Content marketing has earned its reputation for delivering results.
More and more businesses are investing in content marketing initiatives
that educate, inspire and entertain.
Though all that engagement is nice, the best programs deliver the most
relevant business-building conversions. So, how do you use content to lead
someone from awareness to customer? The process might not be as linear as
Thinking of the audience journey as a web—a non-linear experience—might
seem confusing, but it will help you to consider the smaller conversions
that lead to a bigger goal, and then you can build on the key principles of
Earn recognition for your innovative and impressive comms campaigns.]
At each stage along the non-linear journey, prompt conversions with calls
to action leading to the next logical steps. From a content perspective,
considering the journey as a web of possible paths offers a roadmap to
purchasing, helping potential customers overcome any obstacles.
1. Identify the pivotal conversions.
The ultimate conversion is a sale. To lead a customer to that sale, content
marketing conversions can take on disparate forms and deliver success in
Perhaps you know that if a customer watches 75 percent of a product video,
they make a purchase 10 percent of the time. If a prospect opens your
weekly newsletter more than 10 times, your sales reps increase their chance
of gaining a meeting by 75 percent. Also, dispelling that one myth about
your product increases intent to purchase by 50 percent, and getting a
customer into a showroom to try your product is the difference between
seeing and believing.
Like those examples, a pivotal 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
2. 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 an effort-free
By contrast, some people might start at one edge of the web, interacting
with bits of your content for inspiration, entertainment or educational
purposes for years before making a purchase. When they’re ready to buy,
they have already formed a strong relationship with your brand.
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—such as watching a video, reading an
article, sharing a pin, or commenting on a post—are wins. The better we
measure and understand their impact, the more effective we can be in
guiding customers more quickly to a pivotal conversion that ultimately
leads to a sale.
Regardless of whether that micro-conversion is to sign up for a newsletter,
order a catalog or a fabric swatch, or click the “buy now” button, each
helps move your audience forward.
3. Focus on the 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
organization can make their life better. Ask yourself: Where can we provide
Second, you must put your content in contextually relevant environments
where the audience is already engaged in addressing a challenge—and where
you can provide the perfect solution. Effective content placement provides
a seamless experience for your audience, makes your content work harder and
ensures that 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 had better deliver. Few things will lose an audience faster than
surprising them with less or lower-quality information than they were
Fourth, don’t forget your CTAs. Multiple CTAs. CTAs everywhere.
John Mader is a VP and director of connections for Wray Ward, a digital
communications firm. A version of this article originally appeared on
the Wray Ward blog.