Creating Content for Different Stages of Prospect Awareness

Creating Content for Different Stages of Prospect AwarenessAnytime you create content it’s important to consider who your audience is. You’re always going to have new people, middle-of-the-road and advanced users. As you write various types of copy you will need to address the needs of these different levels of users based on their awareness of your products. When it comes to your marketing strategy, it is important to create your roadmap for successfully moving prospects through the marketing hourglass (see post – Creating Your Prospect to Client Experience through the Marketing Hourglass).

Creating Content for Prospects Who Don’t Know You
(ie. Getting them to know you)

When writing copy for someone who has no idea about you, your products or services, the copy has to educate, inform, engage and inspire. The types of copy you may want to write for a prospect are informative and educational like white papers and how-to articles. You want to tell a story that weaves in your why with your audience’s why, while at the same time educating them. Because remember – it’s all about them.

Creating Content for Prospects Who Know You
(ie. Getting them to like and trust you)

Other people you will have to write copy for within your niche are those who know about you and your products (as well as why they need them) but who haven’t actually purchased from you yet. They’ve done their research, understand their needs and what will solve them, and now are trying to decide who will fill their needs. If you want to be that person they buy from, you’ll need to explain why you are the right one for the job.

Creating Content for Clients
(ie. Getting them to buy more or more often)

Finally, you’ll also need to write copy for those who have already purchased from you. If you want to increase the lifetime income of each customer, this type of copy is very important too. The type of content you will write for these prospects makes assumptions about the knowledge they have about how great your products are, as well as the next thing they will need. It assumes they trust you due to the prior purchase, and it assumes they know their problems and that you have the solutions. You simply need to offer it to them.

Types of Content

You can write content in all its forms for any stage of prospect awareness, but the words that you use will be different.

Newbies – You’ll need to word everything from a teaching mode without being condescending. A great way is to use testimonials, how-to videos, and educational emails and e-courses to help your newbie prospects learn about the problems they share with others, the solutions that exist and why yours is better.

Intermediate Prospects – These prospects need to receive reassurance, as well as proof that you have the solution that they seek. They know that they have a problem, they know about all the solutions that exist, so now you have to show them how your solution is the best. You can do this via testimonials and stories that demonstrate your product’s effectiveness.

Clients – This copywriting is all about getting current customers to buy from you again. You can accomplish this by sending them information about new products that you offer. But you can also engage with them about how they use the product they purchased. This will not only remind them of how well made and perfect your product is, it will also instill trust about other products and services.

Creating copy for people at any stage of awareness takes an understanding of your audience as a whole, as well as your products in general and in particular. You’ll need to be able to create regular content for each stage of awareness, and then be able to break it down clearly for anyone at any stage.

How to Create Actionable Content

actionable-contentThe most important part of creating content is ensuring that you have a plan to follow. You need to know who your audience is, know the keywords you need to use to attract them, decide upon content types and topics, and then plan when and how they’ll be created and pushed out to your audience. The most actionable content will be the most meaningful content to your audience, which is why they play such a central role in your content development.

8 Ways to Make Your Content More Actionable

1. Create Audience Personas – Your audience consists of a specific type of person. You should know their demographics, location, profession, learning style, and more if you want to craft content that people will act on. If you can create audience personas for each type of content you want to produce, you’ll be able to better form your content.

2. Know Why You’re Creating the Content – Each piece of content that you create needs to have a reason for being. This may be to sell a new product, promote a new service, and get more subscribers, or something else entirely. It’s important that you know why you’re creating the content so that you can use the right words to encourage action.

3. Keep It Simple – The KISS method works for a variety of issues and it’s no different for creating actionable content. Explain jargon to your audience and define terms to them, so that there is no confusion about what something means and no mistake about what you want them to do to follow through.

4. Lay It Out Correctly – How something is laid out depends on how the audience will consume it. Will they be reading the content on a Kindle, in a book, or online? Understand how people read books versus how they read content online. For example, online content needs plenty of white space and other factors that break up the content to make it easier to understand.

5. Provide Clear Examples – When you tell people how to do something, they’ll respond better than just telling them what to do. It’s the difference between an expert and someone who is just regurgitating information.

6. Use Visual Cues – Images can evoke feelings as well as help explain more than words can. You can use graphs, memes, infographics, and other types of images to get your point across and inspire your audience to take action.

