understanding email marketing, social media marketing, content marketing key points

I'd wager a bet that you have been doing
email marketing in your business without even knowing it email marketing is a
form of direct marketing that uses email as its main medium of communication this
means that you right now most likely have emails or newsletters in your inbox
that a company created and sent out to you for their own email marketing
campaign basically any email that you send to a potential or current customer
can be considered email marketing the goal of email marketing is to cultivate
a relationship with your customers start thinking about the types of emails you
can begin to send out to your customers or people subscribe to your email list
to get started with email marketing here are some first steps first find
businesses in your industry that are doing really neat things in the
marketing space I always recommend taking a look at what these players are
doing in your industry often they work with expensive marketing firms that use
cutting-edge technology and data for the smaller guy this means that you can look
at what they're creating and use that information to grow your own marketing
strategy once you have determined some marketing savvy industry players go
ahead and get on their mailing list I recommend setting up a filter that
directs these emails to a specific folder in your inbox that way they're
all stored somewhere easy where you can review them second dedicate some time to
observe their approach to email marketing you can do this by paying
attention to the subject line the content in the email itself the
frequency in which they send these emails out and the time of day they do
send them out take notes on what you like and what you dislike what I like to
do next is keep my email marketing a research folder up-to-date with emails
and offerings that serve as a constant source of inspiration and education
there really are some amazing email marketers out there you're not going to
copy but this is a great way to start modeling what others are doing until you
find your own voice whether it's hotmail Gmail Yahoo or
outlook everyone has an email address simply put this is a dream for marketers
since email delivers the highest ROI out of any marketing method let's dive into
the key advantages of using email marketing in your business as you watch
I want you to consider which advantages most relate to you first email marketing
is a must have today it's expected email is a professional marketing medium and
people expect to receive information about products and services through that
channel studies show that 72% of people prefer
to receive promotional content through email as compared to 17% who prefer
social media the second key advantage is that it's
accessible to any business big or small email marketing at its heart is
inexpensive unlike Facebook advertising you don't have to pay to get in front of
your customer granted you will need to use an email marketing provider someone
like MailChimp in order to send out emails and maintain your lists often
there are free accounts so you don't need to invest a lot of money up front
this means email marketing is totally scaleable and easy to get started third
it's measurable it's really easy to see how your email campaigns are performing
and these measurements take all the guesswork out of your email marketing
most service providers offer dashboards with real-time metrics like opens clicks
bounces forwards social shares and more lastly email marketing complements all
other marketing strategies email is a great direct marketing tool meaning that
you can influence your customers or prospects with one to one content but it
also works great as an amplification tool so suppose you're having an
in-store sale of course you're gonna have all your other marketing tactics in
play like in-store signage coupon codes and the like with email you would then
craft a strategy to amplify these efforts you would send a newsletter out
to your list letting them know of your sale when it starts and
and the benefits for them now that you've considered why you need to get
started with email marketing let's set a goal how can email marketing benefit
your business where do you see email marketing complementing your existing
efforts uncover your why and you're ready to get started you
adding email into your existing marketing efforts can be seamless while
increasing your brand's awareness driving traffic to your website and
boosting your bottom line your first step to integrating email marketing is
to define your marketing objective basically that's determining what the
nature of your email campaigns will be for example you could decide to focus on
newsletters that drive brand awareness and keep customers and prospects
up-to-date on your business services or products in those newsletters you could
include recent company blog posts upcoming events or unique content cater
to your audience as always start simple it can be totally overwhelming beginning
your email marketing on top of everything else you have to focus on in
your business but as you learn the tools test your campaigns and become more
familiar with email marketing then you can add more complexity as you begin to
add your email marketing into the mix an important piece will be allocating the
proper resources if you are in an organization with multiple teams you may
need to get buy-in from management if you're a solopreneur start adding email
marketing tasks to your calendar to ensure you allocate enough time per day
week or month it handles a new workload once you are clear on your email
marketing objectives and you have the resources in place you will need to find
a service provider you can't send out emails to customers
