Editor’s note: This post is based off of a presentation that OutSystems Chief Marketing Officer Steve Rotter recently gave at Content Connections, Acrolinx’s flagship annual conference. Held in May 2017, the event attracted hundreds of content professionals from around the world.

When I arrived at OutSystems about a year ago, it was clear the company faced a number of content challenges. As a low-code application development platform, we were creating content about some pretty technical topics that were difficult to communicate. All the more so since OutSystems is a Portuguese company, which meant we had a lot of non-native English speakers doing the work. The fact that we had a fairly rookie content strategy — and a tone of voice that just didn’t reflect the business we were trying to build — further complicated things.

Suffice it to say, we had our work cut out for us. But I knew that, before we could tackle any of the goals on our ambitious agenda, we had to get our tone of voice right. We needed to strike the right balance and establish a tone that was authoritative, but also engaging enough to help us connect with our audience. To do so, we turned to Acrolinx for help.

We used Acrolinx to analyze our content and our competitors’ and the other companies we admired. The analysis confirmed that our content wasn’t as clear, it wasn’t as lively, and it was more formal than everyone else’s. And we learned our overall tone of voice scores just weren’t up to par. That’s when the real work began.

Fixing Our Content at its Core

We looked first at our website. It had a number of issues, including the content and language it used. So we redesigned the site and fixed all the content to make it more engaging and accessible. The results were pretty staggering. On our home page, for example, we nearly doubled the average time on page. And those results replicated across the site. In fact, when we were done, we had more than doubled our average time on site from just 4 minutes to well over 9 minutes. These and other positive results ultimately led to a significant boost in our Alexa rankings.

Next, we looked at our free trial offer. Since so many of OutSystems’ customers begin their journey with us via a free trial, we wanted to maximize the number of trial conversions. That meant removing any unnecessary steps from the free trial sign-up process. We then added content based on its ability to:

  • Facilitate the sign-up process without impeding it.
  • Push the conversion forward instead of derailing it.
  • Engage an audience that had previously been alienated.

Of course, using a friendlier, more accessible tone of voice played a key role here as well, and we got great results. Creating the exact experience we wanted during the free trial sign-up process allowed us to boost conversion rates from 61 percent to 87 percent. And, it’s worth pointing out that the increase represents about half a million dollars in saved advertising budget.

Over the months that followed, we also rolled out a content marketing blog and created a number of larger content assets.

Big Changes Get Big Results

The changes that we made to our content led to many other business benefits, too. For one, the cachet of our brand grew as the experience associated with it became more valuable to customers. Since they were learning from and engaging with our content, email blasts once disregarded, for example, were now getting people’s attention. Our open rates skyrocketed. Our newsletter sign-ups grew, too. And we improved our SEO rankings. I don’t think any of that would have been possible if we hadn’t nailed our content’s tone of voice.

For a closer look at all of the projects we took on during this time, including new content marketing opportunities that led to tens-of-thousands of views and an overhaul of an on-site chat client, watch my full presentation.