The explosion in content marketing has made it more and more difficult for online marketers to stand out from the crowd. Whether it is an ecommerce product page, an email marketing piece or a white paper, customers demand more than mere text to capture their attention. Each touchpoint you offer a customer is a component of their customer experience. A more satisfying customer experience translates to a deeper customer relationship and increased revenue.
Embedded Content Grabs Attention and Inspires Action
One powerful way to inspire customers to engage with your brand is embedded content. By inserting a video, slide presentation or even an animated GIF, marketers can transform those same product pages, emails and white papers into conversion machines. In addition, embedded content can be leveraged to substantially improve SEO performance.
First, a few statistics about customer experience with embedded content:
- Kissmetrics reports how one ecommerce firm reported visitors were 144 percent more likely to purchase after seeing a product video.
- According to Forbes, 65 percent of senior executives would rather watch video than read text.
- Unbounce reports an eyeviewdigital.com study indicating video on landing pages increases conversions up to 80 percent.
One need not be an expert in online user behavior or persuasion techniques to understand the appeal of visual content — instead, our own Internet experience provides confirmation. Visual imagery and video stand out from text, are easier to consume than textual content, more effective in explaining complex ideas, more persuasive in conveying testimonials, and last but not least, more readily shared with friends, colleagues and social media community members.
The social sharing dimension of embedded content should not be underestimated. An informative or entertaining video or slide presentation (truly great visual content delivers both) is far more likely to be forwarded, through social media, email, text links, or plain old word of mouth (“You have to see the ABC Company video about dog training!”).
Improved Customer Experience: Embedded Content in Action
Improve click-through rates
Consider an email newsletter. A subscriber can easily delete the email without reading a paragraph (or solid page) of lifeless text. But can the subscriber effortlessly delete a video, or simply avoid viewing an image with a persuasive caption, or easily avoid reading a one-panel cartoon illustrating a problem solved by the product being sold? Clearly, visual content is tempting, and being tempting draws the subscriber to engage more deeply with your company by creating a user account, signing up for a free trial, or making a purchase.
In our example of an embedded cartoon in an email newsletter, if the cartoon is itself hyperlinked to the email’s landing page, customers are more likely to click through. Placing graphical conversion elements above or below an embedded video or GIF are likely to produce similarly strong results.
Again, keep share-ability in mind: an email with an engaging embed may produce not only increased click-throughs, but also forwards of the email to colleagues or friends with similar interests, taking the conversion potential of the content beyond the limits of the subscriber list. A deeper customer relationship facilitated by engaging embedded content also converts your customers into brand advocates.
It is worth mentioning that by archiving embedded content (video, slide presentations, infographics in particular) on the company website along with the embed code, a company can make it easy for interested off-site publishers to grab the content and republish it on their websites.
If the embedded content links to the company website, which it should, the backlinks created when the content is republished will produce a potentially significant increase in the firm’s organic search visibility. Not only that, the exposure gained on other relevant websites advances brand awareness and credibility.
So while an improved customer experience and higher click-throughs are at the heart of an embedded content strategy, improved SEO and branding are rather large fringe benefits.
Tactical Tips for Embedding Content
As with any online marketing activity, the devil is in the details. Here are key tips to remember:
- Hyper link the embedded content or place strong call-to-action links near it.
- Archive embedded content on the company website with the embed code.
- Keep videos short: 30 seconds to two minutes is a reasonable production standard.
- Never have videos auto-start; this is a notoriously bad practice for user experience. Readers must always be in control of embedded content.
- Make slide presentations graphically interesting. If the slides are nothing more than crammed-in text, they may not capture or hold reader attention.
- Always include a “forward to a friend” feature or social media share buttons in emails to encourage sharing.
- Production quality for visual content should be professional, but need not look like a Hollywood action or animated movie. Online audiences are somewhat forgiving of production shortcomings, thanks to their experience in viewing visual content and their appreciation of the associated costs.
- Remember, visual content should provide information and/or entertain. Taking it further, valuable embeds:
- Solve an important problem
- Make a desired goal seem attainable
- Explain a complex idea, product, service or business model
- Provide useful data and insights relating to a product, service, industry or business problem
- Describe experiences of satisfied customers (case studies, testimonials)
Using embedded visual content in online marketing campaigns improves click-throughs rates, SEO, branding and overall customer experience. For the best results, adhere to best practices for content creation and tactical execution. Above all, make embedded content genuinely valuable to the targeted reader.
Paul de Fombelle serves as the Global Development Director for Mailify, an email marketing app with more than 40,000 users worldwide. Paul comes from an editorial background and has contributed to tech businesses as an expert in Digital Marketing and Content Strategies in four different countries.
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