One of the most powerful images in all of our blog posts is a low key analytics screenshot at the very end of our post on content ideation.
I haven’t seen anyone share it on social media or comment on it, but we bring it up over and over again with companies we work with or talk to.
The lesson inside this boring-looking image (keep reading to get to it) is one that helps solve this problem:
“We get some traffic, but it’s not the right traffic, it doesn’t convert to real business.”
Let me be bold and say this, most content marketers (or dare I say, marketers…in general) don’t know how to solve this “our content doesn’t convert” problem.
When they are tasked with “improving conversions”, they quickly jump to building some tactical thing: building a landing page, building an email funnel, AB testing CTAs, etc.
In fact, they’ll hold off on content marketing until the “conversion funnel” is built.
We’ve literally had multiple clients tell us “We really want to work with you guys, but do you think we should setup [insert conversion tactic here] first, so that when you drive traffic, we have a conversion funnel to send them through?”
That thinking is backwards.
They think “conversion optimization” is what you do after you acquire traffic. But in content marketing, that’s wrong.
Lots of posts that you create can’t be optimized for conversions because they don’t attract the right audience and/or they don’t have the right intent to convert to your product or service.
In content marketing, 90% of “conversion optimization” is what you write about.
This image shows this concept best:
The key is comparing the first row with the last. The first article got 10,000 users while the last only 1,000.
But look at the very right hand column. It’s “New User Signups” for a SaaS client. The last article, with a measly 1000 visitors, got the most signups of them all!
Take this further and look at all 10 articles.Three of the top 10 articles generated 87% of the signups.
This ability, to be able to create the 80/20 posts, defined as the posts that do 80% of the conversion work for you, is extremely powerful.
It can do wonders for your career:
- Entrepreneurs: It will generate leads for you. We’ve talked to many agency owners and lead generation can be a huge problem for them. It’s not for us. People literally have asked us how we manage to charge $8000 a month for our service.
- SaaS founders: This approach can help you generate new product sign ups that outperform many other channels. Everyone is jealous of the SaaS companies that don’t need to depend on the paid marketing hampster wheel and grow month over month via organic traffic and content.
- Employees and consultants: It will impress your bosses, clients, or whoever you answer to. Imagine being able to pull up actual reports showing your conversion rate versus what previous people could do. Very few marketers can do this! Which leads us to…
This 80/20 post concept fits well with our theme for this week’s lessons: do what other marketers can’t do. Most marketers have no idea how to do this…on multiple levels.
- First, most marketers don’t even know that they should think of content marketing in this way. They just chase vanity metrics like traffic growth, the number of blog posts published each month, and the number of keywords they rank for. So when someone asks them (boss, client, or they ask themselves) “so what is all this content doing for the business?” They can only stare blankly.
- Then, they don’t know how to measure this (there is an entire module in our course on this). It’s not that hard and you don’t have to be a “numbers person”, you just have to read some simple Google Analytics reports, but you need to know which ones and how to read them.
- Then, even if they figure out the first two bullets, and they want to create content that converts, they don’t really have a system for doing that so they just guess.
Guessing what works is why so many marketers resort to volume to make up for a lack of quality.
It kind of makes sense, doesn’t it? If you have no idea how to produce high impact pieces, why not just produce a ton of pieces so that maybe some of them end up high impact?
But that’s inefficient. It also doesn’t work well. We’ve had some famous companies come to us that get hundreds of thousands of blog views per month. When we dig into their analytics, we learn that barely any of this traffic is leading to signups or leads.
We can’t solve all these problems in a single email, but we can start. And more importantly, you can start.
Here are lessons we recommend you do now to start:
Step 1: Measure
Make sure you have a method to measure conversions from content. Otherwise, what’s the point? If you use GA (Google Analytics), go into your Goals, see if you have a goal that signifies a conversion. You’d be surprised how many companies do not. If you don’t, read this article to set it up. Then, just start with the built in in “Landing Pages Report” in GA for now, to see how many signups you’re getting from blog posts. How are they doing versus your homepage?
Hit reply and let me know how you did on this step. Show us your screenshots, we can help answer questions and point you in the right direction.
Step 2: The “Do Customers Actually Ask This” Test
Next, open up a spreadsheet in one tab and your blog homepage in another. Go title by title, write it in the spreadsheet, then in a second column, give a grade from 1 – 3 if you actually think a customer asks this question. Put 3 if you’ve heard this all the time, or 1 if there’s no way customers ever asks this. You can use a 3rd column for ideas to improve the topic.
Here is me doing it for the last 5 Grow and Convert articles:
(While tons of blogs love to publish frequently, we only publish a post if we genuinely think it’s useful and have a unique angle to talk about. So, yes, I gave us all 3s because I genuinely know that readers have asked us about all of these topics. We get emails about them, and clients ask about them. But you’re our reader, so feel free to disagree and reply back and tell me which one and why. We love learning from differing opinions and we’re happy to discuss it.)
This simple exercise can be eye opening.
On sales calls for the agency we go through a company’s blog posts live and point blank ask them: “Would your customer actually ever want to know this? Would they read this? Have you heard them ask this?”
It can be embarrassing, but in a cathartic way. 🙂 You have to recognize the problem to solve it.
Step 3: Create a List of Actual Pain Points Your Customers Ask
Now, you can begin to fix the problem.
Yes we have an article on content ideation, but don’t even go there yet. If you haven’t done this before you should be able to come up with content ideas instantly off the top of your head. There should be a backlog of actual customer pain points you haven’t written about yet.
Start listing questions your customers have. Just write in the same spreadsheet as above. What do they ask about. What do they care about? What do prospects ask? What do existing customers ask?
This will be your initial list.
Step 4: (Pain Point SEO) Cross Reference Your List With Google
Now, as per our Pain Point SEO technique (Note: We have an entire video in our course about this), you’ll want to check how searchers actually phrase questions on this topic. Google suggested search is usually enough. As the screenshot at the top teaches, search intent is more important than volume here.
For each pain point, start Googling something related to it and see what it auto-suggests. Also look at related searches at the bottom of page 1. Write down some suggestions that you think align closely with your actual customers’ pain points.
Let those be your next few content pieces! See how those perform over time vs. what you already have.
Learn the Full System: Our Course Opens on Monday for Enrollment
These two lessons this week can already get you ahead of the competition and well on your way to achieving our motto: do what other marketers can’t do.
As we said, others aren’t even thinking at this level. They have no idea how to write content that brings in the right people, they have no idea how to promote it, they have no idea how to pair SEO keywords with customer pain points, they have no idea how to measure the effectiveness of all this.
For those that want to take this to the next level and accelerate their professional and career growth by becoming a top tier content marketer (we call it being a “top 1% content marketer”) our course, where we teach the full system, opens for enrollment next week. We teach our full system in a series of HD videos with slides, a working document to build your strategy as you go, and multiple spreadsheet models. There’s also a private slack community where you can chat with us and others about your questions.
Stay tuned for an email Monday with more info. It will only be open for enrollment from Monday through Friday.