Achieving high engagement levels is one of the main aims of any content marketer.
If you’re part of modern marketing teams, you have tons of social media followers, several email lists, and a well-oiled content operation that pumps out gobs of content across many channels. Do you pat yourself on the back and take it easy?
Of course, the answer is no! While you might take a moment to congratulate yourself for a job well done, there is always more work to be done and improvements to be made.
More often than not, you find that shares, comments and likes abound, but that content engagement isn’t converting into leads or sales at the rate you’d like. You ask, “What’s wrong? How can we turn all this engagement into sales?”
Content marketing is an ongoing task, and you need to continually scale and optimize your efforts to squeeze out as much ROI as you possibly can.
How? Let’s take a look at some other areas you can improve.
1. Set New Customer Acquisition Goals
Content that serves as a “referrer to [a] conversion,” as I’ve pointed out in the past, is something you can easily measure with the right content measurement solution. Whether the converted leads came from your on-site SEO, emails, or content you post on social media or paid ads, the kinds of content that produce fruitful leads are worth studying, duplicating, and rewarding teams for.
Developing a content marketing strategy to drive sales isn’t a matter of producing more content. It’s a matter of producing the right kind of content that yields bottom-line results.
Setting content benchmarks is not only for your sales teams. It pays to give your content teams a target to hit as well.
2. Optimize Your Existing Content
Your content might have good engagement levels, but what is it actually doing for you? Are your readers converting? Are you making sales? Is trust in your brand growing?
For every piece of content you produce, you should set aside some time for optimization. In fact, if you already have a lot of content online, you could get far better results by focusing on optimizing your existing content rather than producing new content.
Optimization helps you to get more out of the traffic you already have, so rather than simply trying to get more traffic, you focus on your goals.
Note: This post has been updated as part of our blog content optimization drive!
Optimization is important not only because it can increase the ROI of each individual piece of content. Once you’ve gone through the optimization process a few times, you’ll start to get a better idea of what you need to do to create better content.
Eventually, you won’t need to do much optimization at all because you’ll already be doing everything you need to create content that converts.
There are several aspects of your content that you can optimize. These might include:
- Usability – This involves readability, ease of “scanning” content, and improving ease of use for mobile users.
- CTAs – Experiment with different wording and styles of CTAs to improve your click-through or conversion rate.
- Appearance on social media – Attractive images, headlines, and descriptions can send more traffic your way and boost shares.
- Updating old content to remove outdated information and adding new content of relevance – Expand your content and make it more in-depth and useful if you didn’t explore the topic fully the first time round.
3. Remove Underperforming Content
More isn’t always better. Poor-quality content or content that’s not properly targeted to your audience will never do well, and its presence on your site is distracting at best and may drag down your SEO and lose you potential customers at worst.
Pay attention not only to your best performing content but also the worst. When you can identify content that isn’t providing you any benefit, you can either take steps to improve it or remove it entirely.
We’re doing this currently at DivvyHQ, as we speak! Our team has identified roughly 50 posts (or one-tenth of our content) that will grace the WordPress Trash section soon…
4. Streamline Your Workflow to Increase Volume
How long does it currently take you to produce a piece of content? If your content process involves several different content creators, editors, and approvals, the answer probably is “longer than it should.”
If you were to streamline your process, either by simplifying or leveraging a workflow tool, could you increase the number of pieces you can produce?
It doesn’t matter how good your content is; if your workflow is inefficient and slowing you down, then you won’t be achieving potential volume or the ROI you want.
Start by looking at your current workflow and processes to identify areas for improvement. Implementing content automation technology can also help to speed up the whole process of content production and promotion.
Consider using a content marketing platform that’s designed to simplify workflow and improve your productivity. Any small gain you can make in productivity will ultimately translate to higher volume, more traffic, more conversions, and higher profits.
DivvyHQ is an enterprise-level content marketing platform designed to streamline your content process, enable better collaboration between teams, track content performance, and scale up your content production.
5. Boost Your SEO
SEO is a type of optimization, but it’s worth talking about separately because it’s such an important component of your content marketing success or otherwise.
Search engine optimization is the process of optimizing your content for search engines to give it a better chance of coming up on the first page when someone searches for a related keyword.
SEO is completely separate from engagement, or even the quality of your content. Content with great SEO may be awful to read and convert badly. Likewise, excellent content that gets tons of engagement and converts well may have been neglected in terms of SEO.
You need both to really succeed in content marketing. You can create great content and get traffic through social media and other channels, but search engine traffic is valuable not only for the volume of new visitors it provides, but also because this traffic is highly targeted.
If you’ve not really given much thought to SEO when creating your content, you may be surprised how much additional traffic you can bring in by optimizing it for search engines.
6. Ditch the “Spray and Pray” Approach to Social Media
It’s exhilarating to see your likes, followers, and retweets adding up. But if they’re not turning into sales, you might be reaching the wrong audiences.
They might “like” you or even follow you around, but they’re not interested in putting a ring on it. Probably, your posts provide them with useful information, but they don’t need, don’t want, or can’t afford to buy your product.
Social media – and even your web articles and blog posts – aren’t soliloquies. When someone from your audience takes the time to comment, ask a question, or provide feedback, engage them in a conversation.
It pays to get out of your content marketing silo (more on this below!) and consult subject matter experts, as well as sales and customer service teams, to provide the kind of conversations that drive sales.
Dig into your social media and content analytics. Then, compare your audience data to those of your actual customers.
On the Wrong Platforms?
