How to avoid the content mistakes that could cost you conversions

Web DesignIt’s accepted that great content is the route to success in digital marketing.

The right content, shared with the right people at the right time, will deliver useful, valuable information to your target market. It will drive traffic to your website, amplify your messages and – ultimately – promote the products and services you are marketing.

Content marketing can boost your organic search rankings and enable you to tell stories about your brand. If you can identify the most effective marketing content and the best way to can use it, you should be able to maximise engagement with your content strategy.

But content marketing isn’t as easy as you might think. If it was, there wouldn’t be the wealth of blogs, guides, articles and e-books devoted to it.

In particular, some specific – and all-too-common – mistakes can seriously impact your conversion rates, as Twitter pointed out in a blog earlier this year.

Here, we round up the content rules you should follow.

  1. Don’t use content to overtly sell

If there’s one thing that content marketing isn’t, it’s a sales pitch. If you want people to read, engage with, and download your content, it needs to be useful, relevant and valuable to your audience. Hitting them up with a call to action or overt sales message too early or without first providing some useful information is likely to turn off your readers.

Take this on board and, as well as keeping your readers happy, you will give your website a boost in Google’s eyes. The search engine ranks content according to its quality, and to help Marketers publish content it values, has produced its own Developers’ Guide. The guide provides advice on what it considers good content; you can read more about it in our blog on What is high quality content – tips direct from Google.

  1. Tailor content to your audience

Might sound obvious, but it’s surprising how much content is still pumped out with little or no regard to the reader. Your content should be informed by an in-depth knowledge of your audience. Do this and you’ll ensure you deliver material on the topics your readers are interested in.

Create buyer personas to help you fully understand your audience – their traits, preferences and interests. Personalise email content to ensure it’s tailored to your readers. No-one likes to feel they are just a number on a Marketer’s database. Make content relevant, real and bespoke.

  1. Content doesn’t have to = text

There are times when text is the only way to address the topic you want to cover. But it’s not always the most effective way to get a message across – and constant text-heavy content is going to wear your readers down.

Our blog on the most effective marketing content found that infographics and videos can be highly successful. Infographics are a great way of sharing information in bite-sized chunks, while videos are easily digestible and a nice alternative to written content.

Making your content more visual can pay dividends. Visually-rich web content has been found to generate up to 94% more views, while tweets with images average a 35% increase in retweets.

Include some non-text elements in your content and your conversions will jump. Test some social media posts with and without videos or images and see what difference you record. You may be surprised at the difference it makes.

  1. Include a clear call to action

While your content definitely shouldn’t be a sales pitch, you do need to keep in mind that you’re producing it for marketing purposes. Content that doesn’t take the reader on the next stage of their journey is content that’s failed.

Your content may not even mention your product or service – but it does need to invite the reader to the next stage of the marketing funnel. A clear call to action is essential. Depending on your content, your product and your readers, this CTA may be:

  • To download a more targeted piece of content, perhaps with a more overt product or service message
  • To sign up for an event
  • To register for a newsletter or other future content
  • To request a meeting or demo

Although marketing content shouldn’t overtly sell, readers are resigned to – and even expect – some quid pro quo when it comes to valuable content and their data.

Most will not be surprised to be asked for contact information, for instance, in return for more in-depth thought leadership. In fact, readers are likely to be left slightly bemused if they aren’t taken on a journey at the end of their content; it’s a convention we’ve come to expect.

And – importantly – make sure your CTA is obvious. Whether it’s in an email, blog post or webpage, if the ‘next step’ isn’t clear, you will lose conversions.

  1. Create a content strategy

The best content isn’t ad-hoc and unplanned. If you want your content to deliver, you need to build a successful content marketing methodology. Create a balance of topics and of media; mix it up to devise a more engaging strategy.

Not only will this give you a more thought-through range of content to share, it will save you time. When you move away from creating content ‘on the hoof’, you open the potential to use automation tools to plan and schedule what you share.

Plus, your content fits better with your firm’s and overall Marketing team’s strategy, making it a more integrated element of your campaigns.

You produce better content, as you’re not rushing to meet tight deadlines – so your conversion rate should soar. And with a more planned approach, you can make sure your approval process is watertight, avoiding errors and regulatory breaches.

Create content that delivers conversions

Hopefully this has given you some tips on the mistakes to avoid, and the rules to follow, in creating conversion-rich content. Building webpages that attract and engage is a key element of this – and ensuring your site works as well on a mobile device as on a desktop is essential to that.

Our tipsheet, 10 ways to make your website mobile-friendly, has advice on how to ensure your site ticks the boxes when it comes to mobile accessibility. You can download a free copy from our resource library.

Nothing in this document should be treated as an authoritative statement of the law. Action should not be taken as a result of this document alone. We make no warranty and accept no responsibility for consequences arising from relying on this document.