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This post was supported by Lead Forensics. Thank you. Rest assured, the content is my own professional opinion and advice as always.
Some of the biggest barriers that companies face to keep website visitors and potential buyers engaged on your website include problems with:
- website usability
- content desirability
- missing clear calls to action
- content syndication
Those are important areas to get right to engage visitors enough to know how to convert them from leads to buyers.
We will dive into those barriers here. There are ways to overcome them to stay top of mind and be relevant. You can then follow up with prospects in the most meaningful way for them and for you as part of your Content Performance Culture.
When I talk about a Content Performance Culture I’m not just talking about consumption metrics like:
- time on site
- pages per visit
- scroll depth
- other content consumption metrics
Marketing teams want to send MQLs to the sales team. To do that we need to have content that actually drives an audience, and that assists us in learning more about our prospects.
There certainly are strategies to get people’s names in a somewhat manual way. ￼Over the years some of the strategies that I have successfully implemented included:
Getting people’s names and interests in marketing is valuable. I remember this example where I had to give my email address before I was allowed to buy a book on Amazon. It honestly seemed a lot of work to me the buyer to have to hop through all these extra steps before being able to make the purchase.
Other strategies involve using tools that allow you to learn interests about users without making them do the work. Usually, these tools work like this: Once installed on your site they track user behavior and match it to other available data like:
- Business Name
- Contact Information
- Search Behavior
- Financial Data
That data can be passed to other marketing team members and the sales team for follow up. These tools make things less cumbersome for the end-user because the user doesn’t have to do the work. On the flip side, make sure you value privacy restrictions properly. When you do follow up don’t be creepy about it.
You can use any of these tools from Day 1 of your content strategy. I have done that, and even with minimal traffic, some people will sign up for your newsletter. Some valuable data can be gathered. But there also barriers that teams face to maximize personalized follow up.
Let’s dive into the top barriers companies have to get users to engage. Engagement is necessary for us to learn more about visitors. ￼￼Whether you use a software tool to automate learning or use a manual process you still have to get these three areas right to be successful.
Barrier 1: Website usability
Your website must be easy to navigate. It must allow users to do what they’re actually trying to accomplish. If a lot of your traffic comes from organic search does your website help your audience do its job? Can they find what they are looking for?
Recently many sites have seen decreases in click-throughs from Google Search Result Pages after Google added more ads on top of organic results. This makes it even more important for you to rank high and share the information that people are searching for.￼￼
When the website is hard to navigate users can be prone to end up going down rabbit holes that they didn’t want to go down. Let’s say somebody searched for a topic of interest and ended up on one of your articles that answers the questions through a Google search. But when they get to that page they immediately get hit with distracting techniques, like popups that ask permissions:
- Allow your location
- Allow notifications from the website
- Accept 5,200 cookies
In the worst-case scenario they click on things that make them go to pages they didn’t really want to go to and don’t have anything to do with their buyer decision making process. That can ultimately influence how we follow-up with them because we look at what they did on the website, but it turns out it wasn’t an intentional action.
In a perfect scenario, we know what users did on the website and it had something to do with their intended actions. Those items can include:
- What they searched for
- How many times they visited
- Pages viewed and time spent
- Buyer consideration stage
Barrier 2: Content desirability
Nobody sets out to create content that’s less than good, but yet we have a lot of content out there that’s too promotional and not as helpful as it could be. That happens because there are too many people involved in the process and everybody ends up watering down the message and picking on little things that ultimately don’t have an impact on performance. The audience isn’t consuming it because it’s less than desirable.
A lot of times content desirability is impacted by content that is too promotional. “Only my product or service can help you.”
Create content that is helpful and solves your audience’s problems. It needs to be desirable for them to consume.
￼￼Barrier 3: No clear next steps
Everything needs to have a next step. That’s basic content marketing. What stage in the funnel the content was produced for that also dictates what the next steps are.
If the article truly is top of the funnel information you may serve more informational content through an infinite scroll. That could keep them engaged. Another version of this includes adding relevant links to related content to read next.
It’s also quite OK to have CTAs to your product either inline, on the top of posts or at the bottom. Sometimes a link within context does the trick as well.
When team members work directly in the content management system and have a goal to add their call to actions I find that to be a relatively easy way to take care of this barrier.
Barrier 4: Bad syndication
Content that doesn’t reach an audience can’t perform. Teams can forget to throw the content a parade.
Let me explain. In a traditional advertising model we would run specific campaigns for specific networks. That was fine when there was only one network or one ad or one TV commercial, but today they are just too many channels.
For example, I just did a podcast on how companies should use TikTok and we came to the conclusion that they probably should simply run ads on the network.
Even Super Bowl advertisers now throw their content a parade and release teasers for the beginning of the storyline online before the actual game. Then the storylines can continue after the game.
Today we need to find a way to be highly efficient with what we create and then find the best channels. In my opinion that includes a mix of all the channels – podcasts, which are now indexed for search, articles, multimedia and of course paid campaigns that pull off those content assets.
Another thing that’s sometimes forgotten: Optimize the user journey when it comes to conversion. I have seen ads that don’t convert anybody because they don’t have a call to action. And when they have a call to action the landing page is in horrible shape. Make sure to promote your content but also make sure to optimize the journey for users who can and want to convert to something else.
That could be a subscription to content or the purchase of something else or even a download.
How to follow up with MQLs
Once you have the content and website barriers under control it’s much easier to know more about your website leads and how to follow up with them.
I’m a big fan of adding marketing qualified leads to a cadence. Sometimes that includes sending them more informational content. Sometimes depending on where they are in the process it means sending them an offer. An introductory email can do wonders, too.
Sending an email first especially if it comes from the sales person‘s account can also make the phone call easier. As I previously reported here, some systems tie the email to the phone number so when you call it actually shows your phone number and name. That could increase the chances of getting the person to answer.
Keep in mind that timing is important. When people fill out a form on your website typically a response within five minutes drives the biggest return. Five minutes is hard to accomplish for most companies.
In this model where data is gathered be careful with your immediate follow up. Think about it this way: If I’m looking at an article about how to improve my Content Performance Culture, and then the author of the book on the topic calls me immediately to offer me 20 copies for my team. The call needs to use the right wording and when that happens can have an impact. Keep in mind that sometimes the timing can be too quick.
If I end up getting an email that’s somewhat informational and on a time delay, and maybe even a phone call later to offer me a workshop, that can work. A workshop might even be a good offering if I visited that page multiple times. Of course that assumes that it’s a bigger company. If it’s a company with two employees they likely wouldn’t buy a workshop. See, understanding your audience helps with relevant information and pitches. ￼￼
You see the value of having the right data to follow up in the most meaningful way with people. It’s not just good company business but it also puts your audience first. It helps us get them what they need without just spraying and praying. Putting the audience first is a good business strategy. To truly put your audience first you have to understand them and know the right things about them.￼￼￼
Thank you to Lead Forensics for supporting the creation of this article. Please check them out at this link to see how they can help you convert your website visitors easier.