or prospects without the use of one and there are two things to consider when
choosing a provider that's compliance and features due to strict spam and
privacy laws be sure to find a provider that is in compliance and most large
providers like MailChimp are but sending from your personal email account is not
in compliance as for features you will want to take a look at the various
options for each service provider looking at the features on MailChimp you
can see that they have the ability to integrate with your online store they
have the ability as well to automate your email marketing this means it makes
it really easy for you to scale your email efforts MailChimp can help you as
well with your Google remarketing advertisements if you do play
on a lot of volume so that means you'll be sending out a lot of emails you might
wish to choose a provider with adequate pricing so that you aren't getting
dinged every time you send out an email if you are a beginner I recommend
starting with MailChimp or drip you can always switch providers as your needs
grow but it's even better to choose a provider who will grow along with your
business's needs and email list adding email into your marketing will be one of
the best decisions that you make by allocating resources and finding the
perfect provider you will be well on your way when beginning email marketing
understanding the individual elements of what makes up an email strategy is
really important let's go over these key elements the first element to know and
to understand is your target this is the person that you wish to directly market
to with your email campaign in order for this person to begin receiving your
emails they will need to become a subscriber and a subscriber is just that
it is someone who is opted in to receive your email communications this can be
through a web form on your website manually from a tradeshow sign up list
or perhaps they've bought a product for you in the past
all of these subscribers form what's known as your list your list will be
stored and kept in your email marketing service another key element with email
marketing is segmentation this simply means that you're able to categorize
different subscribers into different lists groups or subgroups for example
you might segment your list by creating a group of just customers you might also
segment by location products they purchased or even have a
group of prospects that have not yet bought anything an email service
provider who does a great job of segmentation is clay vo if you integrate
with Shopify they'll automatically segment your list into customers who
have purchased in the last 30 days as well as those who have bought over $100
another critical element is your open rate you will find that on your
analytics dashboard this will be one of the main metrics you look at when
determining the success of your email campaigns simply put your open rate is
how many people opened your email you will also be able to look at the
click-through rate that's how many people click on the link that you
included in your email one thing to note when talking about email campaigns is
that they can be only one email or can have multiple emails that make up one
campaign when we talk about email campaigns with multiple emails they're
often labeled as a flow or an automation email series a good example of this is a
welcome flow many businesses have these in place so that after a person
subscribes to the list there automatically entered into a welcome
email series or flow they have preset up it would be something like this email
number one would say something like thanks for joining
email number two would be more of a general follow up with a subject like
commonly asked questions and email number three this could be the final
email before you enter them into your general newsletter mailings and it might
ask if they have any questions as you begin to set up your own email campaigns
you'll see that getting started can be easy go through each element discussed
as you setup your own email campaign and begin testing the various elements to
see which works best with your intended audience did you know that the more you
personalize your emails the more opens they'll get this is called segmentation
strategy and the goal is to find a way to speak directly to your customers
based on their interests demographics and buying profile here's how you can
get the most out of your segmentation strategy determine your goal is it to
sell a specific product or service is it a gain product reviews to fundraise or
maybe drive traffic to your blog understand you can have multiple goals
and the large scheme of things but when you are segmenting your subscribers you
will want a very specific goal some may fit into more than one goal but for now
let's focus on one and work backwards to develop a strategy segmenting your list
can seem overwhelming but in the beginning start small and segment only
one key variable if you have not yet started segmenting your list start by
picking the most relevant attribute for your business and using it to divide
your emails into two for example it could be customers and non customers
you're going to speak very differently to customers than your prospects next is
personalization the goal of segmentation is to foster a one-to-one relationship
with your subscriber you want to make it feel like you're talking right to them
now thousands of other people at the same time online retailers do an amazing
job of this I encourage you to sign up for a popular online retailer and watch
the personalized emails roll in with specific deals and products just for you
this level of segmentation takes a lot of time and creativity but there are
