If your brand is earning tons of web traffic but seems lean on conversions, you might need more action words in your content marketing. Action words turn consumers from simple readers of your content into engaged potential customers.
So how do you start using them? If you’re publishing content, you probably already are, but maybe not optimally.
We’ve put together a handy guide that covers:
Let’s get started!
Believe it or not, organic web traffic is not the end goal of content marketing — customer conversions are. If you’re creating content with a singular goal of ranking on SERPs and driving web traffic, you’re missing part of the point. Your content shouldn’t just exist as something valuable and free for people to read on the internet. It should motivate people to want more from your brand.
This is where action words come in.
Action words in content marketing tap into human emotion and give customers the feeling that they need to do something. This need could stem from a feeling that their pain points are being understood, a fear of missing out on something, a desire to capitalize on a promotion, or a number of other motivators. It all depends on how you use your action words and which ones you choose.
Without action words, your content may help a bit with brand visibility, but it won’t make much of an impact on the big-picture things that matter to your brand’s long-term success. Action words, on the other hand, help you create content that directly impacts your conversion rate, marketing ROI, and sales revenue.
Here are some specific ways you can keep your content action-oriented:
Every content writer needs to know the difference between active and passive voice. Active voice, which puts the doer of the action as the subject of a sentence, should always be used in content marketing. Passive voice, which incorrectly positions the doer as the direct object, should be avoided.
In language not pulled straight from a sixth-grade grammar textbook: passive voice reverses the appropriate order of words in a sentence. It’s less concise, uses indirect language, and doesn’t come across as clearly to readers.
Here are some examples in different tenses:
Active voice makes action words more powerful by not placing them behind a passive verb like “is” or “was.” When you use active voice, your action word is the main verb in a sentence. It is directly related to the subject of the sentence, which in content marketing is often your potential customer.
Active voice makes your potential customer the doer, presenting an opportunity to persuade them to act.
Did you know that 80% of readers never make it past the headline on your landing page or blog? Headlines are the first thing people notice when they perform an online search, visit your landing page, or receive your emails. It’s essential that they’re compelling, unique, and action-oriented.
Action words not only grab attention, they make the intention of your content clear right from the headline. They’re also a great way to communicate the value of your content to customers from the start.
“Jumpstart [action word] your web traffic with these 3 strategies!” is much more compelling than “ 3 Strategies for Increasing Web Traffic.”
So if you’ve done the work to create a compelling, action-oriented headline, don’t stop there. Content with CTAs converts at an exponentially higher rate than content without them. Hubspot tested this out on their own website and found that anchor text CTAs increase conversions by 121%! To boot, they discovered that 93% of all leads generated by their website came from anchor text CTAs.
Here’s Neil Patel on how you can optimize your CTA-driven conversion rate:
Whenever you can, use your action words to convey the value your brand can provide for them. Think from your customer’s perspective. Specifically, think about what they can achieve through their interaction with your brand.
Whether that’s to “Make a Splash!” wearing a cocktail dress from your retail brand’s spring collection or to “Transform your business!” with the services of your B2B company, using action words to convey value conjures a vision for your customer of what it would be like to have it. This vision creates a feeling (more on that later) that motivates your customer to act.
Your action words should be compelling and unique when possible, but they should never be obscure, hard to read, or unrelatable. The best strategy when it comes to action words is to keep them simple. Content Marketing Institute, for instance, makes sure their content sticks to an eighth grade reading level.
The Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease score uses sentence and word counts to determine how difficult text is to read. It’s widely used in content marketing. Best practices show that CMI is right — content that falls between 6 and 8 is optimal for wide readability.
All of this is to say that when it comes to action words, compelling does not mean difficult. The most important thing is for your reader to understand and relate to the action.
Emotional marketing is a well-proven, effective marketing strategy that brands use to make a connection with consumers. Evoking emotion is also a powerful way to get consumers to act, and you can do it with strong action words.
When you’re using action words and creating CTAs, don’t think only about what you’re asking customers to do, but also the way your words will make them feel. The stronger the emotional reaction, the more likely your customer will be to take action.
Emotional CTAs don’t have to be dramatic, either. Consider this example:
“Don’t miss another . . .” Opportunity. Promotion. Event. Email. You name it — when you read that CTA from a brand you like, you feel like you already missed something. And you don’t want to miss it again, so you’ll probably complete the CTA.
Okay — now we’re up to speed on action words in content marketing. We know:
But it still isn’t easy to continually think of great action words on the fly without getting repetitive or hitting mental blocks. So we’ve gone ahead and created a list of the kinds of action words your content needs with examples for each.
Action words that suggest exclusivity give customers a desire to be part of something. Giving people a specific action they need to complete in order to gain access to something exclusive is extremely effective. It’s why lead magnets are so successful at increasing conversions.
Action words that create urgency motivate people by adding a time factor into the mix. When people feel that there are time limits on when they can access an opportunity, they’re more apt to make a quick decision to act.
The FOMO is real! We all want to be included and know what’s going on — including your potential customers. Hook them with action words and CTAs that evoke potential FOMO if they don’t act.
Learning something new is a huge value-add people get from content. Use action words that make people feel they’ll come away with new, valuable information by acting.
Sometimes action words need a big punch. When you’re using action words to get people to take big next steps, use powerful words that match up.
Brands don’t just offer benefits, they help customers solve problems. Using negative action works that emphasize how people can eliminate problems can be big motivators.
Ready to revamp your content marketing strategy’s use of action words and CTAs? Marketing Insider Group has experienced SEO experts, content writers, and marketing professionals who can help you consistently publish action-driven content that converts.
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