In direct-mail marketing, data analysis is pretty straightforward. You have the number of pieces mailed and the number of sales. That gives you a response rate percentage. You also have your total revenue minus your total expenses, which gives you the return on your investment (ROI). These are the key factors in determining whether the promotion is a winner. It’s how a “control” is born.
I’m not trying to oversimplify. There is other data direct-mail marketers look at, too. But as long as you’ve set things up right, the response rate and ROI are meaningful and easy to track.
With online marketing, things are a little different, because you can track so much.
You can track the number of visitors to a site, where they come from, how long they stay, which links they click on, whether or not they sign up for a newsletter, whether it’s their first visit or a return visit, how many pages they visit, whether or not they make a purchase, and on and on.
So much data can make figuring out what works to bring about a desired result a bit more complicated. But, one thing digital marketers are almost always happy about is an increase in time spent on a site.
Generally speaking, the more time a visitor spends on a site the more engaged they are and the more likely they are to return, to subscribe, to share, and to make a purchase.
As a web writer, if you approach a client and say, I have some ideas that can help increase your time on site metrics… would you like to discuss them?… most marketers will gladly pay attention.
Especially if you have a track record you can point to.
So how do you, as a web writer, entice visitors to spend more time on a site?
There are lots of ways… but let’s explore three that can help you get your foot in the door with clients and then deliver a great result.
Help Your Clients with Content Upgrades
Using content upgrades has a lot of advantages for both you and your client.
Basically a content upgrade offers a reader access to additional, more in-depth content at the end of a popular post, usually in exchange for an email sign-up.
Using content upgrades keeps readers engaged with a site longer by encouraging them to explore. They become curious about which posts offer additional resources at the end. And they help grow your client’s list, too.
Content upgrades also provide highly targeted content to readers, which ups the engagement even more. And they help your clients to see which topics are most important to the audience they’re reaching — the pages that get the most sign-ups are the ones resonating the best.
For you, this creates the opportunity to write a variety of lead-generation pieces. If you see a gap in your client’s website content, you could pitch a post on a topic and include the creation of a content upgrade as part of your proposal. You could also talk to your client about where they’re seeing the most downloads and look at generating more posts related to those topics.
There are also associated materials that go along with the delivery of content upgrades. At the very least your client will need a targeted welcome message to send to the user once they’ve shared their email.
That’s a lot of potential projects for you and a lot of benefit for your client.
Cornerstone content is something you can build around the most popular topics on a site.
Say for example, you’re approaching a prospect who has a site dedicated to educational toys for children, and they use content marketing as part of their overall marketing strategy.
You could look through the posts they have and break them into broad categories like “Imaginative Play” or “Arts and Crafts.”
To build a cornerstone page, write an introduction about the topic and then create a listing of links to the best posts on the site related to that topic. Do a brief write-up to go along with each link.
Position the cornerstone content where it can be easily found, and users interested in that specific topic will likely spend quite a bit of time on that page… and then even more time exploring the pages that it links off to.
You can also offer the content in e-book form to anyone who signs up for the site’s e-letter, giving your client another way to build their list.
A simple way to increase time on a site is to invest some effort into a sound internal linking strategy.
If you can see your client has a lot of content, but their site doesn’t have a lot of internal links, that’s a big opportunity for you as a web writer.
You can offer to do a content audit. As part of the audit, you would review the site’s content and identify the most popular posts, as well as the strongest one. After you identify the cream-of-the-crop, you would determine the most sensible keywords to position those posts for.
Then you would go through the site’s other posts and look for opportunities to link back to the prioritized posts.
This strategy will help your client’s site rank better in search engines and provide a more satisfying user experience. And, if you include a strong call to action on each of the priority posts, you’ll also generate more sign-ups. Your client will love you!
When you start thinking in terms of how you can help your clients achieve their specific goals and solve their biggest problems, you’ll set yourself apart and make yourself invaluable. When that happens, you’ll have more work than you know what to do with.