Last month, I talked about how to provide value to potential leads without using personalized content, focusing on how to attract those leads to your site. But once you’ve attracted a potential lead, how do you encourage them to volunteer their contact information so you can help them down the marketing funnel?
To put it as simply as possible: you have to give visitors a reason to convert, and you have to make it easy and obvious for them to do so. But most importantly: you must do so without compromising your credibility!
You had to put forth serious effort to break through the noise with your inbound marketing efforts; it’d be a shame to throw that hard-earned marketing victory away with an ill-timed pop-up conversion form!
Converting Site Visitors without Using Personalized Content
I’m assuming you’re reading this article because you’re not interested in personalized content, but if you are curious, you can read about how you can use personalized content to improve the effectiveness of your content marketing here.
As I stated above, the two key components to securing conversions are: giving visitors a reason to convert, and making it easy and obvious for visitors to figure out how to give you their information.
You’re concerned that you’re going to miss out on all those visitors who click through to your site, stay for less than 10 seconds, then leave. You need a fast-acting way to capture at least their email address, so you have a chance of actually engaging them. Not so!
Trust in the Effectiveness of Your Content Marketing
You have to resist the lizard brain marketer urge to capture every possible lead before they leave your site. You shouldn’t abandon efforts to capture low-quality leads entirely; there is absolutely a balance to be struck between lead volume and lead quality. However, you should consider how many sales-ready leads you might be driving away with tactics designed to capture less qualified leads.
Here’s a mammal brain approach: treat potential leads like a mature person treats potential dates.
You don’t ask for their contact information until you’ve established that they will be glad they gave it to you (and you certainly don’t make them regret giving you a means to contact them!).
The captivating article title or social media post that draws them to your site is almost certainly not sufficient; give them a chance to actually consume your stellar content. Once they get a sense for the value you offer, then you tell them why they’d benefit even more from giving you their contact information.
Maybe it’s a more robust piece of content, like a webinar or whitepaper or guide. Maybe it’s signing up for automatic updates (e.g. a newsletter), so they don’t have to remember to come back to your site to get more of that sweet, sweet content. Maybe it’s the promise of valuable resources more closely fitting their interests (this is easier to do with personalized content, but you can certainly offer it in other ways).
Your content was good enough to bring them to your site. If it’s not good enough to compel them to fill out a form for more, then what’s a cheap trick going to do to persuade them? A disengaged newsletter recipient is only barely better than none at all. Don’t let your audience develop the expectation of disappointment or mediocrity from you!
Effective Content Marketing Converts Because It Resonates
If your site comes up as a relevant response to a real problem your audience has to deal with, you’ve earned a chance to secure their attention and perhaps even their business. The next step is not asking for their commitment; it’s showing them yours.
Wait until they’ve finished your article before you ask for their contact information. Be sure to link to related resources if they want more from you (many sites support this “related articles” functionality, and you could always do it manually).
If the visitor moves to leave your site, rather than soliciting them to sign-up for your newsletter, offer them an even better piece of free content.
What this communicates to the visitor is that your chief priority is not tricking them into being sold at, but providing value. This is how you give your visitors a reason to volunteer their information to you.
Incidentally, your sales reps will benefit immensely from this positioning, as now leads are approaching your company as a trusted advisor who wants to help them succeed, and not just some business out to make a profit off of them. It’s important that your sales reps understand this and not undermine the hard work marketing has done to get your leads into that mindset.
Making it Easy without Personalized Content
Personalized content makes it easy for site visitors to supply you with their contact information, for two reasons. They’re already in the process of providing input as part of engaging your content, so it’s less of a jump than asking them to go from reading to inputting. Also, visitors engaging interactive content are operating from the understanding that the results they get back will be more valuable to them if they provide more accurate information. Be aware, however, that this doesn’t automatically apply to contact information; you have to make it apply (e.g. by emailing them results or offering additional, related information only accessible via email, social media account, etc.).
To make it easy and obvious for site visitors to provide you with their information, without using personalized content and without compromising your credibility, you need to monitor the behavior/site activity of your visitors. Not the behavior of all visitors, but of the visitors who spend significant time on multiple pages, whose activity seems to suggest interest. Figure out where these visitors are converting on your site and where they aren’t. There are any number of tools you can use to gather this information and test solutions to incrementally improve your conversion rate with this key audience.
A Final Note about Credibility
Credibility amounts to your audience being able to feel comfortable believing that the recommendations you offer them, whether via marketing, sales, support, etc. is truly in their best interest.
Admittedly, sometimes you’ll find yourself in a grey area, for instance a sales rep repeatedly attempting to make contact might fall between ensuring the prospective project is done by the would-be customer’s own deadline and the rep ensuring they make their number for the quarter.
Credibility is easiest to establish with first impressions. Put out great content, don’t ask for contact information until site visitors have had a chance to appreciate that content and to see the value you offer them. From there, you just continue to offer them value, from marketing materials, to the actual products or services you sell, to the customer service and upgrades you provide after a purchase is made.
That’s the kind of brand you want to build, and that your customers want to do business with!