Most companies know that creating persuasive content is the key to converting readers into loyal subscribers or paying customers, but it’s easier said than done. Judging by the quantity of poorly written online content, it’s still a side of marketing many businesses struggle with. Optimising content for the search engines is only one part of the puzzle. How do you optimise content to have the maximum effect on human readers?
Curiosity Headlines and Empathy Triggers
Every marketer knows that headlines are one of the most powerful ways to draw a reader further into the content. Nevertheless, not every content writer understands the strength of subtlety. People scanning web content today have become immune to overblown headlines that promise more than they can deliver.
The first way to strengthen a headline is by asking a question, not making a statement. Questions boost curiosity and make readers pay attention. “Are you looking for quality content?” is better than “We provide quality content.” The second way is to highlight a problem. “Do you struggle to find quality content at an affordable price?” is a problem that readers can relate to. Identify a major problem and deliver it in a question to promote action rather than indifference.
Social Proof and Mass Testimonials
One of the key principles in Robert Cialdini’s book “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion” is social proof. People are more likely to take action when they see other people doing the same thing. Displaying a quote from a satisfied customer is fine, but it won’t convince more cynical readers. Five or more quotes, on the other hand, are more likely to persuade your readers to take a desired action. The more people you quote, the more social proof you have, and the more likely people are going to want to join in.
Who doesn’t enjoy a self-confidence boost? Creating content that makes your readers feel part of a “special club” is an effective way to trigger more conversions. Create content that confirms why choosing your product or service is the right choice. Everyone wants to feel special. How can you make your readers feel that way? Perhaps the success of a particular product means you can offer exclusive deals to loyal customers. Are there any other well-respected organizations that use your products or services? Make your readers feel proud to be associated with you.
Regret and the Power of Loss
Many websites fail in their marketing strategy because they don’t give compelling reasons for readers to return to their website for exclusive content or special promotions. Content that highlights a sense of urgency can ensure visitors will want to return to your website, subscribe to a newsletter, or make a purchase. How will your customers miss out if they fail to take a desired action? Content that emphasizes the time-sensitive nature of an exclusive offer is a powerful way to make readers think about your products or services even when they are not on your website. Rewriting content to emphasize what prospects might lose out on can dramatically effect conversions. This is also a key principle of Cialdini – perceived scarcity will generate demand.
Exploiting the Natural Tendency to Obey Authority
Cialdini also highlighted the authority of expertise, citing the famous Milgram experiments of 1961 in which volunteers were told by an authority figure to administer electric shocks to other “volunteers.” Despite reservations, many volunteers obeyed the “man in the white coat” more than their own conscience. Authority plays a powerful part in persuasion marketing too. Let your readers know your qualifications, how many years you have been in the industry, or how many loyal customers you already have.
Using Images to Boost Conversions
Persuading people through written content is a major part of persuasion marketing, but never forget how powerful images are in a marketing environment. With so little time to make a good first impression, they are a major component of effective content marketing. Strong images will enhance credibility and strengthen a brand. For example, a professional, formal photograph of a content author will almost certainly strengthen brand credibility.
In a Nutshell
Creating content to persuade visitors to take certain actions is a constant challenge, even for marketing experts. The key is to understand your customers’ needs and desires and create valuable content that readers can identify with. Ultimately, truly useful content will rank higher in search engine results pages, without you having to employ dubious SEO tactics. Why not make use of some of these techniques next time you need some content marketing inspiration?
Over to you…
What techniques do you use to optimise your content for increased conversion? Share your tips and experience…