How Convincing Content Can Get Your Customers to Buy

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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.

Creek Line House DIY Blogger


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.

Weight Watchers real life success stories


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.

Example of UGC (User Generated Content)


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.

In Closing

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!

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Author: Tracy Vides

Tracy Vides is a content marketer and social media consultant who works with small businesses and startups to increase their visibility. Her posts can be found on Soshable, Business 2 Community, SheOwnsIt and elsewhere. Connect with her on Twitter @TracyVides for a tête-à-tête!

26 thoughts on “How Convincing Content Can Get Your Customers to Buy”

  1. In my experience, the higher conversion rate for inbound leads and content marketing tends to be skewed a little higher because inbound leads are more “ready to buy”. For example, if someone is searching “cool cameras”, then they might not be ready to convert. However, if someone is searching a very specific brand or model of camera, along with reviews, that person is definitely more likely to convert. I think that content has to be specific, in-depth, and able to target long-tail keywords in order to work consistently well.

  2. Hi Tracy,

    The conversion rate is really confusing topic for me, I wrote some review articles on my blog which are ranking on the first page but still I am not able to get sales out of it, you can my conversion rate is 0%.

    I agree with your first point, experience, success stories, and case studies has a huge impact on sales conversion, I wrote my hands on experience with one product on my blog which has given good sales to me.

    So concentrating on success stories, user experience can improve the sales conversion rate, thanks for sharing this information, see you soon.
    Siddaiah Thirupati recently posted..InfusionSoft Pricing, Features And Benefits- Brief ReviewMy Profile

    1. Hi Iyabo,

      Success stories resonate with me as well. As a blogger, I find myself selecting tools and software that are recommended by influential bloggers and blogging friends. I am much more apt to buy something using an affiliate link from someone I trust than I am to go directly to a vendor. It’s definitely a strategy that successful bloggers use to generate some extra income.

      Thanks so much for taking the time to weigh in on this. I was happy to see that you found two posts to comment on today. I’m glad you discovered my blog!
      Sherryl Perry recently posted..Do You Sell Online? Want To?My Profile

  3. What an awesome post Tracy!

    And I really like your examples of the power of UGC being effectively used by some major brands!

    And who can argue with or deny the power and long term effect of positive consumer driven comments and or testimonials!

    It simply beats the pants off of any potentially costly outbound marketing methods and or strategies etc!Thanks so much for sharing some awesome content!
    Mark recently posted..Why Extremely Savvy Entrepreneurs Don’t Just Market Their Businesses They Leverage Their Efforts!My Profile

    1. Hi Mark,

      I’m so glad you enjoyed Tracy’s guest post. I thought her examples of user generated content were excellent as well.

      It’s always so nice to see you here! I haven’t been by your place in a while. I’m going to hop right over there now.
      Sherryl Perry recently posted..Do You Sell Online? Want To?My Profile

  4. Well said. Engaging content is important and content people want to share will expand your reach. I think a key is what you mentioned, creating a personal connection. Another nice trick to turn readers into buyers can be provided if you have unique ways to put the device to use – it can spark people to think that they would love something to meet that need. This related to the idea of what service does my product provide (
    John recently posted..Using Credit Appropriately is Important for a Successful Financial LifeMy Profile

    1. Hi John,

      Thanks for letting us know that you enjoyed Tracy’s post. You are so right about expanding our reach by creating content that people want to share. As we all know, when an influential blogger shares our content, it can drive a substantial amount of traffic to our blogs. The key is to form that connection with bloggers who will enjoy your content and want to share it.

      Thanks for the link to the article. I hope you’re having a great wek.
      Sherryl Perry recently posted..Do You Want to Consolidate Multiple Websites?My Profile

  5. I wonder if they ever anticipated what a huge affect user generated content would play. I for one take the info and content in ugc far more seriously than content that has been put together by the brand as marketing. You can’t trust that. Users real opinions are far more reliable.

    1. Exactly my thoughts, Susan. A survey carried out last year – – found that 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as friends’ recommendations, given that there was a high number of reviews and that the reviews appeared authentic. Businesses can’t ignore the fact that even friends’ recommendations are increasingly moving online from the traditional “word of mouth.”

      Thanks for joining the conversation!

