Is Your Content Marketing Designed for the New Customer Journey?

<p

style=”text-align: center;”><img

class=”aligncenter size-full wp-image-21742″ src=”http://www.toprankblog.com/wp-content/uploads/Content-Modern-Customer.jpg&#8221; alt=”” width=”600″ height=”350″ srcset=”http://www.toprankblog.com/wp-content/uploads/Content-Modern-Customer.jpg 600w, http://www.toprankblog.com/wp-content/uploads/Content-Modern-Customer-300×175.jpg 300w” sizes=”(max-width: 600px) 100vw, 600px” />

<span

style=”font-weight: 400;”>Thanks to the rise of the internet, the explosion of social media and the development of mobile technologies to feed these two innovations, the customer buying journey has become much more self-directed. <a

href=”http://blogs.forrester.com/lori_wizdo/15-05-25-myth_busting_101_insights_intothe_b2b_buyer_journey&#8221; target=”_blank”><span

style=”font-weight: 400;”>According to a Forrester<span

style=”font-weight: 400;”>, 74% of business buyers say they conduct more than half of their research online <span

style=”font-weight: 400;”>before<span

style=”font-weight: 400;”> making an offline purchase.

<span

style=”font-weight: 400;”>As a result, <a

href=”http://www.toprankblog.com/2016/03/what-is-content-marketing/”><span

style=”font-weight: 400;”>content marketing<span

style=”font-weight: 400;”> has emerged as an incredibly effective way to arm consumers with the information they seek and need, increase brand awareness, enhance engagement, and ultimately inspire action and conversions.

<span

style=”font-weight: 400;”>But content marketing isn’t about creating and sharing as much content as possible. It’s about creating <span

style=”font-weight: 400;”>quality<span

style=”font-weight: 400;”> content that allows you to <a

href=”http://www.toprankblog.com/2013/12/be-the-best-answer/”><span

style=”font-weight: 400;”>be the best answer<span

style=”font-weight: 400;”>, whenever and wherever your audience is searching. And understanding today’s customer journey will be paramount to your content marketing success. Below is a great illustration from Forrester on the many intricacies that journey can entail. As you can see, it’s not an easy, neat sales funnel these days.

<img

class=”alignnone wp-image-21740″ src=”http://www.toprankblog.com/wp-content/uploads/Customer-Journey-Map-300×203.png&#8221; alt=”B2B Customer Buyer’s Journey – Forrester” width=”600″ height=”407″ srcset=”http://www.toprankblog.com/wp-content/uploads/Customer-Journey-Map-300×203.png 300w, http://www.toprankblog.com/wp-content/uploads/Customer-Journey-Map.png 662w” sizes=”(max-width: 600px) 100vw, 600px” />

<span

style=”font-weight: 400;”>Photo Credit: <a

href=”http://blogs.forrester.com/lori_wizdo/15-05-25-myth_busting_101_insights_intothe_b2b_buyer_journey&#8221; target=”_blank”><span

style=”font-weight: 400;”>Forrester

<span

style=”font-weight: 400;”>The bottom line? Your content marketing efforts have to be optimized in a way that allows you to reach your customers and prospects at multiple touch points during their journey.

<span

style=”font-weight: 400;”>To do that, as TopRank Marketing CEO Lee Odden said, you have to: “Stop creating content. And start making answers that are relevant to your buyers at each stage of their journey.”

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Stop creating content. And start making answers. – @leeodden #contentmarketing<br

/><a

href=’https://twitter.com/intent/tweet?text=Stop%20creating%20content.%20And%20start%20making%20answers.%20-%20%40leeodden%20%23contentmarketing&via=toprank&related=toprank&url=http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=21739&#8242; target=’_blank’ class=’bctt-ctt-btn’>Click To Tweet<br

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<span

style=”font-weight: 400;”>Below we offer you a few tips and considerations to help you do just that.

<span

style=”font-weight: 400;”>#1 – Know your audience inside and out.

