Conversions and Content: What’s the Right Mix?

Quality and value are the golden rules of content marketing. Sales, on the other hand, is the golden rule of business.

For some reason, the two seem to be perpetually at odds.

Beat people over the head with a sales message, and they’ll instantly run away. Ignore sales to focus on content only, and the business will implode.

Surely, a balance exists. But what exactly is it?

Case Study 1: Content as the Introductory Handshake

With content, sales need not be the sleazy black sheep.

“If you’re out there creating interesting, thought-provoking content, wouldn’t it be a shame to let the conversation stop at the front door? Instead, invite your new guests inside for a drink or two, get to know them, and then, and only then, can you comfortably move into a sales cycle,” Dan Taylor wrote for The Next Web.

Consider the case of KISSmetrics, a web analytics platform. According to the company’s marketing expert and co-founder Neil Patel, the KISSmetrics blog generates more than 70% of the company’s monthly inbound traffic.

“That traffic generates leads for our sales team who then close on customers,” he wrote in a blog post.

Case Study 2: Content as the Trust Builder

Companies and consumers have finite budgets. Marketing dollars need to guarantee ROI. With whom are people more likely to splurge — complete strangers or trusted peer counterparts with stellar reputations?

“The type of content you share is closely related to what you sell; in other words, you’re educating people so that they know, like, and trust you enough to do business with you,” according to Copyblogger’s Brian Clark and Sonia Simone.

As an example, consider women’s fashion retailer ModCloth. The company’s stylebooks feature creative trends in an entertaining, magazine-like format that builds trust with shoppers.

To trendsetters, the content is a source of inspiration — people come to ModCloth to learn and discover new ideas. Underscoring the inspiration are ModCloth’s own products. Content opens doors to sales.

Case Study 3: Tact as Virtue

It’s possible to encourage sales without being over-the-top. Elegant calls to action are essential for accomplishing this goal.

“Designing call to action buttons into web interfaces requires some forethought and planning; it has to be part of your prototyping and information architecture processes in order for them to work well,” Jacob Gube wrote for Smashing Magazine.

Brands should plan content marketing efforts around the ‘next-steps’ that they wish to guide. It could be as simple as an unobtrusive but visually compelling banner.

On every post and page of its marketing blog, CrazyEgg introduces visitors to its heat-mapping software.

The focus of the copy is what marketers and decision-makers want most: “Increase your website’s conversion rate or revenues within the next 30 days.” Complementing the content, the product introduction is tactful, attractive, and welcoming.

Image courtesy of Redshinestudio/shutterstockponsulak kunsub/shutterstockPhotoStocker/shutterstock


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