December 07, 2022 Jade Shojaee
Today, there is more competition than ever to win the time and attention of our audiences, and there is no shortage of content out there – promotional emails, social media, blogs, Google ads and webinars – all competing for mindshare.
To stand out, marketers must ensure they deliver the right content on the right channels to the right buyers at the right time, which can get tricky. It’s a lot.
The good news is that today’s buyers WANT your content. In fact, according to Netline’s “2022 State of Content Consumption and Demand Report,” there has been a 90% increase in content consumption over the past year and audiences seem to be “consuming it faster than ever.”
But tight budgets, lean teams and economic headwinds mean marketers cannot continue creating content for content’s sake. So how do you identify the content types, formats and delivery mechanisms that will resonate most with your target audiences?
Read on to learn how marketers like you are generating, capturing and activating their data to create impactful content experiences that drive measurable results.
Evolving buyer personas
The first step in building a content strategy is knowing your audience. Without a clear persona, you run the risk of creating irrelevant content that misses the mark, potentially costing you the prospect you’re trying to engage.
Here’s what a buyer persona should entail:
- Company firmographics: If you’re selling a product or service to a company, you’ll want to understand more about that organization’s industry, revenue and size.
- Employee demographics: This type of data will help you better understand the people who comprise your organization’s workforce.
- Account technologies: Being aware of which tools and technologies your prospective customers already work with will help you find opportunities to differentiate and prove the value of your product or solution.
- Buyer roles and responsibilities: You need to understand who you are marketing to at the most fundamental level – their roles, their responsibilities, who they report to and what sort of influence they have on potential purchases.
But basic persona work only gets us so far. It is only through engagement and the data it delivers can we truly understand our prospects.
Make your data work for you
Drawing the right audience insights will help you guide your overall content strategy. However, rich data collection is only as good as your ability to implement it.
To achieve this, most marketers rely on Marketing Automation Platforms and Customer Relationship Management Systems to structure, organize and centralize data from different channels for a holistic view of their buyers and trigger sales action.
However, according to Act-On’s Marketing Automation Trends 2022, half of the marketers describe their data as “unstructured” and do not feel they are getting the full value from their MAPs.
This is where knowing how to leverage your data becomes mission-critical. To make sure you are using the insights you collect to engage your audiences better, keep the following in mind:
- Start with segmentation. Marketing should feel personal. But personalizing every promotional email you send to the thousands of contacts in your MAP is obviously impossible. A well-segmented database will allow you to suppress certain recipients from receiving certain emails, ensuring that every contact only receives what is relevant to them.
- Interest vs. intent. Knowing where your prospects came from will help you segment properly. For example, a prospect who just watched a demo is probably much closer to purchase than someone who downloaded an infographic. Use that information to identify what interests your prospects and where they are in their journey so you can segment accordingly and more effectively target your messaging.
- Ask them what they want. This sounds too simple but you can quite literally ask your audiences what they want. Webinars are a great way to do this. One webinar can generate countless actionable insights through polls, surveys, Q&A, additional content offers and even invitations to upcoming webinars or events. Not only have you just surrounded your attendees with assets and opportunities to engage with the experience, you’ve made it possible to map every prospect to every interaction.
- Integrate your tech stack. Consider integrating your MAP, CRM and other business intelligence tools to automate real-time reports that will help you identify your top-performing content and uncover deep personalization opportunities with the most engaged audiences.
Create better content with better data
Creating better content starts with knowing what you have published and what is available. Yes, we know auditing your content can feel overwhelming. Our advice? Invest in a project management tool to help map and organize the content you have and are going to produce.
Monday.com is a great tool (we use it) that allows you to tag your entire content repository by type, topic, target audience and more. This is also a good time to look at your historical data to identify what’s working and what isn’t.
For example, according to Netline Research Report: 2022 State of B2B Content Consumption and Demand Report for Marketers:
- E-books were requested 484% more than white papers in 2022, underscoring the growing interest in more casual content.
- Resources like tip sheets, e-books, blogs and newsletters tend to indicate a buyer is still in the awareness and research phase of their journey.
- White papers, interactive tools, research reports and webinars are more closely associated with immediate buying actions.
- Webinar registrants are 29% more likely to purchase within six months.
This is the type of information that will ensure your content is reaching and engaging the right audiences and making a direct impact on your bottom line.
Bring your content to life
According to Forresters Three Seismic Shifts In Buying Behavior From Forrester’s 2021 B2B Buying Study, it takes at least 27 interactions and four buying committee members to reach a purchase decision and all of those interactions are taking place across up to 10 channels and include at least 13 pieces of unique content. That makes delivering the right content at the right time pretty complicated.
To address this, B2B marketers can lean into interactive, digital experiences like webinars and virtual/hybrid events. These digital experiences open the door for two-way conversations by surrounding audiences with your content and giving them opportunities to engage with you through polls, surveys, Q&A, content offers and integrated calls to action.
Not only are audiences more likely to engage with interactive experiences than static content offers, but this also makes it easier for you to build as many touch points into one experience as possible. And it’s through these touch points that we’re able to capture the insights we need to serve up the next touch, accelerate the buyer’s journey and ultimately, convert prospects into customers.