Jonas is the Head of Marketing at UXCam. His passion for UX motivates him to help app makers deliver the perfect user experience.
Content strategy refers to the management of pretty much any substantial media that you create and own. It is the piece of your marketing strategy that continuously exhibits who you are and the proficiency you bring to your industry.
Marketing professionals often suffer stress caused by low conversion rates.
Management is demanding high growth rates, yet it’s hard to bring in the expected number of leads in. There is untapped potential to fix conversion rates quickly by understanding Content Design. The following guide will give advice to get started right away.
A lot of websites have an unprofessional design that looks like no one has put thought behind it. With the right content design strategy & tools, marketers have a plan of what they are actually supposed to be doing.
By just putting a few hours of work into content design, we can create a highly converting landing page.
1. Content Design Strategy
First, marketers need to know what kind of content they want to design. Let’s take the FISH-model as our baseline here:
Follow Content (Create fans)
Inbound/Lead Content (Get contact data)
Search Content (Give information)
Highlight Content (Create shareable content)
Here’s concrete advice on how to design content according to type:
Follow content has the goal to build a sustainable following amongst the desired target group. When designing follow content, the Call to Action (CTA) should lead to a newsletter subscription, a facebook page or a linkedin account.
Inbound/Lead content should generate leads (by capturing data). For example via an ebook download or a webinar registration. The focus should be put on the completion of a contact data form.
Search content should be designed to serve search requests, primarily on Google. Keyword research needs to be performed prior. There are many factors that determine the rank on google.
To have a shot at ranking, create & design content that has high quality, answers the search request and is easy to read by Google's algorithm.
Highlight content should raise awareness for a product. The goal should be to let the content “go viral”. To do so, incentives to share the content should be built into the design of the content.
2. Target Group Research
To create effective content design, understanding the needs and wishes of the target group is absolutely necessary. Let's focus on creating a buyer persona before designing our content. Marketers who have already done this should skip to the next chapter.
What are buyer personas?
“A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers.
When creating your buyer persona(s), consider including customer demographics, behavior patterns, motivations, and goals. The more detailed you are, the better.” - Hubspot
Here are data points and characteristics that should be included in any buying persona:
- Demographic Data (Age, Gender, Family Status, Country etc.)
- Psychographic Characteristics (Beliefs, Interests, Hobbies, Motivation etc.)
- Socioeconomic Characteristics (Education level, Job, Income etc.)
- Behavior Characteristics (Openness to try new products, Internet Usage [e.g. Social Media sites], Willingness to take risks, etc.)
Keep in mind that the importance and type of characteristics will change according to the product and industry that it’s subject to. For example, B2B buyer personas are different from B2C buyer personas.
Completing a buyer persona gives the power to have a clear vision of which type of person, which type of interests and which type of elements content should be designed for.
3. Usability & User Experience
Let’s define those terms first.
Usability describes the ability to use a software, product or website to reach a goal.
An example: A user wants to download an eBook on a landing page that’s designed to be Inbound Content. He can’t find the download button and is instead bombarded with buttons to sign up for a free trial to a product he knows nothing about. Here, the ability to reach his goal (downloading the eBook) is not given, which makes for bad usability.
User Experience (UX) goes a step beyond.
‘"User experience" encompasses all aspects of the end-user's interaction with the company, its services, and its products.’ - Nielsen Norman Group
Usability is a part of UX, but UX includes the anticipated use of a product or site and the emotions felt through it.
Let's look at common mistakes that are made in Content Design regarding usability and UX.
- Lack of empathy: Remember the target group research we talked about? Bad marketers think from their own point of view and draw conclusions. Good marketers think from the point of view of their target group and design their content accordingly.
- Unresponsive websites: Responsive websites look good on both desktop and mobile devices. Users should be able to consume content on desktop, mobile and tablets. If they come across content on a mobile device and the design breaks, they will be quick to leave.
- Text over visuals: Users shouldn’t be overwhelmed by the amount of text that’s thrown at them. The brain processes visual information faster than text. Visuals are a good way to illustrate points and deliver variety.
- Lack of attention to detail: Users get bored easily. Micro interactions, like hovering over a button and the colour of it changes, are keeping the user’s attention going.
- No clear direction: Users should be guided with a clear goal in mind (see chapter Content Design Strategy). They should have no problem finding the next step to proceed in the funnel. Prominent Call to Action buttons should be used.
4. Conversion Optimization
Once the content design is live, it needs to be tested and optimized to achieve the best conversion rate.
Here are must-use methods to use.
Heatmaps are the easiest way to get an understanding of user behavior on a site in one look. They allow marketers to understand which elements users clicked on - and which they didn’t. Heatmaps function by colour coding. The most common type of heatmaps are:
- Touch/Click Heatmaps: Touch (mobile app analytics) or click (desktop analytics) heatmaps show which elements get clicked on the most often. The “redder” an area is, the more clicks it is getting.
- Scroll Heatmaps: Scroll heatmaps show how far down users are scrolling on a landing page or website.
- Eye Tracking Heatmaps: A special version of heatmaps that requires a more complex setup. Heatmaps are generated based on eye movement on the screen.
This can give a basis to test on. For example, if a heatmap indicated that people click on an image, but there is no interaction taking place, a site that is designed around interacting with the image can be tested with.
A/B testing tools allow to test two or multiple variants. Let’s say that an alternative version of a content site was designed based on heatmap results. How does one know if the alternative version is better than the original one? By testing. Through A/B testing, one can find out which version has a better engagement, click through, or conversion rate.
Session Replay tools enable marketers to understand user behavior by watching recordings. This can be great to get the full context of a user’s experience. It also leads to discovering hidden interactions that would be missed by just looking at pure numbers.
Surveys give details directly from the users themselves. Not only that, they also can be a way to establish a relationship with them. Common ways of surveying in content design are multiple-choice questions and evaluation feedback.
For example, if the goal is to rank high on google with a piece of content by serving the search intent, but there is a feedback that it doesn’t, it’s worth to revisit the content. Keep in mind that asking for a survey will influence your content design.
Content Design is a complex field. This guide provided the tools to get started. Small changes can make a big difference on the success of a content marketing strategy. Good luck!
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