In January’s Digital Trends report from Econsultancy, the question “What’s the most exciting digital marketing opportunity in 2016?” was posed to over 7,000 marketing professionals. The top three answers were “optimizing the customer experience (CX),” “creating compelling content for digital experiences” and “data-driven marketing that focuses on the individual.” When asked to identify their strategic priorities for 2016, 53% of organizations chose data-driven marketing with their top vote.
The focus on data-driven marketing comes directly from the desire to improve customer experience at every touch point using analytics to measure success. Content marketing can play a huge role in creating a positive customer experience. These three components of digital marketing only work when strategically aligned; content should be developed and distributed to enhance the customer experience and data analysis should be used to determine the effectiveness of those initiatives and define opportunities to improve the overall performance.
The idea of developing content that will enhance CX across multiple digital channels is overwhelming for many of the companies our agency works with. It seems like a daunting task to develop content that your current and potential customers are looking for when researching purchase decisions.
I’ve found the best way to incorporate a content marketing strategy is to just get started. An ancient Chinese philosopher once said, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Maybe I heard Bob Saget say that on a very special episode of Full House. Either way, it’s a perfect metaphor for getting started with content marketing. Don’t let the magnitude of the task stop you from getting started.
I’ll give you an example from a recent experience I had with one of my agency’s B2B clients. We were using search engine marketing to drive visitors to their website with the hope that those visitors would request a product demo and provide their contact information. We had a relatively low conversion rate, some months it was below one percent.
We weren’t experiencing success because we used a strategy that focused on the marketing team’s objectives rather than the customers’ needs. We decided to create a CX focused landing page in order to drive leads for our client. By repurposing a piece of content that had already been created, we were able to develop a white paper with information on how our target audience could increase their company’s revenue and customer satisfaction. Spoiler alert – the answer to both were our client’s product. Which is completely true. We simply presented the same information in a very different manner, one that provided value to the potential customer instead of just a sales pitch.
The result was an increase in conversion rate over five times the previous average. And that was just one audience segment. With the data that was collected we now have the evidence we need to develop additional landing pages and content for other audience segments. This fairly simple initiative even provided us a blue print for targeting completely new markets which can lead to huge growth for my client’s business.
Great marketing content comes in many forms. For B2B companies it’s often white papers, case studies, ebooks, and webinars. B2C companies are producing helpful “how-to” videos, feature comparison guides, mobile apps, and customer reviews. A great place for all companies to start is with a blog on their website that has compelling information around topics potential customers are searching for on the web.
You’ve probably noticed on Google search results how often the first page is full of links with headlines like “5 Tips for Writing Compelling Ad Copy” or “The 10 Best Social Media Campaigns of 2015.” These are often blog entries on company websites. Companies with a strong content marketing strategy are using these blogs to attract visitors and then capture leads by providing downloadable content available for free with the completion of an online form. It’s a value for value exchange that can be extremely effective when executed correctly.
The problem for marketers who are slow to shift their strategy to a focus on CX, content, and data analysis is that they risk falling behind. The Digital Trends report found that optimizing the customer experience is one of the most exciting opportunities when looking forward to the next five years. Customers in both the B2B and B2C spaces like to do business with companies that provide value, information, and thought leadership. Advertising has traditionally been viewed by consumers as intrusive and with the proliferation of DVRs and ad-blocking software, customers are increasingly choosing to “opt-out” of exposure to advertising messages. Smart marketers are responding by developing content that focuses on enhancing the customers’ experience and effectively measuring the results in order to continuously learn from and improve on their digital marketing campaigns.