Monthly Archives: August 2015

Create the Type of Information Your Buyers Actually Want to Consume

Whether you have a ten person company or a team of ten in your marketing department you’ll be well aware of how important content is for driving visitors to your site and then onward down the sales funnel. But it’s not just enough to bang out a ton of content and drop it into the ether; if you’re not talking to your target market about the right things, in the right way and at the right stage of their buying journey then your hard work might be in vain.

Luckily, there are a couple of tactics you can employ to help you refine your content strategy and put you on track for reaping greater return.

Defining your audience with Buyer Personas

This technique will assist you in gaining focus to your content by identifying what your ‘typical’ consumers are looking for.  A great way to define your audience is by creating several Buyer Personas. To do this you will need to conduct a bit of research into your current customer base, which can be done either by interviews or surveys. Try asking questions to establish information in the following areas:

  • Background information: age, gender, job title and income
  • Information sources: where they get their content, format preferences
  • Objections: where might they object to your product if put through the sales process
  • Pain points: what frustrations do they have with products and services in your industry
  • Free time: hobbies, favourite tv shows and films
  • Educational background: highest level of schooling and place of study
  • Purchasing decision making: establish the importance of price, quality, durability, availability etc when deciding on a potential purchase

When this information is collated it can be used to identify several personas (your customers won’t all be exactly alike).

Refining your content

Now you have done your research and identified your buyer personas you’ll need to develop different content for each persona group.  Use the information you have gathered to decide how you are going to talk to them and the best way for you to reach them. There are so many different ways to reach an audience nowadays and many smaller companies tend to stick to a few that they are comfortable with, but for maximum impact you should explore all avenues.

You can depict this very effectively by using the different stages of the sales funnel to define objectives and make suggestions for suitable content driven assets that can be used at each stage.

The tone of content is also crucial and shouldn’t be underestimated.  At the top of the sales funnel content should be anything but salesy.  Consumers will switch off completely if they get even a sniff of sales content.  Keep it light and easy to digest and add a bit of humour if the situation suits.  Each persona will move through this stage at a different pace, so you may find that some personas will need to consume more of this content before moving forward.

The middle of the funnel is all about starting to engage with the consumer and building a relationship with them.  Content should still be fairly generic, educating them on the industry with white papers, interviews, demo videos and webinars.  You’re still not coming on strong but are providing the information they need to help gently inform a decision.

The late stage is all about converting to purchase.  They’re already familiar with you and now you can talk to them in a direct manner.  Content should highlight how your products will benefit them, which case studies and testimonials are particularly good for.

Don’t stop there though!  After a purchase has been made you need to continue to learn about your customers so you can delight them at every opportunity by providing valuable, knowledgeable content that addresses their needs and concerns.  This will strengthen your relationship and encourage them to promote your business to others.

6 Tips for Boosting the Share-Ability of Your Online Content

Love Content

The rise in social media has been astounding and according to data released by wearesocial.net 29% of the world’s population has at least one active social media account of some sort, which is staggering.  But many businesses are still shying away from it and are quietly avoiding incorporating social media into their marketing strategies as they see it as a ‘social’ platform as well as being unsure of how to use it effectively.  But social media is a fantastic way to reach your clients as well as a whole new pool of consumers in a totally different way.  It enables businesses to strengthen relationships by engaging in a more informal manner and also gives businesses the opportunity to release information into cyberspace with increased agility.

The aim of releasing content in a social media environment is three fold:

  1. to encourage people to engage by commenting on the piece
  2. to gain followers
  3. to get people to share the content.

There are some ways you can encourage greater uptake of the above points and I’ve outlined some of the most useful below:

  1. Chose your topic wisely! Its all well and good carefully creating a schedule of content but don’t then blog about random topics that hold no relevance with your audience; they’ll be switching off faster than you can type. Have a look at social media sites and see what other people are sharing.  Try and identify the trigger that prompted their response to share and see how you can create the same leverage when strategising your own content. You also need to take into account the interests of your consumers and release content that will be of interest to them.  The better you know your target market the easier this will be.
  2. Blogs provide a great opportunity for a more informal platform, speaking to consumers in a language they understand and can relate to. The tone you adopt is just as crucial to the success of your piece as the content within it. The best way to create a piece that engages your audience is to write exactly how you would speak, even if it’s a business blog. It may take a bit of getting used to, but you’ll quickly get the hang of it.
  3. Don’t always aim to please. As a general rule the content that is shared is the content that has sparked an emotional response; think of the videos of toddlers break dancing at weddings or puppies running into glass doors that always pop up on your social media feeds. But an emotional response can also be anger, disappointment or complete outrage.  It is possible to turn someone’s negativity on the subject into a huge positive for you, bearing in mind you want people to engage.  Controversy certainly shouldn’t be avoided as strong emotions spark conversation and debate and when handled correctly that can be a great thing.
  4. Shareable content doesn’t just mean blogs. Think outside of the box and try out as many different formats as you can.  It may be that an article just isn’t the best way to get your content shared.  Instagram is sadly under utilised by many businesses in my opinion but is a great way to engage visually with your audience and help strengthen your brand image and at the end of 2014 the platform celebrated reaching 300 million users, outshining Twitter at 284 million active users.  Another format that is underused but enjoys great success by those who use it is quizzes.  If you can devise an intelligent, well-thought out quiz then you could be on to a winner.
  5. Encourage your readers to engage with you by ending the piece with meaningful questions. Your aim is to move readers to comment as this shows they have connected with the content and your style of writing. Urge them to share their own experiences and provide advice to others on the topic. This is a great way to strengthen rapport and gain emotional investment, even if the commenters don’t agree with your point of view 100%. A healthy debate is far better than no comments at all!
  6. Finally, give your readers the ability to share! Don’t forget to include clearly visible ‘share’ buttons for various social media. If you want your content shared then make sure it’s easy for them to do so. The social media buttons you choose will largely depend on the content of the article and area of your business, but don’t rule out Facebook just because it’s a business piece, you’ll be surprised what people will share with their friends.

If you’re looking at ways to increase engagement and reach new groups then you can’t go far wrong increasing your presence on social media, creating a blog and trying out some of these tips to improve the shareability of your posts.  Also if you have any tips to share on the subject that might help out someone who’s struggling to get going then we’d love to hear them.