“Content is the king”. It would be no surprise if this comes out to be the most widely used phrase inside meeting rooms in the marketing industry. Good content allows you to engage users continuously, and is the driving force of any successful marketing communication. But as the modern consumers become more and more aware, they have become very choosy about the kind of content they want to view and access. And with their ever expanding digital footprint, they need to be fed with quality content on a periodic basis, like fortnightly, weekly, etc.
Hence, content marketing has become an indispensable ingredient of digital marketing today. In this issue, we will talk specifically about one particular aspect of content marketing – Content Upgrades. We will discuss what they are and how they should be used to work wonders for your marketing campaigns.
The concept behind content upgrades is simple. You provide free content to your online visitors in return for some user data like contact details or any action that you desire the user to perform. But then the modern user is not so naive. He no more accepts what is not relevant to him. So, it becomes essential that you understand his state of mind and serve him what he needs. But at the same time you need to be wise enough to recognize what you need to extract out of him and then offer a bargain that isn’t much demanding for the consumer – a win-win situation for both the parties. Thus they work as excellent lead magnets.
As the word suggests, lead magnets are essentially nothing but bait, a bribe which offers some value to the visitor, luring him to provide you his contact detail, i.e. “lead”, in exchange for some content you provide on your website.
Traditional lead magnets were “site-wide”, distributed randomly over the website. These included content like free e-books, and each visitor would be offered the same ones, irrespective of their relevance to that particular visitor. Slowly marketers started to realise that this redundant approach led to many potential leads not engaging with the communication.
So, they moved on to small, “bite-sized” lead magnets, known as content upgrades, analysing traffic on their websites and then providing new content regularly, in a well-targeted manner. These differ from the traditional ones in that they are related to the parts on the site and the content that was being viewed at a higher rate, thus causing the consumers to engage more frequently.
- Make your e-mail marketing effective and efficient: Better content leads to better leads and that leads to a better return from your e-mail marketing initiatives. On top of that constantly upgrading your content provides new leads from time to time.
- Ensure audience interest and engagement: It also gives you an idea of what appeals to your visitor and his state of mind depending upon the type of content he chooses to engage with.
- High quality content makes the audience wait for your next upgrade, generating the right kind of buzz, the kind generated by hunger marketing, an aspect which has been hugely successful lately.
- If planned carefully and done in a phased manner, it allows you to direct the consumer psyche in a direction that is beneficial for your business.
Listed below are tried and tested examples that can be used as content upgrades to drive greater traffic across your website and subsequently enhance your conversion optimization.
- Provide a list of tools or software packages related to the topic that provide a better learning experience, a roadmap that might make the visitor’s life easier.
- In addition to the list, you can even provide actual resources, albeit legally.
- A quick start guide.
- A checklist of what might come in handy related to the topic. This will serve two purposes – one as a content upgrade and as a guarantee that that visitor follows the desired track.
- Provide something printable, such as posters, or customizable content which the visitor can personalize and keep forever, creating brand loyalty and brand recall.
- Another successful content upgrade can be in the form of access to any webinar; it may be recorded, and should be on a related topic. Again, it will also serve the purpose of driving your sales, especially if you are into a business like e-learning.
- You can also provide info-graphics and newsletters (though I would recommend the former), spreading awareness regarding the topic or your brand.
- A list of frequently asked visitor queries and their answers can also be used.
Some markers to be kept in mind while designing your next content upgrade:
- Make it short, simple and enriching: Lengthy content is not preferred by today’s online population. Keep it short and sweet, but at the same time this should not come at the cost of the quality of the content. Make it as enriching as possible in order to deliver good value to the audience.
- Use evergreen content, one that you can pull out of your archives and share any time. This recycling of old content not only gives you some headroom, but also allows new users or old ones who missed it last time around, to engage with it.
- The design should be logically structured and content should have a flow to it. It should not appear like a desperate attempt at engagement. Take your share of time, but don’t make a mess out of it.
- The content should be easy to share. Good quality content deserves to be shared, as it generates a positive buzz in your favour. Word-of-mouth is still as powerful as ever, despite all the advancements. After all, man is a social animal. Place easy share options in the vicinity of the content and watch your reach grow.
- Add strong and provoking calls to action. Discussed below.
Call to Action (CTA):
A call to action is simply a button that when clicked by a user leads to him performing a certain action you desire. Linking your content with strong and relevant calls to action goes a long way in conversion optimization, i.e. converting your visitors to leads and subsequently to loyal customers/visitors.
Some examples of good calls to action:
- Asking for some user contact information, preferably contact number or e-mail id. An important catch is not asking for too much data, it may drive your potential lead away.
- Asking for a 50-100 word feedback, allowing you to relate to the visitor’s thought process
- Provide some kind of download like a video or your app for that matter
- An option to share your content
- Asking the visitor to fill a form, make a permanent profile and register as a user
- If you are into e-commerce or merchandising, an option to buy
- Option to request for a demo of your service/product
- Option to sign up to other media platforms where you are present
- View some other related content on your website
Research proves that using strong calls to action can give your website conversions a strong boost. It can lift your website conversion rates from the widely accepted and observed 1% to around 4%-5%. In addition it provides you contact numbers and mail ids of potential leads, which you can exploit judiciously instead of getting exploited by your leads, as is common these days.
Also, connecting with your visitors on other media platforms like social media is a big bonus, if approached in the right manner. Good content is liked, shared and appreciated. It provides you with valuable earned media, and enhances your brand image.
Optimize your CTA:
CTAs can give a big boost to your engagement process, but can also prove to be detrimental if not used wisely. In this last section, we’ll discuss the approach that should be followed while using calls to action.
Your CTAs should be in sync with the visitor’s aspirations. It shouldn’t feel like an obligation, neither should it force him to do something uncomfortable, something that he doesn’t want. For this you need to clearly identify two major things:
- The profile of your visitor/customer: Monitor their interests, likes and clearly classify which stage of the sales cycle/funnel they are presently in.
- What do you want of get out of this engagement via a call to action?
Additionally, the CTA should be loud and clear. It should be positioned in a prominent and clear location, rather than being scattered randomly on the bottom and the sides. It should automatically lead the visitor to the next step in your sales/conversion funnel.
Finally, the golden rule always says, “keep it simple”. Remember – don’t put too many conditions, don’t ask too many questions and don’t ask user for unnecessary data or details, lest he drives away.
All said and done, content upgrades are the new gold standard for lead capture. Some might complain about their time consuming nature, but in the end it is worth the patience and effort. Be innovative, be creative and be well researched, and with the right content you will see better results from your digital marketing efforts. Content upgrades are a sure-shot means to achieve that. They’ll help you upgrade your business by optimizing website conversions and streamlining your sales funnel. So, are you ready to take it to the next level?
All images courtesy: Google Images