Your content fails to convert because you failed to meet your target audience where they’re at

Your business is crazy excited about a new opportunity. You have the perfect product/service to take advantage of that opportunity. And you’ve been hit by a bolt of inspiration, so have the perfect idea to promote what you have to offer.

But rather than signing up in their droves, your audience doesn’t seem that interested, and you’ve only secured a couple of clicks.

What happened?

As a marketer you have the most creative role in the company, and sometimes those wonderful ideas take on a mind of their own. Suddenly your promotional campaign is in progress, despite the fact you haven’t sanity checked your idea yet (I know because I’ve been there!). Sometimes, what you think of as ‘perfect’ isn’t, and your content ends up being something you enjoy, rather than content that is driven by the needs of your audience.

So what do you do?

Always map your content to the sales cycle

In this article we talked about how different types of content can be used to support your lead generation activities…

The same principles apply here. If you haven’t already done so, grab a coffee with your sales leader and ask them to take you through the different stages of your company’s sales cycle. For example, mine is super basic:

diagram 1_your content fails to convert because you failed to meet your target audience where they’re at

By mapping out your sales cycle and understanding what constitutes a conversion, it becomes easier to see the types of content (internal and external) you might need to help secure that conversion.

For example, let’s imagine for a moment that I’m not ‘chief of everything’ and have a team who works with me.

🧁At the lead stage: I need lots of content to help raise awareness, such as LinkedIn posts, tactical SEO blogs, and white papers.

🧁At the MQL stage: my sales team need a qualification form and externally I want to share some thought leadership articles to demonstrate the value my business has to offer.

🧁At the SQL stage: I need finance/sales to raise a quote and may benefit from some tactical FAQs that overcome any pre-purchase fears about what happens next, and if my prospect is making the right choice.

🧁At the client stage: I need legal to support with contracts, my customer success team to onboard, and a nice welcome communication to help my new client feel they definitely made the right choice.

When a new opportunity arises, rather than create the first piece of content that comes to mind (regardless of how amazing that idea is), sit and methodically work through what a prospect may need to hear/read/see at each stage of the buying cycle to convert them into a client – and eventually an advocate for your brand.

Create a skeleton

There’s a core structure that exists within all copy:

diagram 2_your content fails to convert because you failed to meet your target audience where they’re at

The problem with your product/service is that it is amazing, so there are 101 different things you can say about it. It’s even worse when you work inside the business, because you’re exposed to how that product/service was developed and suffer the ‘curse of knowledge’, which means you end up saying all the wrong things.

However, when you create a skeleton for every piece of content, you create clear and compelling copy that engages and ultimately converts your audience because it is focused. Remember, your target audience doesn’t need or want to hear everything – only the things that matter to them in this moment:

🧁Pain: what is the business impact of their challenge?

🧁Urgency: why now?

🧁Their mental state: what does the business (and them as an individual) aspire to be?

Answer these questions and it becomes easy to prune your messaging because anything that doesn’t align to their pain, sense of urgency, and mental state, can be discarded and saved for another asset.

Use an appropriate call-to-action

One of the biggest mistakes you can make with your content is to apply the same generic call-to-action (CTA) to every piece of content. Just imagine, you’ve spent hours crafting a wonderful piece of content. You’ve hooked the audience in, engaged them in your narrative, guided them throughout their ‘journey’ – and then you slap them in the face with the same cold, hard ‘contact us’ button that gets applied to every communication.

Take a moment to consider where your audience is in the sales cycle.

If this is the first time they’ve encountered your brand, chances are they’re not ready to take such a big step. Therefore, a smaller commitment, like reading a blog or watching a video, is more appropriate.

However, with a meaty piece of content, like a white paper, guide or report, your audience is invested and therefore happier to make a bigger commitment, like booking a demo or registering for an assessment. But again, don’t use your generic CTA. Think about how you can tailor the words, so it naturally flows with the rest of your piece.

For example, imagine your white paper explores current trends in cloud computing. Rather than your usual ‘IT assessment’, rephrase it as a ‘cloud infrastructure assessment’ – even if the underlying deliverable remains the same.

Throughout all your content you should play with hard CTAs (like ‘book a demo’) and soft CTAs (like ‘read my case studies’) to see what resonates best with your audience at different stages of your sales cycle. As well as getting them used to taking regular actions with you.

Want to learn more about how to write content that aligns to your audience?

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