By Anne Murphy, Managing Editor, Kapost
2013 is an exciting time to be a marketer.
This year, even more organizations are investing in marketing automation software to better target their campaigns, analyze the effectiveness of their efforts, and calculate ROI with more accuracy than ever before. Marketers can now track every step of the buyer's journey, take that data and turn it into strategies to successfully drive results including lead and revenue generation.
The point we're getting at? Marketing automation has empowered marketers to impact purchase decisions — and to prove it. But to really take advantage of the possibilities. You — the modern marketer — need to do more than blast your database with product offers, free trials, and company updates. You need to build trust and authority with your target customers by sharing valuable information they actually want to consume. You need to address the specific issues and pain points, which may be different based on their role in their organization or stage of the buyer's journey.
You need to create and share relevant, targeted content.
According to a study conducted by MarketingSherpa, 82% of prospects say content targeted to their specific industry is more valuable to them. And value is exactly what you need to offer potential customers to move them down the purchase funnel.
As many of these marketers point out, the content that successfully moves leads down the funnel is targeted for specific buyer personas at specific stages of the buyer's journey. Why is this such a consistent — and important — theme? Potential customers want different kinds of information depending on who they are, and how close they are to considering your company's product or solution.
But the question is: how? How do marketers create the kind of content necessary to be effective at lead nurturing and marketing automation?
Here are 4 steps to creating targeted, buyer-centric content:
1. Define Buyer Personas
In order to really engage your buyers, you need to know who they are. Flesh out your target personas with gender, professional title, behavior, opinions and personality. Ask yourself what keeps her up at night, and what are his main priorities at work as well as at home? What kind of content does she consume on a daily basis, and why? If it helps, you can even come up with a name for each persona— whatever you need to do to truly get to know your buyer.
2. Identify the Stages of the Buyer Journey
The buyer's journey can differ based on industry and product, but most are likely to include awareness, research, consideration, decision, and advocacy. At each of these stages, your buyer wants and needs different information. For example, say a potential buyer visits your company's pricing page then signs up for a free trial of your product. His digital body language suggests that he's more interested in your product than someone who downloaded an E-book on industry trends. Understanding the informational needs of your buyers and how they change at each of these stages will help you deliver valuable content at the right time. Not to mention, defining the logical pathways to purchase will give you a look into which pieces of content you might still need to create.
3. Outline your company’s area of expertise
Ask yourself, “What are the topics my company has unique point of view on and expertise in?” In your brainstorm, consider the business problem your product or service helps to solve, and the topics in which you are the experts. Whatever you come up with, make sure you can write an endless amount of content on those topics.
4. Create Content in the “Sweet Spot”
Your organization's content "sweet spot" is the intersection of a specific buyer persona, a stage in that buyer’s journey, and your company's expertise. Make sure all content is mapped to a specific stage in the buyer journey. Use the knowledge gained from creating personas to understand the kind of information buyers want — and need — as they move through the funnel. If you gain their trust and respect by creating content around their challenges and desires, which also presents you as a knowledgeable resource and thought leader, they’ll be more willing to learn about your company’s solution.
Now that you know how to create targeted content, it's time to get cracking. If you still need help, download the E-book, Content: The Force that Moves the Buyer Down the Funnel. There are step-by-step worksheets that will support your team in identifying your content sweet spot.
Once you complete these steps, you'll be able to use your new marketing powers for good —delivering the right information to the right buyer at the right time. Marketing automation and targeted content make a fantastic team, and together, they'll help you build trust with your buyers and move them through the funnel more quickly. Quite the duo!
Anne Murphy is Managing Editor at Kapost, a content marketing platform. She oversees the production, distribution and analysis of content that empowers modern marketers to implement content marketing strategies in their organizations. Follow her on Twitter @amurphias and @kapost.