The primary goal of your content marketing strategy is lead generation. However, your success depends on your ability to understand the factors that enable your content to attract qualified prospects.
The question on everyone’s lips is how to leverage great content for lead generation, incorporating buyer problems and pain points into the process.
To improve customer focus, marketing leaders are aligning their strategy to customers. And with Gartner showing that marketing budgets are continuing to rise for the third consecutive year in their 2016-2017 CMO Spend Survey, marketers are investing in tools and capabilities that drive digital commerce results.
My take on content marketing is this:
“Customer focus, personalization, relevancy, and measurement via analytics and attribution, are the key areas you should be concentrating on with your content marketing strategy.”
Know Your Best Customers
A gap in communication between marketing and sales is a major hurdle to content marketing success in typical organisations. Salespeople rely on marketers to build strong prospect profiles that enable reps to understand the contacts they call on.
However, marketers need reps to do their part by inputting accurate details and notes throughout the buying process. And indeed, after the deal has been completed.
But before you can build content that meets the interests of a B2B buyer at a particular journey stage, you need a clear picture of the prospect’s traits, interests, motives, and behaviours. Therefore, when creating personas, include descriptions of your buyer’s interests as he progresses through the buyer journey.
Because great content matches up with what a prospect is looking for at a particular stage in the funnel.
Using these insights will help you reach similar prospects, however, it doesn’t finish there. You need to understand the lifetime value of your clients to get a complete picture of who are your best customers.
Learn Buyer Pain Points
Before you can produce content that offers useful information to a target, you need to understand his problems and deep pain points. Problems are the critical business issues that particular prospects of a given solution normally face.
For instance, a seller of a new software program may have prospects who struggle with a current program that is difficult to use, lacks important features, or is inefficient.
And pain points get beneath the surface and allow you to know more about a person’s causes of stress, frustration, tension, or passion. It takes in-depth research and well-documented experiences with customers to gain a solid awareness of your prospect’s pain points.
However, the more fully and deeply you know what troubles a B2B buyer looking to resolve a problem, the greater your ability to produce content to match.
Nonetheless, your content should be focussed on how you can assist the buyer at this stage of their journey.
Know Industry Trends and Buying Processes
We’ve all heard the statistic from SiriusDecisions that B2B buyers conduct about 70 percent of their purchasing process online before talking with a company representative. And this process usually begins with a Google search. Which then continues with a quest for useful, relevant content that offers insights on problem-resolution.
Even beyond this data, it is important to understand journey activities taken by prospects in specific industries that you serve.
Key questions include:
- Where do typical buyers in your industry start their search?
- What triggers their desire for a solution?
- What types of providers do buyers often turn to for purchases?
Because having insights on these questions helps you align your content with their needs.
Craft High-Quality Content
Armed with all of the background information described, you are ready to produce high-quality content that gets the job done. Each content piece should address a targeted buyer persona with a relevant message that fits with each stage in the customer journey, problems faced, and pain points.
Early on, your content should establish your business and reps as thought leaders in the industry.
This approach helps you build your brand as an expert to buyers and also to help build trust with your prospect. As you target prospects further along in the process, your content needs increased depth, more proof points, and emphasis on your specific solutions.
Apply the Right Content Types
You already know that blog posts, whitepapers, case studies, eBooks, infographics, and videos are among standard content marketing formats. However, knowing which of these tools to create for each buyer and journey stage is vital to success as well.
Though all of these could potentially match with buyers in awareness, consideration, decision, or retention stages, blog posts tend to fit well for customers at the awareness stage.
Whitepapers, case studies, and eBooks offer more depth, which fits well with prospects as they move to consideration and decision stages. Infographics and videos are among popular visual features that integrate into other formats or function as a standalone tool.
Infographics and videos are among popular visual features that integrate into other formats or function as a standalone tool.
Therefore what is key for your content is to ensure it is targeted accordingly to the right person.
Cut out the sales pitch and refrain from using marketing jargon. Simply use language that is relevant to your buyer. So, for example, if you are targeting the CFO, use terms such as “return-on-investment”, “lifetime customer value”, “increase revenue”, etc.
Your content marketing strategy success impacts your lead generation intake in a significant way. However, the process of designing a content plan that optimises results can be quite complicated. It’s all about focusing on your customer.
Get to know your prospects, their deep-level pain points, and their buying processes. And create quality content in diverse formats that targeted prospects find useful, relevant, and effective at resolving a critical business issue.
Finally, remember your end goal – your content marketing strategy should be all about acquiring and retaining the most profitable customers for your organisation.