branded content is great to have, but if you're a small business with little clout or if you work in a boring industry, it's going to be hard to gain conversions without that authoritative reputation; and tangential content is the opportunity to build that foundation.
Clear, Prominent, Consistent Calls-to-Action (CTAs)
If you're producing branded content that's sole purpose is to drive conversions, make sure to optimize on-page user experience. Make your intentions clear and make it as easy as possible for users to take whichever action you desire -- make a purchase, register for an event, call, etc. If you don't explicitly and consistently communicate what you want your customers to do after engaging with your website, they won't take those actions. It may sound in-your-face or cheesy, but multiple, clear and prominent CTAs scattered throughout the page will attract and guide users to click through the rest of your sales funnel. CTAs should be short (just a few words), to-the-point, and attention-grabbing. Something as simple as "Call Now", "Request Sample", or "Start Free Trial" will suffice.
Analyze the Customer's Journey
One way to truly understand how potential customers interact with your website is to become one. Start your journey with a Google search of your product or service and see the ways in which users are able (or unable!) to convert. Ask yourself these questions:
As search engines become more and more sophisticated, they adapt to user behaviors. One of the largest trends currently is the advent of mobile-first indexing. In this high-tech world of interconnectedness, just over half of Google searches are now done on mobile devices. That's not to say that desktops aren't important anymore -- they still are. But as more and more users use their phones to conduct searches, the importance of mobile optimization grows.
While Google has stated that mobile responsive design doesn't directly affect organic SERP rankings, it sure does affect on-page statistics like bounce rate, time on page, and overall user experience. Have you ever visited a site on your phone and you had to keep zooming in and out because the text is too small? Or have a hard time clicking on correct menu elements? Yeah...not fun.
But while mobile conversion rates tend to be low and bounce rates remain high, this can be attributed to a number of factors, such as:
Despite these points, mobile bounce rates are trending downward as users become more comfortable with using their phones for day-to-day web browsing. So you may as well get ahead of the curve while you can.
Ed Peabody, Content Specialist
All experienced content marketers have been there -- you spend time doing research, properly cite your sources, write your content, post it for the world to see aaaand...nothing. Crickets. Nobody notices and nobody cares. But why? Don't they know how hard you worked? Don't they appreciate your fun, yet informative, writing style?
It can be downright discouraging to see your articles or posts receive little to no attention, but don't lose hope. This, dear reader, is an opportunity to take a step back, look at the big picture, do some introspection and most importantly, reflect on today's word of the day: relevancy.
Here, we'll go over some common problems that we've seen from content marketing strategies that wind up falling flat.
YOU POST TOO LITTLE, TOO OFTEN
Post frequency matters and can vary based on the industry in which you operate, especially if your content team is small. For example, if you're a singer, comedian, or other entertainer, putting out unique content on your website and social media every other day is probably in your best interest to build a following. However, if you work for a large organization and want to foster engaging conversation or offer a unique perspective, a more long-form, informative and in-depth approach is necessary.
All-too-often we hear organizations say, "we've decided to put out one blog per week", or something along those lines. For most industries, this is inherently a bad idea. The reason? Quality trumps quantity. Especially if your objective is to rank well organically in search engines. Search engine algorithms are constantly evolving to find relevant (hey, there's that word again) content that matches specific user intent. Adhering to a rigid, frequent content schedule often sacrifices quality to meet arbitrary deadlines, when in reality, you should be spending more time doing a deep dive into whatever topic you write about. Many organizations believe that they'll lose relevance if they don't upload new content every week. But in the long-run, a weekly hastily-thrown-together, 200-word post that regurgitates widely known information will not help you as much as a monthly, well-researched deep dive with your unique twist.
Dig a little deeper into the topic, brainstorm your points, find out what's already been said and you can even throw in an infographic for some flair (infographics make great social media sharing opportunities, too!). Take your time with content pieces to ensure they are well-researched and fully informative. Otherwise, you'll be churning out bland content with no unique perspective -- regurgitated talking points that your competition has already covered and probably already ranks well in search engines.
YOU POST CONTENT IN THE WRONG PLACES
Most businesses these days have a website and social media accounts on many platforms in order to rank in search engines and engage with current and potential customers. We've all seen how content goes viral and how social media can truly lend a voice to businesses, giving them a boost in exposure. Many people may think that the more social media accounts they have, the more exposure they get. However, you don't need to be on every platform out there.
Is it truly necessary for your insurance company to have a Snapchat account? Are audiences on Instagram actually interested in seeing office pictures of your law firm? There are always exceptions to every rule, so kudos to you if your insurance company's Snapchat is truly groundbreaking and viral, but realistically, you need to sit down and ask yourself these questions:
Spending time planning and posting content to platforms that aren't optimal for your industry is, frankly, a waste of resources. Instead, concentrate on posting original content to both your website and to platforms on which you may thrive -- if you run a bakery, it would be ideal for you to post pictures of your scrumptious creations on Instagram or Snapchat. If you work for a staffing company, posting job notices on LinkedIn and Facebook is your best bet. If you work for an insurance company, creating informative and helpful long-form content pieces on your website might have the biggest impact. You get the idea.
YOU POST IN THE WRONG MEDIUM
It's not just important to think about where you express your message, but also how you express it. This will be largely dependent not only on your industry, but also the message itself. Well-optimized blog posts and articles tend to dominate much of the conversation when it comes to content creation and search engine optimization (SEO). But with the aforementioned search engine algorithm updates that more accurately target user intent, search engines are beginning to feature various forms of content on search engine results pages (SERPs). These days, you're likely to find Google Posts, Twitter feeds, timestamped videos and more when conducting day-to-day searches. So if a written content piece can be better expressed in image or video form, do it! You're more likely to gain traction through an instructional video for "how-to" or DIY content than you are with an article about it.
YOUR CONTENT IS POORLY OPTIMIZED
When we refer to content optimization, keep in mind that we are specifically referring to written content for SEO. We can't tell you the number of times that we've been hired to take on a website optimization project only to find basic, yet crucial, information missing on important web pages (services pages, cornerstone content, etc.). Even when creating web pages in easy-to-use content management systems such as WordPress or Squarespace, it's important to pay attention to the fundamental aspects of technical SEO. This means providing keyword-researched title tags, meta descriptions, headers, etc. All of these elements come together to signal to search engines what the page is about and what type of page it is.
But these elements shouldn't be filled in arbitrarily. By using SEO tools, you can see what users are searching for, how often they search it and how your competition ranks for any particular search query. This can allow you to make more informed decisions when it comes to content creation both in terms of topics to discuss and ways in which you discuss it. For instance, if you find that government agencies dominate the top search results within a given search term, you should probably shy away from writing about that topic if the objective is to rank in the top positions organically with it. Because search engines rank organic results based on authority, your article is more-than-likely not going to outrank an official government entity. Instead, find a different way to insert yourself into the conversation and be sure to bring something new to the table. If your insights are helpful and relevant to the user, your content will naturally become more authoritative, thereby giving you more exposure by ranking for more keywords and appearing higher in SERPs.
At the end of the day, the real lesson is that you need to be creative, original and strategic with the type of content you produce, the voice you give it and the places to which you upload it. By more intimately understanding your audience and what they're searching for, you can find ways in which to enter the conversation at large and, in the end, become more authoritative. But if you don't have the time, energy or experience to tackle all of this alone, RyTech is here to help. Give your brand a facelift and produce meaningful, helpful content to reach new potential customers.
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