A few weeks ago I had the privilege of attending Atlanta’s first Inbound Marketing Day. As a new Salesfusion employee, I was excited to hear from renowned marketing professionals on their take of modern inbound marketing. I was particularly intrigued by Ardath Albee, a leading marketing strategist and consultant, and her discussion on various ways to increase the relevancy of digital content. Here a couple of key takeaways:
Marketers generate mounds of wonderful content. We stick it on our websites and blogs, promote it a few times, then we move on to create more content and promote that instead. However, by reusing old content, marketers can give their readers what Albee calls a “continuum experience,” rather than the sporadic experience indicative of traditional campaigns.
Prospects normally begin their buying cycle aware of an array of symptoms, eventually discovering the problem and finally selecting a solution. Yet marketers do not always mirror this process in how we nurture our prospects. Too often prospects are moved to a new and different campaign, regardless of their initial concerns. The message strategy becomes inconsistent and irrelevant. The messages they receive no longer contribute to the prospect’s research. This leads to unopened emails, or worse, unsubscribes.
Reusing content can be as simple as adding a “Related Stories” section to the end of your blog or news section. People who take the time to read your blogs, eBooks, or emails do so because they need to learn more about a particular issue. You can help them by providing the continuum experience. Highlight the vast holdings of your digital library. Give them the materials they need to understand their problems and to see the value in the solution you offer. Prove to them that you are in fact an expert. This moves your readers further along the buying cycle while simultaneously allowing you to show off more of the great content you’ve already created!
Tailor Content to Personas:
This initially sounds straightforward. The word “relevant” dominates content marketing discussions. But what defines content as relevant? What’s relevant to me is not necessarily relevant to my co-workers in finance, IT or sales. Nevertheless, it is entirely possible that all four of us could have a significant role in the buying process. So what content do we, as marketers, need to produce to satisfy this necessary personalization?
Albee recommends creating “content hubs” for each of your buyer personas. You start by interviewing happy customers, discovering which roles contributed to the purchase of your product, as well as their concerns throughout the buying cycle. Each of these players are classified as their own persona. From here persona-specific hubs can be created online, complete with videos, whitepages and ebooks which address the persona’s specific concerns based on their role and stage in the buying cycle.
These content hubs provide two main benefits to marketers:
- Marketers can use web analytics to track which hubs each prospect visits. This provides unique insight into how a prospect sees themselves in the buying cycle, regardless of their lead score. This better prepares Sales for their initial call. They’re able to customize their conversation with each individual around their specific role, interests and pain points.
- Access to these resources and customer interviews gives individual prospects a framework from which to internally pitch your product. Prospects can more acutely understand the concerns of other stakeholders. This can help them obtain the necessary buy-in from their colleagues.
The most important take away is that the story you tell your prospects only matters if it aligns with the story they want to be told. It is our job as marketers to understand that story, in all of its parts, and to tell it in a meaningful and relevant way. Marketers have a plethora of content and tools available, but it is only through strategic, targeted storytelling that we’ll efficiently advance them through the buying cycle.