Anyone can produce content.
But content without a purpose is not effective. You need to consider the goals of your content marketing strategy. Ask yourself what you want your audience to do when they consume your content.
Whatever that answer is, your content needs to be engaging if you want to accomplish those goals. What is engaging content?
Well, it all depends on whom you ask and how it's measured. For me, engaging content is all about getting results, such as:
Any of these metrics can be used to measure engagement.
Here's something else to keep in mind. If your content doesn't engage your readers, they simply won't consume and retain the information. This will end up being a big waste of your time, money, and resources.
Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying it's easy to come up with great content.
If you're currently putting out posts, images, and videos that are average at best, it'll take some more effort on your part if you want to see some results.
But it's worth it. If you put in the extra effort to focus on improving your content marketing strategy, it will ultimately help your business make more money.
Not sure where to start? That's what I'm here for.
I've come up with this resource of the top 9 tips for producing content that engages your audience.
1. Be original
Today, it's tough to produce content that's 100% unique.
There is probably someone else out there who is talking about the same thing, took a similar photo, or conducted similar research. That's okay.
The idea is to produce content that stands out. With so much competition, it's no surprise that producing engaging content is the biggest challenge for marketers:
How can you overcome this? Be original.
Yes, you can still blog about a topic that's been previously discussed. But don't write it the same way everyone else has. Add your unique voice and spin to the subject.
Share personal experiences – nobody else had them.
Often, marketers try to come up with the most cost-effective solution to content creation. They pay some writer with no experience to write blog posts at $20 per article.
Well, like anything else, you get what you pay for. You can't expect this type of content to be original and engaging.
Write your content so that it's unmistakably your own. Put your personality into everything you produce. In doing so, you'll end up growing a loyal group of followers and readers.
Again, this takes more time and effort, but it'll be easier for you to increase your engagement metrics this way.
2. Produce actionable content
I just talked about the goals of your marketing campaigns.
What do you want? If you don't know the purpose of your content, the consumer won't have any idea either.
You need to know what you want someone to do after they consume a piece of your content.
For example, let's say you're promoting a new product on your website. You decide to blog about it. This is a great idea, but that alone won't get people to buy the product.
Your post needs to highlight the features and benefits, how it can be used, how you have used it, and how it can improve the lives of the consumers.
This primes the reader to make the purchase. Let's look at an example of that.
This blog post from BuildFire talks about how to hire a developer to build your mobile app. But as a custom app building platform, the team wants its audience to use its software instead:
This section of the blog post starts by questioning the need to hire a developer at all. It discusses some potential issues with that method and offers an alternative solution.
Then the company pitches its own service. The pitch is followed by a hyperlink that brings the reader to a landing page for sign-ups.
This is arguably the most important part of this post. Why?
You can't assume your audience will read something, navigate to your ecommerce site, search for a product, then click on it and add it to their carts.
That's way too many steps. They should be able to complete this action with one click from within the post, just like in the example above.
If your readers can buy something with just a click or two, they will be more likely to complete the action. Do you want readers to sign up for your email list? Give them the option to click to join.
Finding these buttons on your site shouldn't be a scavenger hunt. The buttons need to be obvious so that your site visitors can complete the desired action.
3. Publish accurate information
If you've been reading my blogs for a while, you know how much I love to include statistics and research within my content.
I recommend you do the same.
But you need to be careful of the information you publish. Basically, anyone can put anything on the Internet today. It's important that you recognize the quality and accuracy of the websites you're sourcing.
You may come across a relevant statistic, but if it's on some no-name blog and doesn't include a data source, you can't know for sure whether the information is accurate.
That's why it's best to source your information from authority sites only. In addition to making sure the source is reputable, make sure it's recent.
Information changes at a rapid rate.
A statistic or study from ten years ago may not be relevant today. But if your content provides up to date and accurate info, people will be more inclined to engage with it.
Here's another tip to keep in mind: don't let your old content go to waste. Just because you published something in 2012 doesn't mean you can't refresh it with 2018 information.
Look at how HubSpot uses this strategy to keep its content as up to date as possible:
First, they changed the title. This lets their readers know the post has been updated with new data.
