10 ways to improve conversion rate through content marketing
The relationship between conversion rate and content marketing has been at the centre of the marketing debate since 2013, and although 4 years is a long period in digital marketing, it is still very relevant today. The additional difficulty in today’s digital marketing world, is that the amount of content available online has increased at an incredible pace and getting visible among enormous quantities of material, is becoming more difficult. Millions of new blog posts are published every day, social media plays a strong role in the amount of time people spend online, online sales are becoming more commonplace by the minute, and online retail giants are now familiar brand names as much as supermarket chains.
Every player is trying to get a share of visibility, and content creation is at the core of the activity of every marketing department.
Considering how important content creation has become, how much does it really contribute to improving conversion rate? Is content marketing still the most crucial factor in increasing conversion rate, as it was deemed to be in 2013?
To answer this question, we should understand how content marketing contributes in improving conversion rate. We have identified 3 main benefits of a content marketing strategy and how they could potentially influence the conversion rate, and 7 marketing tactics that can help you improve your conversion rate.
1- Content can raise brand awareness
One of the main goals of content marketing is increasing brand awareness. A holistic approach to content marketing can help improve the way a business or an organisation interact with their audience, the values they represent and the message they want to transfer. Through multiple touch points with the consumers and with a consistent message, brands interact better with their audience, increase their visibility and make customers more loyal. We all know that an existing loyal customer is a higher converter than a new one. Also, various marketing studies have demonstrated that well-known brands have higher conversion rates than smaller brands. This does not mean that you need to become a global brand: even small brands can have great conversion rates, but only if they have achieved a leading position in their niche.
2- Content improves SEO and organic ranking
Content is the most powerful element in SEO. It might be too simplistic to reduce SEO to mere content creation, but let us be honest: only great SEO friendly content has a real possibility of ranking well organically in search engine results. We can focus on link building, on page optimisation or PR, but the best way to rank well organically is to create unique comprehensive content. Even if your blog is almost unknown, or even if your inbound links are down to a minimum level, a great piece of content will bring tons of organic traffic. However, although higher traffic always translates in more leads and ultimately sales, it does not automatically improve the conversion rate. This is how a solid content strategy becomes more useful: it’s by targeting the right audience with the right content that a content marketing strategy can improve the quality of the traffic, and not simply its quantity. SEO alone can help you rank better, but a focused content strategy helps you attract visitors that are more likely to become clients, and possibly the best type of clients too: those that come back and convert again and again
3- Content is the foundation of your social media strategy
One of the greatest mistakes of using social media for your business is to do it outside a comprehensive content marketing strategy. Since Social Media have become more and more common in the way we past time online, every brand wants to be there and grab a share of this visibility. Unfortunately, this approach is totally useless if it is not included in a holistic content marketing strategy. If your content is not consistent across all channels, if the timing of content publishing has not been planned, social media can hardly improve your conversion rate. How can you understand if your social media strategy is really working? Don’t rest on the number of likes and share, retweets or pins: instead, look at your Google Analytics data, and compare the main metrics that defines the quality of your traffic, like bounce rate, average session duration or number of page views. Compare the values across the main channels: organic, paid, social, referral and email, and see what channel performs best. If you see strong differences for social media channels, there is something wrong with your content strategy. If you have set up goals in Google Analytics (and if you haven’t yet, it’s time to start doing it) you can also analyse the conversion rate for each channel: is there a channel that performs better than the others? Can you dig deeper and see why? Did a specific piece of content achieve more conversions? Can you identify which element played the most important role in the conversion? Was the conversion made on a desktop or a mobile device? Data provide useful information on user experience and you should be able to understand if your content strategy is actually bringing the desired results in terms of conversion rate or not, and revise it if necessary.
Improving your conversion rate
Now that we have seen how content is synergic to conversion rate, we should never forget that, despite being a good ally, content alone can hardly improve your conversion rate. There are other elements of your digital marketing strategy that can have a more direct impact on conversion rate and they should be optimised and integrated into your content strategy
1- Website design (and mobile friendly, please)
The biggest killer of conversion rate is a poor website design, a chaotic mess of pages interlinked with each other, but not following a well-defined structure. However, one could argue that the greatest form of content creation is a website design, and we could not agree more. Your website is the main point of contact with your audience and in many situations, it is where the conversion phase takes place. Leads creation, online purchase, direct phone calls; no matter what your conversion is, you need to lead your users on an easy journey through your website pages towards your goal. And don’t forget to make this journey mobile friendly too. Nowadays a mobile-friendly website is a must. With the increasing number of online sessions carried out on mobile devices, a mobile unfriendly website design will really affect your conversion rate
2 – Clear Call to Action
If you have a great website (and mobile friendly too), but a low conversion rate (or not as high as you wish), you should investigate if the Call To Action might be the culprit. Is the CTA clear and easy to understand? Is it visible enough? Have you chosen the right words? Is your CTA button of the right colour or is it positioned in the best position? You should never stop asking yourselves if the conversion rate can be improved by simply adjusting or modifying your website CTA buttons. It’s too easy to forget this once a website has been created, but you should never stop A/B testing the elements of your page.
3 – Easy conversion process and effective payment methods
This is even more important for online stores, but on any website, the conversion process should be as easy as possible. Not too many steps, not too many forms to fill in, (possibly) not another new password to create. Make it easy!
4- Email marketing
Often undervalued, probably because it is considered less fashionable than social media, but extremely effective. We all know that existing customers spend more, and they are much cheap to reach. With email marketing, you have a great opportunity to personalise the content to your audience, with a higher chance to make your customers convert. Check again your precious Google Analytics data and compare conversion rates across email campaigns: you will get precious insights on how to create content that converts. Use your customer database well and never stop segmenting your audience in homogeneous clusters, and create buyer personas. It would be easier to send the right message if you have a clear idea to whom you are communicating. Email marketing should be seen as a fundamental part of your content strategy because this is where the right content can have the strongest impact on conversion rate, and the highest ROI.
5 – Remarketing
We all hate this when we are the target, but it works. Similar to email marketing, segmentation is a crucial factor of a remarketing strategy. Segmenting implies some technical elements that make it the most difficult task of remarketing. If you are not confident in doing this alone, better to leave it out of your marketing strategy, but you can always rely on someone to help you.
6 – Rewards to increase loyalty and promotions to encourage trials
Even if you have done everything you can to ensure consistency in your messages, have created a perfectly designed website with clear CTA buttons, you might still struggle with your conversion rate if you are a relatively unknown brand. This is where free trials can be a great way to improve your conversion rate. In B2B, software sales or subscription models it’s become a normal practice to offer a trial period before the purchase is finalised. This model cannot be applied to every business (e.g. bespoke products), but it is worthwhile remembering that conversion rate does not depend exclusively on content and you should never stop trying new ways to increase it.
7 – Never stop A/B testing your content and revise it
By now it should be clear how much we rely on data analysis to check how effective our content marketing strategy can be. Never stop testing your content with new variations and verifying their impact on conversion rate. Even the best blog post can become obsolete and lose its magic. Test its performance over time, and revamp it with fresher content, if necessary.
Content is the most powerful ally you have in increasing your conversion rate, but you cannot rely on content alone and you cannot ever stop testing your content either. Only a holistic approach to content creation can ensure a steady number of conversions over time