In my last article, I talked about how super salesy content marketing can drive your customers away. But what I didn’t tell you is that the research in that recent white paper we cited also identified two other major content turn-offs that could be hurting your business.
Today, let’s talk some more about those turnoffs—and how you can avoid them.
Content turn-off #1: complicated downloads
We’ve all been there. You’re trying to download a white paper or complete a form…and the thing is taking forever. It’s like filling out a visa application, but without the perks of going on vacation afterward.
How to fix it: make it as simple as you possibly can
Be ruthless with yourself. Ask: what information do you actually need?
If you’re getting someone to sign up for an email list, the only thing you truly need is an email address. And if you make your form as simple as that (“Toss your email address in the box and we’ll send you cool stories every month”), you’re going to get a lot more sign-ups than if you make people provide a full address, password, username, and passport number.
Sometimes, you genuinely need more information. And that’s okay, too. The point is to keep your specific forms and download processes as simple as you possibly can without discarding your business goals.
Content turn-off #2: blatantly promotional and self-serving content
Yikes. We’ve all seen this one as well. You click on a blog post or a video thinking it’ll inform you, entertain you, or inspire you in some way…and instead it’s a sales pitch.
How to fix it: separate your sales content and your content marketing
Users need both. We need the sales page that tells us what sizes your shoes come in and what colors. We need to know what features your product offers and why we should buy it.
But that’s not why we visit your blog. That’s not why we follow you on Twitter. If we want to know the specs for your computer, we’ll head to the sales page. But if we want to know what RAM means or how to choose a new computer or how to make our speakers sound better—that’s when we’re likely to check out your content marketing channels. And if we love what you write? That’s when we’ll subscribe.
Content turn-off #3: content that’s uninformed or not-so-useful
If a user clicks on a headline about how to properly clean a pool or where they can find small town charm in France, they want real information on those topics—not the same information everyone else provides or, even worse, incorrect information.
How to fix it: create a content strategy
To be truly useful to your audience, you need to know a few things, like:
- Who is that audience and what do they care about?
- What are your business goals and how do they fit in?
- Who is going to create content and who is responsible for reviewing it or ensuring it meets user needs and business goals?
- How will we create this content to meet those goals?
And so on and so forth.
And how does one answer all these questions and move a project forward? Content strategy.
Don’t forget: content doesn’t just turn people on to your product. It can also turn them off—for good.
With so many different campaigns and tactics, sometimes our marketing and web departments put off fixing the problems that are already exist in favor of publishing the next big thing.
Let me pause here to recommend against that.
Just like a piece of truly exceptional content can earn you trust, engagement, and real sales, a piece of uninformed or overly salesy content can lose you those things. And once you’ve lost trust, engagement, and real sales, it’s going to be pretty hard for you to get them back.
It’s still cheaper and easier to keep an existing customer than to get a new one.
So my tip this week? Focus on fixing your existing content, your strategy, and your process before you start publishing new stuff.
Any success stories or cautionary tales? Questions or comments? As always, we’d love to hear from you in the comments.