How To Improve Content Performance With Quick Wins That Add Up Over Time
Content is one of the most important assets of any B2B and industrial website and marketing strategy. It’s a key part of inbound marketing strategies, ABM and sales enablement.
The main job of content, in terms of marketing, is engaging prospects by answering their questions (without requiring them to reach out to your salespeople before they’re ready), instilling trust and positioning yourself as an expert resource– someone who can help them solve their problems.
One of the wonderful things about content is that it doesn’t have to be perfect to be published. As important as content is, it’s also one of the easiest things to improve incrementally. For busy B2B and industrial marketers, this means that continuous content improvement is achievable through quick wins implemented over time. The key to improving content performance is to set up a regular cadence for review.
In this article, we’ll review quick wins and simple strategies for improving content over time. First, you’ll want to have a good idea of how your current content is performing. Then, you can start the process of prioritizing updates to your content to achieve continuous improvement over the long term. These are are the actions you will want to take:
- Update existing website content for better performance
- Remove content that doesn’t serve you
- Prioritize the creation of “missing” content
- Implement a schedule for continuous improvement and new content creation
Update existing website content for better performance
When we talk about improving content performance, we’re not simply looking at measurements like visits and bounce rates. While this quantitative data is important, we also need to think about qualitative factors that are more difficult to measure numerically, like voice, tone, positioning and scannability.
Look at the top five most-viewed pages on your website and assess the following:
Content, Voice and Tone
Does each page fit your current positioning and match the language that resonates with prospects when they talk to your salespeople? Does it include all relevant datasheet information and 3D models in a downloadable format? Can any information currently housed in a PDF also be shown as HTML content? If you think the content could be improved, go over these pages with your salespeople and have a conversation about what seems “off,” how they would rephrase things and what critical information is missing. Ask your sales team what questions they’re often asked about any product or service featured; incorporating the answers will help the page address the prospects’ questions proactively. Sometimes, printing out the pages and looking at them together is the easiest way to collaborate on these content improvements, but use whatever method makes the most sense for your group.
Are any of your top five pages a “wall of text” with only paragraph-style content and without subheadings, bulleted lists or useful graphics/images? If so, how could you implement a hierarchical set of headings and subheadings to make the page more easily scannable? Don’t include stock imagery that adds little meaning, but do include useful diagrams, relevant photos and demonstration videos, which can all help communicate the topic of the page and the value of your B2B and industrial offerings more easily—and that will keep people on the page longer.
If a page is an article or resource that’s been around for some time, assess whether it supports your current marketing strategy and company positioning. If not, how could the content be updated slightly to better support the company’s current initiatives? For instance, if the article was written to appeal to a wide audience, and the company now specializes only in helping the medical device industry, how could you modify the article to specifically appeal to that market?
Are your top five pages written to support findability through Google and other search engines? Review the pages to ensure they have an SEO strategy in place, with a relevant and specific primary keyword that matches what your best customers would search AND what your company wants to sell or promote. This primary keyword should be specific enough that it wouldn’t be searched by someone outside of your target audience (think of the number of people who might search for “automation” vs. “custom machine automation”). Your primary keyword should appear prominently in your title tag, meta description, H1 and page content, in a natural way that doesn’t impact readability or make the language seem robotic (An approach like that is bound to backfire and turn off the actual humans that you ultimately want to turn into customers.)
If you’re missing any of these elements, keep a record of what you have now, update accordingly and watch how it impacts analytics for the page over time—particularly rankings and frequency as a landing page.
Do these pages have a clear path to conversion for visitors? The goal of most website pages is to engage the prospect, give them pathways to deeper information and help them easily convert. Two kinds of conversions are pertinent: a user should be able to easily convert as a Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL), if they’re interested but not ready to talk to sales yet, or a Sales Qualified Lead (SQL) if they have an active need. Review the page and confirm that there’s an easy way to make contact with sales on both the top and bottom of the page. Consider where your key personas would want to go next in their journey to learn about your offerings, and make sure links to those pages are prominently featured. Offer a relevant MQL conversion so that you can identify visitors and continue to market to them until they’re ready to buy.
Most likely, one of your top five viewed pages on your website is your homepage – all of the above points apply here as well, but make sure your homepage is set up to present a cohesive introduction to your business, with multiple entry points to a visitor to learn more about how you might be able to help them. We recommend a specific user experience for an optimized B2B industrial website homepage layout.
Remove content that doesn’t serve you
If Marie Kondo were reviewing your Google Analytics and helping prioritize content efforts, perhaps she would ask, “Does this website page spark joy?” or, more pertinently, “Does this page serve our company’s mission?” If your site has pages that rank well in search queries for a topic unrelated to your primary business, and those pages have a high bounce rate, that creates a problem. In SEO we often say “the rising tide lifts all ships,” but the reverse is also true—having many pages with a high bounce rate can give Google a poor impression of your entire site’s quality.
In assessing these pages, consider whether you can modify the page to better suit your sales and marketing goals. If there isn’t a clear path to modifying the page, then it’s best to deal with it in one of two ways. You can decide to “noindex” the page, which means that it is still technically on the site, but you essentially ask Google to ignore it. This avenue makes sense if there’s an occasional use for the page (for instance, it’s an old product that you’re not promoting, but you hand-sell to a few legacy customers). Otherwise, if the page isn’t helping your marketing mission, it’s best to delete it from your site and submit a redirect to Google for a reasonable alternative page.
Prioritize the creation of “missing” content
In addition to improving your existing content, it’s important to constantly be cataloguing and prioritizing the creation of new content to fill any gaps. Most companies are good at representing their existing products and services on their website, but it’s easy to fall behind in adding newly developed services or producing case studies for recently completed projects. Many websites could benefit from including industry-specific or application-specific pages, as these tend to perform well in organic search, and they help instill trust in prospects because they show that you’ve dealt with situations similar to theirs and have solved similar problems. If you don’t yet have a valuable piece of content that could be gated (offered in exchange for an email address) to create an MQL conversion, that should be high on the priority list as well.
Begin your prioritization efforts with a bit of website content strategy, and see if each of these major buckets is represented and up to date:
- Overview of what you do (homepage)
- An overview and detailed information page for each product or service
- Case studies
- Market, industry, vertical or application pages
- Information about the company and its history (About Us)
- An easy way to make contact (CTAs and contact page for SQLs)
- A reason to exchange contact information before a need to buy is imminent (gated content, gated tools or resources, etc., for MQLs)
- Resource library/articles/videos or other instructional materials
Implement a schedule for continuous improvement and new content creation
Now that you know what types of content are missing, create a content calendar with achievable milestones for creating new content on an ongoing basis. Don’t just include publication dates; to keep production on track, also include due dates for first drafts, internal reviews and editing, and final proofing. Plan to maintain a pace that helps you achieve slow and steady progress over time, rather than being overly ambitious.
As a busy B2B marketer, you’ll have other projects and responsibilities as well, and it’s better to build a habit of content creation that’s sustainable over time, rather than attempting a one-time sprint. A lot of work will go into the process of getting a content-creation flywheel started, but once the process is in motion and your major gaps are filled, you’ll more easily be able to create resource articles, case studies and additional MQL-generating content assets on a regular basis.
Investing in building a content habit now will continue to pay off in the long term.