The customer always comes first. This isn’t just a pithy summary of customer service techniques; it’s also an important part of content planning. When seeking ways to advertise your business, you need to focus foremost on what your customer sees and the actions that your customer takes. What does your customer’s path tell you about the way your content is structured, organized and published? What ultimate story does your website and your customer end up telling together?
Intent: All Roads Lead to Conversion
Content planning begins by identifying your end goals. From there, you can chart out the process by which the customer should arrive at these goals. Simply posting content — even valuable, extraordinary, and unique content — will not garner you significant results if you don’t have a clear picture as to where these goals will lead. But that doesn’t mean that your entire content model has to be a straight A to B line. In fact, it’s best for a website to have a multitude of entry points that all lead to the same center. You want your website to act as a funnel, not a spider web; you want your customers to constantly be moving in the direction that you want them to, not lingering outside on the periphery.
Identification: Charting Your Customer’s Behavior
People are unpredictable. There isn’t always a clear way to anticipate how they will react to a certain content plan. Analysis is not optional. There are a variety of tools, such as Google Analytics, which will show you not only where your customers are going on your website but how they are flowing through your website. Which pages do they start on? Where do they go from there? And when do they finally leave? At this point, you need to ask yourself some basic questions; analysis can only take you so far. Are they leaving because they were looking for something in particular, and failed to find it at the end of the path? Did they simply get their answers and go?
Integration: Making Adjustments
It would be a wonderful world in which we were always right the first time, but it rarely happens. Once you have identified issues in your customer’s flow, it’s time to correct it. The ultimate goal is to bridge the gap between abandonment and conversion. And sometimes this can be a little non-intuitive; for instance, you may actually improve conversion and reduce abandonment by increasing the amount of time your customer spends on your website — by lengthening their flow, rather than by shortening it. Don’t be afraid to test; a few weeks of testing may yield a year of positive results, as well as market insights that can last a lifetime.
Other forms of media don’t suffer from the free flow format of the web. You can run a commercial and at least be certain that the customer will see it in chronological order, giving you many opportunities to prime them towards conversion. Creating a web experience is different: there are many entry points and a customer has complete freedom to choose their own experience. But with time and careful effort, you can control their flow and push them towards the areas that you deem most important.
Jenna I is a tech-focused content writer, programmer and general wanderer. She lives in a soft, continuous rain of dogs.