A common issue that a lot of companies face is that their content drives traffic, but not conversions.
Unfortunately, traffic and conversions don’t always correlate.
In fact, you’ll see that the BOFU (bottom of the funnel) keywords, which typically have lower volume yet higher purchase intent, produced an average of 90% of the total content conversions over the past seven months for this client:
So even though the TOFU content drives significantly more traffic, the real ROI comes from the lower volume BOFU keywords.
I was first introduced to the idea of targeting BOFU content and measuring conversions from content through Grow and Convert’s content marketing course, and I now use their process in my own content marketing agency.
I applied these principles to a SaaS company I work with (eWebinar), and in the last seven months, the BOFU content we created drives an average of 22% of the company’s total sales (measured by first touch).
So in this content marketing case study, I’ll walk you through the exact content strategy I helped eWebinar execute to achieve these results so that you can see similar results.
Step 1: Customer Research
The first step in my content marketing strategy is to always start with customer research. While most content marketers claim to start with customer research, I find that few:
- Have a defined customer research process and…
- Even fewer actually implement the insights learned from these calls into the content creation process.
This is a major issue because customer research is critical for both keyword selection and crafting a compelling argument as to why your product is the best.
I’ll discuss how I leverage customer research to inform the keyword research and writing processes when we dive into those steps later on, but the main goal of customer research is to understand:
- How the customer is currently trying to solve their pain point.
- How your product solves those key pain points.
- Key differentiators between your product and the competition.
- The main benefits of these key differentiators and how your product solves the original pain point.
So to acquire this information, I use Grow and Convert’s customer research process which consists of interviewing:
- The sales team: They can tell you what problems people typically face before using the product, key scenarios/painful moments that push prospects over the edge to look for a solution, what aspects of the product make them perk up on the sales call, etc. They can also tell you competing products prospects are often analyzing and how your product is better/different from competing products.
- The customer success team: They can tell you who the best customers are, what features they love, and walk you through customer case studies of how the product is used. I also usually ask them to give me a demo of the product.
- The founder: They can give you the founding story (we created this product because there wasn’t a solution that solved this pain point we experienced).
So when I started working with eWebinar, conducting these interviews was the first step of our engagement.
Given that there are many different webinar software solutions available, I knew that identifying key differentiators would be critical to positioning the product in the copywriting. So I focused heavily on those differentiators and also asked them to walk me through various case study examples to help me better understand how customers use the product.
Below, you’ll see how customer research plays out into every aspect of the content marketing campaigns I run.
Step 2: Keyword Research
eWebinar already had a fairly strong customer base and decent topical authority before we ever started creating content for them, so it made sense for us to start immediately with high purchase intent keywords.
So to find relevant BOFU keywords, I use the following keyword frameworks that I learned from Grow and Convert:
- “Best” list posts (e.g., best CRM platforms)
- Competitor alternatives (e.g., best HubSpot alternatives)
- Competitor comparison posts (e.g., HubSpot vs Salesforce)
- Pain points (e.g., how to create an automated webinar)
I again rely heavily on keyword research to uncover these keywords. For example, if I notice that 40% of our customer base switched from a specific competitor, I’ll be sure to write a competitor alternative and competitor comparison post for that brand keyword.
However, some high purchase intent keywords aren’t as obvious.
For example, if most of your target audience is executing processes manually in spreadsheets prior to switching to your product (rather than using a competing product), you might want to target more pain point related keywords like “how to do (x) process.” Then, you can show how your product automates that process so that they don’t have to do it manually in spreadsheets.
Going back to eWebinar, there wasn’t really a single competitor that most of our customers were switching from, so we decided to target mainly “best” keywords like:
We also targeted pain point keywords like:
I should also mention that when I’m doing keyword research for high purchase intent keywords, I tend to focus mainly on purchase intent rather than keyword difficulty or volume.
