Effective Content Campaigns Are Gold, But Most Aren't
Aaron AgiusSearch, Content and Social Marketer
You created buyer personas, developed a unique selling proposition, and started distributing relevant content -- but your content campaign is failing.
Even if you follow all the best practices to set up an effective campaign, it won’t always work out. According to Content Marketing Institute’s research into B2B businesses, the majority find their efforts to be ineffective. To the question how effective their organization was at content marketing, only 30 percent think they are. But in my experience, just because a campaign is failing doesn’t mean it can’t be salvaged.
Related: Here's How 'Boring' B2B Businesses Can Get Customers Emotionally Connected to Their Content Marketing
If you’re a part of the 70 percent with ineffective content campaigns, here are three questions you should ask to turn your campaign around.
1. How well do you track customer buying?
Research by Regalix found that understanding the customer buying journey across devices, and deploying content assets at key stages in that journey, were the most important priorities for marketers.
Pardot, 77 percent of buyers want different types of content at each stage of their product research. Delivering the perfect marketing message at the wrong point in the customer journey can render it ineffective.
Understand the phases of the buying cycle.
The customer buying cycle generally includes three stages. Each requires a specific type of content to move the prospect onto the next. In the first stage, awareness, the message must show buyers how you can help them.
During the second, consideration, content should highlight your unique features and should set yourself apart from competitors. Current customer success stories should be emphasized. Finally, the third stage is purchase, where your message must create opportunities that trigger action.
I recommend you break these down even further. Identify which content is the most relevant for each stage of the buying cycle, and segment your audience to deliver maximum impact.
Segment your prospects based on their behavior.
For example: Repeat visits to your site indicate they’re moving through the awareness stage. Form signups suggest they’re considering your product or service. And a customer's continuing to consume brand and product-specific content suggests they’re about ready to purchase.
About 49 percent of marketers today are learning to drive content to align with the buyer’s journey, but it should be 100 percent.
Understanding your customer's journey can help you identify drop offs in your sales funnel that are leading your campaign to fail -- and help you deliver the most relevant message to your audience at every touch point.
2. Are you integrating content into other marketing?
Thanks to a lot of supporting research, there’s no arguing the value of content marketing. It costs 62 percent less than traditional marketing and generates about three times as many leads.
But just because traditional marketing methods are often overrated doesn’t mean you should never use them to improve your content campaigns. This is a mistake I often see.
Search engine and social media remarketing.
Remarketing on search and social can be a valuable outbound marketing strategy to complement content marketing, especially considering that only 5-8 percent of website visitors will convert on your page.
You can ensure you reach people actually interested in your business by remarketing to people who’ve already viewed your content. And considering how difficult it is for businesses to get organic reach on social media today, paid advertisements or promoted content are more or less essential for content marketing.
Related: 3 Tips to Maximize the Synergy of Social Media and Content Marketing
Content marketing and SEO also complement each other immensely. Content marketing creates keyword and back-links opportunities. Good SEO means a good user experience, and effective SEO needs to be updated with fresh content. Social media engagement also fuels SEO and content marketing, while search engine use is a powerful way to deliver great content.
Seventy-two percent of buyers turn to search engines when making purchase decisions. Failing to follow SEO best practices with your content means you miss out on the biggest distribution channel out there.
3. Can you improve your analytics?
Research by Hubspot found that most effective inbound marketers check their metrics at least three times per week.
Sharing metrics can be parsed by asking, which content is being shared? How many people shared or engaged with your content? And finally, where are they sharing?
Lead generation metrics will identify which content sent people to fill out your lead form, while sales metrics can answer the question, which content sent people to buy?
Related: Use Metrics to Maximize Results From Your Sales Team
Track metrics on every type of content you create and distribute, as well as your landing pages, calls to action, and any other elements that affect user experience.
Here are some tools you can use to make it happen:
- Google Analytics (Page views, time on site, bounce rate, number of visits, and more)
- Hubspot, Marketo or similar (Downloads, form completions)
- MailChimp, Eloqua or similar (Email clicks, open rates)
- Feedburner or Feedblitz (Blog feed clicks and views)
- SharedCount (Social shares and likes)
- Salesforce or Full Circle Insights (ROI for marketing efforts)
Identify which are the worst and best performing metrics, and regularly make adjustments to your campaign based on this knowledge.