7. Answer Burning Questions – Your audience has burning questions that need to be answered. If you’re aware of these questions, not only will your audience feel as if you can read their mind, but they’ll also make you the go-to person when they do have a question that needs to be answered. Find questions where your audience hangs out, online and offline, and then start producing content to answer the questions.

8. Think Outside the Text Box – When most people think of content creation, their first thought is almost always blog posts or articles. But, there are so many other forms that your content can appear in. Be innovative and think of new ways to present your information and your audience will be transfixed.

Finally, remember that your job is to create value for your audience. To create a loyal audience you need to deliver excellent content every time at the right time. By developing a plan of action and planning your content out strategically with purpose, you can deliver value to your audience every single time.

Book Recommendation – Epic Content Marketing

Epic Content Marketing: How to Tell a Different Story, Break through the Clutter, and Win More Customers by Marketing Less – by Joe Pulizzi

Content is still king online but only if you know how to use it. the idea of user centered content is one where the content on your website and elsewhere is tailored to the users that you want to attract. First, you need to know your users. Who is actually visiting your site and reading your content? Are the articles you are providing exactly what they need from you? will it endear your product to them and convert them from just viewers to customers?

To make sure that your content hits the mark, it needs to: meet the need of the reader or answer a question for them. Constantly provide new and innovative content on a regular basis. Use a voice that the readers can identify with in your content. Avoid being preachy or always on the sales pitch. They want honesty. Stay on target. What are they looking for?

Learn how to define your content niche so you know where all roads lead with your content whether interactive, video, slideshow or another form. Social media can also help you to promote your content and gain feedback from your target audience.

Epic Content Marketing: How to Tell a Different Story, Break through the Clutter, and Win More Customers by Marketing Less

What To Do If You Feel Like Your Content Isn’t Working?

You are blogging and creating content but you feel like nothing is working like you want it to. Your sales aren’t increasing, your newsletter isn’t getting new subscribers, and it just feels like you’re wasting your time. If that is the case with your content marketing, take heart that you can access where you are and start over anytime.

9 Things You Can Do To Improve Your Content Marketing

1. Determine Your Why – When you are creating any one piece of content, do you know what the purpose of it is? Each content choice must have a reason for being in order to be successful. Is the content there to inform your audience about a problem? Is the point of the content to get more subscribers? Perhaps the point is to sell a new product or service? If you don’t know what the point is, it’ll be hard to get anyone to take action.

2. Understand Your Audience – When you produce any content it’s imperative that you know who you’re creating it for. Try developing buyer personas and write the content to the “customer of one” instead of creating it for a nameless person that you don’t know. This can help you develop very personalized content that gets results.

3. Know Your Niche – You may think that you know your area of expertise but the fact is, a niche might change a bit over time as technology improves. Keep up to date in your industry so that you’re ready for changes and trends that may develop.

4. Follow Your Competition – The best way to differentiate your content marketing from your competition is to watch what they’re doing. Join your competition’s lists, and look at the content they’re sending out. Can you determine if it’s working well for them or not? Can you decide how to do it a little bit better?

5. Know the Buying Process – There is a set buying process that your audience will take part in, even if they don’t realize it, and it’s important to realize where people are in the buying process. Typically it works something like this: Awareness, information search, evaluation, decision and purchase. Plus, after purchase your customer will evaluate again on whether or not to buy from you again.

6. Refine Your Strategy – If you have no strategy, or you feel as if what you’re doing isn’t working, take the time to work on refining your strategy to work better. Base this on the information you’ve gathered about your customers, the niche, your produce and/or services as well as the buying process.

7. Make Content Marketing a Priority – To ensure that content marketing will work, it’s important to do it on a consistent basis as a priority in your marketing efforts. Hire the right people to help you, and place it at the right level of importance in your overall marketing strategy.

8. Promote the Content You Create – Content cannot just be created and that’s the end. Use promotion strategies such as on and off page SEO, social media sharing, and other means to promote the content so that it is seen.

9. Create Compelling Content – No one wants to consume boring cookie cutter content. Ensure that the content matches the needs of your audience, speaks to them on their terms and provides value in and of itself to your audience.

Finally, content marketing is about the long haul. Results aren’t going to happen overnight. Continue to produce high quality, relevant, consistent content that has a purpose and provides value and you will see the results you desire.