certain ways that you can adapt these strategies into your own email marketing
as you begin to grow your email list you can explore the different ways to
segment your customers remember the goal is to personalize your email content so
that your customers feel like you're speaking directly to them with that in
mind what is one key attribute you can use to segment your own customer base as with any type of marketing the key to
achieving success is all in your strategic planning let's go over how you
can create a powerful email marketing strategy for your business first and
foremost focus on list growth without people on your list
there is no email strategy some ways you can actively build your list is having
an easy and accessible way for people to become a part of it your website will be
a key component make sure you have a sign-up form some are obvious on your
homepage make it really easy for people to stay in touch next make sure you have
all the permission levels in place you only want people who have expressly
given you permission on your list you can do this by having a double opt-in
set up or even just by making it really easy for people to unsubscribe from your
emails with an obvious option at the bottom once people have happily
subscribed to your list get white listed white listing is when you have people
add you to their trusted contact list with their email provider getting white
listed helps you avoid spam filters and if people have the promotion tab setup
in Gmail this helps you show up in their main inbox now that your list is growing
make sure that your segmenting your list as you grow it'll be a lot easier
segmenting in the beginning than having to go back and do it this means that
you're grouping people according to specific variables that you've decided
on part of your strategy will be deciding how you segment your
subscribers one segmentation is in play this will allow you to get personal
personalization is the goal in any email marketing campaign how can you
personalize the content and emails that you send out to your list using your
knowledge of purchases location and interests you can individualize your
emails to create a greater impact similar to segmentation automation is
best set up early in your email marketing strategy automation allows you
to scale your email marketing efforts and will help you focus more time on the
important things and takes out of the manual work that eats up all your time
if you head to campaigns in your MailChimp dashboard and select create
campaign it's here under Creighton email that you
have an option to set up an automated email so MailChimp will walk you through
they have a couple different options including subscriber activities so
you're able to set up an automated flow to respond when a subscriber updates if
you have a store integrated it's here that you can have some really robust
automation as well as anything date based so say you have a specific date
and need to send out an appointment and then you have some additional advanced
functionality working with the API an example of automation is a post purchase
email sequence thank Amazon after you purchase a product you receive a
confirmation order that your order has been received then you receive an email
letting you know when it has been shipped and then another email notifying
you that your product has been delivered Amazon has the entire product life cycle
automated once the order is made the email automation sequence is kicked off
lastly without actual emails being sent out all of the strategies lost build a
Content calendar to help you determine what you must to create what to include
in them when to send and whom to send to now that you understand the components
of a strong email strategy begin developing yours by taking steps to grow
your email list you
social media marketing has the ability to bring a new kind of exposure to your
business by leveraging social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter
you'll find opportunities to capture new customers as well as re-engage existing
ones there's also more value in social media than just brand recognition and
website traffic let's explore some of the other value ads within social media
first of all social media marketing creates opportunity to hear directly
from your customers oftentimes they'll share things with your social channels
or ask questions that might help you identify how to serve them better but
beyond their direct interaction you'll get a sense of what's important to your
audience by looking at what they share and how frequently with an active
audience you can ask for feedback or test ideas before creating larger
marketing initiatives secondly you'll establish credibility today's savvy
consumers are spending more time researching brands and products before
spending money with an active social media presence you'll allow your
customers to indirectly advocate for you if they're leaving a positive comment
sharing a review or interacting with your content it'll boost your overall
credibility thirdly you'll develop a community a community is an important
tool for driving awareness of your brand as customers become advocates they'll
run to social media to shower you with praise it's this community that will
ignite your word-of-mouth marketing and help you reach untapped territory
friends look to friends for recommendations and social media allows
you to activate those opportunities and expose your brand to a new audience now
these are just a few examples on the value of social media take the time to
look at your own objectives what would be the biggest value for you each value
can have a different motivation you might want to build a community simply
to retain your existing customer base whereas another business might build a
