3 Direct Marketing Principles That Can Improve Your Content's Conversion
Feb 28, 2017
They seem like polar opposites. Content marketing is a soft sell, positioning your company as a trusted expert or thought leader. Direct marketing is all about action: getting the lead, making the sale, motivating the customer to do something specific.
But the ultimate reason you do any marketing is to move prospects and customers toward the sale. And as a long-time direct marketer, I have learned that the principles and practices of DM can be applied to make almost any marketing more effective — including your content.
Here are some specific ways you can use these principles to sharpen your content efforts.
1. Keep ‘em moving.
Direct marketing is active. It has to be — because in most cases you need to create motivation and get the reader to do something. Does your content marketing do that — or do your posts lead to a dead end?
Tell your reader what to do next. At the end of each post, offer links to more posts or your marketing pages. When you send an email, don’t include the entire blog text. Link to your site for the full story. It not only builds your traffic but also can move them closer to the next desired action.
2. Eliminate barriers.
This one is sort of the flip side of #1, and it’s a key direct marketing practice. Make sure there is nothing in the way of your prospect/customer’s path to the response you want. Here are a few examples of barriers to eliminate:
• Is your content hard to understand? Confusing messages can lead people to the wrong conclusions — or drive them away.
• Do you answer the readers’ questions? Your content should fulfill the promise made by your headline, and direct them to more posts or marketing pages on your site if they want to learn more.
• Is your layout user-friendly? People will give up if your text is dense and hard to read, or if they can’t figure out unclear navigation.
• Is your video an exit sign? If you embed a YouTube video on your page, be sure to turn off the “show suggested videos” option. Otherwise, visitors may be watching puppy videos (or your competitors’ videos) on your site.
3. Create content using AIDA: Awareness, Interest, Desire and Action.
This age-old DM principle describes the 4 steps to getting a response. In most direct marketing, each communication includes all 4 steps. But content is inbound, so your readers could be anywhere along this path. That’s why you should develop content to address each step.
• Awareness topics get you on your prospect’s radar and establish your company’s relevance to the topic. This content is also a great way to build search traffic.
• Interest and Desire (or Consideration) topics build a buzz and position you as a helpful resource. For instance, “how-to” posts show that your company is an industry expert, and can lead readers to subscribe or follow you for more information.
• Action topics cover information potential customers want to know before they buy. These topics can (and should) lead seamlessly into your marketing pages.
The goal of your content is not (usually) to make a sale. But your content is part of the sales process — getting a prospect into the pipeline or moving them along. And because direct marketing is so good at driving action, the techniques and tactics we’ve relied on forever can easily be applied to make your content work harder — and smarter.