So after a great deal of hard work, you’ve managed to get the right piece of content in front of exactly the right audience. Congrats! But don’t pat yourself on the back for too long, because that’s not the end of the story.
What happens after a visitor reads your blog post or watches your video?
Maybe they’ll remember your firm…or maybe not. The key is to use content offers to provide them with more engagements—next logical steps—that will be relevant to their needs, continually reinforcing your expertise and offering more in-depth content or services.
These offers aren’t an opportunity to get suddenly self-promotional in an otherwise educational content offering. Instead, they should be created in the same spirit, pointing visitors toward further resources that they will find genuinely useful: solutions for and perspectives on their actual business challenges.
Below we’ve put together three tips to help you make professional services content offers as effective as possible:
1) Always offer a next step.
Content offers should be bold, attractive, and immediately visible: in the sidebar of a blog post, for example, you might offer an ebook on the same topic, using the book’s cover art to make the offer pop.
Make sure your offers are related to the content a visitor has just viewed. The most important thing is to provide a natural way to continue your relationship with the reader, and for readers to continue to get the information they need from you.
For visitors early in the sales pipeline—those not ready for a sales pitch—this might mean that they exchange their email address for your free, attractively presented ebook. Once you have an email, you can continue to make relevant, targeted offers for progressively closer engagements.
You can see this strategy in action in the content marketing model below:
Content offers point the way for visitors to climb the steps from your most freely available content like blog posts to an ongoing relationship.
So for visitors who downloaded your ebook, you might send an email offering a webinar on the same topic, but going more in-depth or exploring it from a different angle. Then you might offer webinar attendees a free consultation on a related aspect of their business. Once these audiences are ready for a sales pitch, you’ll have their attention.
2) Make your offers clear and succinct.
In content offers, you have to strike a balance between clarity and succinctness, making it absolutely clear what you’re offering without losing your audience’s attention.
So if you’re offering an ebook in the sidebar of a blog post, don’t just say, “See more about this topic.” Instead, your offer might read, “Download our free ebook, Title of the Book.” While being necessarily descriptive, keep those words to an absolute minimum—visitors aren’t likely to read more than a short sentence.
Remember, too, that your content offers need to be focused. You might think you should offer different levels of content on a blog post—a webinar and an ebook, say—for audiences at different points in the sales funnel, but this would be a mistake.
Only use one offer at a time on a given piece of content: any more, and you’ll dilute the effect, confusing viewers and complicating the path forward to closer engagement. A good offer strategy is all about making things both useful and simple for your audience.
3) Know the context of your content.
Think through your content offers as part of your larger content strategy, considering the target audience for each piece and type of content. Offers included in content for first-time readers should require much less effort and commitment than offers for long-time, late stage visitors.
As you create and offer more content, it’s critical to continuously monitor your audience, their interests, and how well your content is connecting with them. Note that “Analyze and Adjust” is the final stage of the content model above. Taking a data-driven approach to your content eliminates the guesswork from finding topics that matter to your target audience—as well as the best way to reach them.
You can accomplish this through careful and ongoing use of Web and email analytics, learning a range of lessons that will help you iterate and improve your content marketing:
- You may find that certain topics are better suited to visitors earlier or further along in the sales funnel. Often, the interests and needs of prospects differ depending on where they are in the sales cycle.
- Some subjects will likely prove to have more lasting draw than others. These “evergreen” topics will be a valuable tool, and often they will take you by surprise. Monitoring your Web analytics and finding out what your audience really wants to know about and responding to that need is a key part of the process.
- A/B testing offers in emails will allow you to learn which design elements, copy approaches, types of content, and other elements yield the most audience engagement. In these types of tests, make sure to test only one element at a time.
- How are visitors accessing your content? Web and email analytics will reveal, for example, the percentage of your audience using mobile devices to read your content. This may encourage you to produce more mobile-optimized content and think about how to design offers that will be most effective on mobile devices.
The moral of the story here? The better you understand your readers and how they interact with your content, the more effectively you can provide them with offers that will make them more responsive and more engaged, propelling them up the content ladder to build trust and forge a lasting relationship.
As you implement your offer strategy, make sure to give it the same level of thought and creative consideration as your content itself. If you succeed at this, you’ll have set the stage for a content strategy that brings in more leads—and helps them qualify themselves.
Read other Crazy Egg articles by Lee Frederiksen.
The post 3 Tips to Optimize a Content Offer in Professional Services appeared first on The Daily Egg.