Information Architecture Formula: IA + IM = ROI
Information Architecture + Inbound Marketing = Return-on-Investment
It isn’t really hard to blend Information Architecture and Inbound Marketing. Both practices care deeply about user experience.
In fact, success in these digital disciplines hinges on how effectively users access and consume content. The efficiency factor comes from how well you and your internal and external marketing team measure onsite prospect & customer activity. The ROI comes from how smart you and your team are at applying & testing the consumer activity the data implies.
Nothing much has been said about the relationship between them; here’s your chance to learn about this marketing duo. Experienced information architecture Louis Rosenfeld hints at the correlation of information architecture and sales. By reducing the cost of finding information, you are at the same time opening up to more sales.
Information Architecture and Inbound Marketing
Information architecture is all about organizing website content around users’ needs and expectations. News readers who go to CNN.com, for instance, are presented with headlines and top stories of the day first and other content that may interest them next. CNN makes use of an intuitive and solid information architecture to improve browsing, content selection and reading experience. The site groups content into relevant categories, which are then placed strategically, so that users get what they need from and expect of CNN.
The term Inbound Marketing has several definitions depending on who you ask. But since we’ve partnered with HubSpot, an Inbound Marketing software, we’ll stick to two of the components necessary for effective nurturing and conversion:
Most marketers focus on one or other of these; Marketing Matters Inbound successfully merges both content and CTAs for a more effective online conversion system.
Blending Disciplines, Finding Solutions
Information architecture has a lot to do with building highly converting websites. It’s an essential building block of a higher-level design called Conversion Architecture, which in turn fuels your Inbound Marketing strategy. Here’s how to get started:
1. Design and structure your website around user preference, not your own.
Success inbound marketers know who their target users are and optimize web pages according to consumers’ needs. They don’t insist on what they think is pretty. Or right. Or attractive. Those are mere perceptions, which you cannot easily translate into page views. So let the data be your guide…
Researching user needs must be part of your information architecture plan. Who’s going to use your site? What are his/her expectations ? What can you do to enhance his/her online experience? These are just some of the questions built into the process of organizing web content for Inbound Marketing.
The best way to anticipate users needs is through developing personas. Create “real” profiles of people who’s likely to visit your site and use them as basis for organizing and testing your website’s information architecture.
2. Have a clear and actionable marketing purpose.
Inbound marketers generally have one goal: attract Visitors and convert a steady stream of qualified Leads. In some cases Leads will become Customers online, too.
Successful marketers have clear and specific goals. The same goes with implementing an information architecture strategy. Start with a clear purpose of conversion. This begins with a firm definition of what you’ll classify as a conversion, specific to your website.
Define the conversion. Understand the purchase path. Organize your content in such a way that funnels your users toward that end conversion goal. If you’re going to inform users, your information architecture pattern has to lead them through the content they want to consume. If you’re going to encourage an online purchase, your site’s structure and content must be directly correlated to that goal.
3. Prepare site maps and outlines.
Site maps and outlines are two quick ways to visualize how content “A” relates to content “B”. These schematics are similar to a web design mock-up, only that you’re analyzing a site’s content structure and functionality. Site maps will especially guide you in grouping and arranging your web pages. With them, you can properly see which child pages go with a particular parent page.
A CTA map will organize a naturally progressive flow towards a conversion by serving relevant offering based on when and where a prospect is in the purchase funnel. Make sense?
Creating Conversion Architecture from Information Architecture is not necesarilly intuitive. In fact, it’s pretty high-level stuff that very few practice. So, give us a ring if you have any questions.
Effective website Information Architecture can fill some very important gaps in your marketing strategy. Plan yours today.