You get into content marketing because you want to make money. It’s an added benefit that you get to share your insights with target audiences and show prospects you’re the best. As important as it is to cast a wide net on social networks and get visibility in results pages, these outcomes are a means to an end – better results, more success – money.
Unfortunately, I’ve noticed that a lot of businesses lose sight of this end-goal when they enter the world of zeros and ones. As a Content Marketing Strategist, I’ve developed a sharp eye for missed ROI opportunities. But in my experience, companies get caught up in the nuances of aesthetics, UI, content and CTAs to the point where they’re reluctant to change things, even if means capturing lost revenue. They might legitimately think my suggestion to move a call-to-action button is a good idea, but they consider it a back-burner issue when they can’t attribute it to numbers.
So now I make a direct tie-in to money, revenue and conversions when I make a recommendation – specifically calling out what a company is losing by not making those changes. If I can show customers that they’re losing money because they haven’t done something, I can usually get them on-board and they end up getting more out of the relationship.
Remember why your site exists
When I want to help a client improve its website (and ultimately, get more results from it), I start by asking a simple question: “Why does your site exist?”
I start by asking a simple question: “Why does your site exist?”
The client should be able to answer this question in 10 seconds or less. If they can’t, the uncertainty will be reflected in their site architecture. And we all love unfocused sites that take you on roundabout routes and make it hard to do what you came to do in the first place.
Less is more – Successful sites are focused
A complete lack of focus is the sign of an insecure website. It says: “we don’t have confidence in one goal, so we are going to use a CTA blitzkrieg.” The way I see it, slapping a call to action on a page that has no focus, message or framework, is like painting a house on a rotten foundation.
Here are some hallmarks of highly successful websites:
- EVERYTHING on the site is built around, and supports ONE COMMON GOAL.
- They do NOT want you to: Read testimonials while watching a concept video and downloading a customer review while Blue Angels fly overhead and elephants do backflips perfectly synchronized to Van Hagar.
Take a walk in your customers’ shoes
To get people to see the light, I ask clients to walk me through an ideal customer visit on their website. We do this together, live on a screenshare, and I ask them to walk me through the site.
Inevitably, we run into a dead end page somewhere. At this point, I run a conversion analysis and show them that the dead end has metrics behind it.
I run a conversion analysis and show clients that dead ends have metrics behind them.
The “Aha” moment
In one instance, a client and I were looking at a Brafton article that was acting as a landing page. The client said, “now I want them to buy something.” I asked, “Where?” She answered, “Well you just have to click on the homepage then find a product…”
This gave me the opening to explain how adding a call to action would give customers a place to convert without having to leave the page. When I compared Brafton article metrics with the site’s average conversion rate (where pages have CTAs) I recognized a lot of missed opportunity.
Brafton articles were generating a large number of visitors per month, which is what I was looking for. What I wasn’t looking for was the disproportionately high bounce rate and low conversion rate for article landing pages. Around 99 percent of the visitors that found Brafton content landed on it. They consumed the content – then left. There was nothing on the page to encourage further engagement.
Based on the number of visits to Brafton articles monthly, and the average conversion rate, I determined the client could be making thousands of dollars more if we added CTAs and (conservatively) bumped article conversion rates to just half the site average (1.1 percent conversion rate).
The client was suddenly receptive to the idea, and six weeks after implementing a CTA strategy for news content, we saw that:
- Revenue was up 249 percent
- Transactions were up 146 percent
- Ecommerce conversion rates were up 121 percent
When in doubt, turn to outside evidence
Quantitative analysis is great, but it has one fatal flaw: Data analysis weighs completely on the analyst’s interpretation of the data.
This is where objective data comes in. Here are some options:
- Short of focus studies, exit surveys are one of the best ways to get qualitative data on your visitors. Find out what those 9 minute visitors are REALLY feeling when on your site.
- On-page clicks: If you can prove the site gets most of its clicks at the bottom of the page, it’s easy to see demand for CTAs.
- Click heat maps: These show you if visitors clicking where you think they are clicking? Is there somewhere else on the page you would like to emphasize?
- Scroll maps: Are you emphasizing your calls to action or other important areas of your site below the fold?
- Mouse movement heatmap: This is the closest you will get to eye tracking. The plugin will track where a visitor’s mouse hovers at all times. If they’re not going where you want, change something.
- Recorded visits: Watch mouse location, zoom in/out, pinch and zoom, scrolling to see where readers go on the site.
- A/B testing: Still not convinced a change is necessary? See what people think. Do an A/B test to determine what customers actually like better.
Segment, segment and segment some more
A lot of website owners don’t understand how little things can contribute to the bottom line. You get struck with tunnel vision looking at your site all the time, but you really have to segment, segment, segment to see how these changes are contributing to ROI.
If you have one page thats converting at 5 percent, and one page thats converting at 1 percent, then you need to look at that and figure out why. Look at your website the same exact way a visitor would. Look at these landing pages and be critical about why they aren’t converting. You might suddenly see how simple changes can make you site immensely more successful.