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Ask GH: What are your best hacks to make content convert?
Content marketing is in everyone's playbook, but once you get visitors, how do you convert them into subscribers, customers, and fans?
Not necessarily hacks but some things you should try:
-Building customer/subscriber relationships via social media: When people share your content on Twitter, favorite it, retweet it and most importantly thank them (and not with some generic lame response). Also, don't be afraid to follow them, they're most likely in your target audience if they're sharing your content.
-Email collectors/Surveys on popular blog posts: This may be bias, but tools like Qualaroo are great for this. Building an email list is a great way to convert people into regular subscribers of your content or potential customers of your product. Also, surveys can lead people to more useful content or to products that they may find useful that you provide.
-Images (Good ones) + Killer Headlines - Recently @sean sent me an article to tweet that had about 100 retweets when he sent it out. I got very similar results when I tweeted it. Why? Because the headline was link baity, original, and awesome and the image was even cooler. People are getting content shoved in their face all day everyday. Want to stand out? Be original.
Those are great ones Everette.
A few more that I have:
- The "But wait, there's more" approach where you give additional resources on top of the "Free" content for people who register/sign up.
- The serialized approach to content, which hooks people in for the next installment. GrooveHQ is doing a good job with this. Same with Segment.io.
- I love how Unbounce does the post-webinar registration, blog registration hack, which gets them 2-for-1 conversions off their webinar content.
Interested to see what the community has to add as well.
re: Building customer/subscriber relationships via social media - I found this to be huge personally (B2B, SaaS)
- I spent a long time just spewing content on twitter measuring mostly "number of followers" (this may be old news to you guys)
- it wasn't until I ran a report (Buffer was also a big help here) on who had recently unfollowed our startup that I realized it had almost no connection to times published, content, headlines etc. and that most "engagement" was more or less arbitrary (and from bots)
- going forward I will be keeping much closer tabs on real people connecting with the brand through Twitter lists, g+ circles and LinkedIn
anyone with similar findings in B2B?
Some super-awesome comments here so far, but I'll add a few, too:
1) I have to say this... you can't *make* content convert. I know, it's just wording... but sometimes the way we say things is actually the way we think about it. Try reframing it... how can we *compel* those consuming our content to take the next logical action. And that generally means you have to have a very clear idea on who you're speaking to.
2) Know who you're speaking to. Regardless of media, if you aren't saying the right things to the right people at the right time, you're going to have a hard time getting people to take action. It's great to hear how someone who writes about very horizontal, in-demand things where people are already hot to take action gets those people to take action, but you need to know who your audience is, what is motivating them, where they are in the buying process, etc. Lots of great comments on this part so I'll leave it there.
3) Know what the next logical step is and make the goal of your compelling content to move them toward that. Rather than thinking about the entire process of getting them to become a customer (something you obviously need to do - I’m talking about in the context of developing a piece of content), just consider what the next thing they need to do is and give them enough to make that happen. Same thing goes for optimizing workflows in your product, like on-boarding… don’t give them everything they could possibly need, just enough to take the next logical step.
4) It's Content *Marketing*... most people forget the last part. Most of the time I say that when it comes to distribution... if you publish it, they will come, right? Clearly that's not the case, so spend 20% of your time creating content, and 80% marketing/promoting/distributing it. But also, it's Content *Marketing* ... meaning it should be doing something to promote whatever it is you're trying to get them to do (see #3 above). It's great to write content just to share learnings... but don't expect that to convert as well as content designed to get people to take action converts.
#4 is a biggie, understanding your target audience and finding those communities in which you can distribute your content to the right set of eyes is muy importante!
We have a software startup that allows companies to create checklist templates and standard operating procedure documents.
I wrote a post that trended on reddit about Warren Buffets Investment Checklist
I then added that checklist as a template inside our app and made a gif of me going through the checklist as an interactive checklist at the bottom of the post (check out the post if that confuses you).
It was definitely my highest converting blogpost from views to app signups.
My top 3 have been:
1) Delivering personalized CTAs in content based on the visitors explicit profile information and implicit behavior. For example, if a visitor completes a form to access the recording from a webinar about growth hacks + indicated on the form that they are a SaaS business, they’ll receive a CTA inviting them to download a case study related to SaaS growth hacks the next time they visit the site.
2) Publishing content that addresses the most common objections heard in the sales process. These are great tools for speeding up the sales process.
3) Developing content topics that add value for current customers and partners. By focusing on helping the people we are already connected to, they help us expand our network more efficiently and effectively.