    2. Hi Susan,

      I agree with both you and Tracy when it comes to user generated content. I
      definitely seek out product reviews and weigh them into my buying decisions.

      One trend that I’m seeing a lot of are YouTube videos that are of regular people using products, reviewing them and then directing us to their websites.

      In the past few months, I have watched as my husband has researched various solutions (including installing trailer lights and looking for a product to restore a license plate). In both cases, he’s found YouTube videos that demonstrate exactly what he wanted to learn about. Both times, he ended up buying the product from that person.

      It’s exactly what Tracy said in her title: Convincing Content Can Get Your Customers to Buy”.

      Thanks so much for weighing in on this Susan.
      Sherryl Perry recently posted..Are You Ready for the Google Mobile Friendly Algorithm?My Profile

    1. That’s a great tip Jeannette! As soon as you mentioned florists and local media, it brought me back to the days when I was active in local chambers of commerce and BNI (Business Networking International).

      One thing that was stressed in BNI chapters is the importance of establishing “contact spheres”. For example, a contact sphere within a chapter would include a florist, an event planner, and a caterer. (Of course a printer could also benefit from being in this sphere as well as limousine services etc.)

      The idea is to have members who are in the same niche and (while not competing against each other) who can refer business to each other. Working together and combining forces, a collaborative group like that could easily put together a give-away or even small event that would attract the media and generate some free PR.

      As always, thanks so much for joining the conversation! It’s always a pleasure “chatting” with you. You make me think! 🙂

      I hope you’re having a wonderful weekend!
      Sherryl Perry recently posted..SEO Resources Bloggers Can Use #FridayFindsMy Profile

  6. Great share Tracy.

    I agree inbound marketing generates more leads than outbound efforts. I think, creating an ICP or ideal customer profile should be the first step of inbound marketing.Identify your customer (where they live, what they do, income, ages etc), find their pain point and hit with a content (case study/user-generated content).
    Sam recently posted..Influencer Marketing Ultimate GuideMy Profile

  7. Hi, Tracy & Sherryl

    I am not a person who would buy anything from internet except books because I need to see and touch the real product.

    I believe the blog will increase the sale of products. The old fashion way, through friends’ recommendations, is still the way to go at least for me. – Stella
    Stella Chiu recently posted..Parents, Please Stop Doing These in ParentingMy Profile

    1. Hi Stella,

      I know exactly what you mean. It seems like everyone on my side of the family is the same way as you. None of them shop online.

      On the other hand, I shop online a lot. I enjoy shopping in general but sometimes, I just either don’t have the time or there’s an online deal that I can’t exist.

      My mother was amazed both times that I bought a major appliance online. 🙂 The first time, my dryer broke and my car was at the garage. I had wet clothes in the washer and wanted a replacement dryer asap.

      Within an hour, I had researched availability at three local appliance stores, done some comparison shopping and read through a slew of product reviews. After finding the dryer that I wanted to purchase, I called the store, gave them my credit card info and scheduled delivery for Friday. (This happened on Wednesday.)

      The second appliance I bought online was a dishwasher. I started out simply doing research when I found an open-box special at a local big box store. In that case, it was a one-of-a-kind deal that I simply couldn’t resist. I bought it online and selected their pick-up-at-store option. (Fortunately, my husband drives a Jeep.) That appliance sat in my kitchen wrapped in shrink wrap for a longer time period that it took me to buy it and get it home. 🙂

      I buy based on recommendations from friends too but I also have faith in online reviews. Since people are more apt to take the time to bash a product online than support it, I figure if a product has a lot of positive reviews, they must be doing something right. 🙂

      Thanks so much for joining the conversation. I hope you had a great week and get a chance to enjoy the weekend. I’ll be by your place soon.
      Sherryl Perry recently posted..Twitter, Content Marketing and Social Media Resources #FridayFindsMy Profile

    2. Ah, you belong to an endangered species, then, Stella 🙂 😛

      I read a recent study – – that found people of my generation (millennials) apparently don’t want to interact with humans even when they’re actually in a physical store. Sad, that. I don’t like it that way.