But that's not all it does. HubSpot even tells you the exact date when the team updated the post.
It's an effective strategy.
This shows everyone the website strives to publish accurate information, which readers find more engaging.
If you really want to wow your audience, you could conduct research yourself, producing your own study. This will help you stay original, which I discussed above.
Yes, this will be more difficult and time-consuming. But now you know for sure the results are accurate and 100% unique.
Even if someone else conducted a similar study, the results won't be exactly the same, and yours will be more up to date.
4. Tell a story
While data is important, it's easier for people to relate to stories than to naked facts.
That's why we read books, watch movies, binge-watch television shows, and keep up with reality and celebrity news. We want to know what comes next in the story.
You can learn how to increase sales by mastering the art of storytelling.
Telling a story will help you connect with your audience. It can also improve your credibility on a subject.
For example, let's say you're writing a fitness blog. If you tell a story that happened during your personal certification training, your audience will realize you're qualified and knowledgeable on the topic.
They are more likely to read what you have to say as opposed to reading content produced by someone who has never worked out a day in their life.
You want to share stories that stimulate an emotional response from the audience:
The graphic above explains how our brains react when we have an emotional connection to a story.
Speak in a way that's relatable to your audience. Try to evoke powerful emotions such as joy, fear, or sadness.
Just make sure your story advances your goal and encourages the reader to complete the action you want them to take.
5. Make your audience think
Being original is one thing. But being thought-provoking is another. It's an art.
The idea behind thought-provoking content is that the reader can relate to what you're saying. You don't always need to talk about a concept in black and white terms.
Let the readers' imaginations run wild in that grey area.
Ask questions with no definitive answers. Paint a picture with some abstract scenarios.
But make it relevant to current events, pop culture, and our daily lives. This will keep your audience hooked and help them engage with your content.
This type of strategy can also help stimulate discussions in the comments section of your content. As a result, people will keep coming back to your website to check in on the discussion.
Ultimately, this is great news for you in terms of your traffic and engagement metrics. Each visit increases the chances of a conversion.
6. Use visuals
I know I mostly talked about written content so far.
But your overall content marketing strategy is much bigger than that. Pictures and videos need to be incorporated into this strategy.
Take original photos. It's easy to take and edit photos without hiring a professional.
Look at how visual elements are being incorporated into blog posts over the past four years:
That's because marketers recognize how much of an impact visual elements have on their successes.
You can also enhance your content by building infographics. As I said earlier, if you conduct your own research, you will have original content.
Infographics take this concept to the next level. Since people remember images more than text, they will be more likely to retain information if it's in the form of a picture or graph.
Produce videos. The possibilities with video content are nearly endless. Here are a few of my favorite suggestions:
Add videos to your website, posts, email newsletters, and social media channels.
7. Master your headlines
Before your content can be consumed, it needs to be clicked on.
That's why you need to focus your efforts on creating clickable headlines. Whether it's on your website, social media channels, or organic search results pages, your headline will be the first thing people see.
If you've got boring headlines, people have no reason to click.
Just don't give it all away with your headline. For example, if your headline says something like “Men eat more than women,” nobody will have a reason to read the article.
But if it intrigues them with a question which sex eats the most, it will pique the readers' interest, and you'll get more clicks.
Here's a look at some of the top performing headlines by engagement metrics on Facebook:
Use this as a reference when you're crafting your own headlines.
8. Hook readers with your intro
Okay, so you've got some people who clicked on your headline. That's great news.
However, this doesn't mean they'll read through all your content. In fact, research shows that 55% of your audience spends only up to 15 seconds reading your articles.
In short, they're not actually reading it. They're just skimming.
That's why you need to learn how to write blog post introductions that make the rest of your post irresistible.
If you can hook the readers with your opening lines, they will be more likely to remain interested throughout the post.
This works in conjunction with your headline and CTA. All these elements should be working together toward your goal.
9. Mix up your content
Posts shouldn't be all the same. That's just boring.
Nobody wants to read a case study every day. Keep your audience on their toes to make sure they get excited with your content.
