How To: Don’t Let Your Online Visitors Get Lost In Your Content

Lemme start with this. Native Floridian, born and raised. On the beach is where I spent most of my days. Chillin’ out maxin’ relaxin’ all cool and all catching some waves after I left school. When a couple of events that seemed to be good started taking me out of my neighborhood. I got on one little train and I instantly got scared. I said, “Which stop is the one that the L train is near?”

Ok ok so it’s not Fresh Prince worthy but it’ll do to explain where I’m going with this. I grew up in Miami. And don’t get me wrong, Miami can be one confusing place to drive in, but I’m used to it. What I’m not used to is traveling underground.

I learned this the first time I went to New York City. If I may toot my own horn, I’m awesome with directions. I rarely get lost and can usually find my way back pretty easily if I do. However, put me under the ground on a train that I cannot see which way I turned or how far I went and you’ve got the recipe for destruction. It blows my mind that every time I walk up those stairs to the street that I can never tell which way is up, down, north, south, east, west. It paralyzes me for quite a while until I manage to get my bearings and remember where I was trying to go again.

It’s much like your content. We’ve been talking Digital Differentiation recently (if you haven’t been keeping up, check out the introduction to our series here) and making sure your visitors are as little confused as possible is definitely a way to differentiate your brand’s online experience.

That content you have may be extremely useful, but it may not be useful for everyone. Maybe some of your content is for the people that want to hop on the L train, and some of it is for the people that are looking for the M train. They may have gotten in at the same stop, but they most definitely want to end up in completely different places.

Easy right? Just ask the visitor what they want and where they want to go and your brand can deliver an experience like they’ve never seen. By providing a conversion path and offering your visitors the choice to decide what information they are most interested in seeing, you are:

  • differentiating yourself from the pack with useful and directed content

  • providing a more personalized and drilled down experience for the consumer

  • gaining insights into what your visitors are looking for to utilize for your content strategy

Take a look at this example from Frontpoint below:

 FrontPoint provides an excellent example of giving people simple, clear choices that attend to the visitor's needs.
FrontPoint provides an excellent example of giving people simple, clear choices that attend to the visitor’s needs.

While Frontpoint may have a ton of information that could be useful to several of their online visitors, they found a way to keep them from getting overwhelmed. Simple, clear choices give the visitors control over their online experience with your brand.

Make it clear for them. Make it simple for them to choose what content “train” they want to jump on to find the information they need. Because, if you throw all of your content at them, they may get on the wrong train, head into a part of your digital experience they have no interest in, and may want to immediately leave (Trust me, I had this feeling in NYC too many times).

Now let’s forget NYC for a second. Let me take you to another city in this “content” journey. The city of Boston does this incredibly well. While there may still be trains and I may still have to catch some bearings before walking, I never get lost. Inbound or outbound? In to the city or are you traveling away from the city? That should tell you what way you want to take the train, even if you don’t know the names of the streets you may be stopping at. Simple, clear, and easy. And you know what, I love Boston. New York City, I love you too but can I get an automatic subway conductor along with my booked flight there? Now that would be useful!

Love the idea of a conversion path but curious about what other marketing apps you could use to make your digital experience more useful? Register now and check out The Case for Marketing Apps guide!

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