Three Reasons Website Content Fails
While you can target advertising to drive visitors to your website, there is no guarantee that a visitor will respond to a campaign in the way you expect.
One of the persistent challenges in marketing is addressing multiple audiences and contexts with the same content. Much like responsive web design adapts to visitors’ context (design adapts to the size of the visitors’ screen), “responsive content” allows the content of websites to adapt to different audiences and contexts. This targeted approach is more effective at increasing conversions.
However, there are three main reasons why website content fails:
- The content is static while visitors are not
- The website doesn’t meet the needs of the audience
- The content has to be reduced to serve the lowest common denominator
Reason #1: the content is static while visitors are not.
Historically, media targeting is used to increase the effectiveness of “push” marketing. With television or radio, a science has developed around media targeting — the practice of pushing your content into a specific channel which is most likely to reach your target audience. However, static marketing is suffering because of its inability to target different audiences and contexts. The goal of dynamic web marketing is to offer content that will engage and prompt a visitor to take action. With so many different people visiting a site, it becomes hard to serve each audience.
The problem of serving multiple audiences with a single site is especially acute in website marketing. On any given day, your website might be visited by thousands of people, each bringing different roles, needs, experiences, and browsing contexts that need to be addressed with the ideal content. Ideal content responds to the visitor and directs them to content they need or want thus increases engagement.
Reason #2: the website doesn’t meet the needs of the current audience.
If we subscribe to the idea that visitors must engage in order to convert, the goal is to meet the needs of the audience in its current context. However, the combinations of audience and context are potentially infinite. Your website’s effectiveness is directly tied to your ability to react to and meet these needs by analyzing visitor demographics.
By segregating visitors by audience demographic and current context, site elements can be:
In this way, a single website becomes theoretically “bottomless,” enabling the advanced marketer to retrieve unlimited combinations of content, each designed specifically to address the current visitor.
In the process, the website becomes agile and fluid — constantly adapting, changing, and shifting to ensure maximum effectiveness for each specific visitor.
Reason #3: the content has to be reduced to serve the lowest common denominator.
When we accept that there are never-ending combinations of audiences and contexts, we immediately identify a problem of delivering one website: we cannot possibly meet all the possible gradients of visitor needs with the same content.
With a traditional website, what marketers have to do is simply narrow down the domain of possible needs to the lowest common denominator — for example, both Job Seekers and Potential Customers need to know general information about your organization, and your organization needs to be presented in a positive light.
Clearly, this is a very crude attempt at engagement. A site must have more analysis to understand the visitor.
The need for dynamic management and analysis.
In most cases, a website simply reacts to an anonymous visitor. While you can target advertising to drive visitors to your website, there is no guarantee that a visitor will respond to a campaign in the way you expect them to and by a method in which you can identify them.
For example, a search engine marketing campaign targeted at phrases used by Potential Customers is trackable, and we can use this to drive visitors to specific landing pages, targeted especially to their needs. However, nothing stops them from simply taking note of your company name (from that campaign or other source) and visiting the home page of your website at a later time, in a method which is now completely anonymous and totally circumvents any attempt at targeting. Since denying access to anonymous visitors clearly isn’t an option, how do you address their needs when you have no way of knowing what audience they represent?
This is the problem that plagues traditional website marketing:
- How do you identify the current visitor’s needs by uncovering their audience group and context?
- Furthermore, once you have determined this, what can you do about it?
- In what ways can you dynamically manage the content of your website to address their needs, engage them with your content, and ultimately prompt them to action?
The solution is easy to explain but hard to execute: you need a single website that can identify and adapt to any visitor. Your website must be able to analyze the inbound visitor, determine what their needs are, and re-arrange itself to best meet those needs.
To do this, your CMS must solve several problems:
- It must be able to segregate (or “bucket”) the visitor in real-time into an audience based on clues that it detects and analyzes.
- It needs to store and manage content in such a way that it’s not tied to the single-page aggregation model.
- It needs to be able to mix-and-match content on-the-fly to deliver custom aggregations of content to your visitors based on that which you think will best meet their needs at that moment.
In this sense, you need a “bottomless website” from which you can produce an infinite number of visitor experiences from a single web destination, and deliver the most effective experience to the current visitor.
To dig deeper into responsive content, download Blend Interactive’s ebook “Responsive Content and the Bottomless Website.”
One of the persistent challenges in marketing is addressing multiple audiences and contexts with the same content. This eBook helps better outline the benefits and purpose of responsive content.