<span

style=”font-weight: 400;”>In order to serve your customers and prospects with the best content at the right time, you need to understand their motivations and pain points, as well as the questions they’re asking and where they’re looking for answers.

<span

style=”font-weight: 400;”>Keyword research and your own site’s analytics are good places to start. When looking at your analytics, pay special attention to your top and worst performing pages, and which sources and devices are driving the most traffic. This will help you understand the kind of content that is or isn’t resonating with your audience, as well as how they like to find content. In addition, get in touch with your sales team. Sales reps are interfacing with prospects and customers on a daily basis, making them amazing resources for gathering insights.

<span

style=”font-weight: 400;”>The bottom line? You can’t provide answers if you don’t know the questions your audience is asking-and where they’re asking them. So, do your homework.

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You can’t provide answers if you don’t know the questions your audience is asking. – @CaitlinMBurgess<br

/><a

href=’https://twitter.com/intent/tweet?text=You%20can%E2%80%99t%20provide%20answers%20if%20you%20don%E2%80%99t%20know%20the%20questions%20your%20audience%20is%20asking.%20-%20%40CaitlinMBurgess&via=toprank&related=toprank&url=http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=21739&#8242; target=’_blank’ class=’bctt-ctt-btn’>Click To Tweet<br

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<span

style=”font-weight: 400;”>#2 – Take an integrated approach.

<span

style=”font-weight: 400;”>The customer journey is far from linear, so it’s important that your content marketing strategy integrates a variety of different tactics and channels into the mix for maximum impact.

<span

style=”font-weight: 400;”>How do you do this? Here are a few steps you should take:

    <li

    style=”font-weight: 400;”><span

    style=”font-weight: 400;”>Based on the audience research you’ve done, determine which types of content will be the most effective and engaging at multiple stages of the funnel, and how that content can be optimized to follow <a

    href=”http://www.toprankblog.com/2016/01/optimize-web-content/”><span

    style=”font-weight: 400;”>SEO best practices<span

    style=”font-weight: 400;”> and still provide an excellent user experience.

    <li

    style=”font-weight: 400;”><span

    style=”font-weight: 400;”>Determine how social media channels can be leveraged for sharing content and engaging your audience in conversation or boosting brand awareness.

    <li

    style=”font-weight: 400;”><span

    style=”font-weight: 400;”>Research and identify influencers who could add credibility and insight to your content, and where they make the most sense to use.

    <li

    style=”font-weight: 400;”><span

    style=”font-weight: 400;”>Consider the different paid digital advertising options that are available and decide which could be good fits for your audience and content.

<span

style=”font-weight: 400;”>For more insights on this piece, check out the post <a

href=”http://www.toprankblog.com/2016/01/content-marketing-royalty/”&gt;<span

style=”font-weight: 400;”>How An Integrated Approach Can Help You Become Content Marketing Royalty<span

style=”font-weight: 400;”>.

<span

style=”font-weight: 400;”>#3 – Use a variety of different tactics.

<span

style=”font-weight: 400;”>To expand a little bit on the content component of an integrated approach, offering content in different formats can enhance user experience by allowing your audience to consume content the way they want to or make it easier for them to take it all in. In addition, depending on where customers and prospects are in the funnel, some content tactics might be more effective than others.

<span

style=”font-weight: 400;”>Some of the most-used tactics include: blog posts, infographics, eBooks, case studies, email marketing, content curation, and social media. But, depending on your goals, resources and audience, more interactive content such as live video, podcasts or webinars are excellent options.

<span

style=”font-weight: 400;”>Check out our resource <a

href=”http://www.toprankblog.com/2011/06/content-marketing-definition-tactics/”&gt;<span

style=”font-weight: 400;”>Content Marketing: Definitions & Tactics<span

style=”font-weight: 400;”> to discover the basics of 30 different content marketing tactics.

