Delivering ROI on your B2B content strategy goes beyond creating a few blog posts here and there. Sure, you need to develop content often, but for your content marketing initiatives to be highly effective, they should first be strategic, data-driven, and customer-centric. Delivering ROI on your B2B content strategy requires identifying what's resonating with your customers and making sure you're serving them content that suits their needs at the right time.
This article explores the importance of infusing data into your content strategy and where to start, so you can plan your content effectively, answer your customers' questions, and execute results-driven campaigns.
A Data-Driven Content Strategy Can Help Improve ROI
High-performing content starts with data. Your expertise matters, but your content strategy should be more than based on a gut feeling. According to an Optimizely survey, 48% of marketing leaders rely strongly on data to make decisions, and 42% rely moderately on it. The inputs they rely on include real data, expertise/gut feeling, or a combination of both, with 85% in the latter category. Developing content that isn't informed by strategy and data won't benefit your company and can be an easy way to burn out your resources.
Analyzing how visitors consume your content and observing interaction trends will reveal the pieces that are performing best. This information can be the backbone of your strategy because your team will know what resonates with visitors and customers most.
You can use Google Analytics to determine which topics and formats of content are most effective. Additionally, a more automated way to analyze content is through AI-powered solutions like Intelligence Cloud, an Optimizely product that uses machine learning to analyze the content your website visitors engage with and identify topics that will keep them coming back. Experimentation (A/B and multivariate testing), which is a capability of Intelligence Cloud, can also be a data-driven way to analyze how your content performs and can inform how it should evolve.
Tip: When performing A/B tests, change only one variable, such as the copy, image, call-to-action, or format. This way the test results can highlight what makes one piece of content more successful than another.
Understanding Your Audience
Throughout the journey, your visitor will become aware of your brand, discover your content, and then evaluate your products or services. They'll then ideally convert to a lead and, if your business solves their problem, they'll become a customer. And if they're a satisfied customer, they'll become a promoter. Your content should target wherever they are in the journey - from awareness to discovery and from consideration to conversion.
B2B Marketers must take all areas of the buyer's journey into account, including sales cycle longevity, who's involved in buying, who the buyer is, and what motivates them. They should also take active steps to understand their buyers' behavior. Developing personas is a beneficial exercise for understanding the different challenges and motivations of various buyer personas. Narrow down to key personas you want to target and develop content to answer questions or respond to their needs in a way that's inspiring, entertaining, and goes beyond selling.
After identifying who the target segments are, identifying where they are on their journey also impacts the type of content that's served to them, along with the next steps after the reader consumes that content. For example, a top-of-the-funnel prospect might be directed to read another article, but a buyer further along on their journey could be driven toward a case study. Those ready to make an investment could be offered a demo or conversation with sales.
B2B Conversion Optimization
Your content strategy should directly align to support your B2B marketing goals, whether that means enabling a better commerce experience or generating leads.
Commerce customers generally arrive on the website more ready to buy, so your content should be direct and educate them on your products' or solutions' benefits. Marketers can experiment with different offers like a free trial, a freemium version of the product, and more to see which has more engagement and is most compelling to buyers.
If lead generation is the primary goal, then keep in mind that most buyers will first visit a site at an earlier stage of the buyer's journey. Because of this, content needs to educate the prospect on the importance of making a change, provide specific benefits of the products or solutions, and offer a compelling reason to convert and continue the conversation in your sales cycle.
After identifying your team's goals, your content marketing strategy should report on metrics that align with those goals that make actionable results matter. Tools like Content Marketing help effectively measure your strategy across every stage of the purchasing journey while tracking engagement and conversions, and attributing campaigns directly to revenue.
Next-Level Content Knows How to Get Personal
Personalization delivers value through digital experiences best suited to an individual's needs. It's curated and targeted based on behavior and is the secret weapon to a successful digital strategy. And companies looking to kick their content initiatives up a notch should consider exploring personalized content experiences. It can be complex and require investment in time and resources, but it can pay off. Plus, many prospective customers expect it.
Your buyers want you to meet them where they are, so much so that personalized calls to action convert 202% better. But let's back up. Before they get to the CTA, your website should recognize the visitor. You developed those personas after all! A common example of persona-driven strategies is account-based marketing (ABM) where you can extend that work into landing pages. It's intentional and uniquely tailored to target and engage with specific organizations through curated and customer-centric content.
Personalizing content begins with knowing your customers. Get this and more with our 9 Steps on the Path to Personalization [Download the Guide].
Ready to turn your B2B website into a revenue engine and develop a strategy that reveals high-performing content opportunities? Verndale can help you assess your current state and provide "walk, run, sprint" recommendations to achieve quick wins and set long-term plans for revenue growth.