Digital marketers have heard it ad nauseam—Content is King!—but without a way to effectively leverage content to drive action and harness the resulting data, your results will disappoint.
Content best practices are imperative as the volume of content grows and levels of engagement fall. A recent study by TrackMaven showed that content per brand increased 78% in the one-year period from 2013 to 2014. At the same time, engagement actually decreased 60%. Yes, content drives SEO and continues to be the lifeblood of marketing, but as the volume of content multiplies, consumer demands for freshness and relevancy grow, so your content better be good, timely and on point.
That said, let’s review some of the principles of creating powerful content:
Be Human—Being lectured from on high by an omniscient corporation is a good way to make your site’s heat map turn ice blue in a hurry. People like doing business with other people, so write like you talk—like you’re having a conversation with one person.
Deliver Nothing Less Than the Best—Each piece of content needs to be your best: polished, organized and value-adding. There’s a lot of mediocre noise out there, even today. That’s not you.
Know Your Visitor’s Business—We’ve come a long way from, “Here’s what’s in my kit. What would you like to buy?” Today, your research should allow you to lead with a clear picture of your customer’s common problems, personalized by their industry. If you’re not doing that, you’re missing the chance to slip into the catbird seat of trusted advisor from the beginning.
No Hard Sell!—There’s nothing wrong with casting your stuff in the best possible light, but go easy—hard sell irritates today’s sophisticated digital prospect. The way to go about it is to establish your trusted advisor bona fides and gently channel prospects to your brand by offering free guidance and value.
Don’t Forget the Freebies—While you want to turn visitors into consumers, you’re also dedicated to their success. Start the consultative relationship early on and give some things away—whitepapers, tips and tricks, infographics, multimedia, interviews with experts and rich, pertinent blog content.
So, you’ve got the content thing down pat and your consultative approach and personalized material is bringing in the traffic and generating a torrent of data. Now you need to continue to drive your prospect toward buying behaviors and beyond, nurturing them along the entire path. For that you need two things:
Powerful software to manage your digital assets from a central location, and share them across pages and sites globally.
A digital command center with the horsepower to integrate data from CRM, WCM, marketing automation and other systems that store client demographic and interaction data, to track every online and offline interaction.
With those systems in place, a marketer can truly drive growth by understanding and optimizing the customer’s journey—as an individual. Without it, King Content is just a web page of interesting, well-written stuff that won’t do a thing. This is where a solution like Progress Sitefinity comes in.
Progress itself takes a best practices approach to personalizing the customer journey by going full speed ahead with Sitefinity Insight, a unified digital marketing command center that enables marketers to drive growth by understanding and optimizing every customer’s journey. When it comes to content personalization, Progress is determined to lead by example, as these latest generation personalization technologies take hold.
Progress is putting an infrastructure in place where behavioral data from Salesforce, Eloqua, Google Analytics and other CRM systems will be combined with Sitefinity to create a complete picture of the customer journey.
For example, if a customer visits the Progress site, looks around, but doesn’t convert, Sitefinity can cull behavioral data to help draw the visitor back to the site through paid channels in a highly targeted and cost efficient way. Using system identifiers from each known or even unknown visitor, Progress marketing teams can create audience segments—and deliver relevant content—based on behavioral data. That results in smarter delivery, with maximized ad spend, demand generation and lead nurturing efforts.
But all this technology is for naught without proper content. After all, the premise of this post that Content is King but the Customer Journey Reigns Supreme, is a one/two punch so to speak. Follow best practices and develop targeted, relevant content, then combine it with technology that optimizes your messages throughout every step of the customer journey.
Mike Savel was a Senior Content Specialist at Progress.
Mark Schafron was a Senior Copywriter for Progress.
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