Consumer conversation can be a tricky process; especially when derailed by an aggressive upsell policy that is poorly integrated as well. The heavy hand is also the clumsy hand…when it comes to content marketing.
Luckily, a content team with talent and intuition will learn how to employ a more balanced approach and strategic content loop; that way they will be able to deliver the CTA (Call to Action) with good timing. The following tips will help you avoid too much heavy-handedness with marketing content:
A Balanced Tone is Best
People don’t like to be outsmarted. No matter what the initial genuine interest in the content was, if the upselling is too aggressive it can discourage the potential customer and drive them away. If there are glaring “buy right now!” buttons all over the place, pushing out information the customer would find useful, the consumer has every right to consider the content as ‘pushy’ and leave the site. Don’t ever leverage the sell too early, otherwise people will abandon the content without any benefit to your brand strategy.
Striking the right tone from the get-go is crucial. Don’t be afraid to tinker and tweak your content until you find the right style; a style that first of all gives the customer some useful, relevant, information, and then introduces them to your brand in a low key way. Keep track of your engagement metrics to see what works best, and then concentrate on it. With time and patience, you can narrow your content down to a formula, or several formulas, that bring in the traffic and the buys.
As another example, you could promote your newsletter in a fashion that integrates with a recent blog post. For most viewers, that feels less like self-promotion and much more like helping the reader with a service. In other words, unbranded information can often lead to a successful in-line CTA.
Don’t Forget that Content Has Life Cycles
Another thing to consider is the life cycle of content that grabs people, which features little if any real marketing at all; it eventually leads them to another site of content where your CTA can be displayed to better effect because you’ve already built up a measure of trust. People reward the brands they trust by giving them business. That’s because they have achieved some ‘street credit’ or maybe affection for the product or brand. And that takes time to build. Usually an emotional bond, or trust, is hard to create, but content marketing, done well, with finesse, is a good way to achieve it.
To repeat, your content must give the consumer something they value, such as information, and this must be done before any marketing takes place. Predictions (especially ones about technology) are a great way to keep the attention of a consumer, even though the content itself has a certain life cycle. That way your brand is seen as the ‘good guy’, offering helpful advice on a subject that engages the consumer. But don’t go overboard on this concept. Consumers are becoming more and more savvy to how content marketing works, and if your content appears too disinterested and altruistic, the consumer is likely to think to themselves: “Hey, what are they really up to here?” A suspicious consumer is a very hard sell. Check out the image below for a visual:
Don’t Overdo Your Call to Action on Every Page
As another example, don’t put your CTA on every piece of content–keep some pages fairly neutral while gently pushing consumers to companion pieces that are more blatantly commercial. Once consumers have tested the water, so to speak, they are more apt to stay with your upsell, and higher conversion levels can be the result. The decision to go with a direct call to action rather than providing content that urges consumers through some life cycle that eases them into a call to action will depend on what it is you’re offering. What commitment are you looking for? Do you want them to make a purchase of some kind, spend time setting up an account, or entering an email address?
Every one of these actions calls for a different level of time and effort, and controls how you’ll set up and respond to calls to action, information capture, and other strategies. You might want to start out with a direct CTA, soliciting subscriptions to your newsletter, and then, with careful content cycling, eventually reach the point where both you and the customer feel comfortable in having you request significant purchases.
In the end, you’ve got to tailor your approach to your customers as individuals, as well as demographic or select buyers groups. The best way to do this is to keep testing a variety of approaches until you can evolve a strategy that fits your brand like a glove.
Do you have any CTA tricks to helping create content that sells? Let us know in the comment section below.
Photo Credit: www.safaribooksonline.com
Author: Amanda DiSilvestro
Amanda DiSilvestro gives small business and entrepreneurs SEO advice ranging from keyword density to recovering from Panda and Penguin updates. She writes for the nationally recognized SEO Company HigherVisibility.com that offers online marketing services to a wide range of companies across the country.