Is your technology company creating large volumes of content - blogs, social posts, contributing to LinkedIn groups and sending email whenever possible?
Are you also finding that all this activity is creating less than expected results?
Don't feel too bad, you're not alone!
While an increasing number of people recognise the importance of producing content as part of their marketing strategy, few really know how to develop effective strategies to turn content consumers into known contacts.
The reality is that any content strategy must be aligned to the overall marketing strategy:
- Social media
- Email marketing
- Website development
- Digital advertising
Clearly it isn't easy to tie all this together in order to reach your target customer and then nurture them through the sales pipeline?
A clear plan of action is required and these days this plan should be underpinned by a good marketing automation platform. The combination is what we now call Inbound Marketing.
Start your plan by creating personas
If you want your blogs to be read, your web pages to be relevant and your social media posts to resonate, you must make them meaningful and personal to the reader.
Creating personas helps you focus on what's important to the very people you're hoping to attract. A persona is a representation of an ideal client or customer and can include their likely age group, job, level of education, family circumstances and so on.
Referring back to a persona when producing content helps you to focus the message. For more on personas read our guide.
Plan your keywords
Keywords are what link your content to the outside world via search engines. The better the keyword the more people will find your content. Get it wrong and all your hard work could go to waste.
Of course there is significant competition for more popular keywords so it now pays to create long tail keywords.
A long tail keyword is a very targeted search phrase that contains 3 or more words. It often contains a head term, which is a more generic search term 1 or 2 words in length. For example:
Head term: travel software
Long tail keywords: travel software for agents, online travel software, award winning travel software
Why use long tail keywords?
Ultimately it's to attract better quality traffic that's more likely to convert.
So plan your keywords with care and make the most of keyword search tools! Whatever you do, don't guess at what might be a good keyword because you'll be building your content based on them. Use a tool to help you choose. Google AdWords Keyword Planner is a good option.
Share your content
Share your content as widely as possible. That means using social media, your own website and any other distribution channels relevant to your business. The more you share the more your content will be consumed and the more likely it is that ideal customers become aware of your business proposition.
Be clear about the journey of someone consuming content
If you produce a brilliant blog that gets found in search by someone who'd be a perfect customer for you, make sure you don't lose them. One blog read does not equal a new customer but it does mean the beginning of a potentially beautiful relationship.
Create a journey for them to follow. The blog is the beginning, getting them to book a demo or agree to a meeting might well be the goal. It's what you do in the middle to nurture them that matters most.
In order to nurture leads you'll need:
- Calls to action - a good call to action will contain an offer of a download for a piece of good quality information. It could be a white paper or some valuable industry data designed to help the would be customer. Calls to action (CTA's) should lead to a landing page.
- Landing pages - designed so that whoever clicks on a CTA know they've arrived in the right place. It should clearly state what key information the download will deliver and be compelling enough for the reader to complete the form in order to get this content. Completing the form is exactly what you want most because once you have that information you'll be able to see exactly what your new contact does, when they return to your site, how often and what other information they consume. When done right it reveals exactly who is and who isn't a likely customer. It will also enable the lead nurturing piece to begin.
- Thank you pages - this is where you deliver the download and thank them for completing your form. They are also great places to offer up other content that may be of interest. That's lead nurturing gold!
- Automated emails - automation makes sense because conducting any regular activity in a manual fashion results in one thing - no one keeps it up. Setting up automation means this activity happens without your input and it can be incredibly powerful. Thanking people for downloading content via email, nudging those who haven't revisited your website, sending other relevant content to those who have downloaded before - all of this activity can be automated.
- Smart content - a good marketing automation platform will enable you to deliver relevant content and CTA's that are dependent on a visitors previous behavior. No point offering a piece of content to someone who's already downloaded it before. Much better to ask for a meeting or offer a demo at that stage. It's smarter marketing.
- A clear end game - nurturing visitors to your site means driving them towards your ultimate goal, being clear about what that is helps to focus your marketing team's campaign.
Inbound marketing is not just for creating new leads and more awareness, it is also effective in the battle to retain customers.
Depending on your product or service there are times when very little communication takes place between you and your customer once a sale is made. In fact many businesses don't bother to get back in touch until renewal time comes around.
Regular and timely communication maintains a relationship beyond the sale making it more likely to win the repeat business.
Inbound marketing brings all the essential elements together in today's increasingly digital landscape.
If your company has a great product and staff with knowledge and experience but you're frustrated when trying to communicate that, you should take a close look at what Inbound can do for you and your business.