An exceptional balance of tech and talk. That’s how I’d describe Cindy Bidar because she is a hardcore techy who can also write with creative flair. Not only have we been online and offline friends for years (maybe 10?), we’ve also worked together for about that long. I know Cindy and what she’s capable of. I respect the advice she offers. So, when I wanted to present more articles on making the most of your blog posts, it had to include a discussion from Cindy on freebies, funnels and increased opt-ins/subscribers.
Pay. Close. Attention.
When is the last time you looked at the conversion rate on your blog?
Like most small business owners, you’re likely using your blog to drive awareness about your company. It sits at the very top of your content marketing funnel, and you hope that visitors will be so impressed with your expertise and the info you share that they’ll be eager to opt in for more.
According to email marketing company Sumo, the average opt-in form sees a 1.95% conversion rate. Different form placements, such as pop-ups or notification bars or scroll mats, can see slightly better results, but if you’re getting a 4.77% conversion on average, you’re in an elite crowd. Well done!
But even 4.77% isn’t really a celebration-worthy number. You can do better, and the way to do it is through content upgrades.
Simply put, a content upgrade is an opt-in offer that appears on and is hyper-relevant to a specific blog post. Most times, it gives readers an opportunity to learn more about the topic by downloading additional information or resources. Just like your other freebies, content upgrades help to grow your mailing list and lead to a targeted follow-up email sequence that provides value to your subscribers.
In other words, it’s the next step in your content marketing funnel, but with a powerful twist.
In fact, Sumo reports conversion rates as high as 20% for a well-planned content upgrade. I can attest to that. I have one that converts at just over 20%. Not bad, huh?
Here’s why they perform so well. They give your blog reader the very best next action to take. That makes it easy for her to move from discovery (reading your blog) to conversion (opting in).
What Makes a Good Content Upgrade
Deciding on a content upgrade isn’t the same as creating a more general lead magnet. While your main offer — the one that probably appears in your sidebar or as a pop-up on your home page — has to appeal to all your visitors, a content upgrade is different. It’s hyper-focused and highly relevant to the post it appears on.
Format and style can vary, but some options include:
- A PDF of the post itself (“No time to read now? Download the PDF to save for later.”) This option is ideal for longer, pillar-style posts.
- Resource guides. Help your reader decide on tools, software, or the additional training they need in order to get the most out of the information in your post.
- Break your post down into a step-by-step, actionable checklist.
- Help readers make decisions or organize their plans with a fill-in-the-blank guide.
- Templates or swipe files. Make it easy for your visitors to achieve results by providing copy-and-paste solutions.
The key here is to match the intent of the reader. Why did he or she read your post in the first place? What is her goal? An irresistible content upgrade is one that makes it easier to get there.
But there’s a problem.
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I understand that I will also receive weekly articles & videos plus periodic discounts, product notices & more. I can unsubscribe at any time.
For a subscriber, a great opt-in offer solves a nagging or urgent problem with actionable strategies. For you, the business owner, the best freebie is one that moves your subscriber one step closer to paying you.
The Opt-In Is Just The Beginning
Adding a new contact to your mailing list isn’t the end of your funnel. It’s just the start. Now it’s time to nurture that new relationship with a series of follow-up emails, and for that, you should always keep one thing in mind.The number-one rule of great marketing funnels is that they must lead your ideal client naturally to the next best step at every turn.Click To Tweet
For example, if a subscriber opts in for tips on training her new puppy, it makes no sense to start sending her information about agility classes. She and her puppy aren’t ready for that yet. What they can use though, is information on crates, feeding schedules, and the value of a designated potty spot.
Where to Start With Content Upgrades
Not all blog posts are a good fit for a content upgrade. Some posts have different goals, such as promoting a product, engaging your audience, or introducing an affiliate offer.
If you’re deciding where to add a content upgrade to your blog, start with the posts that don’t already have a strong call to action. With a few of those in mind, take a look at your analytics and see which ones are getting the most traffic, and start there.
Take a look at the comments each post is receiving. What questions are your audience asking? Where do they need more clarification? Turn those questions into checklists, worksheets, or templates and offer them as an opt-in gift on that post. If your best performing articles are more than 1,000 words, consider adding a PDF version so readers can download the post to read later. Post Gopher has an easy-to-use WordPress plug-in that does just that.
Content upgrades are a powerful strategy to add to your list-building tool box. While they might not get the exposure of a site-wide pop-up form, the readers who do see them are much more likely to take action.
Not only that, but they give you valuable insight into your audience as well. A content upgrade that performs exceptionally well tells you that your readers want more information on that topic. One that receives little attention may mean you can stop spending time on that subject.
Finally, content upgrades allow you to segment your list so you can always be making the most relevant, targeted offers to just the right people. That’s a strategy that will always provide better results than the shotgun approach that many small business owners use.
Ready to do more with all your marketing funnels? Whether you’re creating content upgrades, landing pages for paid ads, or adding a more general freebie to your site, my free funnel design workbook will help you add more value for your subscribers and put your list-building on autopilot. Scoop up your copy today.
Have Questions About Content Upgrades or Marketing Funnels?
Ask Cindy or me below!