Content can do wonderful things for your business: it can build an audience, generate leads, establish trust, and even increase sales.
Unfortunately, because content is but a human creation, it can’t do these things itself. It requires your input, and that can lead to it being done wrong. Oh. How. It. Can. Be. Done. Wrong.
For your content to convert, it must be written with that goal in mind, which means using effective techniques and finding the right tone. As you can see from the examples above, missing the target can have serious consequences.
So, before you sit down to produce content that turns its readers into customers, read our guide to writing content that converts.
Hooked from the Start
Research conducted by Microsoft in 2015 showed that the average attention span of a human is eight seconds. In that extremely short space of time, your content needs to take hold of the reader, make them comfortable, and settle them in for the long haul.
Naturally, that means how you start your blog post, email, or other piece of content is crucial.
Now, an emphasis on the headline and opening of a communication is probably something you’ve heard before. That’s because it applies to any piece of content that requires the reader’s attention. In the spirit of this post, consider the difficulty of converting a reader if they aren’t, well, reading.
To start, focus on the title or headline of your piece. Does it simply describe what the reader should expect? Or does it emphasise why they should read it?
By highlighting the value your content provides, you give readers a reason to engage with it. For example, "How to Make Money" is a fairly vanilla title. But, change it to "The Quickest Route to Becoming a Millionaire", and you're cooking with gas!
With your title in place, you need to write the opening. The key consideration here is to explain, concisely, what the content is about and reiterate why the reader should care. Again, point out the value in your content because, after all, that’s why the reader’s there.
To continue with the example above, your opening to “The Quickest Route to Becoming a Millionaire” might go something like this:
“Becoming a millionaire sounds difficult, right? Years of hard work and personal sacrifices. What if we told you that it doesn’t have to be that way?
There are many different routes to earning your first million, but here we’ll show you the quickest.”
Heed the Headings
An often overlooked element of written content, headings play an important role in engaging and then converting readers.
Firstly, headings help to break up your content, making it more consumable and scannable. There’s nothing more daunting for a reader than a long, unbroken block of prose. By using headings to signpost new sections, you prevent readers from clicking off based on the appearance of your content alone.
In regards to increasing conversion, it is the role of headings to pique the reader’s interest. As headings stand out due to their format, the reader will be instinctively drawn to them. They are, throughout your content, opportunities to emphasise your point and prompt the action you want the reader to take.
We’ll cover this in more detail soon, but using emotive and powerful language in your headings will increase their impact.
Don’t Overcomplicate Things
Complicated content kills. Every piece of jargon or complex language narrows your audience and makes your content tough for anyone to digest. Here’s a short list of things you should avoid to simplify your content:
- Vague Ideas — Focusing on irrelevant topics that aren’t moving the reader toward the goal (converting) only serve to make your content difficult to follow. Stick to specifics, whether it’s instructions, benefits, actions, or results.
- Jargon and Industry-Specific Terms — Just because you are familiar with certain words, it doesn’t mean your audience is. Always find alternatives to words or language that is usually only used within your industry.
- Complex Language — As with jargon, you should avoid using unnecessarily long or obscure words in your content. When shorter, more familiar language can be used, always opt for the simplistic approach.
Any of these slip-ups can blur your message and cause readers to check-out, both mentally and literally.
A Healthy Dose of Power and Emotion
Impactful. That’s one of the key features of content that converts. You need to motivate readers to carry out an action, and using certain types of language is the way to do it. Namely, powerful and emotive language.
Powerful language is enticing; it captures attention and draws readers in. People want to be associated with powerful language and see themselves in those words. It also shows authority, adding credibility to your content and making it more impactful.
In his book, How Customers Think: Essential Insights into the Mind of the Market, Harvard professor Gerald Zaltzman stated that 95% of purchasing decisions are subconscious. Central to subconscious decision-making is emotion. If you want your content to convert, it should engage your audience on an emotional level. Think about their aims and goals, their pains and concerns. Through emotive language, you can inspire feelings that turn window shoppers into repeat customers.
There is, however, a balance to be struck. Using too much powerful language can be seen as over exaggeration and an obvious intent to convince the reader. Similarly, overusing emotive can come across as desperate or manipulative.
If you find the perfect balance, your content will draw people in, hold their attention, and compel them to convert.
Calls to Action Are Critical
A call to action, or a CTA as it’s often called, is an instruction for the reader that is often found at the end of a piece of content. It’s important so as to ensure the audience doesn’t finish reading the content and ask the question, “so, what now?”
The CTA is a critical conversion tool. If your content has motivated the reader to become a customer, they should know exactly how to follow up on their interest. You should make it as easy as possible for people to convert, and instructing them how to do so through your call to action is the simplest solution.
What should your CTA be? Well, that’ll depend on what you’re offering and the next step you want potential customers to take. You might want them to arrange a consultation, or maybe call to discuss a project. Or you could be directing them to an online demo or free sample.
No matter what the desired action is, you should aim to make your CTA as welcoming and reassuring as possible. At this stage, readers could still be uncertain, and an intimidating CTA may prove to be ineffective. For example, rather than “Buy Now” or “Book a Consultation”, choose “Get in Touch” or “Learn More”.
Convert with Your Content
When your content is designed to convert, it makes your whole sales process easier. Your company can substitute direct sales tactics for content marketing and reach a larger audience in the process. As a result, the leads generated by your content are much closer to making a purchase than those resulting from cold calls or email marketing.
If your company’s content needs refining, or you want to start producing content that drives sales and conversions, we’d love to help, so get in touch with the expert writers at Prize Content today.