What you don't know can cost you, and when you're running a business or managing its marketing budget, you can't afford to pay for costly mistakes.
That's why we're here! We want to spread our knowledge of content marketing in Savannah, GA (it's kind of what we do!) to help you avoid unforeseen catastrophes. Let's talk about your digital marketing knowledge...
Content Marketing Institute (CMI) conducted a detailed survey in 2015 which collected information from more than 5,000 marketers around the world. Of the 1,820 North American B2B marketers, 1,572 affirmed their use of content marketing. That in itself should make readers take note.
Think you might be able to predict some of what the survey found?
- Of B2B marketers, what percent are deploying more content marketing this year (2016) over last?
- What did companies say are the top three goals for content marketing?
- On average, how many different audiences (personas) are targeted by content marketing?
- How many different tactics are used on average?
- What's the most popular social media platform for content publishing?
- How often do successful content marketers publish new content?
- Successful marketers designate what percent of their marketing budget to content?
- Top three challenges faced by content marketers that they hope to overcome ASAP?
Whether you're a noob or seasoned veteran when it comes to inbound/online/digital marketing, there's always more to learn. And let us assure you, learning beats ignorance every time. To summon the opinion of a perfectly convincing authority on the matter, consider what Groucho Marx had to say about this:
“Learn from the mistakes of others. You can never live long enough to make them all yourself.”
We see that hand!
"Could you remind us exactly what Content Marketing is, please?"
Here's how CMI defined it in their report:
“A strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience—and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”
In this blog, our agenda is to introduce some of the many types of content that have been found most effective for companies of all sizes. But first, let's set the stage.
A Gleanster and Kapost survey of over 3000 B2B marketers indicates there may be as much as $958 million wasted on marketing efforts that don't take into account tried and true best practices.
Do not add to this total. Learn from other's mistakes! To avoid adding to the shameful number of wasted marketing dollars, for every piece of content (we'll get to the different types later), ask these two questions:
To whom are you addressing your content?
NOT yourself. Too often we publish content WE think is grand and insightful.
NOT your employees, either.
We agree with CMI - it's the clearly defined audience that should dictate everything about your content from the topic to the wording, from the medium to the design.
The most effective content is aimed at a PERSONA, which is essentially a made-up profile based on research of both real and potential customers that provides insight into the needs, goals, and behaviors of these customers.
A persona allows you to create content for a "person" who consists of an amalgam of people in your target audience. Imagine combining all the Starbucks baristas you meet into an avatar named "Phoenix." For our purposes, your customer persona should say something about their role as a buyer, their position in their company, their daily goals, their pain points, even their demographic profile- middle aged? Twenty-something? Married? Kids? Asking your existing customers these kinds of questions as well as conducting research on people who represent the customers you'd like to attract can help you create effective personas.
And where is your persona in her BUYERS' JOURNEY?
Here's the Buyer's Journey, with content examples attached below:
The Awareness Stage positions your persona in the research phase. She is somewhat aware of a problem in need of a solution, but not always. It could be that your content awakens a buyer to the fact that there's an efficiency she didn't even know about, much less shop for. She may have been tasked with a project about which she needs to understand thoroughly before she starts into the consideration stage. The company that is kind enough to offer easy access to that learning may just win the deal at the end.
The Consideration Stage finds your persona starting to compare and contrast vendors. He's got a spreadsheet on his computer with various vendors in column A and in row one, a number of criteria he needs to meet. How can you make it easy for him to fill in the row for your business? What are his criteria, anyway?
The Decision Stage has come upon the buyer when she begins to narrow down her options, having worked a decision strategy to its logical end. What are the final components of a deal with your company that make you irresistible? (and it's not always cost!)
Now let's have a look at what content has proven effective for each stage. A word of advice here, first.
You may not be able to produce bang-up content for each stage all at once. You probably don't even need to produce content for all three stages right now.
Consider Amazon. They've got the decision stage locked up tight. Buyers go through their awareness and consideration stages all over the internet but land on Amazon to make the final buy. You don't see a lot of Amazon content showing up on search returns aimed at making people aware of their existence because they are way beyond that.
On the other hand, you may need to major in the Awareness and Consideration stages because that's the reality of where you are today.
So start where it makes sense to get found by your personas. This is NOT an exhaustive list, because you creative types are always dreaming up new kinds of content.
Awareness Stage Content:
- Blogs- There's a lot of art and science to this one. Check out our latest blog on blogging (ha)
- White Papers- an informative, non-biased report on a problem and potential solutions. Not a sales pitch, simply more data on the issues, like why solar energy is still too expensive for widespread use, and what the newly developing options to bring down price points are
- Social Media Content- joining or creating conversations on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, etc.
- eBooks- manuals or handbooks that "give away" some of what your business might do.
- Product descriptions
- Review or editorial (opinion) content
- Banners (be careful with this one, though- it's starting to go away)
- Your website- make sure everything on your website is optimized for search results, so that Googlers will find you before your competitors.
Consideration Stage Content:
All of the above, plus
- Case studies- satisfied clients are great for word-of-mouth advertising!
- Product trials- you've seen this countless times for apps: trial versions or limited time trials.
- Online demos- videos of your product or service in action and what solutions are offered.
- Vendor comparison charts- you've also seen those checklists showing features that some offer that others don't.
- FAQ's- make them searchable, or query based. DO NOT make people scroll down an enormous page to find their answer.
Decision Stage Content:
All of the consideration stage items, plus
- Price quotes
- ROI calculators
And if that's not enough, her are a few more options to consider:
- Check lists
Here's another way to see it, from TopRank Blog:
And now, the answers you've been waiting for!
- Businesses that plan more online content this year: 70%
- Top Three purposes for content: Brand Awareness 84%, Lead Generation 83% Engagement 81%
- Number of personas: Larger companies had up to 6, smaller ones 3
- Average number of different tactics: 13
- Most popular social media platform: LinkedIn, with an average of 6 total platforms in use
- How often to publish new content? 42% say daily to weekly
- What percent of marketing budget goes to content? Average = 28%
- Top three challenges :
- Creating more engaging and higher-quality content
- Gain a better understanding of what content is effective—and what isn’t
- Get better at converting visitors to engage with their website
Like we are fond of saying at United WebWorks here in beautiful Savannah GA, "Live and learn, people." We've been in the business of helping companies like yours enter and thrive in the online marketplace since 2002. Google was just one of many search engines back then! Talk to us about your priorities for this year, and learn how to achieve your business goals with content marketing in Savannah, GA or elsewhere!