community for the sole purpose of getting content to go viral decide your
main goal for leveraging social media marketing while Facebook and Twitter share certain
similarities in that they're both social networks where you can post and consume
information they're actually two very different platforms in a nutshell
Twitter tends to be a public real-time feed of short thoughts whereas Facebook
is a more private network used to catalog information and ideas with
friends and family Twitter is perfect for short rapid communication and it
tends to be a top choice for consumers looking to get support or provide a
shout out to brands twitter also has impressive mobile saturation with around
80% of twitter users checking their feeds multiple times throughout the day
from a mobile device Facebook boasts a high percentage of
users who have graduated from college so you'll find a strong middle class
represented and if your brand appeals to those ages between 24 and 50 there's an
opportunity on Facebook for you younger users are shifting away from Facebook
and joining the reins of Instagram or snapchat as for the gender ratio it's
fairly well split between male and female users you can be on both networks
simultaneously but understanding these fundamental differences will help you
determine the right strategy em only think about strategy consider that
Twitter content has a short life span almost 90% of all engagement on a tweet
happens within the first hour that number might shift if you get a retweet
by a large brand or person but remember that it does have a really short life
span with Facebook updates they can live on for several days
Facebook delivers content when it thinks it's most relevant to a particular user
think of Facebook as an ongoing conversation and Twitter as a real-time
instantaneous one as you explore when and how frequently to post content
you'll find that both networks have different optimal posting times these
times are going to be dependent on your audience your geographic location and
the category of business you operate within if you are just starting out
I recommend exploring both networks twitter is a great place for handling
customer service and providing short updates as they relate to your business
Facebook is an excellent place to share in-depth content and to create
conversations around particular topics looking at the differences between both
Facebook and Twitter is there one that really sticks out for your business
remember starting out it doesn't hurt to try both but there might be one that
fits a little bit better into your social media marketing strategy you
anytime you begin using any social network it's critical to define your
core marketing objective let's go over how you may wish to leverage Facebook to
meet your marketing goals Facebook has a very different audience and the way that
people interact with content is slightly different than with Twitter with
Facebook you have the opportunity to present long-form content that is
anything that exceeds 280 characters because if you recall a tweet cannot
exceed that many characters but Facebook posts they'll let you have longer
content also you'll find that Facebook doesn't demand the quantity of updates
at Twitter does so you can get away with a couple of posts per day the lifespan
of Facebook content as well is a lot longer than that of Twitter so you can
consider that as you define your objectives and decide how much time and
energy you'll put into various content pieces at a high level
your main goal on Facebook is likely going to be generating a fan base and
that is done by getting people to like your Facebook page
whereas on Twitter you'll be gaining followers on Facebook they're called
fans you can leverage this audience to accomplish your business objective and
as much as we saw again with Twitter this might be to generate brand
awareness increase sales drive traffic to your website and so on your objective
will dictate the type of content you promote and with what frequency as with
most social media a main objective is to publish content that not only meets your
business goals but is also unique enough to be shared and liked these actions
help to promote your content to a broad audience so your first step is to define
your objective how will you use Facebook to support your marketing goals the first step in creating high quality
content for Facebook is deciding on your goal put another way what action do you
want your reader to take after they consume your content
what will compel them to take action and what supporting information can you
provide to help combat any doubts that they have take a minute to answer these
questions because doing so will help you put together a framework for building
that high quality content high quality content really requires connecting with
your audience with the right message at the right time and as you go about
developing that content consider that more than a third of Facebook users are
viewing your content on their mobile device this means that the amount of
content displayed on the screen before truncates
is going to be less there's just less screen real estate so that means you're
going to want to find that sweet spot in the amount of characters you use with
that said aiming for 250 characters or less is a great principle to test test
it out and see how it works for your business but it's a great starting point
it is by no means a rule and your audience might enjoy long-form content
or even extremely short status updates but it is a great place to start also
consider using eye catching images with any Content that you post you can even
experiment with using links or videos as both are something that Facebook
supports when you're just getting started it's really a good idea to try
