Clothing stores, like b2b marketing content, fall somewhere between two extremes: compelling and optimized.
Go to a trendy downtown shopping area and walk around. It won’t take long to find some small hole in the wall boutique with minimalist design, an imposingly attractive and trendy salesperson over zealously welcoming you in the door, and a few shreds of “exclusive” (overpriced) pieces of clothing perched on some perfectly designed shelves.
Boutiques like this are a dime a dozen. They are an attempt of an extremely wealthy person looking to catch the fancy of a few other extremely wealthy people. While these boutiques’ content isn’t the most useful or compelling, they’ve been optimized to the nth degree. These boutiques will either catch the eye of the wealthy and become a status symbol, or close their doors in the first year.
On the other end of the spectrum, a thrift store is the place to find the most useful stuff for the lowest price. A thrift store’s content can be incredibly compelling, but it can be hard to find, messy, and dinged up. While the thrift store will probably not have trouble staying open, it will probably never make much of a profit.
You wouldn’t go to a boutique to find a great deal on shoes, but you also wouldn’t stroll into a thrift store to impress a first date.
Like a clothing store, your content can work for you in two ways: by being compelling and by being optimized. Compelling content will attract attention. Optimized content will help you benefit from whatever attention you get. You want the best of both worlds.
The reason we create content is to attract the right people to our business so that we can turn them into customers.
With this in mind content should do two things: attract and convert. If one of these things isn’t happenning, your content isn’t working.
- If your content isn’t compelling enough to attract anyone to your site then it doesn’t matter how well you’ve optimized it to convert.
- If you haven’t optimized your site to convert, then you are missing out on opportunities to connect with your audience.
At this point I would like to add a few choice caviats:
1) Compelling is different than viral.
Viral content appeals to a wide audience, but doesn’t really add value.
A. It doesn’t appeal to the right audience
You don’t want to just attract anyone. You want to attract people who need your product or service and who have the authority and spending power to buy it.
B. It can hurt your brand.
Many times content goes viral because of how ridiculous or embarrasing it is. If you’re not in the business of being ridiculous or embarrassing, viral content might not be for you.
2) Optimized is different than Spammy.
Spammy content doesn’t lead your visitors down your sales funnel, it pushes them at gun point.
A. It ruins user experience
Have you ever been on a website when a big banner ad jumps onto your screen and starts telling you what you want to do? If you have I’ll bet it distracted and annoyed you. Be wise about how you try and ask your website visitors to convert.
B. It can hurt your brand
Worse than distracting someone is communicating to them that all you really care about is the money in their wallet. If you keep pushing people they probably won’t like your brand as much.
How To Be Compelling:
1) Talk to the right audience
Figure out who your primary audience is. This means figuring out who your primary audience is not. Develop full nuanced buyer personas for the people that you have the authority, time, and resources to speak to.
2) Be helpful
It’s about help not hype. Don’t talk about yourself all the time. Talk about what works and how your audience can be successful at what they do. If you have good advice, people are more likely to buy from you.
3) Follow Influencers
Don’t talk in a vaccum. Figure out what’s going on in your industry. Identify who’s leading your industry and learn from them. Start a Feedly account and find authoritative industry blogs to follow. Reference influencers in your blog. Let them know you referenced them in your blog. If you can tap in to an influencer’s audience you’ve struck gold.
4) Establish your voice
Figure out what makes you unique and rock it. There are billions of people out there. Why should people listen to you? What gives you a unique angle on the subject?
5) Be real
Don’t be unrealisticly positive. If something doesn’t work, tell your audience about it. If you disagree with something that is relevant to your audience then tell them about it. If it helps them they will appreciate your honesty. (another caviat: your business blog isn’t your diary. People don’t really care what you think. They want help. If it’s not helpful, don’t share it. See #2.) Also don’t be overly negative. In general positive content gets shared more often.
How To Be Optimized:
1) Gated content offers
Get some heavier duty content on your website that visitors are willing to download in exchange for some choice pieces of personal info. Make sure that you aren’t asking them for more information than your content is worth.
Make sure you have at least one relevant CTA on every page of your website. CTA’s are a great way to encourage people down your sales funnel by showing them your gated content offers. Check out Canva, a free way to create great looking CTA’s and other graphics.
3) Lead score
If you are using marketing automation you probably have the ability to custom score your leads based on their website behavior. You should take advantage of this. The better your lead scoring, the better chance you have of focusing sales on people who want to buy your product or service. There is no one size fits all for lead scoring.
4) Smart Content
Smart content is a great way to show the right content to the right people at the right time. You can create smart CTA’s, smart tokens in emails that automatically fill in a contact’s first name, and more. Implimenting smart content will be different depending on what CMS your website uses.
Making sure your website is optimized to be found in search engines is an extremely effective way to optimize your website. Check out this list of ways to make sure your website is optimized for search, and this article on what metrics to track.
These are just a few suggestions. Making your b2b marketing content both optimized and compelling will help your website to attract leads and close customers for your business.