The days of vintage advertisements, where glitzy sales techniques were employed to get new buyers, is long gone. The campaigns from the 1960s “Mad Men” days cause many of us to shudder at the duplicity involved.
Instead, today’s marketers use content in a myriad of different media to communicate and inform their buyers. Regardless of channel used, the goal of the content is to engage and convert prospects to buyers.
And content marketing works! Why else would 76 percent of B2B marketers plan to create more content than they did one year ago?
But the success that led to the rise of content marketing has produced reams of content that our buyers are drowning in. There’s simply too much content, and most of it is being ignored.
We marketers need to stop creating so much content — ahem, so much useless content. Instead, we need to create content that matters. And we need to deliver it at the right time.
Here are three techniques to get us there.
1. Put your content in context: Deliver the right content, to the right people, at the right time
Go beyond content marketing that just delivers educational or useful information. Insert timing and the specific personality of the customer into the equation.
Use personas to understand your buyer. In today’s digital world, they help marketers put a name and a face to the people they are communicating with.
Insight into the pain, background, joys and needs of customers are documented in personas. Two other key components of personas are where people hang out and what type of content they are interested in.
Harvest this insight when creating content. Pulling from the pain points highlighted in the personas, create content that addresses those needs.
Speak the language of your customers in your content. Too technical or too simplistic content can confuse or alienate people. Use the background information documented in the personas to get it right.
Create content that addresses the buyer (persona) at a specific stage in the buying cycle. A single piece of content shouldn’t address options for solving a problem and the costs associated with those options. Too much information can turn buyers off.
2. Get your content where your customers are
Today’s buyers are everywhere… and can be anywhere. Many start with an online search to begin understanding options, while others go directly to a vendor website, click through from an ad or attend a conference.
Put a Search Engine Marketing (SEM) program in place. Using both inbound and outbound techniques has advantages, but remember that inbound marketing optimization has limitations, because at a certain point there is a limited return for all that effort.
Keep each outbound component of the program focused on a specific target audience so the content delivered on each click is exactly what the researcher is looking for. Having this information will help with targeted follow-up, as well. Use native advertising to reach new buyers. Native advertising is advertising in context. It’s not about selling.
Create ads that naturally blend into the surrounding content. But don’t stop there. Deliver content on a click that provides value by speaking to a specific persona about a need.
Participate in trade shows. Sixty-seven percent of B2B content marketers consider event marketing to be their most effective strategy.
Event participation should be structured so that value is delivered to each booth visitor or attendee. Use or create content that focuses on your customers and not on your solutions.
3. Deliver the content your prospects crave
Use digital body language to better target your content. Instead of a “spray and pray” technique to deliver your content, use targeted efforts to produce better results.
The digital trail left behind by website visits, form submits, email engagements and online searches is a treasure trove of information. Use this data to gather insights into the buying cycle and persona of anonymous visitors and engaged prospects, and you can deliver the right content.
Create a matrix of online content arranged by personas and buying cycles. Using this matrix, gather insights into the visitors who traverse your website and engage with specific content. Then segment them according to who they are and what they’re interested in.
These segments can then be used to send ultra-personal emails that have the right content and are perfectly in context to the recipient. And because they’re in tune with the recipient, your content is not ignored. The farther we get from the days of Don Draper, the more content is relied upon to engage and activate buyers. But content that’s ignored is lost revenue and a waste of time and money.
Content that speaks to the buyer’s persona, buying cycle and needs is part of the solution. Getting that content in front of those specific buyers when they have intent to research and buy ensures it’s not ignored.