Is your (Body of) Content Ready for Beach Season?

Is your content failing you? Are you finding your click through rates are low, your leads are declining, your pipeline is looking way too thin, or perhaps, too flabby? It may be time for a quick content tune up, before beach season really starts.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself to assess whether or not your content needs a tune-up:

1. Are you offering content that talks with, not at, your prospects?

Just pushing content at your audience is hard work—but just because you are sweating, does not mean you are getting results. Consider content that pulls your prospects in and involves them in some sort of interaction.

Assessments and personality tests, interactive video, user-generated video contests and ROI calculators are examples of interactive content. All of these get the conversation started and require a smaller investment from your prospects than reading a guide or white paper. Just as importantly, as your prospects respond and react, they provide you – the marketer – with the information you need to keep the conversation going.

For example, Payscale was interested in promoting an upcoming event. Rather than the usual: “Stop by our booth to learn more about…” invitation, they marketed the event with a “ Find Your Inner Purple Squirrel” personality test that pulled prospects in (registration was available before the results page). In addition, Payscale now had information on individual responses—perfect for the next nurture program or a sales call. The campaign achieved a 75% lead form conversion rate.

Similarly, Unitrends, which offers disaster and recovery solutions, engaged its prospects with a “What Kind of a BDR Superhero Are You?” personality quiz to drive traffic from social channels to its website. The quiz achieved an 87% completion rate and a 12% link out rate. By engaging their prospects and exchanging information, both companies achieved superior marketing results over the types of campaigns they had run previously.

Finally, Compass Learning wanted to make it easier for prospects to find what they are looking for given the breadth of offerings on their website. They created a “Which Learning Acceleration Software is Right for You?” assessment that guides website visitors down a specific path based on their responses to questions. In the first 5 weeks they achieved a 50% click rate.

2. Are you stuck on a one size fits-all content approach?

We all know that different personas, different stages of the buyer’s journey, and different pain points require different messages. Just as importantly, they require different types of content. A white paper may not be the best way to grab a lead at the top of the funnel. In fact DemandGen Report found that only 11% of buyers will provide detailed contact information in exchange for a white paper. In addition, it does not provide the information you need to offer the next piece of perfect content—do you even know if your prospect read it?

Instead, you might try a quick five question “Test your Knowledge” or “True or False” piece to hook your prospects and show them what you can teach them—and allow them to show you what they do and do not know. Then, after they have shared that information with you, you can follow up with the next, targeted piece – perhaps an interactive white paper that highlights the correct answers and your extensive knowledge in the field.

We all have marketing automation solutions that are designed to deftly pass just the right content to our prospects based on where they are on the path to purchase. But, how many of us excel at offering the right content to the right buyer at the right stage?

Global talent management firm DDI has made this focus on “the right content at the right time” a principle theme in its marketing, using interactive pieces like assessments and surveys to gather information and score leads, and then sending the appropriate next piece based on responses. As a result they have achieved a 5.6x increase in unique open rates and a 17x increase in click through rates.

3. Is your content too long?

Enough said.

Ok. A little bit more: according to Demand Gen Report in 2014 95% of respondents said they “agree” or “strongly agree” that they prefer shorter formats for their content consumption. We think this is especially true at the top of the funnel when prospects are not yet read to commit to reading an entire whitepaper(s).

4. Does your content inspire a call-to-action?

A “call-to-action” at the end of your piece is marketing 1.0. The problem is, not all “calls-to-action” are created equal—if you want someone to act, you need to give them a reason to act. What is in it for them: results to a study that has value, a personalized assessment or score based on their specific responses? A product recommendation tied to the challenges they shared? Access to a calculator or tool that they can use to make their lives easier? A prize? If you are not offering your prospects something they want, why would they act?

To promote their new “B2B Online Display Advertising for Dummies” guide Bizo created the “Are you a Display Advertising Expert?” quiz which resulted in leads at 50% of the cost of Bizo’s other channels

5. Does your content look good?

It’s beach season and your content needs to have a “beach body” that everyone is envious of– you are competing with summer beach reads after all and content that looks “blah” just does not get the nod. Hook them with the visual, keep them with the content conversation, watch them come back for more because of the value. Fewer, better executed pieces, customized to your look and feel, will yield far more value—and traffic—than a mountain of more-of-the-same.

6. Is your content mobile and tablet compatible? And is your web design responsive?

Remember the beach: you can bet that a lot of what you are sharing with your prospects is being consumed on a hand held device with some sort of a (sun)screen protector. Be agile and create an experience anyone can enjoy from any device…whether they are on a plane, in the office, or in a lawn chair.

If your content is not delivering, maybe it’s time to change it up based on the questions and examples above.

Author bio:

Julie Wingerter works in strategic partnerships at SnapApp, an interactive content creation platform that enables marketers to boost results across all of their existing marketing programs.

For more on content marketing, be sure to download the Modern Marketing Essentials Guide to Content Marketing where you'll get tips from leading content marketers and thinkers, new content categories to consider and a whole lot more!

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