Content marketing can serve a lot of different purposes. A blog can drive traffic to your website; a video can educate your audience through a more palatable medium; a case study can empower Sales to close the deal; and an email newsletter can help your prospects and customers understand the nuanced value of your offerings.
But today, we want to talk about perhaps the most beneficial result of content marketing, driving conversions that eventually become qualified leads.
First, though, a quick primer to make sure we’re all on the same page.
What Is Content Marketing?
Simply put, content marketing is any use of content to entice prospects to enter the marketing funnel and then foster them along their journey — from awareness to affinity.
This can take many forms, but the purpose of all content marketing remains the same: educate and inform to convert and sell.
Is this a broad definition? Yes. Is content marketing a broad discipline? You betcha!
It can take so many different forms and influence or compliment so many elements of digital and traditional marketing that many companies fail to spend time developing effective content strategies. Just because you write a bunch of content in a bunch of different mediums and spread it out across a bunch of different channels doesn’t mean it’s going to do the trick.
Effective content marketing is built on omnichannel strategies with clear objectives and detailed tactical approaches. Successful content marketing campaigns identify a target audience, address that audience’s pain points, and meet these targets where they’re at online in a way that is as persuasive as it is unobtrusive.
Most importantly, the content has to provide value for the end user. It has to help them solve a problem, overcome a challenge, or, at least, point them in the right direction toward success.
How to Drive Content Engagement
When it comes to content, engagement isn’t the only thing; it’s everything. All content should be planned, ideated, executed, and distributed with the goal of driving engagement and getting prospects to seriously consider your organization as a viable option to help them solve their needs and pain points.
Here are four proven approaches you can take to drive conversions through the use of content marketing.
1) Gate Your Content
In other words, put it behind a form users must fill out to get your exclusive content. When it comes to gating your content, give it a chef’s K.I.S.S. (“keep it simple stupid,” no offense). The less friction you add to the experience, the more likely you are to generate conversions from folks with actual purchase intent. Most people are hesitant to give away their valuable personal information, so you have to make it as easy as possible for them to convert while also highlighting the value of doing so.
If you’re building a dedicated landing page, make sure that it’s not searchable organically and that it contains no navigation. You want to drive people to this page on your own terms, and you don’t want to give them the opportunity to deviate from the intent of the page. Keep all pertinent information above the fold and consider adding secondary information (such as a short video or a few bullets summarizing the content) below the fold for prospects who need a little extra push.
Better yet, depending on the audience and content type, you can place a frictionless form directly on top of the asset as the user scrolls through the copy or watches the video. This is a great way to get the reader/viewer invested in what you have to say before hitting them with a form. And if you keep the form super simple (email only, for example), your chances of conversion increase greatly.
2) Seek Conversions Wherever Appropriate
If you want users to convert, you have to optimize your content for conversions. That means placing a prominent CTA (call-to-action) in all content pieces — even if those materials are meant for individuals who have already converted and have been added to your CRM.
- Writing a blog? Link to a conversion point within the body copy (see below).
- Creating a new webpage? Create an exit intent pop-up with a highly relevant content asset.
- Developing an infographic with info and assets derived from a longer-form asset? Treat is like the teaser it is and add a CTA for the user to download the whole shebang!
The point is, as long as it’s tasteful and not too in-your-face, you can (and should) explore almost every opportunity to encourage prospects to take your desired action.
3) Take SEO Seriously
So many agencies and organizations pay lip service to search engine optimization but fail to execute when the rubber meets the road. SEO is such an important part of not just driving traffic, but driving the right traffic to your website and other digital properties. By owning the search results to keywords that are highly relevant to your brand, products, and services, you effectively own the first place in line to introduce yourself to your potential customers.
In order to drive conversions organically, you have to dominate your space digitally. This means:
- Comprehensive keyword research
- Optimized copywriting
- Exhaustive backlinking efforts
When developing your editorial calendar for your content marketing initiatives, be sure to keep SEO in mind when ideating topics and considering which audience segments you want to pursue.
Don’t worry about going after the keywords that get the most traffic; that game is likely already over. Instead, create a list of root keywords and then research alternative phrases that might attract the same audience and long-tail keywords that will attract prospects who might be a little more aware of their exact needs.
4) Implement a Holistic, Omnichannel Approach
Regardless of how insightful, compelling, or poignant your content is, you’ll never feel its full impact if you’re not looking for ways to distribute it in a coordinated and cohesive way across multiple channels.
When you’re talking about channel strategy, nothing should be off limits — at least, not at first. Before you ever put pen to paper, you should conduct a thorough content audit to determine where your gaps and strengths are among audience segments, content types, and digital channels. With this knowledge in tow, you can begin fitting together the puzzle pieces of a well orchestrated conversion marketing strategy that targets your audience wherever (and whenever) they are online.
Your content should never live in a vacuum, and you should be developing assets with the idea that they will live in more than one digital or traditional environment. Consider the entire content ecosystem and how to best supplement and influence the user journey with tactics like:
- Adding paid retargeting to your organic social media efforts
- Third-party content syndication tactics to reinforce the conversion potential of a whitepaper
- Leveraging an ungated infographic or blog article to get more folks interested in a webinar
Find the potential for multiple uses across a number of touchpoints and channels. Doing so will ensure maximum efficiency for the assets you’re creating while also uncovering nearly unlimited potential for conversion opportunities.
Still unsure about using content to drive conversions that eventually become great leads and even better clients with lasting ROI? Reach out to Marketri for a more in-depth discussion!
Click here to get things started or schedule a call directly with our CEO, Deb Andrews!