If one day you tell a story, the next day you talk about research. Your following post could be centered around a video.
Next, you could promote a product. Blog about recent events. Add a humorous or compelling spin to it.
Whatever you do, don't let your content go stale.
Producing engaging content isn't easy. That's why businesses agree that it's the most challenging aspect of their marketing campaigns.
But with some extra time and effort, you can figure out ways to create engaging content.
It's all about being original and separating yourself from the crowd. Produce content that's actionable.
All of your information needs to be accurate and up to date.
Tell stories to capture the attention of your readers. Make them think outside the box. Use visual elements to enhance your content.
Focus on getting clicks with your headlines and then keep your readers interested with the opening lines and introduction.
Don't use only one of these strategies. Mix up your content to keep things interesting.
If you follow the 9 tips I've listed above, you'll find it much easier to create highly engaging content.
What type of content are you producing to increase your engagement metrics?
Have you ever considered creating a microsite for your business? This post explains why you might want to and what to watch out for when you do. https://t.co/m9ffATytlj
Marketers reveal their best practices for writing engaging #socialmedia copy. Learn the optimum number of hashtags the ideal caption length whether to use emojis and more... https://t.co/Skmir9p5Z5 via @Quuu_co #Qchat
'How I added 564 people to my list using content downloads' https://t.co/fQEs9Z6T2a by @lilachbullock #ContentMarketing https://t.co/aNv8RtL2ci
7 of the Best #Customer Engagement #Strategies to Foster Your #Brand Growth via- @semrush https://t.co/IdBZLbDLpz https://t.co/NTaHHP5Dac
Your new ecommerce site has finally launched. Congratulations!
Now you have the ability to sell to a huge potential audience. Whether you have a completely new business or an existing brand that just launched an ecommerce site, getting your first few sales can be intimidating.
Existing businesses that expanded to the Internet, using it as an additional sales platform, will have an easier time with this.
That's because they already have current customers familiar with the brand. For the most part, they'll just need to let those customers know they're selling online, and sales should follow.
With that in mind, this guide is designed mostly for those startups that just launched an ecommerce site.
Or maybe you've had a website for a while, but you're just now adding an ecommerce feature to it.
Regardless of your situation, this guide will help anyone looking to increase conversions in their ecommerce stores, ultimately generating more sales.
Once you get that first sale out of the way, others will continue. Here are some tips to get you started in the right direction.
Start a blog
There is a big difference between website traffic and sales.
You may have noticed in the early days of your site launch that you've gotten some traffic. That's great. But nobody is buying anything.
Don't worry. It's a game of numbers. No website has a 100% conversion rate.
But the more traffic you can drive to your site, the greater your chances of getting sales will be. It's all about understanding the customer conversion funnel.
The top of the funnel is the awareness stage. Blog posts help create brand awareness and generate more site traffic.
That's why blogging is absolutely necessary for all ecommerce sites.
Think of it like this. What are you selling? Is it so important that people are going to shop every day for it? Probably not.
But your blog gives people a reason to visit your site on a regular basis, even if they didn't plan on buying anything.
Blogging also improves your organic search ranking. When consumers look for products on a search engine, your site will have a greater chance of being a top hit.
Your blog can also serve as a channel for product promotion. Pitch whatever you're selling within the content of your posts, and add hyperlinks to a landing page where the products can be purchased.
Build a list of email subscribers
Email marketing needs to be a major part of your content strategy.
If you just launched your ecommerce site, chances are you probably don't have an active list of email subscribers yet. Before you start focusing on getting your first sale, you should learn how to build your first email list from scratch.
Again, starting from scratch can be intimidating. The number zero is tough to look at. But don't worry, the only way to go from here is up.
I know what some of you might be thinking. Why focus on building an email list instead of working on sales?
It's simple. Your email list will make it easier for you to generate sales.
Email marketing is the top digital tactic that drives both customer acquisition and retention, according to a recent survey of online retailers.
This means your email list will not only help you drive your first sales but also increase the chances that those customers will continue to buy in the future.
That's because once people sign up to receive emails, they are already interested in your brand.
