Connected Content: How To Make Your Marketing Results Better

Connected ContentWant your content marketing to yield measurable results?

Of course you do!

Who doesn’t?

But did you know that after finishing your content: Even the most engaged and persistent visitors face a marketing dead end?

Why?
Because you need marketing off-ramps to connected content. They guide visitors to take the next step towards purchase and improved relationships.

Use content marketing off-ramps to focus readers to take the next step by:

  • Including a contextually relevant call-to-action,
  • Adding a specific tracking code or UTM for measurability, and
  • Offering related content, customer support and/or human engagement.

To improve your content marketing results and measurability, let’s examine marketing off ramps and connected content. Also, they work for digital advertising!

 

Connected Content Definition

Connected content provides visitors with a marketing off-ramp from your content marketing and advertising to other content and engagement options. This leads prospects closer to buying from you and building deeper relationships.

This supports your content marketing. It helps your prospects by offering them the information they want and need. At the same time, it overcomes any roadblocks they may face that keeps them from purchasing from your business. 

As a result, visitors stay engaged with your business. This is particularly important for top of the funnel content since most shoppers, B2B and B2C, start their research online before marketers are aware that these potential customers are in-market.

At its best, connected content pulls your reader out of her passive reading mode and encourages her to act. Click To Tweet

 

The main forms of connected content marketing off-ramps include:

  • Related Content Links 
  • Landing Pages, Microsites and Thank You Pages
  • About Us Pages
  • Contact Us Pages
  • Persistent Chat (including AI powered chatbots like Drift).

Bear in mind that the “customer journey” isn’t a single highway through your content offering. Rather, each prospect uses different devices and employs different content discovery methods.

As a result, prospective buyers and purchase influencers need your help to get the specific content and personal information they need. Connected content helps tailor their experience.

Where possible enable visitors to find their own paths, allow them to choose how to extend their content experience.

Avoid marketing off ramp dead ends, use connected content. Photo via Heidi Cohen

5 Types Of Connected Content To Improve Content Marketing Results

While sales are the ultimate goal of your marketing, email capture remains marketing nirvana. 

Don’t take my word for it!

Email capture was Content Marketing Institute’s Joe Pulizzi’s key metric. 

Why?

Because email capture grants you permission to communicate with a specific visitor. She wants to hear from you and you don’t have to invest budget to find her. In the process you can develop your relationship and increase trust.

Of course, you must respect this permission and treat your relationship as special. Avoid me-me-me promotions. Instead write attention-worthy letters.

BTW:
I would love it if you signed up for the AMG Newsletter. Just click here.

To maximize your content marketing results, use a variety of these 5 connected content marketing off-ramps:

Here are the 5 types of connected content to use with marketing off ramps.

1. Related Content Links

Include links to relevant related content and products in your content. Use a combination of embedded links and curated links to spotlight the best related content.

For example, Content Marketing Institute calls this “Handpicked Related Content”.

Make blog content findable with curated past postsContent Marketing Institute makes links to older related content stand out in the post.

 Where appropriate, direct visitors to other content formats. Many businesses include their podcast audio in their blog posts. This helps expand podcast distribution.

Actionable Content Marketing Tip:

  • Add a link from existing content to new content before you hit publish. This aids search.

 

2. Landing Pages Including Microsites and Thank You Pages

When using landing pages, focus the content on the specific action you want the reader to take. Remove any distractions from reader action.

Further, to the extent possible, use targeted landing pages to improve results and trackibility.

Since gating content reduces downloads, collect the least amount of information possible.

Improve Landing Page connected content by doing the following:

  • Keep the page URL constant. I learned this from Jason Miller. He used the same URL for updates of  The Sophisticated Marketer’s Guide To LinkedIn. This retained inbound links and kept them active.
  • Use the post-gated content download page to upsell readers. At a minimum, ask for email signup. Or offer related product and demos to qualify prospects.
  • Include contact information. Let potential buys get answers to their questions.

Connected Content: To Gate Or Not To Gate

Whether or not to place a barrier between your best content and prospects remains an on-going discussion.

But don’t scare prospects off by asking for too much information! Let them see your content (DemandGen):

  • 9 out of 10 or 90% of B2B marketers will share their name, title and email address.
  • 1 out of 3 or 33% of B2B marketers will share their phone number. Yikes–that reduces response by 2/3!
  • Less than 1 in 5 or 18% of B2B marketers will share their marketing budget.
B2B customer

Are B2B customers’ willing to share their personal information with you? Check this chart

Actionable Content Marketing Tip:

  • Always test landing pages. Keep tweaking this important connected content to improve results.

