If your efforts in content marketing are providing you less and less results (lower visits, leads, sales, etc.), I guarantee that you aren’t the only one and now is the right time to make a change in your strategy.

Because if you don’t adapt, your competition will and that will put you at an even greater disadvantage.

Content Marketing tactics that worked perfectly 12 to 24 months are no longer designed to give your results or a good return on investment today. Let’s just say, what’s gone is gone and shouldn’t be brought back.

Based on our experience with trying and testing different content marketing approaches since 2008 (more specifically thanks to our own errors), here are the 5 errors that result in you losing your customers:

Error #1: Strive for sales over the short-term.

Several years ago, the tactic of adding links to the text of your content or even including banners around it to allure the user into buying your product was without fail the perfect way to acquire a customer. But as times have changed, this bombarding approach has a lesser impact on your readers and drives bare minimum results.

The reason being that there is an abundance of content available on the internet. If your readers don’t think your piece adds value to them or is too ‘irritating’ to engage with, they would look for another source of information.

Perhaps at the start it was only you who offered a specific product or service but today, the competition is increasing by the day. The user knows this, and thus, before making a decision will keep looking.

In this precise moment we lost a potential client and you could too!

So how can this be avoided?

The best way, which we have tested and has given us results, is that you eliminate all the links in the text (which seek to sell in the short-term) and all the banners so that you can focus on the goal of educating your reader. This ensures that when he is finally ready to convert, he knows what he will be gaining from your product.

Kissmetrics serves as an excellent example, as in their blog, where after a few seconds you will see a pop-up that invites you to continue learning from a successful case study:

kissmetrics content upgrade

Another interesting example is HubSpot, where in their content section you have the opportunity to receive an eBook at the end of each article:

hubspot ebook

In both the cases, they ask for your email in order to send you this digital content and in this way they can continue to grow their relationship with you via further email marketing campaigns.

You need to realize that on an average, only 2% of the visitors to your website will become clients in the first instance of contact, as indicated by the study done by the Nielsen Norman Group.

This is the reason why you need to establish a contact point with them before trying to close a sale.

You can think of this along the same lines as a conference or lecture that you have attended. The person giving the presentation first sought to gain your trust by sharing valuable information with you.

Once you see this person as a reference point in your industry, it is then that he or she pitches their value proposition – a product or a service they are offering. In this exact moment you are already convinced and are ready to engage with them.

Not at the beginning of the presentation (not when the user arrives to your site for the first time), but at the end!

In the physical world it will take you just a few hours to get convinced into buying something, but in the digital world, you’re a lot more skeptical about it. Think of your customer the same way!

Final note: Please don’t add the typical form allowing users to subscribe to your newsletter. This does not work any more!

You need to offer something that promises to add more value to the reader and delivers the same. Be it an ebook, a case study, guide, video or any other content upgrade. The idea is to build a long term relationship with your audience.

Error #2: Invest in in-depth articles

As mentioned in the point above, the competition for content pieces in the past was barely there. But with the changing times, there is just no stopping the growth of content on the internet.

Till a while back, simple articles of around 500 words were more than enough to convince a reader into converting. However, we observed that articles averaging around 1,500 to 2,000 words gave the best of results!

Longer content pieces help you position yourself better on search engines and also give you the opportunity to educate your audience better. The better the material you offer through content marketing, the greater recognition you will receive from your visitors. Thereby, improving your conversion rate.

When talking about the length of the articles, we are not saying that they should have more words strictly for producing more volume. You need to dig deeper into data and the subject you’re covering to show that you know exactly what you’re talking about. Gibberish information or talking in circles will only result in you losing the trust of your readers.

Nothing shows this better than a real example that you can see for yourself. Tell me which one of the following would you follow through?

Let’s suppose you are searching for software in order to put together a landing page for your new product and in the meantime you are learning how to implement it.

The first example is Optimizer, where in this article they simply show you examples of 9 distinct landing pages:

optimizer article example

The second option is Unbounce, where in their article they show you 35 examples. But it isn’t simply better because they show you 3 times more examples, but because in each one of them they take the time to share their knowledge regarding the pros and cons of each landing page design.

unbounce article example

When your users compare your content with that of your competition, that is the deciding moment for his purchase decision and that’s exactly where you need to be on top of things.

In their mind the reasoning is: “If your content is good, your service will also be good, but if your content is bad or just average, the service will also be so.”

Error #3: Content Marketing is not just text

In the beginning, content marketing became a reality because it provided a way of positioning yourself on search engines such as Google (who indexed and only understood text), in order to easily and quickly attract new clients to your site.

This has changed over time and even though the first argument is still valid today, there are other tactics marketing your content that are far more effective in bringing in results.

With the exponential increase in cell phone usage, where you have a smaller screen to read as compared to desktop, betting on audio or video content is a smart idea – although they too need to be optimized for loading quickly, considering there could be network hassles too!

MOZ is one company that serves as the perfect example of offering varied types of content. They have a weekly series of videos called the Whiteboard Friday, which is educational content about marketing.

moz article example

Personally, I have over 100 articles on marketing saved which I can read at any time and use to improve our business. But the simplicity of consuming a lot of content on the go, that a video on my cell phone gives me makes these take priority over reading the articles.

It is very likely that your users have a similar preference and it would be very interesting to use content marketing in the form of a video or an audio message so that they choose you and not the competition for ‘quick and insightful information’.

Another example to spark your creativity is to hold webinars as a channel for content marketing like Leadpages does:

weekly webinars

Error #4: It isn’t just about your blog

As we have been discussing, everything in the beginning was based on creating content pieces for ‘your’ blog so that search engines could index them and your site would leverage from organic traffic.

But your job doesn’t just end at publishing a post every day. You need to implement promotion of your content as well using popular social channels like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, etc – basically anywhere that you think your target audience spends at least a few hours in a day!

However, you must keep in mind that today there are even other promotion tactics apart from social media. For instance, Medium and Linkedin Pulse. The two platforms enable you to address specific segments of your audience, ensuring quality readers.

To give you an idea of how much this tactic can have an impact on your content marketing results, I invite you to read this note where David Heinemeier Hansson shares his experience with his company Basecamp – which has millions of dollars in revenue every year and who moved their blog having a 15-year trajectory to Medium.

medium note

Error #5: Not supporting your strategy with Remarketing

An excellent tactic that you can begin using right away is implementing a remarketing campaign to complement your content marketing efforts.

Basically, whenever a person visits your website, consumes your content and goes away without making an interaction, you can retarget them with similar content pieces across digital platforms. Staying on top of their minds can result in driving an action that adds to achieving your end goal.

One possible way to better understand this concept, is to try reading a new article by SalesForce:

salesforce example

Later, when you navigate to other pages, they will show you their ads but it is important to note that these are not to sell you something directly. They aim at offering you even more value in something you had shown interest. (refer point 1)

The goal is to keep on educating your audience till they understand your value proposition, have faith in your business and are ready to convert!

Here’s another example of them remarketing on an online magazine:

remarketing salesforce

And even on social networks:

facebook remarketing example

About the author

This knowledge was shared by Cristian Angel Rennella, Engineer specializing in the implementation of new technologies in Latin America. Currently CMO of Empréstimos Online in Brazil.  Ruby on Rails Programmer.

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