Jewel Marketing
Taiwan Content Marketing

Seven Reasons Your Content Isn't Converting

By Jason Patterson

Founder of Jewel Content Marketing Agency
Conversion is not and should not be the only reason why you're publishing content. If all your content is about conversion, your brand will come across as needy, desperate, annoying, or overly salesy.

But that doesn't mean you shouldn't have any conversion content. Because you get more when you ask. And if your content that asks isn't getting any, something's wrong.

So What Exactly Is Conversion?

Conversion is a tricky subject in marketing, because the stage of the marketing funnel where you actually make the sale is also sometimes labeled "conversion." But that's not what I mean.

Conversion Is When the Audience Takes the Offer

When it comes to content marketing, a conversion is when a prospect takes an action that indicates acceptance of an offer a piece of content makes, with that action being the explicit and primary goal of the piece.

The Offer Can Vary

The completed action might be to fill out contact details and click "download." Or it might be to follow a link to another page to learn about a product. Or it might be to start some kind of interactive content journey (like a product selector). It could be a lot of things.

The action might be carried out at the bottom or end of a piece of content, though it doesn't have to be (a landing page might have terms and conditions at the bottom).

The Audience Must Know What's Being Offered

Something important to remember here. For an action to count as a conversion, the content must include an explicit and specific ask or offer tied to it in the main body of the content. In other words, the prospect needs to know where they're going, what they're doing, or what's going to happen next when they click.

If a link is presented without context (even at the end of a content piece), clicking it is not a conversion.

Side Quests Don't Count

Even if a link has context or otherwise offers something, clicking it is not a conversion if it's not the clear and obvious goal of the piece. For instance, if a link offers supplemental information, but only incidentally, it's not a conversion.

Conversion is when you take the offer, not an offer.

The Content Makes the Offer, Not the Surroundings

If there's a prompt at the bottom of every blog page or webpage (like a "follow us" or subscription prompt) that isn't part of the content itself, but instead the website navigation, clicking it is not a conversion for that piece of content.

And if you're wondering why it doesn't count (considering that subscribership is often a goal for a blog), remember that when something is offered every time it's not the offer, it's an offer. And it's also not a clear offer.

When someone agrees to follow you or subscribe to your newsletter, they don't know what exactly they're getting. They only know the format. The offer may be obvious but it's not clear.

And a conversion involves a clear and obvious offer, because you want a prospect's intent to be clear and obvious when they click.

You don't want an accidental click showing up as a conversion. You don't want an "I'm just looking" click labeled as one either. You don't even want a conversion to mean "I agree" or "I'm ready to enter your brand's orbit." A conversion should mean more.

A conversion should mean "Your offer has lit me up like a pinball machine" and/or "I'm ready to move forward."

So Why Isn't Your Content Converting?

Failure to convert can have many causes. Most of those mentioned here aren't mutually exclusive.

1. Your Content Doesn't Target Current Buyers

I put this first because I think it's the lowest-hanging fruit most B2B marketers aren't thinking about. Many will tell you to focus on customers with content. And yeah, you should but that isn't enough to convert them (since most of your potential customers aren't looking to buy right now).

If you want to convert, your content should be focused on a topic that current buyers would want to know about (and it should make that clear in the title).

But a lot of conversion-focused content doesn't do this. B2B businesses will just put out a whitepaper on the general state of their prospects' industry, or an e-book offering general advice anyone in that industry would want to know, and expect the conversions to roll in.

But why would I volunteer to be bombarded by your spam if I'm not currently looking to buy? You tell me.

2. There's No Call to Action

This is a mistake you sometimes see in blogs, and it hearkens back to the explicitness of the ask I mentioned earlier. When you put a link at the end of an article but don't tell the prospect where the link leads to or why they'd want to go there, clicking it is not a conversion.

