Would it be fair to say that after someone clicks on your ad, fills out your form or downloads your content, you have absolutely no idea what happens? I mean, you probably assume that they read whatever marvelous content asset you were promoting but you don’t really know.
So if a prospect downloads your content but never reads it, can you really claim victory? If the goal of content marketing (and marketing in general) is to educate and influence buyers along the path to purchase, can you say you’ve really done your job if the majority of the leads you send to sales don’t actually consume the content that will make them educated and qualified? In short, are those prospects really qualified at all?
A click or conversion is really just a hypothesis
As marketers, we simply assume that someone who requests a piece of content actually engages with that content. And we tend to value the volume of those requests (Bob downloaded 3 eBooks today and visited 5 pages on the website!) rather than the quality of them (Bob spent 5+ minutes on every asset he engaged with!!!).
It’s not our fault. Not really. Until now, we’ve simply been suffering from a lack of insight. What happens after the click has been a mystery… a private affair between a prospect and their web browser or downloads folder. But we can’t deny that there is a strong correlation between content consumption and qualification – your truly engaged prospects, the ones who read a lot of content over a short period of time, are your best leads. I’m betting that if you’ve ever logged a few hours on Consumer Reports researching cars, you’ve soon afterwards found yourself behind the wheel of a shiny new vehicle.
A prospect who has done his or her research, who has read all the key information they need to make a purchasing decision, poured over the product specs on your website and consumed the case studies and ROI analysis – that prospect is truly, madly, deeply qualified. And that prospect will convert far faster than someone who, on the surface, has displayed many of the same behaviors… but hasn’t actually spent meaningful time consuming the information.
In this way, our most engaged and qualified buyers are a bit like secret admirers. Marketers haven’t had the tools to know who is really reading and watching or track how much time is being spent with their content. We do know that a huge portion of the “qualified leads” we send to sales get disqualified but on the surface, when the behavior looks the same, we don’t really know what makes one lead convert better than another. Until now.
Courting Qualified Buyers
Being able to both accommodate the behavior of a buyer who wants to consume a lot of content in a particular moment and then identify that they’ve exhibited that behavior is the key to separating those casual content browsers from serious buyers. If you know that Bob spent 10 minutes reading your eBook, moved on to watch 4 minutes of your demo video and then spent another 12 minutes with first an analyst report and next a case study, wouldn’t you want to take action on all that flattering attention he just paid you? And wouldn’t you want to value that behavior over another lead with the same demographic makeup who spent a total of 1.5 minutes across the same set of assets?
The fact is that this kind of secret admirer behavior is happening today. Your buyers are doing this but an inability to track what’s happening after the click means this love is often unrequited. In the same way that we sometimes waste time on relationships that are destined to fail, we aren’t prioritizing our most engaged buyers. We don’t pay nearly as much attention to Bob while we’re wasting time trying to call Sally who isn’t ready to commit yet.
You can identify your secret admirers. In the new world of content engagement, post-click engagement metrics mean the difference between status quo conversion rates and next generation funnel dynamics.