You could be forgiven for thinking that long-form is less favoured in 2019, what with audiences demonstrating lower attention spans and video taking over as the preferred method of media consumption. But, in fact, long-form has become more popular for driving sales conversions and business leads.
You see, marketing teams have realised that people are less willing than ever to give up their details or fill in a form when there isn‘t whole lot of supporting evidence to convince them that this is beneficial. A wealth of content can be a powerful tool, driving more sales leads and increasing conversions.
The importance of structure in long-from
An effective layout and structure for long-form content are important to ensure that you can maintain the interest and attention of the user. Although your content should be interesting, informative and unique a well-structured layout will support in capturing and maintaining attention throughout all that you have to say.
- Headline: Ensuring that you choose a good headline is important for capturing the initial attention of the reader. It should be prominent on the page alongside being relevant and well created. As your first and only chance of initiating engagement with the reader, you should ensure that the headline is not only bold but also captivating and interesting, leading the subject of the whole piece.
Why not A/B test different headlines to find out what yields the best conversions for your audience?
- Subheader: If you feel that you can create an equally as effective subheader then this can support your title by clarifying and highlighting any key benefits of the text. Ensuring the positioning and proximity of the header and subheader is important to ensure clarity.
It can be easier to create both the header and subheader, once you have written the complete piece of content, drawing inspiration from the words you have used.
- Imagery: Images help to illustrate what your text is telling the reader and guide the user through the page journey. Using images can help to break up the text and develop a better flow to the structure, alongside making the page more engaging and personalised to the businesses branding.
Create multiple landing pages with different images, no images and alternative placement to determine which is the best approach for your brand and your audience.
- Video: As with imagery, videos can be a great way to complement your text. Landing pages featuring only video content are much more likely to see lower conversion rates. It’s important to remember that the video is there to supplement the copy, not replace it.
Try placing your video content above the fold, beneath your header, and use it as an introduction to the topic to capture attention.
- Short and sweet intro: To most effectively create a gripping introduction, construct around five sentences which build an explanation of what the long-form content is going to discuss, teach or explain. Ensure this tells the reader why they need to keep reading and what makes your brand, product or service unique.
Think of it as an elevator pitch. Make the first contact you have with prospects super impactful to ensure you can get them hooked in.
- CTA: Your call to action needs to appear early on the page to ensure the user knows what you want them to do as well as catering to those who may choose to convert early on.
Don’t forget that there are some customers who will convert without scrolling, they may have existing knowledge, be returning customers or have seen enough from your awesome header and introduction.
- Building trust: Now you’ve got their attention, you now need to build some trust in your offering. This can be done in a number of ways but elements such as external testimonials, a list of coverage and previous or current clients can help bolster your trustworthiness.
Keep track of all the influential people or publications that discuss or rate your product, to ensure you can update your trust signals regularly.
- Tell them what it is and why they need it: Now you’ve hooked your audience in and built some trust, you need
otbe able to effectively explain what it is you are offering them. Is it a product? Is it a service? Ensure that the benefit or output which will somehow enhance their lives, the thing that truly sets you apart from competitors.
Write a list of how your product or service makes a difference in your market and specifically to your customer’s lives. You can even base this on you personas and define how it would enhance their way of living.
- Back up your claims: Once you’ve
esbtlishedwhat you do and why people should convert, you should aim to back up your claims. This could be testimonials, reviews and any other persuasive materials which could compel customers to convert.
If you’re struggling to collect testimonials, you could incentivise users or customers to submit their reviews to receive a discount code or some form of reward.
- Test is all: It’s important to test out each of your approaches to the tone of voice, imagery, layout, use of video and all the other elements to ensure that you can achieve optimum conversion rates.
Without testing, you could be decreasing your ability to convert customers and lose prospective business leads, wasting both your time and money.
When should I use short-from?
- High awareness: If your prospects are already highly aware of your brand and offering, short-form content is suitable to encourage them to make an initial or repeat purchase or alternative conversion
- Simplicity: Not all products or service are equally complex or simple, so if your offering is something that most people have an established understanding of, you won’t usually need to go into so much detail to ensure a conversion.
- Low cost: If it’s cheap, then customers are less likely to need as much convincing to part with their money and therefore need less convincing.
- Low risk: Again, if it isn’t something that the customer expects to rely heavily upon and use every day, they will need less information to encourage them to commit.
- Low commitment: As with cost and risk, commitment to a purchase determines how much research goes into it. Buying a new brand of washing-up liquid is very different from buying a car in terms of commitment and therefore require different variations of available information.
When should I use long-form?
- Low awareness: If you’re the new kid on the block in your market, you’ll need to build up the trust in your brand as well as making yourself known. Through long-form content, you can better do this and utilise it to establish what is it you offer and why consumers should choose you.
- Big price tag: Justifying a cost is one of the key reasons to use long-form content. It can support in effectively detailing the features and benefits of your products as well as offering you the opportunity to explain why you’re different to others in your market and create an argument for your price point.
- Complex product or service: If your offering is relatively new or requires a considerable level of knowledge to ‘get it’ then your long-form content can support in educating customers. Demonstrating a preparedness to inform your would-be-customers using relevant terminology, cutting through the jargon and getting to the core of what you do is critical to improving trust in a complex offering.
- High commitment: If your conversion requires being tied to something for a period of time, you’ll need to impress visitors to ensure that they can be convinced to tie themselves to your brand. Where there is a commitment, you should endeavour to educate and reaffirm that your customer lives will be enhanced by choosing to commit to your product or service.
How long should long-form content be?
Unfortunately, there is no simple answer to this. To determine what need to be covered you should create a comprehensive plan of what you want to say and to vital key points. You can then create an initial piece of text which can be added to or cut down based on testing and research.
The key consideration should be if the content does the job it was designed to do, if it doesn’t them go back to basics, test out different approaches until you find the best way to use this to successfully convert prospects.
Creating long-form content?
It’s no easy job, creating long-form content, that’s why we advise consulting with a professional copywriting service, to ensure that your requirements are met and you have the best chance of achieving your business objectives. For more information on creating long-form content to increase your conversions and sales leads, get in touch with us today.
Also published on Medium.