all kinds of different posts to see which ones get the most attention from
your audience visual posts tend to look better and also get a lot more likes
shares and comments than other kinds of posts and that is the case for most
brands you can also try posts such as offers or even creating an event for a
special occasion use a level of responsiveness on each particular piece
of content to gauge how well it does this way you can compare how well a
photo does for your audience versus say a strictly text post and then experiment
try throwing in an info graph fake a quote maybe a behind-the-scenes
photo change it up from time to time and see how your audience responds you over 336 million people worldwide turned
to Twitter every day and there they talk about things that interest them they
might be interacting with a trending topic such as the launch of the new
iPhone they may be learning about world events talking about their day to day
life or even interacting with brands like yours being a business on Twitter
is about creating and capturing these conversations you might leverage Twitter
to share details on a new product a behind-the-scenes look on your process
or helpful tips that in turn can boost your retention you might even convey
your brand's personality by sharing other news from your industry or adding
an opinion to an existing topic as a business the goal is to obtain followers
by adding value to the Twitter network by building followers you can expand on
existing customer relationships and develop new leads all while building a
visible presence almost every major brand has a presence on Twitter each
with a unique goal but at the core the biggest benefit to being on Twitter is
having another channel to educate and engage with current and potential
customers before you start diving in it's important to note that Twitter is a
very timely network that means it requires a willingness to commit to
frequent posts otherwise your brand runs the risk of looking stale and unengaged
customers really enjoy interacting with brands on Twitter they love to give a
shout out for a job well done just as much as they'd like to know that you're
responsive to questions should issues arise so your first step is to determine
if you're willing to commit the necessary resources to maintain your
presence on Twitter as a starting point decide to interact once or twice a day
until you see what works best for your business with the right level of
commitment businesses can see great results people want to hear from brands
like you on Twitter it's a quick way for them to evaluate your brand to check for
a special offer and to see what others have to say about your brand itself once
you decide to use Twitter for your business the right time investment mixed
with high quality strategy will help your brand grow to be successful on Twitter you'll need
to identify your core marketing objective at a high level you'll want to
understand what it is that you're wishing to accomplish by understanding
your objective you'll be able to quickly identify whether or not your efforts are
successful for some brands Twitter might simply be a customer support hub this is
a place to respond to customers and engage with the community your goals
might be measured on the qualitative scale this means you'll have to
determine if the quality of your engagements with your customers using
this example are worth your brand's effort on Twitter for other brands the
focus might be to establish brand recognition
so they'll spend their time and energy building authority in their niche the
success metrics will be a blend of qualitative and quantitative so the look
at the amount of reach their tweets are getting and the volume of followers in
order to see if the objective is being met the types of responses and mentions
the brand receives will also help determine how valuable the overall
effort is and the last major focus for a brand might be the actual sales or
traffic component so that means that you'll include links to the website
promotional opportunities for your products and product announcements and
this objective is easy to track so it's highly quantitative and will be measured
directly through the revenue that you generate you certainly can have multiple
objectives but the key is to identify your primary one and then build your
strategy around that one focus if sales is the goal you'll need to attract
followers build high quality tweets that gain traction and include relevant calls
to action to encourage the sale you'll also need to provide customer
service with all that being said and at the same time generate brand recognition
in the process so you can see how they all work together take a few minutes now
to write out your marketing objective for Twitter and decide if you'll be
measuring the results by quality quantity or a true mix you the most important aspect of content
fundamentals is really defining and understanding the importance of content
marketing so there's a lot of noise about content marketing today everyone's
talking about it there's a ton of content out there about
it but really a lot of marketers are not totally sure how to define content
marketing and how to really fit it as part of their marketing strategy so
content marketing is the process of creating valuable relevant content to
attract acquire and engage your audience and now this is just one of the many
possible definitions on content marketing but it's one that I think
really defines and exemplifies some of the great aspects of what content
marketing can do for your business businesses today need content marketing
it's a critical aspect of being visible in today's digital busy world so why
there's an abundance of information out there on the internet for your customers
