Think conversion optimization is just for your website? Think again!
Businesses use all kind of content types to connect with potential customers and all of them need to be optimized to achieve their goals.
One of the most important areas to address is content marketing, which accounts for 33% of some marketing budgets, with digital publications like white papers, research reports, online magazines and ebooks (one of the most popular forms of content marketing) taking center stage.
Done right, these publications can help you get a better return on your marketing investment. Here are some tips on improving conversions for digital publications.
1. Pick the Right Format
You know what drives people crazy? Not being able to access content easily. Many marketers still think the PDF is the best way to deliver white papers, reports and ebooks. After all, it works for everyone—or does it?
I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who’s experienced a PDF that wouldn’t open or just didn’t look right. And some PDFs aren’t that easy to navigate if you’re using a small screen.
Don’t throw PDFs out, but consider making your content available in other formats which are more accessible and improve the user experience. Two of the options are:
- A flipbook. While some of these are Flash based, these days it’s easy to get HTML5/CSS3 flipbooks which work well on a range of devices.
- A microsite ebook or online publication, similar to those available on Quicksprout and Think with Google.
These have a lot of advantages. They are cross-platform, interactive (more on that in a moment) and socially enabled, giving you more opportunities to connect with customers. And they can meet users’ need for depth while still providing visual appeal and speed. Both formats also allow you to use analytics to get in-depth statistics on audience interaction with the content.
The best way to figure out which one works is to do some testing and see which platform best suits your audience.
2. Be Interactive (Use Video)
The big advantage of digital publications is the opportunity for interactivity—this gives you more options to boost conversions.
If you want people to visit a particular page on your site, then all you have to do is include it in your publication. And with the right format, readers can fill out an online form (keep it simple for best results) and submit it without having to leave the publication at all.
You can also boost conversions with video, something that all digital publications should include. Video Brewery cites stats showing that video grabs attention and makes watchers take action. The article highlights a study by the Online Publishers Association showing that 46% of users took action after watching a video ad. Stats from eMarketer also show that 51.9% of marketers see video as having the best ROI.
Check out these tips from Andrew Follett to create a high-converting video for your digital publication.
3. Go Mobile
Want to be sure your digital publications convert? Make sure they work well on mobile devices. Here’s why:
- 58% of Americans have a smartphone and 42% have a tablet (source: Pew Internet)
- 20% of people worldwide own a smartphone; 1 in 17 own a tablet (source: BI Intelligence)
- 48% of web users experience frustration when using non-mobile-optimized sites (source: Google)
- 93% of people who research information on their mobile device complete a purchase (source: Google)
The bottom line: more and more people will read your digital publication on a mobile device. How can you improve conversion? Think about issues like:
- Making sure your publication loads quickly on mobile devices. Just like the web, slow page loads can drive customers away.
- Looking after navigation, so that your content automatically allows mobile users to swipe, tap and gesture to access different content areas.
- Keeping forms simple.
- Nailing the design by looking after images, text flow, layout and more.
- Using mobile friendly navigation (check out the Think with Google link above for publications that work well on both mobile and desktop).
- Integration with device-specific tools like social sharing and browser apps so users can easily follow your calls to action (CTAs).
Overall, follow Google’s recommendation and think mobile first with digital publications to increase conversions.
4. Include CTAs Everywhere (That Makes Sense)
People won’t take action unless you tell them what you want them to do, so include CTAs in your digital publication. When you run a company blog, you probably have a CTA in your sidebar and perhaps at the end of posts. You might have multiple CTAs in an email newsletter. So what’s the right approach for a digital publication?
WSOL’s Katelyn Ahern says you should put a CTA on every page of your website so you meet customers where they are. That sounds like good advice for a digital publication, too. That doesn’t mean they have to be boring or samey, just appropriate to the publication and the page.
At different points in the publication you could include CTAs to:
- Watch more of your videos on YouTube (if you’ve followed the advice in point 2).
- Visit your site for a free download.
- Contact you for more information.
- Buy a product or service.
The bottom line: you don’t ask, you don’t get! Check out our list of 21 CTA examples to inspire you.
5. Optimize the Heck Out of Them
We already know about the link between web optimization and conversions. The better optimized your content is, the easier it is for people to find it and take the desired action. And with digital publications you have plenty of chances to optimize.
Not only can you optimize the landing page where people sign up for the publication, but you can optimize the overall publication and individual articles. Google keeps getting smarter about showcasing great content, so work on this right from the start, using structured data and semantic markup to showcase relevance and interest.
Test and Measure
Finally, put it all together with a constant cycle of testing, measuring and adapting. Use analytics to see how your publication delivers your conversion goals and fits in with your overall content strategy.
Read other Crazy Egg articles by Sharon Hurley Hall.