Inbound marketing denver: align content with action

Previously, we talked about avoiding a crash landing for your inbound marketing, and had to end our conversation before outlining specific tips to align your website’s content and marketing copy.

Let’s get to the bottom-line first: web content that does not call your visitors to take some action (sign up for a newsletter, make a purchase, etc.), does not give you anything in return for your efforts.

Zero ROI

And really, it’s all about quantifiable return on investment (ROI). If you have web pages providing you with zero ROI, you know you’re doing something wrong.

Here’s an example: One of our clients owns a website that is very practical and informative when it comes to providing its visitors with the data they need when considering a purchase of a new mobile/smart phone. The site even offers a helpful comparison webpage where visitors can choose different models and compare each phone’s pros and cons. But guess what: that very useful page provided our client with zero ROI.

The site owner realized that while the comparison features were very handy, the site did not call its visitors to act on anything. It merely provided data and did nothing else. In other words, there were no recommended links, no further reading was encouraged, no internal links to any point-of-sale pages for the phone models being compared.

Using this example as our illustration, let’s walk through a step-by-step improvement guideline for this site using inbound marketing techniques that yield an actual ROI:

Step 1: Qualify

Or more specifically, target. And be sure your targeted traffic lands on the right web pages. In our example, the phone-comparison webpage received both organic traffic and referral traffic from internal web pages. If you were qualifying the visitors that actually stay on the site and use the comparison feature, in what stage of the buying cycle would you say they are? Would you say: Aware, Considering options, or Looking to purchase?

We’d say they are somewhere between “considering options” and “looking to purchase.” In fact, in a previous post, we referenced Eloqua‘s Content Grid, and in that grid this comparison feature confirms our opinion.

Step 2: Inform and Engage

Now that we have made a qualification of our visitor’s “readiness to buy” and are pretty sure they are either considering a purchase or are one push away from an actual sale, we need to engage them in a way that pushes them towards that purchase (or other actions you want to have them take).

At this point, we know the comparison feature page in our example sufficiently informs them, but lacks any engagement.

We recommend adding professional review ratings for the phones being compared as well as user-provided ratings, to give the site a sense of professional validation and social “vetting.”

In fact, as Reevoo notes in their report “The New Social Purchase Journey,” conversion rates can skyrocket by 177% when users engage with social content (any form of engagement is beneficial, though as Reevoo researched, social engagement works wonders).

Step 3: Call to Action

Now that we’ve sufficiently informed and engaged our qualified traffic, we are in a good position to call them to action. Using both text and images for our call to action elements, we need to offer a convenient way for our visitors to take the next step.

The next logical step is for our visitors to either research their purchase decision more deeply or make purchase. We can lead them to other areas of the website if they want to do more research (which will then call them to a purchase) or lead them directly to our point of sale page.

At this point, we have improved our chances of turning a zero ROI into a substantially better ROI.

If you keep in mind the essential steps you want your visitors take, you can make a dramatic improvement in your site’s ability to pay the rent!

Bottom Line

Just remember: qualify + engage + call to action = ROIIf you are missing any one of these, you will find it nearly impossible to achieve the ROI you want or need.