When it comes to producing an effective digital marketing strategy, providing value is the name of the game. Entrepreneurs, small businesses, and established brands are creating more content than ever before. Videos, blog articles, ebooks, individual posts...you name it. Stories can go viral in a moments notice and get out shined by another headline or hashtag just as fast.
"Predictions say in 2017, over 70% of marketers plan to create more content than they did in 2016, and over 75% will invest more in their content marketing programs."
As marketing professionals, it's easy to get caught up in vanity metrics that social media platforms display for us - "My Facebook ad reached 5,000 people last week!"
However, It's not so easy when your CEO starts asking you for conversion rates and ROI analysis of your current content strategy. The problem remains for those who are just getting started with their content strategy - How can you stand out against the competition and effectively drive new business?
Here are a few main concepts that we've learned so far from trends in 2017:
Consistency and Quality > Quantity
More people are posting and more money is being spent on content marketing, but don't be fooled into thinking that organic reach isn't achievable. Organic growth just takes a little more time and focus. Most importantly, it's about finding the messages that resonate with your target market and being consistent with your posting schedule. Your paid campaigns should compliment your organic efforts that perform well.
If you are truly creating valuable content, your followers will do the hard work for you. Humans are curious by nature and most of us love to share great content when we find it, even more so when interacting on social media. There is zero doubt that we live in digital-first society. Some age groups might be more active than others, but your customers and potential clients are focusing majority their attention on a variety of digital channels. There are actually medical articles on the growing concern for "Text Neck". It's exactly what you think it is. The remedy? Everybody needs to remember to look up from your phone once in a while. Nonetheless, a lot of time is spent on our various devices.
So, is it about having the most followers? Is it about posting the most content in a day/week? How do you provide value for your followers?
The real point is to get the attention your content deserves, you need to think less about posting more, and think more about how you can make each post better. Eli Hochberg, Founder of ELiVATED Systems, provides some insight on his recent successes specifically leveraging LinkedIn content:
"Less is more. I used to spam LinkedIn multiple times a day with no luck. Six weeks ago, I started posting just once a day. Fast forward to today and my posts average 10k+ views and has lead to 10 qualified leads this week alone..It's not about the volume - it's about the consistency. Show up every day. Your customers do." - Eli Hochberg.
Understand your audience, establish a schedule, analyze your results, optimize your content, and repeat.
It's Time to Lift the Lead Gates
The process of entering data on a form to download a digital asset is becoming outdated and overused. You need to find ways to free your content and align it with your sales initiatives. Encourage prospects to take the next step in your sales funnel once they have already consumed some of your content and have decided for themselves that they want more. If you are providing value that aligns with their needs, they'll willingly take the next action you direct them to.
The content marketing world is officially on overload with PDF's blocked by pop-up forms and ebooks promising to reveal the world's best kept secrets. Aaron Dun, Senior VP of Marketing at SnapApp, recently shared his thoughts at UberFlip's conference on how we can introduce interactive content to provide a better experience for our potential customers. This comes with better utilizing content such as surveys, quizzes, video messages, etc. This is content that portrays a conversational approach.
One important aspect of improving the experience offered in your campaigns is being able to score your leads on sales criteria and not just activity. Traditional lead scoring would have you assign a point system to various actions on your website, emails, or ads. To have a better impact, your marketing pieces should be customized throughout the buyer's journey and focus on proper data acquisition. Captivate your audience with value that encourages their engagement. The goal is to lose the lead gates, but not lose the leads.
H2H is the New Standard
Whether you are in a B2C or B2B business, all transactions derive from human-to-human interaction. Your creative team, digital team, and marketing team all need to be data-driven around your target personas to deliver relevant messages at the right time. Serving irrelevant content is the fastest way to stop individuals from engaging with your brand.
Technology and marketing automation is meant to help us work smarter and spend more time on the leads that matter. Too often professionals let automation intervene with their ability to engage with customers and lose the chance to carry a natural conversation. Use your data to improve every touchpoint with your customers. We are more connected than ever before and we are living in an engagement economy. Be human! Listen and talk with your audience, don't just sell to them.