Your marketing department likely executes the tried-and-true process of content marketing via the buyer’s journey. Step one: You created a great website and use demand generation to drive traffic to it. Step two: You capture leads on landing pages and enter them into your email nurturing program. Step three: You work to convert your leads into sales.
That’s the standard playbook and it’s reasonably effective in most companies today. About 29 percent of B2B marketers rate their content marketing strategy success as “very effective,” according to the Content Marketing Institute. However, according to Econsultancy, only about 22 percent of businesses are satisfied with their conversion rates.
Likely the rest of the companies are missing out on a critical step in their content marketing programs—conversion rate optimization (CRO). CRO is the process of getting more conversions from your existing traffic. For example, instead of getting a 1 percent conversion rate, you make changes in various elements of your content marketing campaigns that boost your conversion rate to 2 or 3 percent with no additional investment.
This blog post provides a primer on CRO, including what it is, how it works and how it can help your organization gain greater results from your content marketing program.
Let’s begin with a few basic definitions to understand the content marketing conversion playing field.
Conversion Path. This is the process by which a website visitor becomes a lead. The basic conversion path is comprised of a content offer, call-to-action, landing page and thank you page.
Conversion Rate. Your conversion rate is the percent of prospects who take a desired action within your content marketing process divided by the overall traffic count. The archetypical example is the percentage of website visitors who subscribe to something or buy something on your website.
Conversion Rate Optimization. CRO is a system for discovering why visitors aren’t converting, so you can fix the issues and increase the percent of visitors who convert by taking any desired action. It’s a process of diagnosis, hypothesis and testing. The most common way to conduct CRO is by employing A/B testing.
A/B Testing. Sometimes called split testing, A/B testing involves comparing two versions of a marketing element in a randomized experiment, such as a headline or image, to discover which one performs better.
CRO provides a significant opportunity for many reasons, including:
When exactly should you begin conducting a CRO process? The simple answer is that it’s never too early to begin. Develop a CRO mentality from the beginning by recognizing the value of continually testing and improving the key steps along your buyer's’ journey, so you can gain better results at every juncture.
However, here are a few indicators that you definitely could benefit from launching a CRO strategy:
There are two fundamental aspects of running effective CRO programs. The first is understanding what qualities need to be optimized and the second is choosing what aspects of your content marketing program you should optimize.
There are six basic factors that should influence your CRO testing:
There is a long list of what to test for CRO, including everything from free trial offers to live chat. However, if you are just starting your CRO program, you’ll want to begin with the essential elements of your content marketing program—including your lead generation CTA, pay-per-click ads, landing pages and thank you pages. Here are some CRO best practices around these four elements.
With limited space for text in PPC ads (less on mobile devices), what can you do to improve them? There’s an opportunity to optimize ads to increase the conversion rate. You can optimize and test all areas, for example:
Landing pages have several key elements in common, which communicate critical information to users. Several factors are worthy of CRO testing:
While it’s the final stage of the immediate conversion process, it’s also a key step of cementing long-term relationships with your prospects and customers. Here are some elements to test to improve your results:
CRO gives you the opportunity to breathe new life into the content marketing program you’re investing in today. After all, you’ve likely attracted great leads, but may be missing opportunities to get them to the final stages of the buyer’s journey. CRO could be the key that will expose your missing opportunities and help you discover where to make strategic changes and improvement that will maximize your campaigns’ conversion rates across your content marketing buyer's journey.