Dennis Palmer, Content Strategist
It’s a new year, time to get a running start on making your marketing programs more powerful and effective than ever.
Plan to Succeed
As the saying goes, nobody plans to fail, they just fail to plan. The new year brings an opportunity for marketing teams to take the lead in the strategic marketing communications planning process. By now, your organization should have its key objectives and major initiatives for the year defined.
By taking a proactive approach and planning campaigns that will support your corporate objectives, you can focus your efforts where they will pay the biggest dividends. Below are three areas to start your planning process:
1. Align to business objectives
Don’t wait for business leaders to request campaigns for their projects and reactively build those campaigns. Viewed in isolation, each campaign requested of the marketing team may appear to have value, but will the aggregate of campaigns done in a year help your company reach its goals? Plan now for a set of campaigns that will really drive the business forward.
2. Size matters
A few big, powerful campaigns will move the needle more than a bunch of smaller campaigns. If a campaign does not support your corporate goals, should you be spending your precious marketing resources on it?
3. Map key campaign elements
Once your team has identified the most important campaigns for the year, each campaign needs to be planned in detail. To do this, you need to know who you are talking with, what is important to them, how the information should be presented, where they find their information about products and services, when to engage with them, and how to best communicate with them at each step of their buyer’s journey in order to move prospects through the sales funnel towards a closed, won opportunity.
All three of the steps listed above are critical to successful planning. However, if we were to prioritize the three steps, the third and final step carries the most weight. Let’s examine the key campaign elements in more depth.
Learn more about who your prospects and customers are
Understanding who your prospects and customers are is vital to the success of your content marketing efforts. To learn more about defining personas, read our Buyer Profile Playbook.
Do you have personas defined for the prospects that bring you the majority of your business? Do you understand what keeps them up at night, what their goals are, their pain points, objections and media preferences?
If you have already defined personas, did the information that informed those personas come exclusively from internal stakeholders, or did you take the time to talk directly with prospects to really learn about their needs? How long has it been since your personas were developed?
Creating content and building demand generation and lead nurturing campaigns is very expensive and time-consuming. If you don’t have personas accurately defined, you could be wasting a lot of time and money by creating content that is not relevant to your audience.
At each step of their journey, what information do your personas need
Find out what information your personas need to make a purchase decision. Map out the journey they take on the way to making a purchase decision and learn about the topics that are relevant to them at each step.
You can learn what information your personas need with focus groups, one-on-one conversations, or surveys. Also, analyze the data in your CRM system to see what kind of content each contact associated with a closed, won opportunity has consumed.
How you present information is just as important as what you say
Take a look at the metrics for the click-through and conversion rates of how your personas have responded to different content formats. Discover what type of content buyers prefer in our 2017 Content Preferences Report. Your prospects may prefer certain static content formats at some steps of their buyer’s journey, such as G-Books, E-Books, listicles, checklists, infographics, and whitepapers. Interactive content assets may have higher conversion rates at other steps of the buyer’s journey. We are seeing increasing popularity of interactive assets such as videos, listicles, iPapers, quizzes and assessments. The interactivity increases the engagement your prospects have with the content and helps move them through the sales funnel towards a closed, won deal. Learn more about the payoffs of interactive content by reading our listicle on that subject.
Do You Have the Right Content for Your Campaigns
Once you have your personas accurately defined, and their buyer’s journey is mapped out, you can build a messaging framework that guides you to deliver to the right message, to the right person, at the right time, in the right format. You’ll be amazed at how much your conversion rates increase when you follow these steps.
A content audit will help determine if you already have the right content for each step of your lead generation and nurturing campaigns. Some of your content may just need to be re-purposed to fit the need. A gap analysis will determine the net new content you need to create to keep prospects moving along their buyer’s journey.
Need Extra Bandwidth to Achieve Your 2018 Marketing Goals? We Can Help!
We would love to talk with you to learn about your marketing situation, to see how we could help you reach your goals. If you would like to chat, feel free to contact, Steve Voith, our Director of Marketing.