An OST is a decision-making framework introduced by Teresa Torres in her book Continuos Discovery Habits. This tool is primarily used by product designers to make well-thought-out product design decisions.
I find this tool effective because it helps you organize your thoughts, allows the whole team to contribute to making decisions, and helps build confidence in what to do next. Why not apply it to content marketing?
Watch it instead:
Define the goal you want to achieve and how you're going to measure it. For example, your goal can be to double your revenue, generate 10X leads, or reduce the cost per lead.
Do research to learn more about your customers, and what problems they are trying to solve. List out the various options or opportunities that you can pursue to achieve your desired outcome.
What can be a potential solution that directly links to each opportunity? Write down your ideas in the following branches.
Once you have generated some solutions, you can begin testing them out. Add assumptions that will enable you to measure the outcomes of each chosen solution.
Now, that we've figured out how the opportunity solution tree works, let's try to understand the course of action for increasing returning site visitors using this tool.
Marketers often focus on attracting new clients and new traffic, but they often neglect the importance of increasing the number of returning site visitors. Returning site visitors are more likely to convert into paying customers and they also help to increase brand awareness and loyalty. Since returning visitors are so important, let's figure out how to increase them using OST.
Increase returning site visitors by 50%
To list opportunities, we need to analyze data on returning site visitors to learn more about their behavior and interests.
One of the first things you should do is go to Google Analytics to see which pages drive the most returning visitors. You can do it in Audience → Behavior → New vs Returning visitors. Filter by segment Returning Users and add a secondary dimension "landing page."
Your opportunity may sound like this:
Some pages of the website drive the most returning visitors
An obvious solution follows → if these pages generate the most returning visitors, we need to optimize them to get better results. Our assumption is that if we improve the quality of content, we're going to get even more returning visitors from these pages.
Another thing you can do in Google Analytics is explore pages that have the biggest drop-off in returning visitors. To do this, go to Users Flow, add a segment Returning Users and see which pages are performing poorly in retaining visitors.
Your opportunity may sound like this:
Some pages of the website have a big drop-off
As a solution, you can improve the usability of these pages and optimize content to see the drop-off going down.
You can increase returning site visitors with email marketing. Emails allow you to directly communicate with your customers and keep them engaged with personalized and targeted content. By sending out regular newsletters, promotions, and updates, you can remind your customers about your brand and encourage them to return to your website.
A possible opportunity when it comes to email marketing might be this: Site visitors have no way to subscribe to our blog. Solution? Obviously, add a subscription button. To test this solution, we can use tools like Heatmap to see if the site visitors can easily find the subscription form, and of course, track the number of email subscribers.
What other opportunities can we list here? For example, we know that our products are used by different audiences and so our site visitors have different needs and interests. As a solution, we can come up with an idea to offer a signup that lets people choose which topics to subscribe to. This way we'll be able to make our emails more personalized and relevant. An assumption to test this solution is that people choose a topic option before they subscribe to our newsletter.
Finally, site visitors want to subscribe to content that offers value. We can link this opportunity to a solution: offer a valuable incentive. This can be an email course, an ebook, or downloadable resources and templates that people would exchange for an email. Suppose people do leave their emails to get this valuable content from us. In that case, we can develop a strategy to encourage them to return to our website and even convert into customers.
Social media is another opportunity we can leverage to increase returning site visitors.
Let's say, we know our target audience is active on Twitter and LinkedIn. This means we should build a value proposition for these networks so people have a reason to follow us there. If our strategy works, we'll get more followers on Twitter and LinkedIn.
Another solution for getting returning visitors from social networks is sharing news and blog updates. If we incorporate links to our content in tweets and LinkedIn posts, we might increase social traffic by enticing visitors to click.
Finally, we can launch remarketing campaigns on Twitter and LinkedIn and measure returning customers and traffic from these campaigns.
Look at the opportunity solution tree we've just created:
It's best to do the OST session collectively. This way you will be to generate a bunch of interesting ideas and prioritize the most effective ones.
Before you go, make sure you also check out my article about how to use the issue tree to find and solve problems in your content strategy.
Both the issue tree and the opportunity solution tree are two useful tools in your content strategy toolbox. The issue tree helps you turn complex problems into manageable pieces and the opportunity solution tree helps you develop a mental representation of desired outcomes and plan the ways to reach them.
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