If you expect B2B buyers to hang on your every word, we’ve got some disappointing news: no one’s reading, they’re skimming. Instead of sulking at your desk, it’s better to adapt.
Engineer your content to deliver your message for readers who skim the copy.
Users have become accustomed to scrolling, but 80% of readers still don’t get “below the fold,” according to Nielsen Norman Group, and web users spend 80% of their time viewing the left half of the page.
The stats aren’t terribly surprising, but I do find it surprising how few websites optimize their content to adapt to user behavior. Here are some simple things you can do.
- Optimize your content for mobile devices. Readers give up quickly on anything that’s difficult to read, and that’s definitely the case when the content doesn’t render well on the device they’re using.
- Break up text blocks with plenty of subheads and use relevant visuals that convey relevant information.
- Use key words in your subheads. Draw attention to the most important information in the body copy with bold type.
- Lean on lists and bullet points that are easier to scan.
- Put the most important information at the top. A well-written piece that’s packed with information the reader finds valuable is more likely to keep them reading to the end. Reward those readers with information that goes deeper. In many cases, these are your best prospects.
- Lay out the page in a way that puts the most interesting and important information on the left side of the page, where readers who skim are more likely to see it.
- Develop “niche” content that appeals to very specific readers and piques their interest via search pages. You don’t need to reach an overly broad audience, just the readers you’re targeting.
- Include CTAs above the fold. If you’ve grabbed their attention early enough, they can take the next step—even if they never make it to the end.
- Don’t write more than you need to. Write as much as is necessary to cover your topic—no more, no less.
Few of us read an entire article or asset unless it’s exactly the right information at the right time (if then!). But if you build content that’s easy to for readers who skim to find the big ideas, your readers can consider their time well spent.
For more writing tips geared toward B2B marketing, check out How Can Rules Unleash Your Creative Genius?
Holly Celeste Fisk is an accomplished marketing pro with 20+ years of experience in B2B and B2C. She’s responsible for Content4Demand’s internal marketing efforts, managing everything from content creation and email marketing to events and sponsorships, blog publishing, website management and social media presence. When she’s not working, you’ll find her sliding into third at softball, buried in a book or practicing her Italian.