How to Use Data to Improve Your Content Marketing Strategy This Year

One of the reasons that digital marketing is so powerful is that it relies on so much more than simply pushing company advertisements in consumers' faces. It takes a lot more than your basic ad to entice and keep customers these days, especially those in Gen Y and Gen Z. They want more from a company, and a big part of that "more" includes content that provides value and helps educate them on your products or services. 

What is content?

Content can mean an entire array of different things and can be published in an array of different places. But what content does is set you apart from your competitors. Depending on the quality of the content you create, how valuable and informative it is to your customer, and where you push it out online, you can really revamp your entire lead generation process.

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Here are a few examples of different types of content your business could be creating:

  • Blog posts
  • Social media content
  • Podcasts
  • Case studies
  • eBooks
  • Online courses
  • Email newsletters
  • Infographics
  • Slideshares
  • Videos

And that's just the tip of the iceberg. Here's a blog post that covers 113 different types of content that can be included in your content marketing strategy.

Digital marketing is so powerful because of content.

Content is used to teach your customers, to engage them, to help them feel like they're investing their money into a company that cares about them. With basic advertisements, companies are only saying, "Me, me, me." With content, companies are now giving more to their customer for free or, at the very least, in exchange for an email address for lead nurturing purposes.

This is why your business should be investing in some type of content marketing. Although you don't need to have your team creating all 113 different types of content, choosing a few that your company can perfect is a great idea.

What do you do once you've gotten your content creation processes down? Let's say your content marketing team is working with your account managers to create case studies and with your production team to create video content, in addition to conducting the research to write blog posts and eBooks. That's four different types of content.

What next?

The next step is determining where your company should be sharing these different types of content. To pinpoint where you should share your content, and who you should share it with, you need to rely on data.

Here are a few ways that your data can help to improve your overall content marketing strategy.

1. Get a better understanding of your target audience.

By using your customer data to inform your targeting, you're able to pinpoint exactly who is in need of your content. Combine your customer data within your CRM or data management system, your social media metrics, and your website analytics to determine the most accurate demographics, purchasing behaviors, and click patterns for the people who are visiting your website, interacting with your company on social media, and buying your products/services.

This will help you to position your content in front of your exact target audience. By using metrics like the demographics of website visitors and social media followers, data from current customers and leads, and traffic sources, it's easy to create a target audience for your content marketing strategy.

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2. Increase conversions.

Your sales and marketing teams should have a comprehensive understanding of what your customers' buying journey or process looks like. Then your content marketing team should be creating content that aligns itself with that. It can be especially helpful if your company looks at where most customers tend to fall out of the buyer's journey without ever converting. Create content specifically for those customers that continues to entice them into learning more about your company.

Because the end goal with your content marketing strategy is making sales and generating revenue, it's important to keep that in mind while creating your content. Although every industry has a million different tidbits of information they could share with customers, the most important tidbits are the ones that will actually help to close a sale.

You don't want to provide too much information for free, especially if you're a service-based industry, because you don't want to completely teach your customers how to do what you do. Instead, it's important to look at other aspects of content such as sharing case studies with your company's proven success, sharing videos with testimonials, or creating lead magnets that offer a tease into what you do, but that help customers to realize that it's time-consuming and complicated and they'll save money in the long run by actually hiring you.

Focusing on those items during the content creation process will help your content marketing team put together informational pieces that are both valuable to your customer and valuable to your company, resulting in increased conversions. Using your customer data to know where you need to create content to pull more people into the buyer's journey and keep fewer people from leaving is key.

3. Retain customers.

Furthermore, your content marketing strategy can actually help to retain customers. You should have information about what products/services your customers have bought within your CRM or data management software. Using that information to create catered content for past customers can keep your business top of mind and keep those customers consistently coming back.

Let's look at a few examples.

First, let's say you're running the marketing for an HVAC company. You have a segment of customers who have recently (in the last year or so) gotten a brand new HVAC system. Sending that segment of customers email newsletters that detail how to take care of their new HVAC system so that it needs fewer repairs in the future is a great way to keep your company in their minds for when they do actually need repairs or maintenance.

Second, if your company has different tiers of services, sending promo information to customers in the lower tiers about the premium offerings they can get by upgrading their services is another way to retain and upsell your current customers.

Third, say happy birthday. If your company offers classes or parties for kids and takes down information like date of birth, sending emails to their parents wishing their kids a happy birthday is a sweet way to remind the parents about your company so they can bring their children back. If your company takes down customer date of birth, sending an email to the customer saying happy birthday (and even offering a birthday discount) is also a great way to keep customers coming back.

Using your customer data in a way that helps customers or creates a genuine customer connection is a great way to keep your past and current customers happy and consistently coming back to your company with their business.

4. Create more engaging content.

Last, but not least, your company needs to be using data to determine what types of content your audience actually loves. Try A/B testing with the initial four discussed and see how engagement rates go. Work on creating different types of content to see if those generate more or less engagement.

You also want to pay attention to a few more specific metrics to determine how your content is performing. Check your website analytics to see which landing pages and blog posts generate the most hits. That tells you which topics are most resonating with your audience. Watch your video metrics to see how long people are actually watching your video content. Are your viewers continuing to scroll by or exit out of your video after watching less than 10 seconds? This could tell you that you need to revisit your video introductions to better capture the attention of your target viewers.

Testing out different types of content to determine which ones actually get your audience excited, engaged, and opting in or interacting with content is essential to creating a content marketing strategy that will actually work for your company. Then your next step is going into your website and social media analytics to see how each piece of content is actually performing.

You don't want to blindly create and promote content and just hope that it's going to generate some buzz around your company. Instead, you need to be purposeful and strategic about what you're creating and where you're putting it out. Otherwise, you're completely wasting your content marketing team's time and your company's content marketing investment.

Using customer data to help inform your content marketing strategy can help to increase lead generation, conversion rates, and customer retention. Try improving the content marketing within your company by introducing these measures and paying close attention to the data within your own CRM and the data provided for you by your website analytics and social media metrics.

To learn more about data marketing and what an effective marketing data and tech strategy look like, check out our latest research report. We'll walk you through even more top strategic priorities as well as share data and statistics on the success of companies who actually utilize the data they have available to them.

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