Gone are the days a company could release a new product, book a bunch of advertising, and wait for the money to roll in. The way consumers are interacting with companies has changed significantly in recent years and continues to evolve at breakneck speed.
Engagement is everything in our digital world. And content is your yellow brick road to that. Let’s take a look at the four key content concepts you’ll want to integrate into your content strategy today.
One of the most common content errors businesses are making is not providing a consistent experience across all channels. No matter the device your customer visits you on, the content they find should be the same, with the same design, content, feel, and message. If any of these elements differs, the visitor can feel a disconnect and inconsistency in your brand.
Here’s a typical cross-channel customer journey. Your visitor discovers your products on their mobile on their way to work, shows their colleague on their office PC at lunchtime, and returns to your site for more information on their laptop that evening. They have three touchpoints with your brand—each from a different device—and they haven’t even bought anything yet!
They should be presented with the same content across all devices. Why? Well, then they get a clear and consistent sense of who you are. You make the same promises no matter the angle they look at you from. They can trust you.
No one likes to spend ages wandering around a department store looking for what they want. It’s frustrating and wastes time. The same is true of online shopping. Your visitor wants to find their product via the clearest, easiest, and shortest route possible.
It’s your job to ensure that by offering clear search, menus, filters, and breadcrumbs, as well as a frictionless payment processes. Extensive research into how visitors are using your site will inform you of their journey to content (and conversion) and you can adjust your navigation, page designs, and CTAs accordingly.
Frustration, confusion, and friction will murder sales.
And once you’ve done this, you’ll want to look at the content itself.
Long-winded, complex, and self-serving text is the death of conversions. Have something important or engaging to say or be quiet.
Think about the experience from your reader’s perspective. Will they have time to read this? What benefit will they get from investing the time to read it? Does it resonate with them, their lives, their concerns, and their aspirations? Do more words mean they’re more likely to click Buy? Would you share it if you hadn’t written it?
Don’t forget: your visitor today is very marketing savvy and they’re looking for authenticity and a connection with your brand. Keep it honest, straightforward, and personal.
And remember that simplicity is key. Each page should have a clear message and one CTA—don’t confuse your readers by trying to say (or getting them to do) too many things.
If you’re not offering personalized content on your site, you’re leaking revenue!
Your visitors are individuals, each with their own life stories, experiences, likes and dislikes, hobbies, preferences, and opinions. Getting to know someone on this level and having things in common with them is how we make friends. Trust is the basis of any relationship, and your content should be nurturing your relationship with your visitors at this level because trust sells.
Static content that doesn’t take into account whom your visitor is, what they do, where they live, what language they speak, what things they like, or even their search and purchase history with you is likely to make them feel undervalued, unappreciated, and mistrustful—not a good start to a relationship. Content personalization is, therefore, the pinnacle of excellent customer engagement and trust, aka, success.
Companies delivering dynamic personalized content across all digital channels keep visitors on pages for longer, leading to better conversion rates, which, in turn, boost revenue and repeat custom thanks to a superior customer experience.
In the meantime, Google is getting a deeper understanding of the type of content you deliver, which boosts organic traffic to your site… it’s a win-win for all concerned.
Nothing reinforces our sense of individualism like community. The more we feel understood and validated by like-minded souls and the freer we feel to express our differences and be heard, the more at ease we are with ourselves and the world around us.
Consumers of content feel the same way. They like to experience a sense of community. So producing content that invites comment and maintaining spaces for community sharing and discussion are an extremely important part of your content strategy.
Consider enabling a review of products and services, providing share buttons to social media platforms, creating forums for discussion and sharing of expertise around your brand or offering, and developing a blog where readers can share their opinions and thoughts.
If your customer wants to talk about you or your products, you’re offering them a place to do that and feel connected with other people talking about the same thing. Not only have you opened the discussion and created a sense of community, dramatically improving engagement with and perception of your brand, but you’ve done it in a way that can be monitored and managed.
And you’re successfully breeding brand advocates!
Pulling It All Together
Customers can be an unforgiving bunch. They’re savvy and know what they want.
But with a focus on content simplicity, specificity, efficiency and consistency, as well as creating a sense of community, you’re well on your way to wooing them into meaningful and personal relationships, encouraging them to return time after time, and sharing their experience with their friends.
If this seems like a lot of work… ask your competitors about it because they’re already doing it.
What about your formula for success? How do you make sure you engage your audience? Let us know in the comments section below.