We’ve all heard the phrase about too much information – “It’s like trying to take a drink out of a fire hose”. The more people get on the Content Marketing band wagon, the more difficult it is to find quality content for all the not-so-great stuff that gets chucked out there. And that’s where your opportunity lies if you follow the advice in this blog!
Know Who You’re Talking To
How much time do you spend with people who don’t ‘get you’? Probably not much. Want to capture more of the available time your potential readers might have for your content? Start by actually speaking to them about stuff you know they care about! Buyer personas are the answer.
A buyer persona is a stand-in for a group of customers with similar needs, interests, habits and so on. Successful content marketers collect tons of information about their customer market segments. They know their customer profiles so well that some people actually give each buyer persona a name. “Sociable Sam”, “Gearhead Gary” and so on. The better you know your customer’s life-style, habits, needs, attitudes and behaviors, the better chance you stand of selling them – because you know to address their actual needs with solutions that fit like a glove. Having a buyer personas also makes it much easier to write interesting, engaging content. When you start writing to real customer groups about the lives they lead, you’re saying “I’m a natural part of your life. I’m already in your world. We’re simpatico, Amigo!” Your readers will feel like you actually ‘get them’!
When you start a conversation with someone you know, you’re basing it on things you know the other person is interested in. The better you know the person, the better it goes! So, if you were seated across a table from a potential client and you saw their attention begin to wander -maybe your customer just got up and wandered away in the middle of the conversation – you’d know you’d miscalculated. Somehow you’d missed all the signposts along the way. Maybe your listener’s eyes started wandering, or she started checking her watch, whatever. These are all opportunities for you to adjust (pull the nose up, Charlie, we’re about to drill in!)
In small business content marketing, your customers will just delete your newsletters, stop following your tweets or unfriend you on Facebook. How do you do this on the internet where you don’t get the opportunity to stare into their catatonic, glazed over eyes just before they lose consciousness because – dude – you’re freaking boring them! The fancy marketing-term is A/B testing. On the internet, you (or at least your content) gets to be in many places at one time. So why not send out several versions of the same e-mail campaign and test which one performed the best!
A/B-testing, using different headlines, images, offers etc. allows you to identify which worked better. Now that you’ve learned what’s hot and what’s not, lather, rinse and repeat! Feeling more ambitious, you can also try multi-variate testing which allows you to test different combinations of communication elements.
Measure and Manage For Better Results
Just like you’d look for key behaviors in a face-to-face conversation to confirm that you’re on the right track, there are important analytics that serve as great indicators. Let’s talk e-newsletters and three indicators that tell you if you’re on the right path.
Open Rate. Say you e-mailed your newsletter to 1,500 customers who have all opted-in (no spammers!). Of those, 475 people opened the email. Your open rate is 31.6%.
Bounce Rate. As it turns out, of the 1,500 e-mail addresses in your database, 254 of them are somehow non-deliverable. Your bounce rate is 16.9%.
Click Thru Rate. Your newsletter was structured so that every major piece of content (blogs, offers, videos etc.) required a click to view all the related information and every click can be measured (nice going, wonder-kid!) It turns out that your newsletter attained a click rate of 32.6%. Likewise, there will be click-thru data for each content opportunity on your newsletter. At the aggregate level, this tells you what people thought was overall more interesting on your latest effort.
Content Marketing is a long-term commitment, not a short-lived campaign. So your analysis really needs to be done on a trending line basis. Imagine you’ve been running your newsletter for several months already.
This data tells a great story. Over the last five months, your open rate has improved. This might mean that you’ve been rewarding your readers for their loyalty by steadily improving the relevance (to them) of your content. You’re becoming a go-to source for information your customers find useful and you’re building a reputation as a business that understand your customers and has the knowledge you need to satisfy their wants and needs. Bravo!
You’ve also been cleaning up your list which is why your bounce rate has been declining! That’s just plain good management. Your customer database is literally golden, especially if you have an e-commerce business. It’s worth the effort to scrub it periodically.
So there you have it. Three important ways to improve your results from Content Marketing, buyer personas, A/B and multi-variate testing and regular trending review of your performance analytics.
Are you considering various approaches to starting a Content Marketing program of your own? Joe Hines offers a variety of services in this category. You can find out more by selecting Content Marketing and providing your e-mail address on the form at the right.