How To Grow Your Business Using Content Marketing Infographic

Let’s imagine that your business is a tree.

It needs solid roots to keep it stable. So, you must invest in reliable hosting and infrastructure that can support the traffic your website is going to get.

The trunk is your website. You want to make it strong and filled with high quality content so your visitors have a reason to come back to it and share it across social media.

Branches are the crown of the tree. They represent various social media platforms where you can share your content.

Every great conversation begins with listening and this couldn’t be more true about social media. It’s not about you or your product. It’s about how you benefit your customers, how you enrich them and make your customers’ lives easier. Organize a webinar, offer an email course, host a Facebook party! Be creative and enjoy this content marketing infographic!

Dendrite Park Content Marketing
Courtesy of: Dendrite Park

Content Marketing – Measure Twice, Cut Once for ROI

Content marketing can offer a great deal of value to your business, from increased engagement to increased sales. However, it is a lot harder to determine return on investment (ROI) with content marketing than other more direct sales advertising and marketing-like sales pages. Content marketing isn’t going to provide immediate success. It’s going to provide long-term success over time.

Content ROI doesn’t always equate in monetary terms right off. For example, content created to inform your audience about a specific problem might return new signups for your newsletter instead of direct sales. Therefore, your ROI for those particular pieces of content is more in the result of signups than the result of a monetary incentive.

The metrics you want to measure are:

Brand awareness – How is your content driving brand awareness and exposing your products and services to new people?

Engagement – How is your content creating situations where engagement can occur?

Subscribers – Have subscribers increased to your email list and if so can you trace it to a particular piece of content?

Revenue – As your customers move through your product funnel, have revenues increased and can you determine what started the increase?

Are these metrics in line with expectations or falling short? When you put out content, can you determine the impressions, traffic, subscriber rate, engagement and how far the information went? Plus, do you know how much time your audience is taking to consume your content? How often are they sharing it? At what point do they convert to buyers?

These are all important metrics to answer to help determine your content ROI. If you have developed a documented content strategy, you likely have also developed specific goals for each piece of content that you create. Use the tools you have available through your newsletter software or Google Webmaster Tools to help you analyze whether or not you’re meeting your goals.

As you can see the important things about content marketing are reach, engagement and conversion. Any numbers you can study relating to these three metrics are important to track. Tracking these metrics is the only way to know for sure whether you’re reaching your content marketing strategy goals. In addition, you can use projections to plan your content marketing budget.

By forecasting what ROI you expect, then studying those metrics to determine what really is happening, you’ll get better each time determining the right path to take with your content marketing planning and budgeting. However, remember that if you’re tracking these metrics and you find that what you’re doing isn’t working, it doesn’t mean content marketing doesn’t work. It means something with your strategy isn’t working or the content is not the right content to help you reach your goals, and it signals a need to adjust your strategy.

We believe so strongly in this that we create dashboards (see example below), for our clients so they can see the progress in the key areas they are measuring. Contact us to ask about getting a dashboard for your company.

3 WordPress Plugins We Can’t Live Without

We have already expressed a number of times in previous posts how much we love WordPress as a website solution for ourselves as well as our clients. Today we wanted to just highlight 3 great plugins that emphasise why we love WordPress so much – the additional functionality you have available to you. They are all low-cost or no cost add-ons that improve your ability to get your marketing done and hat’s why we love them so much.

#1 – Co-Schedule

We just discovered this one, but it’s already on the 10 list of all plugins we use and recommend. Essentially, CoSchedule is a drag-and-drop editorial calendar for WordPress that puts your blog posts and social media messages on the same schedule. Now we love the fact that WordPress users can save time and grow traffic by scheduling blog posts and social media together on a unified drag-and-drop calendar. It’s the content marketing calendar that WordPress has always been missing. It’s not a free plugin, but it is only $10/month and integrates with WordPress, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Buffer, and even Google+ Pages.

KEY FEATURES

  • Drag-And-Drop Editorial Calendar
  • Schedule Social Media While You Blog
  • Save Time, Grow Traffic
  • Easily Re-Schedule Old Blog Content
  • Lightweight WordPress Plugin
  • Automated Social Publishing
  • Simple Team Communication
  • All-In-One Publishing Solution
  • No More WordPress Hacking

Take a look at their video as well:

[video_embed url=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uK3un3Wt_Qo?rel=0″]

#2 – Gravity Forms

We have been using Gravity Forms for years now, but it continues to be the #1 form tool for a number of reasons. It’s easy to implement (in fact you could have a form up and collecting data in under a minute if you really wanted to), it has a ton of pre-build form options, it allows conditional actions (meaning if they select a certain answer, follow up questions can appear), you can collect information and payments all in one form and it allows you connect your form with a variety of other services (like email marketing or CRM) with a simple addon.