 

3. About Us Pages

Since people do business with people, show your employees’ faces and your business’s personality on your About Us Page.

Transparency matters!

While you may not want to show photographs of your senior team, this hurts your ability to attract prospects.

Further, ask yourself:
“Do I really want to do business with someone who makes a decision about my firm based on a photograph?”

Moz goes above and beyond with its About Us section. It includes a detailed history, values and employee photographs. (BTW, it’s consistent with Rand Fishkin’s book, Lost and Founder.)

About Us Page Connected Content

Moz’s About Us section provides transparency. Does yours?

Actionable Content Marketing Tips:

  • Share your organization’s higher purpose and goals. Research shows that people support businesses that are aligned with their values.
  • Show that your business is inclusive. This matters in today’s tribal society.

 

4. Contact Us Pages

One of the key reasons people search for your website, blog or social media presence is to contact your business.

Make it easy for them to find you!

Otherwise, you’ve lost them and the potential sale.

Orbit Media Studios incorporates the best practices of a Contact Us Page.

Connected Content Marketing Off Ramp- Orbit Media Example

Also add a “Good Fit For Us” page.

According to Marcus Sheridan, the Who Is Not A Good Fit For Us page is the best performing page on his website.

Why?
Because every one wants to be part of the “in” group and qualify.

Further:
The checklist format pulls prospects in and encourages them to see if they’re a fit.

BUT:
Most importantly, like Sheridan, you don’t want to waste time on “bad fit” customers. They cost you time, aggravation and money. (BTW: Sheridan continues to update the page!)

Actionable Content Marketing Tip:

  • Keep your business contact and email capture visible across your website and/or blog. Again, Orbit Media Studios provides a good example.

 

5. Persistent Chat (including chatbots)

Persistent chat or chatbots enable businesses to interact with visitors 24/7 whether it’s to register email addresses or pre-qualify sales calls.

Drift tested the power of Conversational Marketing by removing all of the gated content and lead generation forms on their website and blog in 2016.

They replaced their gated forms with a chatbot. The chatbot offered 2 options: (1) To register for an email newsletter or (2) to start a conversation about their product.

With this change, Drift removed marketing friction for their visitors. And they sped up delivering an improved customer experience.

Visual difference between gated content and chatbot response.

During the first year, Drift’s volume of  conversations handled by reps remained about the same. BUT traffic and conversation volume grew by over 10X!

conversational marketing results-connected content

Do chatbots provide connected content off ramp success? Drift chart says “Yes”.

Further, over 50% of  Drift’s first conversations were handled entirely by chatbots, a form of marketing AI. As a result, they achieved better results for both visitors and the company!

Chat bots tap into the power of AI bots and real humans as shown by Drift’s breakout chart

Actionable Content Marketing Tip:

  • Test chat on a single section of your blog and/or website.  Paul Roetzer of the Marketing AI Institute recommends testing Marketing AI this way.

Or, better yet,  join me at MAICON this July 16 -18 to get up-to-speed on Marketing AI!

Marketing AI Conference

 

Connected Content Conclusion

Use marketing off-ramp connected content to help prospects find the information they want to better help them engage with and buy from your firm.

Lead potential visitors to discover the relevant information they’re seeking.

In the process, improve the measurability of your content marketing and advertising by using connected content with tracking codes.

The reality:
You already have the related information your visitors actively seek.
Just guide them to the pieces they need by using tailored off-ramps to connected content.

With connected content, you keep your next piece of content from becoming a marketing dead end.

Instead, include marketing off-ramps to connected content. 

Even better, you increase content measurability and results at the same time!

Happy Marketing,
Heidi Cohen

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on June 22, 2017 as “Use Interconnected Content To Maximize Content Marketing Results”.  Since then, my thinking has evolved and this updated and expanded post and URL reflect it. 

Heidi CohenHeidi Cohen is the President of Riverside Marketing Strategies.
You can find Heidi on Google+, Facebook and Twitter.

 


Join me at Project Voice!  I'll be at this must-attend event in Chattanooga. Why?  To get the latest on how to get found in a voice-first world.

Project Voice

 

Social Media World 2020Discover how to improve your social media marketing at Social Media Marketing World 2020, March 1-3, 2020 in San Diego, CA.

Rub shoulders with the biggest names and brands in social media.

Don’t miss the industry’s largest conference. Whether you attend in person or Virtually, you'll want to get your ticket early and save.

 

MAICON 2020 Marketing Artificial Intelligence ConferenceUse code: ACTIONABLE100 to save $100 when you register.

Photo Credit: People_Connecting_Their_Fingers – Via Pexels.com | cc zero

Tags , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.