How to Use Content to Improve Your Conversion Rates

18/03/2018

For a reader, your content is there to educate him or her about your industry, brand, product or service. For you, the purpose of content is to sell that product or service. However, you can’t get there if your content isn’t driving conversions. So how can you use content to grow your conversion rates?

Read this post to learn how.

Write a Captivating Headline and Introduction

The headline is the first thing the reader will see of your content, followed by the introduction. If the first of these is supposed to be captivating and draw in the reader, the later needs to intrigue them enough to continue reading further.

Only 2 out of 10 readers will continue past the headline, according to Copyblogger. It is the first impression and, if you do it wrong, the last impression you will make on your readers. But, if done right, it will instantly capture the reader’s attention and draw them in.

The headline should tell the reader what comes after, in the body, what do they get if they read your content. Don’t deceive the visitor with clickbait headlines, but instead make sure to follow up on your promise. If your headline says “24 ways to stop a bullet”, you’d best provide 24 ways to stop a bullet to your readers.

Of course, when writing headlines, you are allowed to get some help. There are a few great headline analyzers that will tell you if your headline is powerful and engaging, such as CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer or Advanced Marketing Institute’s Emotional Marketing Value (EMV) Headline Analyzer, so I suggest you check out both of them.

If the purpose of the headline is to captivate and build interest in your content, the introduction is there to to make them want to read more. The introduction shouldn’t be too long, just long enough to explain why the user should continue reading. What benefits await them further in your content?

How you write the introduction is really up to you. You can start with a question, an anecdote, a statistic, or anything really that will make the reader says “I want to find out more”. However, don’t take too long. The introduction is tricky and relies a lot on timing, so don’t wait too long before you get to the point.

Use Content Visuals to Drive Conversion Rates Up

An image is worth a 1000 words. Done right, visuals can improve your conversion rates, done wrong, they will kill them. That’s why you need to be strategic with the use of visual content and not just slap any old stock photo on your blog post or landing page.

The type of visual content you are going to use will depend a lot on the type of your content and your audience, but in general there are four types that will help you drive conversion rates more than others:

  1. Videos

Yes, a picture is worth a 1000 words, but there are some things you can’t convey through a photo. That’s where a video comed in. For instance, you can include a video testimonial or review from a customer, or a how-to video explaining how your product works and this will help your conversions considerably.

  1. Screenshots

If you are selling a technical product like a software, chances are, your customers won’t know how to use them. You could send them a guide in a form of a brochure or an ebook, explaining how things work, but who wants to read that? Besides, there are things you won’t be able to explain through words and will need visuals for that. That’s when you should use screenshots to guide the new user or show proof that what you say is true.

  1. Infographics

Data can add a lot of proof to your content. But the caveat is that, the more complicated and comprehensive the data is, the more difficult it will be for your readers to understand it. This is why you need to use infographics to represent that data in a more understandable, eye-catching (and why not fun) way for your audience.

  1. Graphs and charts

Speaking of data and stats, another good way to present them, besides infographics, that works better than plain text, are graphs and charts. Graphs and charts have been used for decades, even centuries, so long before the Internet and websites and are a great way to help the reader better process the information or data in front of them.

Use Different Content for Different Customer Journey Stages

Map your customer journey
Photo by Chris Lawton via Unsplash

The customer or buyer’s journey determines what type of content you should use to drive your conversion rates. Use the right kind of content and prospects will move on to the next stage. Use the wrong kind of content and they will stop or leave entirely.

So how do you map your customer journey and use the right content at the right time? Let’s have a look at each stage of the customer journey.

  1. Awareness stage

In the awareness stage, the prospect is getting introduced to your brand or product for the first time. Translated to the sales funnel, this is the top of the funnel, the “know”. It tells the reader, what you do and how you can help. You are not looking for a sale here, but for the prospect to come back tomorrow for more. This is why in this stage, your content needs to be engaging and educational. Talk about the benefits of your product or service. If you get the visitor to subscribe to your email list, webinar or something like that, this stage will be a success and you can move to the next one.

  1. Consideration stage

Having someone’s email doesn’t mean you can pester them with sales pitches. That’s a recipe for driving them off. Prospects are not yet ready to buy from you. Use this stage, or the middle of the sales funnel to provide evidence. Show your audience a convincing proof of your claims through a testimonial, get deeper into the problem and how to solve it (while mentioning your product), get the prospect to schedule a trial or demo, but don’t yet go for a sale.

Do that in the last stage.

  1. Decision stage

The decision stage is also the bottom of the sales funnel. If the prospect has come this far, it takes just a bit more for you to make a sale. The prospect knows about your product, knows how it can help, has perhaps even tried it and know it works. Know you go for the sale. But here’s the problem. No matter how compelling and convincing your message so far was, you are, in the end, asking someone to open their wallet and give you money.

Why should they? Well, because they like you. Be personal at this stage. Stop thinking about your audience as prospects, leads or even customers, and instead start addressing them by their first name. Show the audience your passion and what you and your company (meaning everyone up to the leadership) value.

CTA

Okay, you have a compelling headline, intriguing introduction, you’ve used the right type of visual content and you’ve also mapped the customer journey perfectly. You should be swimming in conversion by now.

Except there is one more little thing to worry about.

The call to action (CTA).

In fact, this is perhaps the most important part of your content when it comes to driving conversion rates. A weak CTA will nullify all your previous efforts, so make sure it:

  • Is clear and to the point
  • Highlights the benefits
  • Inspires urgency (now, today)

Conclusion

Conversions don’t happen overnight or with just one piece of content. Instead, it takes time and effort to drive your conversion rates. I hope this blog post will help you in that.

Do you know of another way to improve conversions with content that I haven’t mentioned here? Let me know in the comments below and don’t forget to share this post if you found it useful.