We all know content marketing is today’s de facto digital promotional strategy, but do you know just how big it is?
According to a 2012 study from AOL and Nielsen, 27 million pieces of content are shared every day, and this volume is only expected to continue growing as more brands recognize its value.
However, while content is a very valuable component of any marketing campaign — online or otherwise — many brands have discovered that increasing quantity isn’t always an effective way to improve results.
KISSmetrics, Skyword and other content marketing leaders all agree that brands need shift their focus from broadcasting static content to delivering personalized content to visitors, making custom content an important consideration in 2015 and beyond.
1. Invest in a marketing automation tool.
A number of companies offer marketing automation solutions. All of the leading providers, including Hubspot, Pardot, ACT-ON and Marketo, use personalization tokens to track consumers and provide custom content.
Certainly, it’s a good idea to research your options carefully before choosing a marketing automation tool. G2Crowd has a list of additional tools worth looking into, which includes independent reviews of each, though you won’t go wrong selecting any of the four popular options listed above.
2. Think about the mindset of each customer.
Every customer has unique needs, priorities and expectations, and you’ll need to keep this in mind while building custom content paths for them.
Here are some factors to consider:
- Previous customers already recognize the benefits of your brand. Content targeted to new customers needs to focus on building brand awareness, while pieces targeted to current clients should help expand their relationships with your brand. For example, if you run a website selling nutrition supplements, current readers may appreciate supportive content with things such as healthy recipes, while new customers will need to be introduced to the science behind your products.
- Customers are more responsive to landing pages that include references to the region they live in. This makes geographic customization a great sales strategy.
- Subscribers on your email list are much more likely to convert than other visitors. By tracking the IP addresses of your email subscribers using a marketing automation program, you can create a stronger, more focused calls to action that convert leads more quickly.
Consider the mindset of every potential visitor. This will give you more insight to offer more relevant content and create effective calls to action.
3. Begin creating custom content.
Develop separate landing pages for each customer that you plan to target. Here are some ways to customize your landing pages:
- Offer discounts or other incentives to price-sensitive customers.
- Emphasize different solutions based on customer needs.
- Provide more detailed product descriptions to first-time customers.
After you develop your content, you’ll need to login to your marketing automation interface to start uploading it.
The interface for each marketing automation platform is slightly different, but the overall process is fairly similar across each service.
Here are some steps you’ll need to take, regardless of the program you’re using:
- The platform will ask what type of audience you want to target. Your marketing automation dashboard will provide the option to create content that is tailored to attract new visitors, convert leads or close sales with customers that have already started a purchase.
- The platform will have a menu that provides options to generate new content. On the HubSpot platform, as an example, you will need to select the “Content Settings” option under the “Content” menu.
- You’ll see a window that gives you the option to create separate landing pages for visitors based on their country, device, referral source, email list and stage in the buying process.
- Start uploading the landing pages and calls to action that you wrote earlier.
In general, the process is pretty straightforward. Your marketing automation provider will have tutorials on it, though you can also contact customer support for additional assistance.
4. Start driving traffic.
Traffic is an essential component of any content marketing strategy.
Your marketing automation tool will automatically display custom content to your visitors based on the traffic channel that you use, which is a great way boost conversions. However, choosing targeted traffic sources is still vital.
Search engine optimization continues to be a great way to get traffic, but the time commitment required to achieve high rankings has left many businesses looking to paid ads as an alternative to drive quick page views.
Email marketing is another great approach, as most marketing automation tools also offer email list management tools. You can build a list of email subscribers and nurture relationships with them over time. Using this information, you can offer separate landing pages to visitors, based on which list they initially subscribed to.
5. Test and refine your marketing approach.
There’s no way around it — perfecting your custom content marketing campaigns is going to take time. You’ll need to conduct extensive A/B testing to measure your conversions and make changes to improve your results.
As you refine your approach, try playing around with any of the following variables:
- Onsite webpage copy
- Colors of conversion buttons
- Email list segmentations
- Visitor types
- Ad copy on your pay-per-click campaigns
- Keywords for SEO or PPC
Of course, there are countless variables that can impact your conversions. Marketing automation software allows you to provide carefully targeted content to your website visitors, but you’ll still need to do some trial-and-error testing to optimize your strategy.
By developing the custom content that will appeal to visitors at all stages of your sales process and testing the results you see as part of your overall content marketing strategy, you’ll position your brand well to take advantage of the targeted traffic it receives.