Converting website visitors into customers—the content marketing conversion process explained

December 12, 2014


With any marketing, the end goal is to make money, right? If you talk to some marketers, you’d think their primary goal is “brand consistency” or “generating awareness” or “increasing website traffic.” But in the end, these aren’t the real reasons we as marketers get up in the morning and do our jobs. We are here to help our companies make money. Otherwise, our jobs wouldn’t exist. Thus it’s imperative that our content marketing efforts convert website visitors into leads, and eventually, into customers. But how does that happen?

While there are many, many variables at play that affect whether your website visitors convert to leads and then customers, there are tried-and-tested tools and methods you can implement to move website visitors down the path toward becoming customers.

Gated content

If you’re pumping out informational, valuable content, you’re ahead of the game already compared to many other companies. But if you don’t put some of it behind a “gate” – or a form that a user has to fill out – you’ll never collect any information about who is consuming your content. However, in order to gate content, you must produce content that a website visitor will perceive as valuable enough to give away some of their personal information in order to receive. This is the basic “give in order to get” concept. You must give something—your knowledge in the form of an e-book, video or webinar—in order to get some information about your website visitor.

Keep in mind that you still need to create content that isn’t gated (like blogs) as you must attract visitors to your website in the first place. However, once you get them there, you need to learn something about them. That’s where gated content comes into play.

Calls to action

Once you create content that you can gate, you need to create calls to action that you place throughout your website and blog to encourage website visitors to download your content. These can be as simple as a box with some text promoting the content and a link to where the user can download it. Some marketing automation software programs offer smart calls to action, routing specific calls to action to new website visitors that are mostly likely to appeal to them.

Landing pages, forms and progressive profiling

Once the visitor clicks on the call to action, they should be taken to a landing page devoted to that content. The landing page should be simple and provide a short, succinct description of the content the visitor is interested in downloading. It should also include a form that the visitor will fill out in order to receive the download.

The form is an area where marketing automation can help improve your conversion rates—you don’t want to ask too much of new website visitors or you’ll scare them off. But you want to know as much as possible about your prospects, right? With progressive profiling, each time a visitor fills out a form, you can progressively ask them more questions, as your system will recognize the visitor and auto-populate the form with the information it already has.

And finally, once the visitor has filled out the form, they should be sent to a thank-you page with a link to download the content. Here you can add some links to other content like blog posts that the visitor might find interesting.

Sales hand-off or lead nurturing

So how does sales get involved? With a content marketing strategy, you can use your content to “qualify” leads. For example, if a website visitor downloads a buying guide, product comparison sheet, or pricing information, you can bet they are probably somewhat interested in talking to a salesperson. But if they are primarily just reading blog posts or downloading top-of-the-funnel e-books, they’re not ready yet.

By using marketing automation software, you can track what kind of content a prospect has consumed and use that information to determine whether they are “sales ready” yet. If they are, get sales involved and have them give the prospect a call. If not, use lead nurturing to stay top of mind with the prospect until they are ready for sales intervention.

Want more insight into the content marketing conversion process? Give me a call at 904-374-5733 or email


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  • About the Author
    Michelle Calcote King

    Michelle Calcote King is an award-winning marketer with nearly 20 years of expertise in all things marketing, content, media and public relations. Specializing in highly complex industries, she leverages superior writing skills, media savvy and a love of all things digital to move her clients' businesses forward.

    Read my full bio or connect with me on LinkedIn.

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