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Offering content in different formats can enhance user experience. – @CaitlinMBurgess<br

/><a

href=’https://twitter.com/intent/tweet?text=Offering%20content%20in%20different%20formats%20can%20enhance%20user%20experience.%20-%20%40CaitlinMBurgess&via=toprank&related=toprank&url=http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=21739&#8242; target=’_blank’ class=’bctt-ctt-btn’>Click To Tweet<br

/><hr

/>

<span

style=”font-weight: 400;”>#4 – Be relevant and timely.

<span

style=”font-weight: 400;”>In order to effectively reach your customers and prospects at any point in their journey, content has to be useful, valuable and served up at the right time.

<span

style=”font-weight: 400;”>ur audience research and knowledge to craft a content plan that includes originally produced evergreen, curated and/or influencer infused content. Also, stay on top of industry news or trends that would allow you to create timely pieces that can get you in on what’s currently being talked about and trending.

<span

style=”font-weight: 400;”>In addition, plan how you’ll make sure you’re getting the content in front of your audience at the right time to guide them onto the next part of their journey.

<span

style=”font-weight: 400;”>#5 – Personalize your content to meet your specific audience’s needs.

<span

style=”font-weight: 400;”>Chances are there isn’t just <span

style=”font-weight: 400;”>one<span

style=”font-weight: 400;”> type of customer you’re trying to reach, but rather you have a handful of different buyer personas who research, consume and make decisions in different ways.

<span

style=”font-weight: 400;”>Personalizing your content to different buyers’ journeys will help you serve up that relevant and timely content, and stand out from your competition.

<span

style=”font-weight: 400;”>#6 – Aim to create a seamless user experience.

<span

style=”font-weight: 400;”>Every brand has a story to tell. A story that shows their audiences who they are, what they stand for and how they can be of service in a time of need. An important part of successfully conveying that message is through creating a positive, consistent customer experience with your brand on every channel, at every stage of the journey. This is often referred to as omni-channel marketing.

<span

style=”font-weight: 400;”>To achieve a seamless user experience, some best practices include:

    <li

    style=”font-weight: 400;”><span

    style=”font-weight: 400;”>Using consistent imagery

    <li

    style=”font-weight: 400;”><span

    style=”font-weight: 400;”>Establishing a consistent voice

    <li

    style=”font-weight: 400;”><span

    style=”font-weight: 400;”>Personalizing content for each channel

<span

style=”font-weight: 400;”>Dive deeper into creating a seamless user experience by reading our post: <a

href=”http://www.toprankblog.com/2016/03/omni-channel-marketing/”&gt;<span

style=”font-weight: 400;”>Learn How to Create a Better Customer Experience with Omni-Channel Marketing<span

style=”font-weight: 400;”>.

<span

style=”font-weight: 400;”>#7 – Constantly look for ways to improve the customer journey.

<span

style=”font-weight: 400;”>You’ve done your audience research. You’ve created and executed an amazing, integrated content marketing strategy and content plan. Now is not the time to set things on autopilot. Now is the time to take a look at results and determine areas of opportunity for improving your content and therefore your customer’s journey.

<span

style=”font-weight: 400;”>Dig into your website and social analytics on a regular basis to see what’s working and what isn’t, and then adjust your content plan and marketing tactics to bolster the good, cut out the bad and perhaps try a little something new.

<span

style=”font-weight: 400;”>Be the Best Answer

<span

style=”font-weight: 400;”>Whether you’re brand is large or small, you can create the perfect tactical mix for creating and sharing content that resonates with your customers and prospects wherever they’re searching and they are in the funnel.

<span

style=”font-weight: 400;”>With that said, here’s a little something to think about anytime you sit down to create a piece of content.

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Are you creating content? Or Answers? – @leeodden<br

/><a

href=’https://twitter.com/intent/tweet?text=Are%20you%20creating%20content%3F%20Or%20Answers%3F%20-%20%40leeodden&via=toprank&related=toprank&url=http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=21739&#8242; target=’_blank’ class=’bctt-ctt-btn’>Click To Tweet<br

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What content marketing tactics have been the most effective for reaching your audience at the various stages of the customer journey? Tell us in the comments section below.

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