This great and essential plugin starts at $39 and has a variety of addons for free and low cost. We love to use it to collect payments and use Stripe to accomplish that (see it in action here: https://getstrategix.com/catalyst-order-form-monthly).

KEY FEATURES

  • Simple Click Form Builder
  • and Custom Form Fields
  • Conditional Logic
  • Order Forms
  • Customize Entry Management
  • Variety of Notifications
  • Customization of Styles & Layout

gravity-forms

#3 – Google Analyticator

The reason we added Google Analyticator to this list, is that it takes your Google Analytics data and breaks it down to the essential information needed to understand what is happening on your website and then adds it as a widget in the Admin panel of your WordPress site. No need to go and log into your Google Analytics account and dig through al the pages because you have all the important data as to what is happening on your site right at your fingertips.

For the budget conscious, here’s the great news – it is totally free (although they do have a pro version available as well – http://www.analyticatorpro.com/pro)

KEY FEATURES

  • Supports Universal (analytics.js) and traditional analytics (ga.js)
  • Includes an admin dashboard widget that displays a graph of the last 30 days of visitors, a summary of site usage, the top pages, the top referrers, and the top searches
  • Includes a widget that can be used to display visitor stat information on the front-end
  • Supports outbound link tracking of all links on the page, including links not managed by WordPress
  • Supports download link tracking
  • Supports event tracking with outbound links / downloads instead of the old pageview tracking method
  • Support site speed tracking
  • Allows hiding of Administrator visits without affecting Google Analytics’ site overlay feature

screenshot-1

There are a ton of other great plugins out there as well and we will review them in the future, but we hope you see how much these plugins can help you with your marketing and as a result increase your bottom line. Let us know your thoughts by adding a comment below.

Developing A Loyal Blog Audience [Infographic]

When it comes to blogging there are all sorts of opinions on how to do it. There are all sorts of suggestions on how often to blog, but the one thing everyone can agree on is that blog loyalty is definitely the ultimate goal. Who doesn’t want their prospects and customers regularly coming to their site and reading the posts they have spent such a long time crafting. The problem is, it just doesn’t happen often enough, especially for smaller companies with a very small audience. So how can you maximize your content? This infographic by Quick Sprout explains how you can go about achieving that goal. The 3 main pieces of advice we can glean from this is to: focus on producing quality content, respond to comments and build your personal branding.
Courtesy of: Quick Sprout

Looking into the Crystal Ball – Marketing Trends 2015 [Infographic]

So, a new year is upon us and we have decided to look into the crystal ball and predict what some of the big marketing trends for 2015 will be. We will spend some time to explore each of these in more detail in future posts, but for now here is a quick overview of what we think is coming in 2015. We’d love your comments, so feel free to add them below.

infographicstatic

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[Infographic] B2B Content Marketing Trends for 2015

MarketingProfs and the Content Marketing Institute partnered again this year to bring you the latest B2B content marketing industry survey. The fifth annual study includes findings from 1,820 North American B2B marketers and presents benchmarks, budgets and trends for the coming year.

According to the study, the secret to content marketing success is to document your content strategy and stick to it. It also uncovered that content marketers are creating more and more content but they still struggle to track ROI, especially when they don’t document their strategy. You can read the full report for all the detailed findings.

Uberflip created an infographic to highlight some of the key elements and help you digest the 40 page report in a glimpse. Here are a few of the key takeaways:

• If you want to be an effective content marketer, you need a documented strategy (not just a verbal one!)
• 70% of B2B marketers are creating more content than a year ago.
• Only 21% of content marketers say they’re successful at tracking ROI.
• As far as marketing tactics go, Infographics had the greatest increase in usage from 51% to 62%.
• LinkedIn is the most popular (and most effective) social media channel for B2B marketers.
• In person events are the most effective tactics for B2B marketers.
• More than half of B2B marketers plan to increase their content marketing budget in 2015.

B2B Content Marketing Trends for 2015