Just because a company blogs a lot doesn’t necessarily mean it’s strategic and profitable. It will most certainly increase website traffic and brand visibility, but that doesn’t always equate to more revenue. Blog posts, content on standard web pages, press releases and company news are all a part of content marketing, but they have no on-page barriers to consumption.
For a website visitor, a mouse click and the 4 to 10 seconds spent scanning the content is the extent of his or her commitment. Content marketers need to establish barriers to consumption on some content in order to identify, qualify, segment and score those website visitors with potential to become customers. The greater the barrier, the number of barriers overcome and the type of barriers overcome determines the likelihood of a content consumer being a qualified prospect.
6 Barriers to Content Consumption
- Privacy – By virtue of placing content behind a form on a website, content marketers can collect the name, email address, contact information and IP address of the visitor who wishes to consume the content. At the same time, the visitor understands that they’re giving up their anonymity to access the content. This is a small, but important to note buying signal.
- Time – The more time someone is willing to spend consuming a company’s online content the more likely it is that they are a prospect. Visitors’ commitment can be tested by offering up long videos, webinars and ebooks.
- Work – If a website visitor is willing to fill out a long form, take a survey or commit to do something to access content, they probably reside somewhere in the sales funnel.
- Money – Cost is a barrier for most. If a B2B website charges a fee to access an ebook or become a member, those visitors that buy are signaling their possible interest in the company’s services or products.
- Topic – The content itself can represent a barrier to consumption. The only people interested in reading an executive summary, a company’s brochures or sales material are either trying to make a purchasing decision or are competitors looking for intelligence. Online assessments and demos fit squarely in this category, too.
- Inbox – Given the volume of email people receive these days, anytime someone is willing to opt-in to receive newsletters, subscribe to content or become a member of a website, they’re communicating that they’re committed to receiving content for the foreseeable future.
With advanced analytics, marketers can use the above barriers to content consumption to build a true working online sales funnel. Once built, marketing automation and multichannel lead nurturing can widen the funnel and accelerate prospects’ journey through it. Tomorrow’s post will take a thorough look at the content marketing sales funnel and how to construct it.
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