Content marketing is part of a broader digital marketing strategy, which means it should help your website get targeted traffic and conversions. Unfortunately, many companies either completely neglect the content strategy (and just don’t create content) or, what is arguably worse, create content just for content creation’s sake: there is no well-planned traffic or conversion generation plan behind releasing new ones Content. This article will help you fix both of these: Here’s a rundown of ways you can use content to drive traffic and sales:
Traffic driving channels
When it comes to content, there are three main channels that generate traffic:
- Organic search
- Social media
- Reference (other websites that link to you)
Let’s take a closer look at each of these channels:
Increase traffic through organic search
Organic search remains the “best” traffic source for several important reasons:
- It can be a pretty steady source of traffic (build once, see several months coming without additional effort)
- It’s very targeted: People have actually been looking for the information you are covering
Google remains the most important traffic driver worldwide:Source: sparktoro.com
No other traffic source is as effective. And no other traffic source is as demanding. Building traffic from Google essentially depends on two main tactics:
- Increase your positions for your relevant searches
- Make sure your search listing is clicked
To cover each and every one quickly: Increase your positions for your relevant searches This is the main goal of search engine optimization: identifying relevant keywords (which also serve as content ideas) and finding ways to rank your content for those searches. Two tools I mainly use to research keywords and create high-ranking content are:
- Ahrefs: I love their Keyword Explorer feature which has lots of filters to help you find relevant questions and related questions that are in high demand and still have feasible organic competition.
- Text Optimization: Once I know my target keyword, I run this tool to find more concepts and questions to cover in my content. This semantic analysis-based tool enables you to create in-depth content, including a wider range of related topics:
Make sure your search listing is clicked The organic search results have gotten so diverse and visual that it isn’t easy to get clicks unless you’re in number 1 (which, as you can imagine, is a pretty crowded position). Fortunately, we have some control over organic entries and what they look like:
- Of course, focus on your content heading: It should stand out, possibly contain numbers and / or a CTA
- Consider using the FAQ schema to have Google display a rich snippet of questions and answers. In some cases, you can use other types of schemes such as recipes and event schemes
- Pay attention to your branding: Google shows your domain (brand name) and your logo (favicon) in the mobile search results and makes your brand identity part of your CTR strategy.
Namify is a nice tool to help you with if you are having trouble. It will find a great clickable brand name and create your visual identity. It’s a cool tool when you’re starting a website or want to better define your brand identity:
Increase traffic through social media
Generating social media traffic is a little easier than building traffic from Google, but chances are these clicks won’t be as effective in terms of page engagement and conversions. Social media marketing is often disruptive. People rarely use social media to click links. They are there to chat with friends, see each other’s updates, and meet family members. Yes, they might find your links interesting and click on them, but they’ll still be in a hurry to get back to their feeds. Still, social media traffic remains a valid additional traffic driver. To give you a quick overview of platforms and tactics, here is a brief overview:
|platform||Build traffic||What to Expect|
|Post linked updates from time to time and invite friends to read and spread the word. It’s usually a friendly environment to share your work with.||Sharing a link on a personal page is usually quite effective, but it cannot be overdone. When you use a company page, all you have to do is pay for views or clicks.|
|Link tweeting can be effective if you are committed to following them. Some niches have active Twitter chats where you can share a link if it adds value to a discussion.||Tweets are short-lived, so plan on multiple tweets to go live at different times in the future. There are also some ways to recycle Tweets for more exposure.|
|You can’t post links in updates, but if your profile has enough followers (at least 10,000) you can post links in stories, which is very effective for traffic.||Instagram isn’t the best channel for generating traffic, but it’s great for finding partners. Spend your time there finding people you can build mutually beneficial relationships with|
|Embed your CTA (e.g., “Click the image to read more”, “Click to download”, etc.) to drive visitors to your website||Pinterest has a very specific image format that works. Tools like Venngage can help!|
|Post links in your updates and tag people and companies mentioned. Linkedin doesn’t send a lot of traffic, but the few clicks you get are likely to interact better than Facebook’s. The Linkedin crowd is there for business, so they probably care about what you do.||This platform will mostly only work in a B2B niche, but if you’re looking for leads it can work very well!|
The beauty of this type of traffic is that as you build it, you achieve other (possibly more important) goals. You get to know your audience better, find partners and influencers, meet your potential content promoters, discover cool opportunities (like new groups and competitions), find great content ideas, etc. Also by being on social media and meeting other bloggers to increase my chances of my content generating some natural backlinks which are key to increasing my organic rankings and consequently traffic.
Increase referral traffic
After all, getting traffic from links on other websites is often part of a link building strategy. Indeed, when you need a definition of a valuable backlink: it’s the one that gets traffic. Driving links are hard to come by, but some ways that can work include:
- Regular contributions to other (preferably popular) blogs
- Contact other bloggers and invite them to fix outdated or broken links with your resource.
Both methods include a powerful relationship building component, so it’s a good idea to keep an eye out for bloggers you reach out to (or contribute to) when you’re on social media to build your following and meet with like-minded people to interact. Of course, there are other ways that content can drive clicks, but these aren’t relevant in the small business context. For example, creating viral content can send thousands of clicks, but it’s too time-consuming (and often useless) to try for a small business.
Here’s how to make content a part of your sales funnel
Getting traffic is only half the battle. For your content to drive sales, you need to tailor your content strategy to your product and sales funnel:
- Customize content topics to suit your value proposition. When doing keyword research and topic brainstorming, keep your product in mind. What problems does your product solve? Focus on creating content that speaks to these products and potentially offers your product as a solution.
- Integrate your CTAs into content. This can be anything from a gentle call-to-action inviting readers to try your product (in response to a described question) to a two-step sign-up where they can download a full review or a more detailed guide .
To give you a good idea of both of them in action, here’s an article on Hubspot that integrates all kinds of contextual CTAs in the most appropriate way:
Keep an eye on your content-driven conversion funnels
After all, monitoring your conversions is key to a more effective content-driven sales funnel. Setting up Google Analytics goals is a must. Another idea is to use conversion-focused platforms like Finteza, which allow you to slice and dice your analytics data to get specific insights into the content-driven page that will better drive sales of a given traffic source:
Developing an effective traffic and promotional content strategy takes time and effort, but it is a very rewarding endeavor that will establish your brand as a knowledge center, build brand loyalty and trust, and help your business understand your niche and target audience. Good luck!