Even if they haven't bought anything yet, you can start to prime them to make a purchase. Create an actionable drip campaign, beginning with a welcome message. Follow that up with promotional emails.
You've got direct access to your subscribers' inboxes, so take advantage of it. Just don't push your luck by sending too many messages or spam.
Consumers may not visit your website every day, but they will definitely check your emails. Offer them a discount, which I'll discuss in greater detail shortly.
Send products to social influencers
Influencer marketing has become one of the top trends of the year.
People may not know who you are or that your brand even exists. But they follow influencers on social media.
The reason why working with influencers is so beneficial is because the pay rates are low and the engagement rates are high.
For just a few hundred bucks you could get your product exposed to thousands of prospective buyers. It's important for you as a new brand to keep your costs low in the early stages.
Without any sales, you won't be able to survive since you don't have a steady cash flow.
James has nearly 20,000 Instagram followers. So this post is great exposure for the brand.
As you can see, the post includes a purchase link and a discount code. This makes it easier and more enticing for a prospective customer to make a purchase.
It's a cost-effective strategy. Make sure you're smart with your marketing budget.
Have influencers wear your product, use it, or demonstrate how it works, just like in the example above.
But do your research before sending your product to just anyone. You want to make sure the influencers you're partnering with fit your target audience and brand strategy.
As a new brand, you don't have a reputation yet.
Why should someone be the first person to buy something from your website?
They don't see any product reviews or anything else from previous customers since there aren't any. So it's hard to justify paying full price for something from a brand with no reputation and no sales.
As long as it doesn't interfere with your brand image, I recommend slashing your prices in the initial stages.
I get it. Some of you may have a luxury brand that doesn't plan on putting items on sale.
But to get people familiar with your products and generate sales, it's a viable strategy early on.
Here's something else to consider. Offering a discount code increases the chances that you'll make a sale:
That's because people love getting deals. Mark up your initial prices higher than you initially planned to turn a profit with the discount.
Want to get $40 for an item on your site? It's simple. Then list it for $60 and make the sale price $40.
It's an age-old marketing trick.
Market to prospective B2B clients
All too often I see businesses focus strictly on direct to consumer sales.
While there is nothing wrong with this strategy and its higher profit margins, it doesn't mean you should completely dismiss the idea of targeting other businesses.
Consider selling your products at a wholesale rate to retailers.
For example, let's say you've got a brand new ecommerce company that sells clothing. You don't have any physical store locations.
To get your products into the public eye, you can reach out to local, national, and international retailers. Try to get your products in their stores.
Sure, you won't get as much of a profit per item. But bulk orders will be much larger than those from consumers who just want to buy one shirt a time.
Once your product starts selling in one store, other retailers will want it as well. Now that consumers are familiar with your product, they'll look to buy it on your ecommerce site.
Create social media profiles
This is something that should have been done before your site launched.
But for those of you who haven't created social media profiles yet, it's not too late to start. Set up accounts on the most popular platforms:
You need to have active profiles on all these channels. That said, find out which platform your target market uses the most, and prioritize those efforts first.
Once the profiles are up and running, you can leverage social commerce to drive your first sale.
Try to increase your followers and create brand awareness.
Drive traffic to your site through these distribution channels. Once you have an active social media presence, it opens the doors for additional marketing opportunities.
Create a simple website design
Simple websites have higher conversion rates.
Take a look at your ecommerce site. Is it simple?
Yes, you might be selling hundreds or potentially thousands of products. But you can't try to fit every single item on your homepage.
Reduce clutter. Get rid of ads.
Include a search bar and menu options for easy navigation. It's okay to have blank space on your site. This will help focus the visitors' attention on your CTA buttons.
You definitely want product images. But don't include large pictures on each page – it'll slow down page loading times.
A simple design translates to a faster loading page. You'll get fewer page abandonments and increase the chances of getting a sale.
Let me clarify what I mean by this. I'm not saying you should just give your product away with no questions asked.
But now that you have your social media channels set up, you can use them to facilitate contests and similar promotions.
