We all know that “content” is king. This can be applied to pretty much any communication channel in our contemporary world. But how do we make sure that our content is the kind of content that can lead our personas to the promise land (of conversions)?
One of the keys to conversions that marketers often overlook is the true relevance of their content to their audience. Many digital businesses operate under the assumption that as long as the copy is relevant to the topic, it will influence buying decisions. However, a greater impact may be leveraged by taking topical relevance to the next level and building content relevant to what the audience is experiencing. For example, let’s say the widgets sold by example.com were recently re-engineered to have twice the computing power they once did. Creating a content strategy around the specific component upgrades and hardware will really only resound with the ultra-tech savvy personas within the audience. Instead, creating unique content about how those upgrades eliminates common problem with the user experience of the competitor’s widgets will likely cast a much larger net.
We’re all guilty of buying into “click bait”, no matter what feed or social network we may have seen it in. Some of us who are self-aware even do so with a cringe. Top 10 this, 7 reasons for that, 16 ways to blah. These pieces of content may seem less educated than the average case study or white paper but they are easier for visitors to absorb. This would also suggest that it would be faster for these same users to then act using their new found knowledge. Putting this strategy into action means developing a multi-tiered hierarchy for the content being created. Segmenting the most influential content for display near key conversion points would be the top of the pyramid. The base would be the more comprehensive content-heavy pages that spoke into the main conversion landing page, thus building direct connections between pages targeting consumers in the research phase and pages that can convert those visitors into potential buyers/ leads.
Another oft-overlooked trick to increasing conversions lies in the way that the conversion points are prioritized within the site. Starting out, many web designers do consider the structure and flow of information across the site. However, as websites grow and technology changes, sites tend to get bogged down with ad-hoc projects and lofty, incomplete initiatives. These are the same processes that shake up industries and set new standards for consumer expectations. That being said, we have all seen when this goes to an extreme, either at the expense of site architecture, performance, and/ or effectiveness.
Prioritizing your conversions is the first step in strategically identifying the targeted visitor flow. By assessing the efficiency and potential impact of each individual conversion point, digital merchandisers can create a path for visitors that leads them to the most impactful KPIs. Additionally, these paths can be positioned to target specific consumer personas, thus connecting brands in a more intimate way than other segmentation strategies. Things to consider when looking to prioritize your conversion points include: business implications, location on-site/page, and visitor commitment.
As with most all-encompassing disciplines, many small, potentially impactful nuances are often glossed over by design teams due to archaic processes or lack of business logic. So often we force these creatives into structured work flows that force otherwise non-traditional thinkers to conform to brand standards. While this is a necessary evil in many industries, these restrictions can be loosened through interdepartmental collaborations. Breaking through silos and merging perspectives reveals the real path to innovation.
Since the advent of the internet, the way users view and experience art has been constantly evolving. What once was completely contextual has now evolved to be communicated in static images, animated images, videos, interactive interfaces and more. It is critical that these elements are as unique and functional as the site itself. As with all technological advances, many early adopters push the bounds of this type of dynamic content by mistakenly homogenizing or automating the process. This usually takes shape in the form of excessive stock photography, cross-domain widget duplication, or generic video creation. Instead, allocating small amounts of resources to original photography and asset creation initiatives can take conversions to the next level.
A channel that is clearly much too big for marketers to ignore, mobile devices are becoming more dominant in all aspects of our lives. It is rare for consumers today to be without a mobile device at pretty much any time. We use them for discovery, research, and increasingly, to make a purchase. Not only that, we are sharing that process with our closest connections as we go. As such, mobile communications are beginning to trump the more traditional device channels from the past as our main communications portal. The more marketers begin to focus on the mobile user experience and its role in the overall mix of devices consumers use to access content, the more conversion optimization opportunities will be uncovered.
All the best,
Alex Giebel is the Director of Digital Marketing and Web Merchandising at Stream Companies, a Philadelphia area advertising agency.