How to use content strategy and site design to drive sales and conversions
Can your website turn into your best salesperson? If you know how to organize and leverage it, your website could grow into one of the most effective sales tools at your disposal. Now, the question is, how do you set up your site to be a lean, mean selling machine?
One of the most effective ways to leverage your company’s site to help drive sales is to hop on the inbound marketing train. A well thought out and organized inbound marketing strategy can help you stand out ahead of your competitors and make your site a mainstay on the first page of Google searches.
Who are you trying to reach?
The first step to constructing this strategy is to figure out your Buyer Personas – who you’re trying to reach. These personas can reveal deep insights into what common problems your target consumer is facing, and what type of content you can create to solve these problems and convert target consumers into sales. HubSpot provides a great in-depth look at how to develop detailed and useful buyer personas for your business.
Take a look at a couple of great examples of buyer personas here!
Once you figure out your company’s unique buyer persona, you can start to develop a content plan that really targets them. Create videos, blog posts, ebooks or anything else you think your target customer is looking at, that answers common questions they have, and that drives them further along the buyer’s journey.
Website User Experience
As well as providing invaluable content inspiration, developing a well-researched buyer persona can also help you organize your website more effectively. Try to understand the process that your buyer persona goes through when they visit your site. What are they most likely to click on? What will they see first? What are they trying to find? When you have answers to these questions, you’ll be able to lay your site out to make it as easy as possible for potential customers to get the answers they’re looking for, and you’ll be able to keep them on your site, looking at your content longer.
Luke Doran at Southerly has a smart analogy on how to setup your site like a cake shop. Maybe it’s just because I’m hungry and cake sounds amazing right now, but I think that this comparison gives a simple yet effective visualization of how customers see your site.
“You’re walking down the high street, pass a cake shop, and you stop because something in the window display has caught your eye. You walk into the shop because the cake looks delicious and you want it. When you get into the shop, you see the cake immediately, a sign with a price, and an eager shop assistant with a large “Pay Here” sign. You leave the shop cake in hand, ready to indulge, and vowing to return again soon.
Now imagine the same situation, but when you walk in you can’t find the cake you saw in the window. When you eventually find it there’s no information about how much it costs; you have to ask a shop assistant for that information. And when you’re ready to pay, you can’t find a register or shop assistant. So you just leave and go to the shop down the road.”
The first cake shop is successful because they make your buying process as simple as possible. You don’t have to jump through a bunch of hoops or scour the store for hours to find out what you want. Everything you need to know is there right when you walk through the door. By strategically organizing your site, you can make sure that potential customers are easily finding information, and that they’re navigating everything without getting a headache or wanting to smash their computer screen.
Use SEO-Friendly Content Structure
Now that your website is organized so that customers can find stuff easily, it’s time to focus on how to organize your content so search engines can find it easily. While writing a bunch of content sounds like an easy way to boost your position in Google, all of that effort could be for nothing if you don’t effectively organize your posts.
One way to segment all of the content you’ve created is by using topic clusters. These topic clusters help organize your content into relevant groups and links making it easier for search engine crawlers to find and connect everything.
The first step to creating a topic cluster is to create pillar content. Pillar content will serve as the hub of the cluster. Essentially, this type of content will be a general overview of a specific topic (i.e., web design). With pillar content, you aren’t trying to score for a long-tail keyword –keyword phrases that expand on broad/general terms (i.e., coffee mug vs. large novelty coffee mug with cartoon), or provide a ton of detail. Instead, these pages will serve as a jumping off point for future posts, and can help drive conversions on your site.
Branching off of this pillar content will be your cluster content. Your cluster content is where you can really start to get specific and in-depth with your posts. For example, if your pillar content is about smartphones, your cluster content could include posts like Smartphone Trends of 2018, Which Smartphone is Best for You?, and Best Smartphones for Business.
(HubSpot has a really good illustration of how this works)
Within each piece of cluster content, it’s important to link back to the pillar content. The best way to do that is through hyperlinks. So if you mention your pillar content in a post, you can easily hyperlink the phrase back to the pillar page. However, it’s important not to cram a ton of these hyperlinks into the post if they don’t fit organically.
Planning and Goal Setting
When you have this content architecture set up, it’s time to create an organized calendar for when, and how you’re actually going to post stuff. A detailed calendar can help you keep track of what’s already been posted, what important events are going on during a specific timeframe, and how you can tailor your posts to be timely and effective.
While it’s important to plan, it’s also important not to plan too far into the future. By limiting your calendar to three-month segments, you can easily adjust what type of content you’re posting based on past performance, change how you’re using different social media platforms, and pivot away from ineffective strategies.
Even the best content strategies can be limited in their effectiveness if you don’t have a way to measure them. Before you start developing your content calendar, or writing posts, outline a set of SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Timely) Goals that you want this strategy to achieve. For example, if you want your site to drive more sales, your smart goal could be, “I want to see a 20 percent increase in lead conversion by the end of Q4.” By setting up these types of goals, you can develop content that advances you towards it, and you also have a clear way of measuring the success of the campaign.
Putting forth the effort to optimize your site’s architecture and content strategy isn’t an easy process, but, in the end, the time invested will be well worth it. All of these strategies and tactics may seem like a lot to take in, but when implemented correctly, they can make your site one of the most valuable tools at your disposal.
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