Considerable effort is often exerted to design marketing content that assists buyers through their journeys. But far less attention is paid to the sign-up boxes, page links and other offers that surround all of that great content on the content page. If not approached with care, these offers can seem out of sync to the customer and diminish the impact of your great content.
Rather than design content page offers that woo and tie to journeys, marketers tend to revert to old-school habits. They brashly present CTAs (calls to action) that can seem abrupt, premature and self-serving to a web page visitor. It is almost as if the marketer is thinking: “Since I’ve added great content value, now it’s time to pop the question.”
Our experience says whoa! Don’t be so proud of your content. It might be good, but that does not mean you can jump to “My place or yours?”
While we don’t advocate playing hard to get on your website, we find it far more effective to accept the fact that buyer journeys often involve long, drawn-out digital courtships. The odds are high that a given visitor is in the first 80% of their journey rather than near its conclusion. Marketers must keep this in mind and present a variety of content page offers, most of which lead to additional insightful content rather than push to close the deal or schedule a sales appointment.
Marketers might rationalize brash content page CTAs with:
- “They can use the NAV bar if they want more content.”
- “We are under intense pressure to deliver results.”
- “We must push for the close. As they say in sales, follow the ‘ABCs” (always be closing).”
- “Asking for a sales appointment is gentler than presenting an order form.”
Use OFAs, Not CTAs
The root of the problem is this: the very concept of a CTA is company-centric. It focuses on what the company wants, not the customer. What customers want are Offers of Further Assistance or “OFAs”. Replacing CTAs with OFAs brings the marketer back in line with being customer-centric and making offers that align with buyer journeys.
Another type of “content transgression” that seldom woos is the “address-for-download” (AFD) offer. Many marketers think they should get an email address (and sometimes even a phone number) from the prospect before they share their “premium” content such as an extensive whitepaper. “Why give it away for free?”
The AFD approach is out-of-sync with the Era of Consent. True, you are asking for a simple exchange of value: an email address for a content piece. But marketers must embrace the fact that buyers now have tremendous power in most transactions. They always have options. If you do not offer free content, someone else will. Or, if the prospect gives you an email address, they can still:
- Give you a bogus email address or phone number.
- Unsubscribe from your mailing list.
- Flag your URL or follow-up emails as spam.
- Block your follow-up phone number on their phones.
Play the Long Game
When the marketer steps back and considers the whole picture for a moment, they realize that loading content pages with aggressive CTAs is not in sync with the times. Of course you want the website visitor’s email address. But you need to earn it. You need to help the buyer move to the point where they want you to have their email address. This type of patience is a core success requirement in the Era of Consent. In other words, marketers must be “consentric”. Court the prospect. Make it easy for them to move along their purchase journey. But shun heavy-handedness.