- Attract organic traffic to a business’ website
- Educate visitors through relevant information pertaining to their buying needs
- Convert visitors into qualified leads through relevant CTAs and offers
- Nurture generated leads to make them sales-ready with targeted and optimized content
- Delight new customers through engaging, relevant content to convert them into lifelong customers and promoters of your business
So, what this all boils down to is this: a content marketing strategy is about creating dynamic smart content that takes “context” into account. It’s about understanding where in the buyers’ cycle your visitor currently is at, and serving up the right content that will serve to push them further down the sales funnel. It’s also about tracking and analyzing the non-linear behavioral patterns of buyers and using that data to optimize your content and achieve the desired business objectives of lead conversions and increased ROI.
So, how does one create a content strategy that successfully drives a business’ growth? By creating it around the elements of the dynamic smart content framework.
Dynamic Smart Content Framework
1. PlanThis element involves analyzing and parsing the data into identifiable patterns to understand what type of content drove specific actions during the campaign, and using that knowledge to plan and optimize your future content strategy. This parsing - also called segmentation - divides your data based on actions or metrics that define the effectiveness of the campaign such as consumption, audience reach, lead generation and conversions. By cross-referencing specific actions against the content that drove them, marketers can formulate a clear plan of action for the content distribution cycle.
2. Buyer personaSmart content is contingent upon serving the right people with the right content at the right time. This means you need to understand:
- who your audience is,
- where they hang out at any given moment during the buyers’ cycle and
- what influences them into taking specific actions that convert them from visitors into long-term customers.
3. Buyer’s journeyBefore a visitor becomes a customer, they will need to go through a series of action-driven stages, called the sales funnel. As a marketer, it is important to know how your audience behaves: how they think, what answers they seek and what steps they take to get those answers. In short, you need to understand the “buyer’s journey”, and then use that understanding to map out a content strategy that matches every step in that journey. The buyer’s journey consists of three main stages:
- Awareness: where the customer is looking for answers, opinions and solutions for their requirements
- Evaluation : where the customer is evaluating various services and products to decide which one fits their requirements best
- Purchase: where they have decided on a particular service and are on the verge of making a purchase.
4. Relevant contentRelevant content is the type of content that matches the current stage where the buyer is at in their journey. Presenting a buyer with content that’s irrelevant to their current position in their journey can lead to a loss of potential customers. For instance: A buyer in the awareness stage is looking for a solution to a problem, and will not respond favorably to an e-mail newsletter sign-up or e-book offer which offers them more information about a particular service or product. Instead, they’re looking for content that will help them decide what general solution they Once they have understood what kind of solution they need, they move into the evaluation stage where you can start positioning your service as one that provides that solution. At this point, therefore, they will be open to receiving an e-mail newsletter or e-book offer about your service.
5. Relevant ChannelsAn effective content strategy not only involves producing relevant content, it also involves distributing the content effectively so that it reaches your target audience. It might seem like promoting and distributing content on every platform there is, such as social media channels or paid channels, will eventually make it reach your intended audience. But, this hit-or-miss strategy is actually ineffective and a waste of investment and resources. Rather, use the intelligence gathered from dynamic campaign data to understand where your buyer personas hang out, and segment your audience into targeted groups to distribute your content more effectively.
6. ProcessIn order to ensure that you’re serving the right type of content which is relevant to the buyer’s stage in their journey, a content marketing campaign should begin with a content-mapping strategy. This involves deciding which content is appropriate for a buyer at any given stage in the buyer’s journey. In other words, it is mapping the relevant content to each buyer stage. To formulate a content-mapping strategy, marketers need to work backwards to determine various logical pathways that a hypothetical lead took to move down the sales funnel. Now for each of those pathways, marketers can track what types of content moved those customers along towards the sale. From there, it’s now a matter of grouping the content types according to the stage on the funnel where they occurred.
This involves producing and promoting content assets that can nurture prospective leads through effective and successful stage-to-stage conversions down the funnel. Smart content drives actions that advances a customer from the awareness to the evaluation, and finally to the purchase stage in a non-intrusive, organic manner. Whether it’s landing pages and well-placed CTAs which drive visitor-to-lead conversions or demo videos and trial offers that successfully influence purchase decisions, content is carefully mapped to a business’s goals.