Head of Strategy Insight: Avoiding wasteful content marketing
Every bit of content marketing will incur a cost. The cost may be hiring an agency, hiring content creators or strategists in-house, having freelancers work for you, or putting in your own time. Either way, there are costs involved.
One of the biggest mistakes people make when it comes to content marketing is wastefulness. You need to realise that throwing money at your weaker content areas isn’t going to automatically make you profit. A dollar saved is a dollar earned.
This article will look at five common areas that have high levels of wastefulness so you can identify when it’s happening to you.
1. Driving traffic to pages that aren’t optimised
This is by far the easiest way to waste your content marketing efforts and is very easily avoidable – it just takes a bit of forethought.
What I’m referring to here is implementing a content marketing strategy that aims to drive traffic, but your website (or a specific page on your site) is not set up optimally.
Before driving traffic to your site you need to make sure that the user experience is as good as possible.
I bet you’ve been to plenty of sites that were just horrible. You may have clicked on an ad through Facebook (that cost them money) and landed on a page that you could barely make sense of. You have probably made a mental note of that brand and will likely avoid them in the future.
You can see that it doesn’t just affect the immediate experience of the visitor, but it can tartnish your brand. Even if you fix your site, the damage is done.This is why it’s extremely important to stop all traffic-based efforts immediately, and work on having a really friendly site for your visitors to use.
So what should you look for? Some common areas to keep an eye on include:
- Easy-to-use navigation
- Quick site load times
- Forms that don’t have 34 fields to fill in
- An easy way to get in touch or complete your website goals (more on that in point #2)
- A colour and branding scheme that isn’t offensive to the eyes
- No broken links
- Always more links for users to click on (related posts at the end of blog articles is a great solution)
There are more (I’m talking hundreds) of ways to improve website UX, but this should give you a good starting point.
One final tip is to make sure you have other people use your site and get their opinions. You might think something looks great or you can easily navigate a site, but you use it all the time. Get the opinion of someone who has never seen it and assume they are one of your potential; customers. Did they enjoy their visit?
2. Driving the wrong types of traffic to your site
In most cases it’s a very simple answer. The people visiting your site aren’t the people you actually want visiting your site.
This is a serious problem because it can be tough to adjust your strategy to make sure a high percentage of your traffic is relevant. It can also be very deceiving since you see big numbers when you look at the data and things seems to be working when in reality you aren’t making money.
Unfortunately you can never fully control this. There are however ways to increase your chances.
For driving organic traffic you can control the types of keywords/phrases you are targeting. If you sell bananas for example, you might write an article about types of bananas. This isn’t ideal because you are potentially attracting visitors who are just researching types of bananas. While it’s not going to be harmful to have this article, it can very easily be wasteful since you are putting time, effort, and/or money into creating it.
This is much easier to control. Most platforms will have extremely granular targeting options and you can take advantage of this. A huge plus for advertising your content is you can salvage ‘waste’ articles. In the banana example above you can now use that piece and target it towards only potential customers. So anyone seeing and interacting with this is the right type of visitor.
Remember, it is ALWAYS better to have 1,000 website visitors who are potential customers, than to have 10,000 visitors where only 5% will actually care for what you have to say.
3. Generating leads for the sake of generating leads
Picture this: you run a report showing that you generated 1,000 leads in the past month after launching your updated content marketing strategy. You present this to your decision maker and they decide to cut your budget. What happened?
Your job as a marketer isn’t to simply generate leads, but to turn those leads into sales.
When a decision maker is looking at your data, it’s not impressive unless you can show how it impacts the bottom line. This is where lead quality comes into play.
When setting goals for your strategy, it shouldn’t be ‘to generate leads’ – you need to look much deeper than that.
Make sure you have the right people giving you their details. These are the people you want your sales team dealing with instead of leads that will not go anywhere.
More on this can be found in this recent article on our blog.
4. Not having a lead nurture strategy
If you convert 100% of your leads into customers without a lead nurture strategy then this point is not for you! You should also ask for a nice juicy payrise!
Lead nurture is one of the most effective ways to increase ROI on your content marketing spend. You already have the lead. The hard work is already done. It’s now up to you to continually market to them – at a much lower cost.
Email marketing is a very simple way to get some kind of lead nurture into your content marketing strategy. It can be as simple as sending a follow-up email to a lead that highlights one of your products or a deal they might be interested in.
This can be taken to the next level though intelligent lead nurturing. You can segment your leads into groups and market specific material to them. You can then record their activity in those emails and follow up with something even more specific.
For example, if they click on a particular link in your follow-up email, you then know more about them and their interests. The next email can be even more targeted, increasing the chances of turning that lead into a customer.
You can go down the rabbit hole here, so make sure you know what you’re doing or get the experts involved.
5. Giving away content for ‘free’
Doing this incorrectly can lead to a lot of wasteful content.
What I’m talking about here is creating high value content (Ebooks, whitepapers etc.) and not putting it behind a form. Deciding whether to gate or not is tricky, and we have this guide to help you out.
Content should be gated if you’re using it to capture leads, and free to access if you’re using it to win organic search traffic. But it’s never quite that simple. Here’s our guide to help you choose when your #content should be gated. https://t.co/GNNyURjhA8 pic.twitter.com/g81kjOxA3Y
— Castleford (@castlefordmedia) July 25, 2018
In terms of why this can become wasteful, it all comes down to cost. These types of content are by far the most expensive (dollar cost or actual time).
To create an eBook or whitepaper, you need expert-level detail. This means that outsourcing it will take more time and resource and will end up more expensive. Doing it in-house will mean your experts will need to dedicate time to creating it.
All of this sounds like it’s just too difficult, but doing it right is well worth the investment. Carefully pick the right content gate, and you will see plenty of qualified leads come through, and will be able to see a direct ROI on each piece of content.
Don’t be wasteful. Don’t create content for the sake of creating content. Every single letter you type or line you draw should be done purposefully. If you can’t figure out how you will return profit on a specific piece of content, then you should seriously question why you are creating it.