your customers are sifting through thousands and hundreds of messages each
day whether it's doing their own research online you know push messaging
that's coming across from marketers emails that are coming in to their
mailbox there's a ton of information out there and it's extremely difficult for
you as a marketer to get heard through all of that noise we also live in a
multi-device world your customers move seamlessly through their laptops to
their phones to their tablet they can carry information around with them in
their pocket and access it any minute at anytime in a 24/7 world so because
there's such an access to information and tons of these multi devices it's
difficult for you as a marketer to get heard from your customers and we live in
a multi-channel world as well so not only are your customers accessing
information on multiple devices but they are also accessing information across
channels so what do I mean by that your customers are on social media there are
unsearched they're on your website they're on review sites like Yelp and
Google there's really a ton of different channels today that your customers
live and as a marketer it's important to be present and be relevant on all those
channels so what does all of this mean all of this information these multi
devices multi channels it's a very complex world out there and all of that
equals attention scarcity what that means is that your customers attention
is really divided amongst all of these you know different areas and therefore
the attention that they actually have for you and your messaging is scarce but
content marketing helps you actually break through that noise because you're
providing Salt leadership and you're differentiating your brand from all the
other brands out there by creating valuable relevant and educational
content you can be seen in front of your customers on those different channels on
those different devices and really become that trusted resource through all
of that information content marketing has these seven qualifications so as
you're thinking about planning out your content marketing strategy and as you're
thinking about content marketing in general for your business make sure that
these seven elements are present so number one content marketing engages
individuals on their own terms so this means being available and being relevant
where your audience lives so that's that concept of multi-channel multi-device
your content marketing is based on interactions with your buyers so you
should be creating content that is relevant to what your buyers want to
hear and what they're searching for your content marketing should tell a
continuous story your content should tell not only your business story but
also the story of your customers and it really does have to be a story it has to
be a narrative that's interesting and engaging make sure that content
marketing is the right fit for your channels so you need to create different
types of content for different channels one type of content that's great for
your social media channel might not be right for email marketing or a paid
program that you're doing so make sure that the content that you're creating is
you know you think about being channel specific number five your content has a
clear purpose so this means that all you create should have a goal should
have a purpose in mind you're creating content for thought leadership brand
awareness lead generation all of these things make sure it has a purpose and
that leads me to number six your content marketing has predefined metrics you
should be creating content with end goals in mind whether that's X amount of
new customers maybe its new followers on your social networks whatever your
predefined metrics should be make sure you determine those before you go in and
actually create that content and number seven content marketing is almost always
evergreen so this means keep in mind your entire lifecycle when you think
about your different content content should last month's content should last
years it's not totally always like this like for instance sometimes you'll
create a piece of content on a trend related item for social media that might
not be evergreen but your large pieces your ebooks you want to think about
content themes and arcs that span multiple quarters so that you can get
the most bang for your buck so just some additional stats to keep in mind as
you're thinking about your content strategy and as we define content
marketing further 71 percent of consumers trust solutions that provide
useful information without trying to sell something so your content should be
educational it should be thought leadership for the purpose of building
that trust in building those relationships over time 62 percent of
consumers trust solutions that provide information and best practices for tools
they've bought you want to teach your customers how to use your products and
services better you want to teach them best practices and you want to educate
them this over time will really enable that lifelong value and that lifelong
relationship building from your customers given our definition of
content marketing and these seven qualifications take some time to sit
down and determine how you can fit your content marketing strategy into each of
these seven items by really mapping out your reasons for content marketing and
defining what content marketing means for your business
you can truly create a content marketing strategy from A to Z understanding the benefits of content
marketing is critical to creating a content marketing strategy that works
for your business a lot of the marketing activities that you partake in with your
company such as attending a tradeshow doing a banner ad paying for a
