August 8, 2013: Here at KoMarketing, we talk a lot about content and content marketing. And while we’re admittedly huge fans of content, our goal is never to create content merely for the sake of creating content. When we talk to clients or even think about our own internal content strategy, the goal is always to create something that is actually useful to the target audience.
Why? Frankly, content for the sake of content is a waste of time and resources, and B2B marketers must first understand their content needs before delving into a program.
Here are a few ways to get started:
1. Current Content
As B2B marketers, it’s important we understand the buying cycle and what information is needed for our audience to make a purchasing decision. That being said, it’s also important we understand how our current content is performing.
One of the ways to evaluate this is through analytics.
While the bounce rate of a page can be the result of multiple factors, understanding why a page has a high bounce rate is really important.
Let’s say an internal page has an 80% bounce rate. That’s pretty high and I want to know if the page is missing information or if I’m perhaps I’m targeting the wrong keyword. We want to look at:
- Referral sources
- Keyword phrases
- Time on page
Once we have a better understanding of how people are getting to the page and what they are likely looking for, we can start to evaluate why they are leaving and figure out how to give them the content they are actually looking for.
Goals & Funnels
One of the coolest parts of analytics is the ability to set up conversion funnels.
By setting up a conversion path, you can begin to see how visitors are moving through the site and where they are dropping off in the conversion funnel. If there’s a page that stands out, you likely need to take a better look at it to determine why the drop off is happening. If there’s a page that performs really well, what does that page have on it that is driving people through the funnel?
A similar piece to this is the “Behavior Flow” tool within Google analytics that allows you to see how visitors are moving throughout all pages of the site, not just the conversion funnel.
While bounce rate and conversion funnels are only two pieces of information, understanding where and why users drop off can go a long way in ensuring they are given the right content going forward.
2. Customer Needs
As mentioned above, we must understand the buying process, but we must also understand what our customer needs are…both potential customers and current customers.
One way to understand customer needs is to simply ask them. Wait, you want me to just “ask” them? Yes. By asking your customers what they want from you, you don’t have to guess. It can also help you create content that addresses real customer needs versus what you think they need.
A few simple ways to ask your customers what they need include:
Customers want to feel like they are valued, and one of the ways you can do this while also helping your business, is to ask them their opinions. Whether it’s an email through SurveyMonkey or a one-question on-site poll through KISSMetrics, surveys can provide great insights into customer needs and help you build your content strategy.
Many companies use live chat for customer service but how many of those companies are taking that data and using it to create content?
Live chat can tell you pretty quickly what your site is lacking.
- What are the most common questions?
- What information can people not find?
- What keywords are people using in their questions?
You may find that you have the right content but it’s not in the right place. Or you may find that you are missing an important piece of information your customers need to make a decision.
Note: Make sure when choosing a live chat tool you look for one that allows you to search and store conversations.
As an online marketer, I often feel I’m too close to a site. You sometimes need an outsider’s perspective to tell you what’s missing or what’s wrong. User testing can be great for this, especially if you’re able to get the right audience.
Ask your customers to help you, put together a panel from Craigslist, or check out a site like Usertesting.com.
Understanding customer needs goes a long way in crafting a successful content strategy and these methods can get you there quickly.
3. Search Results
This may seem obvious but one way to establish a clearer picture of your content needs is to take a look at the search results. What is it they are showing for your target keyword phrases?
We have a client that offers a lead management tool. In thinking about the term “lead management”, what type of content should we be creating and targeting? Let’s take a look at the search results:
What’s interesting is the top pages showing in current results revolve around “best practices” and informational type pages versus product pages.
When crafting the content strategy for this term, the results are something we must take into consideration. Does the client have a best practice or information-type page and if not, we probably need to consider adding one.
Often times what you think is the right content, may not be the content the search results are showing, and likely, may not be the content your audience is looking for.
In the end…
For B2B marketers to truly understand their content needs, they must understand their current content, their customers, and what it is their customers are really looking for.
By identifying these things beforehand, B2B marketers are able to create a content strategy that is geared toward the target audience and toward driving conversions. Because at the end of the day, it’s not having content that matters, it’s having content that drives sales that matter.