I think Bryan Harris over at Videofruit is killing it with his content conversion. Following one of the main ideas from his "first 100 followers" post on okdork, for every post he writes he goes that extra step and creates a post-specific bonus. By the time you get the end of the post you can't wait to put in your email address and get that extra resource. He said that he gets a ~20% conversion rate from this stuff, way above the average.
By the time you've written content, the last thing you want to do is spend more time, putting together some custom resource.
But as in the gym, the last reps are the one that matter most.
Most of the content that drives customers is gated, ie behind a form. Think guides, reports, and so forth. Converting leads into sales ready opportunities is a must-do. Here are three ways we do that:
1) Smart thank you pages showing a free "assessment" form if the lead is new.
2) Proactive chat notification on the content download page, relating to the content. e.g. if it's about using AdWords for Lead Generation then we'll show proactive chat for something like "I hope you enjoy the guide! Can I show you how Bizible tracks leads in Salesforce so you can optimize by ROI"
3) All the obvious things like lead nurturing, varying CTAs, calling leads, including links in content, etc.
A tactic that Kinvey has done well is to create content, such as ebooks, that integrate their product into it. For example, their particular product will enable developers to more easily create a mobile app. So, when they write content like "How to get started making an HTML5 app", one of the steps in their ebook is on how to do some step really easily w/ their product. Of course, their content isn't entirely on using their app, so it's a fine balance between being helpful and promotional.
@mattgratt I'd love your take on this one!
Thanks Morgan. (These @ mentions.. they are both good and bad :)
So my opinion and experience here is that it depends:
- is it a direct purchase? or is it something more complex and long-term (eg enterprise software) ?
- is it demand generation, or demand harvesting?
- where is the traffic coming from and what are you hoping to get them to do?
For example, if you're selling something like renters insurance or an ecommerce platform - anyone where people know what they need - and your content is getting traffic from SEO on related keywords, just go ahead and through a button on there at the end, and that can work.
- If it's a more considered purchase with more education required, best way to go (imho) is to move that visitor from a paid or earned media channel to an owned channel (email, community, social channels, whatever you might have) and continue to educate them. Hubspot is a pretty good model here.
re: 2nd point, Rand Fishkin has a good video up today on that idea - http://moz.com/blog/targeting-your-audience-earlier-in-the-buying-process-whiteboard-friday
Thanks @mattgratt great point on moving from earned > owned. I think that's the key.
And yes, the mentions...they're powerful :)
I think @ross may have some great ideas as well, he's a content marketing guru.
Ironically - you have3 to do what some audience development people will do, which is buy support for your content.
I think that hack don't convert the content, in my opinion it helps to convert the content. We have to establish personal relations with the user. Email still been the most effective way to convert users, ones we have the email of one person who subscribed at our web, we only have to execute a strategic campaign to convert that user.
First of all we have to create content constantly of whatever we want "10 things that you..." "Why you don't", share our experiments and the results, create e-books, infographics, etc. All this material will make more attractive to the user subscribe. We can also use Qualaroo, where we not only are going to get a quiz of the user, also we are going to get the email. The method that more effect have, for me, are the e-books, create one based in what we learn and put "If you want this free e-book put your email here" This is very effective.
Second we have to convert the subscribers into customers, here we is where we have establish a personal relation with the subscriber, we have to generate content and send emails to the user, those emails have to be the more personal as possible. The mails can include some We can do some remarketing campaigns with adroll.
When we win the customer the final mission is to convert into a fan, creating merchandising and send to the customer. We have to still sending more emails, now more personalities. A good trick is after the user bought our product we can offer some discounts like "If you share this we are going to give a 25% discount to the person that you want" "If you share this you will participate at this contest".
There are a lot of techniques described here that I think is really good ones. You have to try and try again to see what works out best for you. I am thinking about the emotional part of it - why the human brain feels more comfortable with some brands/sites/senders of content than others. We all know the importance of CTAs, conversion funnels and more, but what make the best surroundings for it to work? What´s your thoughts?
Seems to me you have to a) have a product/service people want, and then b) talk about it in an interesting, polite way. I don't buy the sales theory that says the seller can "make" the buyer respond: if the content reader is an appropriate target (is looking to buy a car), understands what you do because you've discussed some aspect of it interestingly ('trends in total car cost"), and still doesn't convert, it's time to re-engineer the service/product.
That said, I read recently about an interesting-sounding content customising app on the market, which I haven't tried, that puts a customizable pop-up on your content page that asks the reader anything you want - such as "Was this article any good?", "What would make this article better?", "Was this article too technical (not specific enough, too long, etc) etc"
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