The winners of these contests can get your products free. Here's an example of this strategy used by Knockaround on its Instagram profile:
In the early stages of your business, you need to be more willing to give things away. It doesn't have to be your most expensive products, but as long as you're doing something, it will generate some buzz.
You could consider running weekly giveaways or even daily giveaways to put your name out there. This will accomplish a few things.
First, it puts your products into the hands of the consumer. They'll be familiar with it and potentially buy something else as a result of their free gift. These people will also share it with their friends and family, who could also become paying customers.
Even those who didn't win the giveaway now have some interest in your brand. These consumers are also more likely to buy now because your product is on their minds.
Attend a trade show
Many people who have an ecommerce site act as if their business runs strictly online.
Just because you don't have a physical store doesn't mean you can't get out there and sell. Trade shows are a great place for ecommerce brands.
Look for local, regional, and national events to attend. They're everywhere.
Having a presence at one of these events gives your brand exposure to attendees as well as other vendors.
You could potentially meet a vendor interested in buying products at a wholesale rate, which I previously discussed.
Trade shows aren't necessarily the place to sell products. But you'll give away things there to gain exposure.
You could offer some free samples of your products. Or maybe just give away some t-shirts, key chains, stickers, phone cases, and other smaller promotional items with your logo and website to encourage sales.
Give exclusive coupons and promo codes to people who visit your booth at a trade show. It could even be something as drastic as 50% off one item.
Remember, you need to do everything possible to close that first sale.
Reduce friction in your checkout process
So, you've been able to draw traffic to your website with the help of other promotions.
But you're still having trouble getting those visitors to buy something. What's wrong? Perhaps your checkout process is not optimized.
Get rid of unnecessary steps. Once a visitor decides they want a product, you need them to be able to complete the purchase with just a few clicks.
Take a look at the top reasons for shopping cart abandonment:
Besides cost, which ranked first on the list, the next two top reasons both involve a complicated checkout process.
If you're forcing visitors to create an account or answer tons of questions, you are crushing your conversions.
Ask only for the essentials. Get their billing information and shipping info. That's it.
No need to ask them for their mother's maiden name. The whole process should be a few clicks and done.
Each additional step gives the customer a chance to change their mind and abandon the sale.
Your new ecommerce site doesn't have any sales yet.
That's okay. Everyone started from zero at the beginning. The idea is to get your first few sales rolling to pick up some momentum.
Start blogging to create brand awareness, promote your products, and increase traffic to your website.
Focus on building a list of email subscribers. Work with influencers to promote your brand on social media.
Discount your prices. Simplify your website design. Attend trade shows.
Think outside the box. You can look for alternative ways to generate sales. Consider B2B brands that you could sell products to in bulk.
Increase your social media presence. Run contests and giveaways through those marketing channels.
Simplify your checkout process.
If you follow the tips and advice I've outlined above, it will sustain your ecommerce site far beyond your first sale.
What type of marketing strategy is your new ecommerce site using to drive your first sales?
Can you guess how many keywords I rank for?
Well, you are probably going to say 477,000 because I used that number in the title of this post.
You know what's interesting about having an ad agency?
It's that you get to talk to companies of all sizes and learn what causes them to grow.
And I know what you are thinking… “Neil, shouldn't you be the one telling companies how to grow”?
Technically, yes. And I do.
But at the same time, I need to analyze what a company has done so far to come up with the best marketing strategy for them.
And the sad reality is, most marketers and companies are focusing on the wrong things. (I'll go over how to fix it later in this post.)
Over the last 7 months, I talked to 208 companies to find out where they are spending their marketing efforts and what's working. And best of all, I got the approval to share their data with you.
How The Best #Marketing #Agencies Use ORM to Boost Conversion Rates @gradeus https://t.co/X3Ebwcg0Y8 https://t.co/iCndaJyl4T
Targeted Laser SEO provides SEO for surgeons, lawyers, and medical entrepeneurs, medspas, and spas. With an emphasis on local SEO and affordable SEO service packages for our clients, we are able to combine cutting-edge and innovative strategies to help our clients get ranked online in the most advantageous positions.