I’ve found that volume rarely correlates with conversions. Instead, higher conversions tend to correlate more with the purchase intent of the keyword and how well your product solves the pain point of that search.
For example, these are the (fairly modest) traffic stats for one of our highest converting pieces of content:
Similarly, I don’t worry about keyword difficulty as I trust that the site will grow in topical authority over time (you can read how I also do original research to improve topical authority).
Step 3: Writing The Post
Writing for high purchase intent keywords isn’t the same as writing purely informational content.
With an informational keyword, you simply have to explain a concept and how it works. However, if you’re trying to convert someone searching for a high purchase intent keyword, the post should include a compelling argument.
In fact, I think you’re doing a disservice to the reader if you don’t have a compelling argument in your post.
Someone searching a keyword like “best automated webinar platforms” wants to know the differences between each webinar platform so that they can make the best selection. Given that most SaaS products (especially webinar platforms) are very similar, failing to articulate the differences between each platform makes your content useless to the reader.
So your job is to show how your product solves the searcher’s problem and why it’s unique/better than competing products.
To effectively convince the reader that your product is the most effective solution, refer back to your customer research questions and identify the key differentiators that make your product better than the competition’s products.
Then, arrange them into a storytelling framework:
Let me give you an example of this in action with eWebinar.
During customer research, I learned that most other webinar platforms offer chat, but there’s always a painful tradeoff between scalability and response immediacy. However, eWebinar has a unique chat system that eliminates this trade-off.
So this is a key differentiator that I highlighted in all of our “best of” blog posts (e.g., “best automated webinar platforms,” “best pre-recorded webinar platforms,” etc.).
Check out the example below of how I create a compelling argument that makes it a no-brainer for anyone struggling with chat to purchase eWebinar:
Here’s a more visual example of how I structured the argument above:
So instead of just saying “we’re a better webinar platform,” I give a specific reason why we’re different/better than other webinar platforms (our unique chat capabilities).
To drive this point home, I’ll give you another example.
An additional key differentiator I identified during the customer research process is that eWebinar offers a selection of highly engaging interactions that other just-in-time webinar platforms don’t offer.
So as part of my argument as to why someone looking for a just-in-time webinar platform should choose eWebinar, here’s how I discuss interactions:
From a structural standpoint, most of the high purchase intent keywords we target are meant to be listicles. To see what I mean, you can check out the format of these posts:
As you’ll notice from those posts, we always include eWebinar as the first suggested tool on the list, and the section discussing our tool tends to be fairly lengthy. So I want to address a common objection:
Doesn’t this structure (which gives most of the post’s word count to our product) show that we’re biased to our product?
I used to agree with this objection. However, the statistics suggest otherwise. First, all three of the blog posts I mentioned above rank in the top three spots on Google. In addition, they all drive significant conversions.
Again, I think that the reason why readers stick around (and convert), even though it’s basically a sales page, is because our posts aren’t just vanilla listicle posts that introduce the reader to various tools and their features with no detailed differentiating analysis.
So don’t worry about discussing your product too much – just focus on showing the reader how it will solve their pain point and specific differentiators that make it better than the competition.
Step 4: Optimizing The Post For SEO
A lot of people look at SEO and content marketing as two different things, but I think that once you’ve selected a relevant keyword and created a great piece of content, you’re already about 80% done with SEO (assuming your website is okay from a technical perspective).
After all, search engines are incentivized to show the most relevant/helpful piece of content possible, and that’s exactly what you’re doing with this writing style.
Nevertheless, there are a few optimizations that I’ve found helpful in boosting SEO:
- Add internal links
- Optimize it for Clearscope
- Track CTR (once published) and optimize the title tag
Another thing I’ve found is important is providing a great user experience. Most people skim posts, so make it easy for them to do so. While it may seem counterintuitive, I’ve found that I personally end up reading posts that are easy to skim, whereas I typically leave if I’m greeted by an intimidating wall of text.