Accelerator of conversions?
What content marketing can do in the short term

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Using content either to build up your brand in the long term, or to boost your conversions in the short term? And why not both? Our approach to content marketing interconnects the two.

E-commerce or beauty sector. Both represent areas with typically digital and shorter customer journeys. If your business operates in such a sector, you can start leveraging your content marketing efforts straight away –⁠ and expect quick return of your investment.
 
In these specific cases, you can move your reader further down the funnel as soon as they read your article. Our recommendation is to approach your blog as commercial space and use it as a free-of-charge placement for banners or CTA buttons that lead the reader to your product page. It’s a smart step towards connecting your content with the product propositions of your brand –⁠ all in order to boost your conversions. What should it look like?

Placement matters

Some banners or CTA buttons may sit within your website header or footer. Another option is the homepage of your content platform. However, the best idea is to place the banners within the article itself, because this is where you get the most traffic. According to our study of typical user journeys, up to 62% of people access content platforms through individual articles – which shows that articles are the most common entrance point to a blog or a content hub. This is partly thanks to their high ranking in search engines, partly thanks to push traffic from social media or native ads campaigns.

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Source: C3 Prague, Google Analytics combined with data from clients content platforms

Too much push can put your readers off

It may seem like the ideal solution: attract the user through an ad (or pull them in from search engines) to an article that helps to solve their problem or answer their questions, and then lead some of these users right to the product solution related to the article. However, too much sales push may discourage the reader and disrupt their UX.
 
Content should never work as a mere vehicle to introduce and explain your products. When people find your content platform through search engines or Facebook, they are not usually thinking of purchasing your product straight away. An article bursting with product banners will either not interest them, or worse, it will make them angry and discourage them from coming back to your site in the future.

How to use your content smartly?

Ideally, you should have a good mix of two content types on your content hub;
 
1) Product-centric content – Content that introduces and explains your products and aims at increasing conversions –⁠ purchase, free trial, contacting your company, or clicking through to your e-shop, product configurator or other product pages.

2) User-centric content – Content that helps your readers solve their problems, answers their questions and inspires them. Its short-term goal is engagement –⁠ time spent on page, article finish rate, video views, or even premium content downloads. The long-term goal here is to increase your brand’s credibility and its authority as a ‘thought leader’ within a certain field or topic.

It’s obvious from the division above that it’s better to place your banners in product-centric articles. As our results have repeatedly confirmed, well-placed in-article banners which introduce and explain your product may increase the conversion rate up to 8x on average compared to paid channels. In some articles we have even seen CTRs to the related product page as high as 48%.
 
As for user-centric content, it varies from article to article –⁠ we see a higher CTR mainly in the so-called ‘how-to’ articles. You can also test the article’s performance with and without the banner in tools such as Google Optimize. This way, you can find out whether the banner negatively impacts reader engagement, as measured by article finish rate or bounce rate. It also makes sense to test different banner placements (in the middle of the article, below or above it, in sidebar etc.) as well as banner designs (photo vs graphics, various CTA types, static vs dynamic etc.).
 
Overall, it’s key that this type of content is based on the needs of your potential customers and their issues –⁠ which your brand may help them solve. At C3 Prague, we identify these topics and questions through search, social and trend listening – all used to help map online user behaviour.

Patience leads to conversions

Content marketing is a long-term activity, and the results typically don’t come straight away. But if you systematically produce two content types –⁠ user-centric focused on the needs of your potential customers  and product-centric which introduces your product –⁠ both well-linked to your product pages, your blog may lead more relevant traffic there, help collect leads and act as an important conversion channel, even in the short run.
 
Together with this pragmatic ‘fast-track’ approach to content creation, you should not disregard the long-term customer trust building process, still the main benefit of content marketing. How to approach that? Find out here.

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