Making an explicit ask can be awkward, I know. But remember that your prospects are busy. And the odds of them reading another blog right away are low, at least not without a compelling reason. Hence the need for an explicit call to action (CTA).

But don't overthink the exact wording of the CTA. Because a CTA doesn't convince a prospect to click, it reminds them to click. The content that accompanies the CTA does the convincing.

3. You Ran a Bait and Switch

This might be when a blog article's title promises a legit piece of pure awareness content (not targeted at current buyers), but then about halfway to two-thirds of the way down the page transforms into a sales pitch.

And I've seen companies where every blog follows this same formula. Other times the blog will stop one-third of the way through and hide the rest of the information behind a link or registration wall.

Imagine if I stopped right here and told you to submit your contact details to see the rest of this article. Or lured you in with something you were searching Google for, only to reveal that the answer is the shit I sell?

How would you feel about it? You'd probably feel like I'm jerking you around. And you might feel like these are the tactics of a real lowlife. And lots of other people would feel that way, too. And this can damage your brand.

So don't do it. It doesn't convert, even when the dwell times help your SEO.

4. You're Not Bringing in Enough Readers

It's called the marketing funnel for a reason, not the marketing waterfall. Even a superbly written, high-value piece of conversion content won't convert everyone who reads it. In fact, you're doing great if you're converting more than 10-15%.

But even at that rate, to convert ten to fifteen people, you need a hundred or more to show up and read enough to see the offer. And if you can't muster that many, barely anyone will convert at all.

You need numbers.

5. You're Haven't Sufficiently Educated Your Buyers

This can happen with consideration content, like your product page. A prospect reads the page, then you want them to contact you. But they often aren't ready to contact you just yet.

Maybe they're having trouble figuring out which model on your website is the best match for them.

Maybe they have potential dealbreaker technical questions you haven't answered. Maybe your product seems fine on paper but they have concerns about you as a vendor. About your reputation. Your aftersales service.

This is why I frequently tell B2B businesses to create more consideration content than they are now.

It also means you shouldn't expect any one piece of consideration content to convert at a particularly high rate (the consideration part of the journey will often be more lateral than vertical), and that's okay as long as prospects eventually get where you want them to go.

6. You're Haven't Sufficiently Persuaded Your Buyers

This problem is largely confined to gated content (aka lead magnet content) Think about the last time you had to fill out contact fields with honest information. Did you enjoy it? I didn't. I don't trust businesses with my personal data. And I don't want to be on some brand's spam firing range, either.

To convince prospects to surrender those details, you need to offer something they really want. And the prospect needs to at least be open to the possibility that this particular piece of content won't disappoint them (which gated content often does).

How do you do that? Well, that's a tricky balancing act. You want to tantalize your prospects but not reveal your whole hand. And you don't want a landing page cluttered with excessive text either, which slows things down (decreasing your conversion chances).

Having a good consultancy's name on the whitepaper is probably the best way to cut through the noise. But a nice testimonial can also help (perhaps from an influencer or journalist you let read the content).

7. Converting Is a Pain in the Ass

You want the conversion process itself to be as simple and frictionless as possible. People hate handing over more info than they think is necessary (about five fields is the max).

It's also annoying when you hit "send" and don't see what you asked for because you just got sent to another page where you have to hit another button. It's also annoying when the content you asked for doesn't come up because of some pop-up blocker and there's no option for sending it to your email.

Think about these things. Try the journey yourself. Have others try it. There are a lot of potential ways to screw up the conversion process.

One Other Thing

The problems I've mentioned so far are content or promotion problems, which means they're relatively easy for content or digital marketing people to deal with. And if your content isn't converting, you'd better hope the problem is one or more of them.

Because if it isn't, you've got bigger problems, because it means the issue is marketing or sales related. Your messaging or key selling points (KSPs) are muddled or aren't resonating. Or your product just isn't scratching the right itch. And if it's one of those, back to the drawing board.

Need help with your conversion content? Contact us here.

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