Content Marketing Strategy: Game Killer or Game Changer
Poor and mediocre content marketing is more often built on questionable assumptions and generalities of your target audience.
Investing the time, effort and research to create detailed personas that reflect the actual buyer journey will pay off handsomely.
While it may seem easier to skip these steps and dive straight into writing the typical generic blog posts. This results in poor targeting and poor results. You would be better off finding something else to invest your marketing dollars into.
If you are not willing to commit to spending the time to develop personas, customer journey maps and attribution date, your content marketing you will fail and fail miserably.
Content Marketing Is About Building A Firm Fase From Which To Work
Good content marketers use their personas and journey maps as a reference and refer to them daily.
They are continually dialing them in and expanding them as they learn more about their target audiences.
Content marketers measure their impact on the business and serve up personalized content; they set KPI’s for content that includes traffic statistics, social shares and more.
It’s More Than Visibility
Content’s relationship to the bottom line is invisible many times due to weak and lackluster content.
A marketing automation system that is deployed with ineffective content that is not targeted to the customer persona and journey is just a fancy email tool. Marketing automation requires sound data, ongoing profiling, and personalized lead nurturing.
If you find that your content is failing to deliver results, stop. Take the time to invest in better data, continuous profiling, and personalized lead nurturing.
Content Marketing, when done correctly, can and will deliver impressive results. Many companies that dipped their toes in the water and found lackluster results need to step back and invest in a renewed effort.
Content marketing needs to be buyer-centric, putting your audience at the heart of all your content.
It takes a mindset of demand generation, not as part of a branding or marketing campaign.
Many corporations and startups recognize that marketing as a function that takes and investment. The ones that are looking to engage and educate their target audience realize that marketing is more than ads. That content that engages and educates has been neglected. They acknowledge that this needs serious attention and commitment.
Marketing and content marketing in particular, can be quantified into the contributions to revenue, demonstrating that when marketing is involved the wins are larger and the win rate is enhanced.
Even more so, with content planning and a strategy in place, the performance of each piece of how content performs can be tracked and analyzed. This includes the ability to monitor what types of content and subject matter drives leads over the finish line resulting in a purchase and which distribution channels achieve the best results.
Turning raw MQLs into meaningful and useful metrics requires investing into serious strategic work, long before you start to create content. You must know your target audience and what motivates them, what are they searching for, what problem are they trying to solve.
How Do You Learn About Real Customers?
The low hanging fruit….start by interviewing your top sales representatives, account managers and business development executives. The knowledge they have on customer and target personas is invaluable. They have a deeper customer knowledge that can be documented by simply interviewing them. Interview the top performers in the different audience segments of the company and ask:
- Whom do you target at a new account or prospect?
- Why do you target them?
- What attributes do you look for?
- Whom do you communicate with?
- Is there a team approach?
- Who are the champions?
- Where are objections coming from?
- What are the objections?
- How much time do you spend educating them on the overall market or competitors?
From these conversations interviews, you should be able to identify a handful of customers to interview.
This information will be utilized to develop personas and learn more about the buyer journey. This step will be the hardest. Working around schedules will limit your ability to complete all of the interviews. However, six to nine interviews per target market persona will be adequate, assuming that you have targeted interview questions to uncover the customer persona and journey.
Use this data to refine three to four distinct conversion tracks, focusing in on the two most valuable personas. Adding to a third persona can wait, right now you need to concentrate on the best potential target personas.
Targeted Customer Journey Mapping
A customer journey maps should be established around three general phases: engage, nurture, and convert.
This is one of the most powerful aspects of persona development – understanding the types of questions commonly in your target audience heads during each buyer stage and establishing customer journey maps for each step.
Be prepared that the questions you ask at each stage of the customer journey map will be different based on whom you are interviewing. A decision-maker persona has a more business-driven concern that they are seeking an answer to, and practitioners want to make their life easier.
Even then, questions will converge when it comes to picking a vendor or solution.
Having this knowledge, allows the ability to reuse and repurpose content in the later stages of the sales funnel across multiple personas, which is a big time and money saver. Repurposed content adds the ability to drive conversions.
The Power Of A Relevant Customer Journey Map
Developing personas and customer journey maps are a significant investment of both time and resources. The last thing you want to do is file them away to collect dust. These need to be utilized as a reference for all content, the overall strategy and align with the stages of the customer journey.
Over time as you see results, do not let fear of drilling down into deeper niches stop you. This allows you to provide customized content to a smaller segment of their audience, who are actively searching for an answer to a problem and are usually easier and faster to convert.
Building personas and customer journey maps for current clients can assist in client outreach and improve customer retention.
Content Marketing Is A Work In Progress…
A business that is built based on target market personas and customer journey maps has the ability to see exponential growth quarter over quarter if you are willing to commit in content, to invest the time.
Keep in mind, that the real value is a result of the work and up-front research. Then be patient, it takes some time for this for your optimizations to take hold, to garner the hard sought results. It will happen.