You might find that you’re on the wrong platforms. Maybe you’re a B2B company that would be better off concentrating on LinkedIn for deep dives and Twitter for one-offs.
Or, you’re a crafting products company that posts regularly on Pinterest but is missing out on about half your target market, who prefer Instagram. When you post content on both platforms, you have a good chance to double your reach to actual interested buyers.
At the Wrong Time?
If your company has a global reach, consider posting content that would appeal to your UK customer segment when they’re likely to be on social media, content aimed at your US audience when the data shows they’re more likely to see it, and then Australia-specific content even later.
It’s not a matter of “if you build it, they will come.” You need to go when and where your audience is to reach them.
7. Reach a Wider Audience
The audience you already have may be engaging with your content, but there might be a whole new untapped audience out there that you haven’t considered.
For example, if most of your content is coming from one social media channel, you might want to try expanding your presence on some other platforms. You can also guest post on other blogs, be active in industry forums, and brainstorm other ideas for potential sources of traffic.
8. Leverage Your Engagement to Experiment
If you’re already producing great content that’s getting tons of engagement, converting well, and you’ve optimized it as much as you can, you’re already doing everything right. Why not leverage that engaged audience to test new concepts, formats or ideas?
Quick feedback from engaged readers is pure gold in the content marketing world. And if you can get it organically, I know a few marketers that would love to have your job.
Quick example… Let’s say you’re thinking about developing a new ebook on a new topic that you’ve never covered before. Your gut says that it will likely resonate with your audience, but you’re just not sure. Instead of diving in to write a beast of an ebook, why not start with a smaller post that teases your thesis. Ask for specific feedback and see how your audience responds.
If you don’t get the normal level of engagement, then perhaps your thesis needs work or you have a dud on your hands. At least you didn’t waste a bunch of time and resources on an ebook that would likely flop.
9. Tear Down Inter-Departmental Silos
If an American President could convince a tyrant to dismantle a wall that blocked his people’s freedom, you’d think that tearing down interdepartmental walls within a company would be simple by comparison.
In many companies, that’s not the case. Those silos persist.
You might even have a few in your company, contributing to an anemic sales conversion rate. When was the last time you took part in content collaboration with your sales or customer support teams in a content planning session? Tear down those silo walls and drive more sales.
Involve Sales Teams
Your sales force hears a ton of objections out in the field.
“Your product is too hard to understand – it would take a Ph.D. in physics to plug it into our manufacturing process.”
“Just exactly how will your pricey software solution save us time and make us money?”
And so on. When you bring them into the content planning process, content magic can happen.
Instead of pumping out tons of irrelevant blog posts (because you’ve always heard “content is king,” right?), create easy-to-understand FAQ pages, blog posts, ebooks, social media posts, and white papers that address your prospects’ objections specifically and in detail.
A proactive content strategy is an effective strategy because it takes away many of the objections your prospects might have, setting your sales teams up for success.
Bring on the Customer Support and Development Teams
Your ever-patient customer support team, if anyone qualifies for sainthood, it would be them.
But if your content and development teams don’t hear all the kvetching that your support team hears, you can’t:
- Create tutorials and how-to content that helps navigate customers through all the ways to use your product more easily and effectively.
- Alert your development teams to areas where they could improve your products (and of course, when they do, you’ll write content about the upgrade).
Get Your Engineers to the Table
Some of your prospects’ objections might hinge on the nuts and bolts of your product – literally. To market your products to the practical side of your prospects, ask your engineers to explain – as they would to a five-year-old:
- How your product works
- Specifically, how it can save your prospects time and money
So, bring them all to the table – and often.
10. Personalize Messaging to Bottom-of-the Funnel (BOFU) Prospects
If your teams haven’t created buyer personas for your target market segments, stop in your tracks and create them. When prospects are weighing various solutions to their problem, messaging that speaks to their specific needs can drive them to your brand rather than your competitors.
Learning everything you can about your prospects and then putting a human face on them with a buyer persona can help your content teams visualize the types of content that can convert them into customers.
Emails that address specific problems that your prospects face or questions they might have are especially effective at the decision stage. If you use dynamic content in your emails, you can populate it with each prospect’s data for a more personalized approach.
For B2C prospects, abandoned cart emails, as well as suggested product recommendations to go with previously purchased products can be highly effective at driving sales. Discount popups on pages that they’ve visited several times can also serve as a carrot for them to give your products a try.
Use robust account-based marketing campaigns for your serious B2B prospects as they reach the bottom of the sales funnel. This highly personalized approach gives your teams the opportunity to reach each major decision-maker with information that speaks to their precise interests.
For instance, information about how your products will save money will appeal to your prospect’s CFO, while a highly technical brochure or white paper can show the company’s engineering head how your solution can make your prospect’s manufacturing process more efficient.
11. Turn Cold Leads into Sales by Building Trust
First-time visitors or others who have engaged only once or twice with your brand but have never bought anything are often tough sells. Instead of directing them to a sales page from paid search, do as Josip Mlinaric advises.
“Use high-value, problem-solving content to position your company as a helpful authority in your field. Use plenty of statistics to prove your case, but don’t overwhelm them with highly technical language.”
Getting prospects from engagement to a sale takes a coordinated strategy across all channels and all phases of the content production process, from ideation to publication and beyond. With DivvyHQ’s content marketing platform, you’ll have a single hub around which your entire content production process can revolve.
There’s no risk in seeing if it can help your teams move more prospects into the sales column. You can try it for free for 14 days with no obligation. Start your free trial today!