We are a living in a ‘now’ society – we don’t like to wait for anything! Whether it is choosing expedited shipping to get our goods sooner, or sharing our driving experiences with others to collectively reduce our journey times. Why should your content strategy be any different?
You should know the destination or end goal you want your website visitors to take – whether it is to sign up for a newsletter, download an eBook or spend more time on your site. Use the steps they are taking on your site to gauge their interest level, then you can create shortcuts to help them get there sooner, based on how others have engaged with your content or achieved a goal.
Plan Your Journey
It starts with thinking about your overall goals (corporate and marketing) and then think about the journey you want your visitors to take on your site. At a basic level, you may have four steps in the journey to get someone to give you their email address.
1. Welcome them to the site
2. Pique their interest
3. Engage them with your content or products
4. Have them sign up for your emails
There are a number of things that you can do at each step that will help you determine the level of interest, and based on what the user is ‘telling you’, you can direct them to different content or parts of your site, to move them to the goal quicker than your site would normally.
Here's some examples
You have blog content on your site you are using to educate people broadly about a topic or category. You are providing rich content, you are tagging it with keywords, and you are assigning it to a category. The goal of your blog content may be to get the visitor to sign up for your emails so you have the chance to drive them into a sales funnel.
While the initial goal is to get someone to sign up for your emails, the visitor is more likely to give you their details if they think they are going to be getting something valuable in return. Because of this, you may want to hold off on asking for it as soon as they land on your site. At that point they may not know who you are and they may also have decided that the article they have landed on is not really what they were looking for, so why would they go to the trouble of signing up.
Offer Deep Linked Blog Articles to a Visitor
Based on the keywords of the article, recommend other content in that category, based on the engagement of other visitors to your site. You can do this as a slide in message based on the % scroll down the page, or you can embed the recommendations in the page using CSS. Either way, if the visitor does not find the article of interest, you are giving them relevant options and the opportunity to go deeper into the site.
Visitor clicks to view a second article
You have piqued their interest now, and they are engaging with your content. You can recommend additional, relevant content, as you did on the first article, but it might still be too soon to ask for their email. If they decide they are going to leave the site you can ask them for an email address as they are leaving (moving their cursor outside of the frame of your site). You can use an inline message that will appear at the top of the screen.
Visitor clicks to view a third article
If you are able to drive them even deeper into the site, then you have shown them you have good content and they have shown a good level of interest, so it is a great time to ask for an email in return for more great content direct to their inbox. You can use a slide in message as they move more than x% down the page, and you can also use the inline, second chance message if they have not seen the slide in message.
By responding to the way the visitor is engaging with your content strategy you are able to serve them the right message at the right time, and they are more likely to give you their email address for future communications.
This behavior doesn’t have to be saved for first time visitors to the site. If you have someone who has come back to your site, you might offer the email sign up message on the first article they are reading, versus waiting until the third. The fact they are back on the site is justification enough to ask them commit to getting more articles from you.
So the key is to ‘watch and listen’ to your web visitors, and place relevant content within easy reach based on their actions and behavior. By showing that you understand their wants, needs and interests, they are much more likely to engage with you by viewing more content, downloading a relevant eBook or signing up for emails – faster and more easily than a static site would. You are helping them accomplish their goals while it is helping to accomplish yours. And while these tactics are great for driving engagement and conversion, always test and optimize your messages.