15 Dec How to Build an Effective Content Marketing Strategy for Your Business
Content marketing drives consumers along the buying journey by engaging them at different points along the way across multiple platforms. Creating and distributing content is time-consuming and requires a commitment of resources.
Randomly sharing clever videos on Facebook, tweeting your latest news, emailing a case study to your subscribers and posting a tutorial to your blog may rope in a few targets to send down the funnel, but many will slip off in other directions or completely ignore your efforts unless you have a firm plan in place. So, where do you begin?
A Marketing Campaign Is Not a Strategy
Potential customers come to you at different stages along the buyer’s journey. Some may be unaware they need your product; others may know they need your product and have already researched your competition. Yet another set of prospective customers may have found your website after reading online reviews or recommendations from their friends on social media. All of these prospects need their questions answered and a little nudge to move them along their journey toward becoming a loyal customer.
The goal is to create a campaign to reach each of these prospects where they are. To accomplish this, you will need three different types of campaigns:
Awareness campaign: This is for those who don’t realize your product solves their problem or fills their need.
Engagement campaign: This reaches those who are aware of your product or business, but need to be drawn in with useful, entertaining content. At this stage, you will encourage potential buyers to interact with you by commenting on posts, filling out contact forms or subscribing to your email-distributed promotions.
Seal-the-Deal Campaign: For prospects who are nearly ready to buy, you’ll need a campaign that makes a great offer – one that can’t be refused; a loss-leader or entry-point offer that may not turn a profit in the short-term, but will pay off by expanding your customer base.
All these campaigns are segments of your overall content marketing strategy.
Begin by Defining Goals
Each piece of content will have a specific purpose and target buyers at defined points along the marketing funnel. Content may be created to build brand awareness; create interest in your business, products and services; prompt engagement; generate leads or drive traffic to sales pages.
When defining goals, you must also determine the metrics you will use for measuring success. Keep in mind that page views and click-through rates aren’t useful if the visitor to your website doesn’t stick around (high bounce rate) or fails to submit contact information so you can establish a relationship. Your content should support business goals — goals that will lead to increased sales. Having a video garner 10,000 views is nice, but if it doesn’t bring in new business, it really isn’t a worthwhile goal.
And this may seem obvious, but don’t forget to ask people to take the action you want them to take. Make sure you include a call to action (such as an email signup or contact form submission); otherwise, they may just view your content and leave.
Define Your Target
Develop your marketing personas beyond the basic demographics of age, gender, education and income. What are their goals and challenges to reaching these goals? What do they value and what do they fear? You want to know their media consumption habits. On which platforms do they most often engage and to which forms of content are they most receptive? With this information in hand, you are ready to develop a content map.
Each of your marketing personas has different needs, and each will come to you at different stages of the buyer’s journey. A content map charts the intersection of each persona with each stage of the journey and assigns appropriate content to each point. For example, at the awareness stage, Persona A may be best reached through a video on Facebook. Persona B, at this stage, may take more interest in a podcast. At the consideration stage, Persona A will be moved to action by a product demonstration while Persona B will sign up for a webinar. The content map will identify what content you need and where it should be distributed.
Are you reaching your goals? When you created the content (or commissioned its creation), you attached a goal. Look at the content that did what you intended and figure out how to replicate that success. The content that underperformed needs to be evaluated as well. What went wrong and how can it be corrected?
A large portion of your marketing budget will go to acquiring new business. However, do not neglect your customers post-purchase. A content marketing strategy that continues engagement with buyers beyond the initial sale will solidify and grow your customer base.
Useful content at this stage will include information on best ways to use your products and promotions for next –level purchases. With continued engagement, current customers become fans and advocates, increasing your credibility in the marketplace, and helping you bring in new business as they spread the word about you across their own platforms.