Three Keys To Better Performing Content

  • Categories:

    Content Marketing

  • Date:

    October 17, 2018

Three Keys To Better Performing Content

Content Marketing

Content marketing has earned its reputation for delivering results. And as a result, more home and building brands are investing in content marketing initiatives that educate, inspire and entertain. 

While all of that engagement is nice, the most effective programs deliver the most relevant business-building conversions. So, how do you lead someone from awareness to customer with content? It may not be as linear as you think.

At Wray Ward, we have a passion for understanding and mapping audience journeys. And most of the time, when we put an audience journey on paper, it is linear. This allows us to isolate roadblocks or hurdles in the audience journey. These roadblocks become points where a message, an ad, an offer or a piece of content will move the audience further. It makes sense that this process looks linear.

In the home category we see pretty consistent customer journeys – Interest, Education, Shopping/Purchasing.  What we can’t possibly know is where every prospective customer will enter the journey, when or if they will take a step back and when or if they will skip steps entirely. 

Thinking about the journey as linear ensures that you include conversions at each journey stage with strong calls to action to the next logical steps. But from a content perspective, considering the journey as an intricate web of possible paths ensures you offer the customer a roadmap to the shortest path to purchase, helping them overcome every obstacle along the way. 

Thinking of the audience journey like a web, or non-linear experience, may sound confusing, but it forces you to create your content marketing program for maximum value by identifying critical conversions, considering the smaller conversions that build to a bigger goal and building on the key principles of better performing content.

Identify the Critical Conversions

The ultimate conversion is a sale. But to lead a customer to that sale, content marketing conversions can take on many forms and define success in many ways.

Perhaps you know through experience that if a customer watches 75 percent of a product video, they make a purchase 10 percent of the time. Or if a prospect opens your weekly newsletter more than 10 times, your sales team increases their chance of gaining a meeting by 75 percent. Or maybe, you know that dispelling that one myth about your product increases intent to purchase by 50 percent. Or, you know that getting a customer to a showroom to try your product really is the difference between seeing and believing.

A critical conversion is anything you can measure that’s instrumental to the audience journey with your brand, product, solution or service. 

No matter what the conversion, the parameters of success must be defined so that it can be measured and evaluated effectively. 

Consider the Micro-Conversion

Think back to the web analogy. Sometimes customers fly straight into the center of the conversion web, perhaps without even considering your competition or engaging with any of your content. That’s a free customer. Congratulations!

On the other end of the spectrum, some people may start on the outside of the web and may interact with your content for inspiration, entertainment or educational purposes for years before making a purchase. And when they’re ready to buy, they have already formed a strong relationship with your brand.

In the home and building category, most audience journeys are somewhere in the middle. For consumers, many home purchases are only made once or twice in a lifetime. They are carefully considered and planned decisions that are seen as big personal investments.

That’s why every micro-conversion within a customer journey holds value. Each time an audience engages positively with your content you are beginning to build brand affinity. These small steps, like watching a video, reading an article, sharing a pin, or commenting on a post, are wins. And the better we measure and understand their impact, the more effective we can be in guiding customers more quickly to a critical conversion that ultimately leads to a sale.

Regardless of whether the critical conversion is to sign up for a newsletter, order a catalog or a fabric swatch, or is as direct as “buy now,” each micro-conversion plays a role in pulling your audience forward with your brand. 

Remember Key Principles of Better Performing Content

At its core, content marketing solves challenges and inspires action, while building relationships and a sense of like-mindedness with your audience.

The first guiding principle, is to know your audience and how your brand can make their life better. It’s simple – just ask yourself, where can we provide value?

Second, you must put your content in contextually relevant environments where the audience is already engaged in solving a challenge and you can provide the perfect answer. Effective content placement provides a seamless experience for your audience, makes your content work harder and ensures those pricey clicks are valuable.

Third, content must meet expectations for the interaction. If, for example, the title of your content promises 5 smart design ideas for a happy and healthy home, it better deliver. Few things will lose an audience faster than surprising them with less or lower quality information than they were expecting.

Fourth, don’t forget your CTAs. Multiple CTAs. CTAs everywhere.

Let’s Sum It Up

You already know content can be incredibly effective. To make sure you get the most impactful results, identify your critical conversions, map and track your micro-conversions and remember the key principles of better performing content.

And the next time someone asks if your content marketing program is successful, you can respond that the proof is in the conversions.

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