You know what you want from your content: more prospects, more conversions, and more sales. The only way to achieve that, however, is to find out what your prospects want from your content, and then deliver it. Your content must be more than a bunch of self-serving sales pitches; instead it has to be useful and interesting to those who come looking for it. When people turn to the web for products and services, they are usually trying to do three things: solve a problem, find some direction, or gain confidence in their decision.
Prospects Want to Solve a Problem
If you have been reading up on content marketing, you have probably already heard that content needs to solve the problems of your visitors. It sounds like such a simple concept, but in practice it can be a little tricky. First, you have to think about how people are happening upon your content. Usually, it is from a web search, pay-per-click campaign, or a link on another website.
These methods rely on keywords to direct searchers to the right information. Your content has to be directly linked to and supportive of these keywords. It's not a matter of simply using the word or words a bunch of times because that does not satisfy the reader. You have to immediately let the reader know that the page they have arrived on is all about that word or phrase, and then provide a lot of useful information about it.
Prospects Need a Little Direction
Sometimes, people just need a nudge in the right direction. A prospect might be wondering what it is like to own a product, or what they need to do in order to get one. The first step is to poke around on the web and see what different companies offer, and what they have to say about their products. This is your golden opportunity to give them the direction they need to move from simply thinking about a product to choosing to buy.
The nudge comes in the form of calls to action. These little bits jump out and show prospects where to go after arriving on a page or finishing a piece of content. If they have watched a demo video, maybe the nudge would be to try a free sample. If they have read an article, maybe the nudge would be a few related articles or an ebook. The essential point is that you give them somewhere to go. Otherwise, after reading a page or watching a video, they might think, "that's nice," and click the back button to return to their Google results and look for more information.
Prospects Want to Know Who to Trust
Searching for products and services on the web usually brings a prospect to several different companies, all appearing similar on the surface. People need to know not only which company has the best products at the right prices, but also which ones can be trusted. They will look for clues throughout your content to discern if your company is trustworthy, so every sign that you can give will help move them along the sales process.
One sign of trustworthiness is simply a lot of useful content. If you provide articles, case studies, how-to videos, and customer testimonials--all without asking for money--you will start to earn credibility. Other good signs are any published books or ebooks, and in-depth white papers. You can also link up to your social media accounts to let prospects take a look at how others are interacting with your company.
Content Is Engagement
If you build it, they will come, right? Well, as long as you build it in a way that gives them what they want, when they want it, and how they want it. Then prospects will come. If your content answers questions without being pushy, gently guides visitors in the right direction, and shows that you are trustworthy, your prospects will feel like they got what they came for, and are more likely to convert into customers.