Any digital marketer will tell you that the average conversion rates they get from websites hovers between 2 to 6% across the board. Of course there are outliers at both ends of the spectrum, however, that’s the ballpark in which most websites operate. So what do the high performing outliers do that sets them apart from the average Joes?
In two words, inbound marketing. A sound inbound marketing strategy can double average conversion rates for websites from 6% to 12%, according to research from HubSpot.
Not only does inbound or content marketing improve conversion rates at a website level, it is also more efficient at converting leads than outbound marketing tactics. Leads brought in via inbound marketing converted into customers at the rate of 14.6%. This conversion rate is 8.5 times higher than the final conversion rate of leads from outbound marketing like PPC, display, TV ads and others.
The best part is that content marketing is not limited by ad types, competitive bids, or any other external factors. All you really need to bring customers knocking on your doors is a great piece of content published in the right place. Like these.
Multiple Use Cases
So people know about your product and what it does. You sell a sewing machine, it sews clothes. You sell an email marketing software, it sends out emails, right? Well, not quite.
There are a bunch of creative ways most products can be used. Instead of simply creating user manuals that drone on about the “right” way to use your products, turn to content marketing to inject some fun into them. Take notes from 3M with great posts on alternative uses for Post-It notes.
While this one’s on the company’s own blog, Dyson – the vacuum cleaner guys – enlist a popular DIY blogger to extoll the many cool uses of a Dyson vacuum.
Users love fun new ways of looking at regular things making this angle a surefire winner. The weight of a popular blogger’s recommendation makes the product even more sought after.
Case Studies of Successes
You might shout from every available rooftop about how awesome your product is. But without hardcore evidence, being part of the consumers’ consideration set becomes REALLY tough. A large part of this need for proof goes back to how our brains are wired. Research has shown over and over again that consumers trust recommendations and feedback about products they’re considering buying from family, friends or other existing users. In fact, as Nielsen’s Global Trust in Advertising Survey shows, recommendations rank significantly above ads or news articles as contributors towards the final purchase.
WeightWatchers uses product recommendation from real users as their biggest marketing tactic. From celebrities like singer/actress Jennifer Hudson to real people like you and I, real-life success stories have paved the way to WeightWatchers’ success as the leading weight management brand in the United States.
Besides their dedicated section on success stories with before-after pictures and personal stories of struggle with weight, the brand takes their content a notch higher with personal videos of customers who saw tremendous success in their weight loss endeavors.
Not only do these videos offer new users a personal connection, lending WeightWatchers a new patina of credibility, they also are a great place to plug the various features of the program, their mobile app, ancillary services, etc. Conversion + Upsell – that’s twice as nice content!
The Power of UGC – (User Generated Content)
Going by the logic discussed in the previous section, just as potential users trust the experiences of existing users, getting that message directly from them makes it even more effective. Confused? Let me explain.
While case studies of success stories featuring existing users is a great idea to convince new users, it is still a marketing vehicle created by your brand. The level of credibility associated with any claims made by a brand about itself comes under a cloud of suspicion, thanks to good old human nature. So what’s better than a piece of content created by you about success stories? Simple, content created by the users themselves.
Burberry saw this firsthand with their “Art of the Trench” microsite. In late 2009, the iconic British fashion brand launched one of the earliest social media campaigns by any brand, and asked its fans to send in pictures of themselves in trench coats. Now trench coats are a staple of the Burberry line. The best entries sent in, got a chance to be models on the Burberry microsite and enjoy their 15 minutes of fame.
The effort was a huge success. In just one year after its launch, ecommerce sales grew by 50% year on year – a growth that was attributed in large part to the user generated content campaign. The fact that the microsite still exists on the Burberry website, over six years on, is a testament to the triumph of the program.
You don’t need to have deep pockets like Burberry to launch a similar UGC content program. Use a free website builder like IM Creator or Wix (or Spaces if you want to integrate ecommerce and payments) to create your very own microsite and host your user generated content there. Building a website too much trouble for you? Opt to showcase UGC (user generated content) via social media instead then.
Fashion brand ModCloth shows you how that’s done with its Twitter post above. When a user posts a cute image with the brand clearly on display, ModCloth jumps on the opportunity and retweets it to its 136,000 followers. Instant content. Instant customer engagement.
These are by no means the only ways to create engaging content that converts. From original research that your users seek out, to YouTube how-to guides to even riding the wave of a news item (a la Ben & Jerry’s “I Dough, I Dough” flavor) – there’s no limit to the creativity you can use to get your point across. What methods have worked best for your brand? Share with us in the comments, please. Sherryl and I would love to hear from you!