Self-Serve Content

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When you read a newspaper or magazine, do you read every article and ad, or do you flip to what interests you? Chances are good you’re a selective browser, not an indiscriminate grazer. That’s true of most people, including your customers, yet content marketing strategies don’t always accommodate your visitors’ desire to see what’s relevant to them instead of a big mass of content they have to sort through to find what they want.

Delivering a self-serve content experience that lets everyone who interacts with you define their own experience encourages longer on-site stays and higher satisfaction. Here’s how you can tailor your content to your audience and give your prospects the power to explore for themselves.

Preference Pages

Giving your newsletter subscribers, email recipients and site visitors the authority to control how they communicate with you is key to their enjoyment of your content. Businesses that dictate how their email list members receive their mail have higher opt-out percentages than companies that allow preference choices. As a bonus, preference page selections can also be instrumental to your marketing department’s understanding of your customer base. Preference page use can give your customers more control over their interactions and help you learn more about them for future marketing. With those great reasons to build and use preference pages, it only makes sense to use them.

Multiple Newsletters

Sending one newsletter is good. Sending many newsletters targeted to different segments of your audience is great. People scan their crowded email inboxes looking for the senders and subjects that are relevant to them. With a selection of newsletters instead of a single one, you dramatically increase relevance to various segments of your audience. If you sell exercise equipment to gyms, physical therapy centers and hotels, for example, you’re dealing with three very different audiences, each of whom could merit its own tailor-made newsletter.

Better Blog Post Tags

Your blog reaches everyone, but not every blog post is relevant to every reader. Post tags are essential to letting your readers serve themselves the content they want. A good post tag system has about eight to twelve categories – enough to separate your posts into meaningful categories yet not so many that the field becomes cluttered – and one-click access to each category. Typically, customers who like what you have to say on one topic will be interested in at least a few more, so in designing your page, make it simple to find other categories. On this site, for example, you’ll see a reputation management category. Clients who want reputation management or reputation optimization services are probably also interested in SEO and content strategies. They might want to look into blogging and social media too.

Multimedia Content

The written word still holds tremendous power. It’s far from your only content option, though, and a content strategy that takes full advantage of video and audio has a much better shot of reaching all your customers’ needs. The average buyer used to look at five pieces of content before making a buying decision five years ago; today, that number has more than doubled to almost eleven pieces of content on average. If everything on your site is text, that can feel like a lot of reading for busy executives. Mix it up by offering podcasts, infographics and videos that let customers pick the form of communication they like best.

If you aren’t yet convinced that letting your prospects serve themselves is a good idea, think about this: Every choice site visitors make is a data point. By building a better picture of your customers’ behavior, you develop stronger predictive lead-scoring strategies for your marketing team. You only get this vital information if you give your visitors the power of choice.

© Business Content, Inc. 2014 All Rights Reserved.

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