      However, this is an indication of changing attitudes and reluctance to interact personally with someone without a specific reason to. Coming back to buying products without the touch/feel factor, I’m your exact opposite! I always buy a book from a bookstore because I like to turn the pages (and smell the paper) before I buy them! And like Sherryl, I wouldn’t think twice about buying an appliance online. Your real underlying concern, I believe, isn’t touch/feel, but lack of “trust” that
      a) the product will look exactly as it does online, and therefore will fit your needs.
      b) you’ll get the same level of service as the local store.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  8. Nice article and some good examples but you may want to either explain or link to what you mean by “inbound” and “outbound” marketing. This isn’t a marketing-specific blog and not all readers will know the terms.

    One of the other details here is demographics. You need to know how your demographic uses media first, then build a marketing approach with principles like this.

    1. You make a very good point! One of the most frequent mistakes I keep making is assuming the audience knows what I am writing about! (Although “demographic” is scarier than “inbound”) 😛 🙂

      Inbound Marketing – now a Wikipedia term – was coined by Brian Halligan of HubSpot in 2005. It aims to attract customers through the power of useful content as opposed to Outbound Marketing which is more traditional and aims to buy the customer’s attention through direct sales and advertising.

      Here’s HubSpot’s take on inbound and its benefits –
      Here’s a sort of opposing view –
      And here’s a middle-of-the-road perspective –

      Hope this helps! Thanks again for pointing this out!

    2. Hi David,

      Thanks for the suggestion that Tracy include explaining the difference between inbound and outbound marketing. I should have caught that and suggested it myself.

      One of the things that I enjoy the most about having guest bloggers here is that they introduce ideas and topics that I don’t normally cover. To be perfectly honest, the acronym UGC – (User Generated Content) was new to me. I was familiar with the concept and practice but not the acronym.

      Then again, I remember the first time I read a conversation about UX and that term was new to me too. A quick search cleared up that it stood for user experience but still, I honestly didn’t recognize it at first. (Lesson learned: It never hurts to write for someone who is new to the topic when it comes to buzzwords and niche related terms.)

      Thanks so much for taking the time to join the conversation. I hope you had a great week and that you get to enjoy the weekend.
      Sherryl Perry recently posted..How Convincing Content Can Get Your Customers to BuyMy Profile

  9. Hi Tracy and Sherryl,

    I used to go to Weight Watchers years ago and there program really worked! It was the TV Commercials that sucked me into it and now it is on the internet.

    I don’t buy anything on the internet unless I know the person through their blogs. If they are advertising something that will help me and I know, like and trust them already, I will buy their advertisement.

    It’s true people are buying through blogging, at least with me.

    You both have an awesome week ahead,

    Linda Schrierl recently posted..Four Reasons Why Friendships CountMy Profile

    1. Hi Linda,

      I hadn’t thought about it but now that you mention it, I don’t remember the last time I saw a Weight Watchers commercial on TV. Then again, I have to confess that I’m one of those people who fast forward through commercials. It may just be that their best ROI is online marketing.

      People do buy from people they know and like. I think that’s why mom and pop stores can still survive amidst all the big box store competition.

      Thanks so much for sharing your experience with us and for sharing it on Twitter. We appreciate it. I hope you have an awesome week ahead too.
      Sherryl Perry recently posted..Can Your Small Business Compete with the Big-Box Stores?My Profile

    2. Thanks for stopping by, Linda! I confess I buy a lot through the internet, and sometimes it’s safer than buying an offline product – at least you can raise a hue and cry if you don’t get what’s advertised and the seller will have to make it up for you or lose their reputation in a matter of hours. That said, that’s not a common scenario. As Sherryl noted, I find mom and pop stores have a better chance of standing up to big box competition online, where marketing isn’t as expensive as TV and you have more control over ad reach.

      Have a great week!

      1. Hii Tracy,

        Thanks again for your wonderful post with such great examples. I especially enjoyed your example of how Fashion brand ModCloth retweeted a tweet to their 136,000 followers. That’s a perfect way to incorporate user generated content.

        I’ve noticed that some bloggers (including myself) often incorporate screen grabs of conversations on social media (such as Google+ or even from their own comments). It’s amazing the kind of credibility that you can build by quoting an influencer who has mentioned you. 🙂

        I hope everyone reading this has a wonderful weekend and week ahead. Happy Friday!

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