The post was originally published on SearchEngineJournal.com by Andrew Raso.
Watching the number of visitors climb on your website is fantastic. You feel like all the work you’ve done is finally paying off. But visits are just vanity metrics and these don’t necessarily equate to success. A retail store would fold if hundreds of people wandered in and out each day but never purchased anything.
You need to work on converting more of those visitors into customers, and there are plenty of ways to use content to transform a popular site into a profitable one.
Here are ten ways to use content to boost customer engagement and turn your visitors into buyers.
1. Produce High-Value Offers for Free
You’re in business to make money, so it might seem counterproductive to give things away for free. Some companies offer product samples or promotional items, while others give away content designed to help visitors with a problem.
High-value content like e-books and reports work very well for getting opt-ins and trial sign-ups for subscription-based services, but they can also work for virtually any business. Every audience has at least one problem. A comprehensive content piece, offered for free, can address that issue and even entirely solve the problem.
A free content offer:
- Builds a great deal of trust
- Answers other questions a visitor may not have considered
- Knocks down barriers that prevent someone from making a purchase
- Demonstrates experience and confidence in the solution you provide
Tack it onto an opt-in, offer it as a call-to-action in blog posts, send it out via email or as a bonus free offer with a purchase. Whatever you choose, make it bold and simple like Tim Ferriss from The 4-Hour Work Week does:
2. Build Social Proof with User-Generated Content
There’s a herd mentality prevalent among consumers. Consumers prefer to buy what other people are buying, especially when popular opinions indicate that something is good or worth their time. Reviews and testimonials are some of the best ways to use social proof to this end and inspire other visitors to buy.
I also leverage images and videos in content when marketing my services or my clients. User-generated content in that form is highly engaging and encourages viewers to take action.
3. Post Product Demo Videos
Selling anything online can be challenging, but technology helps us bridge the gap between brick and mortar retail and e-commerce.
You can’t replicate the in-store experience of physically handling a product, and that can be a big barrier in the online shopping experience. According to InlineVision, the most important parts of creating engaging product pages online are the images you use. But don’t just settle for images; create videos that show off your product as well.
If you can fit in user-generated videos that show your products being used, then that’s even better. A quality video can increase the chances of a conversion by as much as 85%.
4. Create a Comparison Guide
The online market is getting a lot more competitive. With easy access to mobile technology, more customers are comparison shopping from the comfort of their own homes. As many as 90% of consumers comparison shop on their phones while visiting a brick and mortar business.
You can hook your audience on your solution by creating content that does all the comparisons for them. This kind of comparison report can be presented in a number of ways:
- An infographic showing statistics for different technology and features
- A “You vs. Them” landing page or blog post with a direct comparison of features, benefits, and pricing between your brand and the competition
- A buyer’s guide that includes high-value information and direct comparisons, which could serve as an educational piece to make them feel more confident about their decision after they’ve finished reading
Remember, if you use an infographic or a chart in your content, it can’t be indexed by search engines. Be sure to add textual content around it to make it easier to find organically.
5. Make Your ‘About Us’ Page Awesome
Most ‘About Us’ pages contain generic, uninteresting content about what the company does, why they do it, and a list of the staff or executive leadership. There’s nothing really wrong with that, but it lacks a compelling story and it’s not contributing to sales.
This is a great page to get creative on. The team at Moz uses a timeline, images, and text to make learning about them insightful and fun.
While you should still include the basic information, your ‘About Us’ page is also a great place to emotionally connect with visitors. Along with a story, you can leverage the most impactful testimonials and social proof, as well as a call-to-action that will encourage passive visitors to actively make decisions.
6. Design Custom Landing Pages
Visitors come to you through multiple channels: paid ads, organic search, referrals from off-site content, etc. You don’t always want that traffic to land only on your homepage or product pages. Even for high-traffic blog posts, link a custom landing page to your call-to-action.
This will help you craft a message that most accurately matches visitor intent and the issue they’re trying to address while promoting a specific product or offer.
7. Show Success with Case Studies
Case studies can be highly effective for product and service companies alike; it really just comes down to your offer and your ability to gather the information. A service-based business has the greatest opportunity to succeed with case studies.
A good case study details both the activity that produced results and what those results looked like. For visitors who are on the fence, it might be the one thing they need to see in order to make a decision. Neil Patel uses this tactic within his funnel, and 13.8% of his visitors convert into leads after reading his case studies.
Referral Candy hooks their reader with a great review followed immediately by a link to a case study. Genius!
8. Build Engagement Through Email Content
Conversions don’t always happen on your website. Visitors may opt-in to receive information and updates from you via email, or perhaps they’ve made it partially through the checkout process before abandoning their carts.
Email has the highest conversion rate (66%) compared to other engagement channels like social media. Use email as a way to recapture and build interest with a mix of occasional promotional emails and a lot of high-value content.
Similar to articles and free offers, this boosts credibility and keeps you top of mind. You can slip in calls-to-action to drive them back into your checkout process later on down the road.
9. Tell Stories
Most marketers know they should be telling stories, but since the majority of marketers admit to struggling with engaging content, it’s clear that effective storytelling isn’t always happening.
People have been telling stories for thousands of years because they put things into perspective, make emotional connections to ideas, and captivate audiences. Every marketer should be doing this, too.
95% of cognition occurs within the subconscious, emotional part of the brain. Stories activate and engage these areas of the brain to make us feel like we’re experiencing something. That emotional part of the brain also contributes to our decision-making when it comes time to make a purchase.
10. Craft Strategic Calls-to-Action
Every piece of content you create should have a purpose. The content should address a problem, answer a question, or provide some measure of value at a specific stage in your sales funnel.
Rather than regularly asking your visitors to leave a comment or telling them to share a post, create calls-to-action that match up with your funnel and better direct the intent of the audience.
Which of these tactics have you used to boost engagement and grow your revenue online?
All screenshots by Andrew Raso. Taken September 2016.