How to get enhance your content marketing for higher engagement rates
As the tools and channels that make up the digital advertising ecosystem continue to evolve and grow more diverse, it seems many brand marketers and agencies are feeling left behind. A recent study by The Boston Consulting Group found that advertisers gave their own digital capabilities a 57 out of 100 on average. For context, that average score is exactly the same as in 2015.
So what’s going on?
Some advertisers who participated in the study blamed inadequate marketing technology platforms for their lack of results. Some pointed to the prioritization of other programs within their organizations as an obstacle. But there was one area where the majority of marketers felt especially lacking: their abilities to map consumer journeys and tailor content to match the various touchpoints along those journeys.
That’s a problem.
Above all else, the success of your digital strategy depends on your ability to understand your customer. That understanding is what allows you to deliver the right content at the right time through the right channel.
Get to Know Your Customers
Customer journey mapping is a complex process that technology can actually make more difficult in some ways. Many advertisers have no choice but to try to derive insights from data that’s scattered across a number of reporting platforms, analytics tools, and departments, some of which might even lie outside their own organizations. If this sounds like you, the first thing you should do is consolidate that data. Put it all in one place before even attempting to analyze it.
Oftentimes, consolidation means data must be shared across departments and partner firms, which leads to another important point: Whenever possible, partner with third-party firms to collect additional data on your customers. Analyzing data on customer interactions with your own digital properties is a good start, but it’s not enough to give you a complete understanding of their online behavior, as the vast majority of their online activities occur elsewhere.
Likewise, don’t place too much emphasis on vanity metrics such as page visits and views. Instead, pay attention to customer actions. How do they navigate your website? How many product pages did they view before leaving?
Traffic counts might make you feel good, but they won’t tell you much about what makes your customer feel good. When you’re trying to create an accurate customer journey map, your customers — their intents, motivations, and pain points — are all that matter.
Put Your Knowledge to Work
A thorough, data-driven journey map is only half of a sound digital marketing strategy. To really drive results, take advantage of what you know about your customers to create and deliver content that compels them to action. Here are four steps you can take to make that process easier:
1. Let customers dictate content.
When you know a customer’s interests — whether they include a product on another site, a certain artist on Spotify, or a specific show on Netflix — you can incorporate into your own content the language, imagery, and feelings that draw them to those interests.
Modern marketing technology allows advertisers to deliver personalized, engaging content that can create stronger bonds between customers and brands. By providing customers with content that resonates with them, you’ll often be rewarded with loyalty and further engagement.
2. Segment audiences by touchpoints.
Segmentation allows you to execute any marketing strategy more efficiently. By segmenting customers on the basis of where they are in the customer journey, you can determine what type of content is most likely to keep them moving forward.
For example, if you’re a marketer at a personal finance company, you wouldn’t want to target a customer with messaging about home mortgage refinancing opportunities if he or she has viewed only your checking account sign-up page. That might come later, but it’s not relevant now. When you deliver the wrong messaging, you not only waste resources, but you also run the risk of alienating potential customers.
3. Create a lead scoring method.
Make sure each interaction along the customer journey is accounted for with some type of scoring system. For example, you might attribute one point for a product page view, one point for a site search, three points for a transaction, and five points for multiple transactions, perhaps within the past 30 days.
Scoring leads allows you to segment them even further, which gives you a better idea of the content to serve them. Your goal should be to move as many people as possible into the highest-scored segment through more frequent emails, reaching out via social media, or targeting them with paid search.
4. Allocate resources on the basis of impact.
As you continue to learn about your customers’ behavior from their interactions with your content, incorporate those insights into your investment decisions. Your programmatic buys and other online efforts should get more effective the longer your campaign is in flight. Similarly, you should repurpose high-performing content and aim to maximize ROI from each piece of content you produce.
A sound digital advertising strategy is always customer-centric and data-driven. Whenever possible, avoid making decisions on the basis of assumptions. Unfortunately, marketers have very little room for error when it comes to reaching and engaging the modern consumer. Targeting potential customers with irrelevant or uninspiring content can make reaching those customers even harder in the future.
Instead, study customer behavior and take the time to map out a detailed customer journey and to produce the content that will move customers from one touchpoint to the next. And when you do make mistakes, make sure you learn from them.