If you have a website, you need content. Content marketing is one of the easiest—not to mention cheapest—ways to drive traffic, and ultimately, conversions. But not all content accomplishes both goals. Refine your content strategy with these four steps, and you’ll be on your way to creating content that works for your website and overall business.
1. Get to Know Your Audience.
In order to get clicks—and ultimately, conversions—you need to know who your visitors are, what they’re interested in, and how you can use an interesting piece of content to turn these visitors into customers. To learn about your audience, you need to ask yourself three important questions:
Who are you targeting?
If you have a business and/or marketing plan, you’ve likely already identified your target market. If you haven’t yet identified your target market, make creating a business plan your first step.
What do you know about your current audience?
If you already have site visitors, you have something else: data. By using a tool like Google Analytics on your website, you can learn a lot about the people who interact with your content, including their age, gender and location.
More important than who your visitors are is what they’re interested in. With Google Analytics, you can see which content is driving the most traffic on your site as well as which content is driving the most conversions. This will give you an idea of what’s working and what isn’t, and you can fine-tune your strategy based on those results over time.
Have you truly researched your market?
Your current customer base is a fantastic research tool. People love to share their opinions—especially online—so if you want feedback, ask for it! Email a survey; create a poll; use social channels to solicit questions and feedback. When users are already invested in your product, they want to help you to make it better.
It’s also important to listen to what’s happening in the market. Find forums related to your industry. What questions are people asking? What are they complaining about? Address those issues in your content. Users will likely be searching for the answer before they post on a forum.
2. Create Content That Fits Your Business.
Your value proposition is what makes your product or service compelling to the market. It takes time and research to define, but it’s one of the most important ways to convert visitors to your site into customers. Your value proposition is also crucial to informing your content marketing strategy, which should complement your product offering.
To discover your value proposition, think about a few things:
- What’s the problem you’re solving for?
- How are you solving that problem?
- How is your solution unique (and the best)?
When you’ve defined your value proposition, you can then develop a content strategy that supports it. For example, if you sell lawn mowers, create content about how best to take care of your yard. Your audience might come to your site for landscaping and maintenance tips, and then sign up for your newsletter so you can continue to market to them. Ideally, they’ll also share that content with others and become a paying customer, in part because of the education you’ve provided. Content that is properly aligned with your value proposition will help both drive traffic and position your brand as a go-to resource in the industry.
3. Set Your Content Marketing Goals.
When creating content, it’s important to identify which metrics you’ll be using to define success. Whether you’re looking at clicks, newsletter sign-ups or social shares, your goals should mirror those of your business. If purchases are your most important metric, you’ll be looking primarily at sales conversions. If you want to increase your social media presence, you’ll be looking at content sharing. You’ll likely have several different factors that are important, and all will help inform how you create and distribute that content.
Not every piece of content is going to perform well against all your goals, and that’s okay! What’s key is that you are constantly evaluating your metrics against your goals, and gaining a better understanding of what’s working—and not working—and why.
4. Optimize Your Content Marketing to Meet Your Goals.
Once you’ve identified your audience, your value proposition and your metrics for success, it’s time to get that content out there, and more importantly, make sure it gets seen. That means optimization. Most people think of SEO when they think of optimization, and that’s an important factor, but it’s not the only one.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
It’s important to know what people are searching for as it relates to your industry. That’s where keyword research comes in. Google’s Keyword Planner is a useful tool for getting keyword recommendations, which you can then use to shape your content titles, metadata, and enhance your content.
Optimizing for Sales Conversion
No matter what page on your site a user lands on, there should always be a clear path for them to a sales conversion. Whether it’s a lead form at the bottom of every page or a prominent button in the header of the site, having clear call-outs, featured prominently, is key.
Optimizing for Social Sharing
It’s important to have social share buttons prominently featured and strategically placed on your content. AddThis has several sharing tools that will enable visitors to your site to share your content easily. With various color, size and placement options, they integrate into your site’s design seamlessly. It’s also a good idea to develop creative to accompany your content—the more visually appealing and informative, the more likely it will be shared.
Optimizing for Email Sign-ups
Having clear call-outs and buttons inviting visitors to join your email list, get special offers and deals, or enter a giveaway is a must. AddThis Audience Targeting Overlay Tool provides you with the ability to easily create visually appealing, effective buttons prompting your users to take action.
Optimizing for Increased Website Interaction
Offering related content is an effective way to increase the time visitors spend on your site and the number of page views. The AddThis Related Posts Tool is an easy, dynamic way to suggest other pieces of content on your site that your users may be interested in.
Creating content that drives traffic and conversions isn’t always easy, but it will definitely pay off in the long run. To help simplify the process, we’ve created a handy Content creation checklist to use as you implement and manage your content strategy.