Studies tell us that 91% of B2B marketers use content marketing to reach customers and that 86% of B2C marketers think content marketing is a critical part of their digital marketing strategy. Content marketing works because it takes an entirely different approach than traditional marketing. Instead of pitching products and services, content marketing aims to provide genuinely relevant content to prospects and customers to help them solve their real business challenges. Creating and offering valuable, consistent, and high-quality content to a clearly defined audience can help a business stand apart from competitors and inspire customers to take profitable actions. Think about it:
- What if your customers actually looked forward to receiving your marketing materials?
- What if they email or share what they read with friends and colleagues?
- What if they spend 10 or 15 minutes interacting with your content?
These outcomes are possible with content marketing. Organizations that can dial in their content marketing strategies can experience increased sales and customers that are more educated and spend more. But, how do you move forward? How can you find time to build a content marketing strategy that works, when you’re already slammed? Building the foundation of a successful content marketing strategy starts with understanding your goals, understanding your audience, and establishing KPIs. Let’s take a look closer look.
Understand your goals
When setting your content marketing goals, outline what your audience will gain from your program and what business results you expect. Highlight your target audience (i.e. C-level, network administrators, etc.), what the content you plan to provide covers (i.e., insights about cloud, unified communications, and mobility, etc.), and how it will help them reach their business goals (i.e. improve business agility, reduce costs on business communication, etc.). For Carve Digital our goals for a content marketing strategy might look like this – “Our goal is to help business technology executives in the cloud, IT, and telecom space increase their marketing ROI, close more deals, and make data-driven decisions by offering valuable insight into digital marketing best practices.”
In this step, also uncover what business goals your organizations hopes to achieve, such as: improving revenue, increasing sales, become a thought leader, increasing engagement and cross-sell opportunities, or expanding your social media presence.
Know Your Audience
The next step is to analyze demographic data you have about your customers or ideal customers, so you know precisely who your audience is. The idea is if you know your audience inside and out, you can create meaningful and personalized content that will resonate. You can get to know your audience by collecting demographic data about site visitors, email subscribers, customers, and social media followers. If possible also look at the feedback you’ve received from your audience to understand better, what topics they’re most interested in, how your current content is meeting those needs, and content preferences (i.e., emails, blogs, videos, webcasts, etc.). Understanding your audience’s most significant challenges and behavioral motivators can, again, help you develop sharper content that your audience will care about.
Building KPIs are a critical step in your journey to building your content marketing plan. These are milestones that can lead you to achieve your overall program goals. It’s important to attach specific numbers to KPIs whenever possible. For instance, if you’re a technology company that is 100% channel focused and wants to build out your partner program, you might have a KPI of adding five partners to your program each quarter. Other KPI examples include:
- Increasing audience engagement by 10% by tracking ‘sharing’ of content
- Increasing your email subscriber list by 25%
- Getting 10 new people each month to attend your webinars
- Get 500 views on your new explainer video in the first month
According to the content marketing institute, content marketing cultivates 3X more leads than other forms of outbound marketing. Even better? It costs around 62% less to create. (Source: Content Marketing Institute). The key is to center your content marketing strategy around content that’s customer focused, not company focused. Once you follow these foundational steps you can build a content calendar and start creating, distributing and tracking meaningful content. If you have questions about how a content marketing plan can help your business, talk to Carve Digital. We’ve helped hundreds of tech companies in the B2B space build and execute content marketing strategies that increase revenue and drive customer engagement to new and exciting levels!