pay-per-click ad this is all essentially renting attention you're paying a fixed
fee to rent the audience of another vendor for instance if you're at a
tradeshow you're paying a certain amount of money to have a booth and to get the
benefits of that audience for that tradeshow in contrast content marketing
is like owning your own attention you're creating that thought leadership
in-house you're creating that content in-house even though initially there
might be a spend to begin with you are great gaining your own attention over
time you're promoting your own content out you're creating your own audience so
it's essentially like owning your own attention you're not continuously
spending money on renting other people's thought leadership in the audience that
they have built brands today need to become their own publishers and content
marketing is how to do that and create your own Salt leadership because your
audience is out there doing their own research they're downloading information
off online and why not be the place where your customers are finding that
information why not be the creators of that research and that's how brands
today become their own publishers so what are some additional benefits for
content marketing benefit number one brand awareness up to 93% of the buying
journey starts with a search online content builds organic awareness through
search and social you want to be available when your buyers are searching
for you they are doing that research so you want to make sure that your content
is front and center and by creating content you build that brand awareness
so that when your buyers do search your content in your educational materials
come up benefit number two create brand preference thought leadership builds
trust in brand preference people are more likely to purchase from companies
who they trust by creating that content in becoming that educational resource
for your customers you start to build that
relationship and build that trust therefore if a customer is constantly
searching out content on a certain subject and your content is the content
that's continuously coming up when that customer is going to make that purchase
they will most likely find your content and think about you first and that's how
you're building that trust when it comes to purchasing decisions benefit number
three reach more buyers at a lower cost unlike renting attention where you're
paying to rent other people's audience the return on content happens over a
longer time even though you have that initial spend because your content is
evergreen and built to last and because you're building your own audience and
owning your own audience you can reach more buyers at a lower cost over time so
given the benefits that we've discussed I hope that you can now apply this to
your own content marketing and really start thinking about how content
marketing can help your business over time take these benefits and approach
your internal stakeholders so that you can really start creating that plan for
content marketing in order for your content marketing to
be relevant and effective you must create your buyer personas and buyer
journeys most companies have many different types of buyers these are your
personas these are the people that you connect with each day with all of your
marketing activities most companies have multiple different people that buy your
product or service so you want to make sure that you create content that is
relevant and effective for each individual person and each of these
personas will have their own buying journey this is essentially the journey
that they take from when they initially start researching a topic to when they
make a purchase each buying journey has multiple different steps and it's
critical that your content marketing really address each of the different
questions and concerns that a buyer has in each step of this process in order
for your content to be relevant and effective it must speak to both your
buyer personas and their journeys so creating buyer personas help you
essentially choose what type of content you want to create not every type of
content is going to work for every single buyer it also allows you to
target the right topics that your buyers actually care about so by doing the
research to determine what are your different personas care about and what
do they want to read you can certainly target what type of content you're
creating your personas also help set the tone in the voice for all of your
content assets you might have one buyer persona that likes to hear their content
in a more conversational way another type of persona might want more of an
authoritative more research driven type of content and by doing buyer persona
research you can really determine what type and tone and voice of your content
needs to be buyer journeys help you know what content create for each buying
stage like I said each journey has multiple different stages in a proper
content plan will have content that speaks to the questions and concerns
your buyers have at each stage buyer journeys also help you know where your
buyers consume your content at each buying stage so somebody who's initially
researching your product might be finding out about your content on social
media whereas somebody that's close to making a purchase decision my
looking at a content syndication site or potentially your website so it's
important to know where exactly your buyers look at each stage of the journey
so how do you find out this information how do you create your personas and your
journeys you are gonna have to conduct interviews and research so how do you do
this so first you're gonna want to speak with your sales teams your sales teams
are really on the front lines of speaking with your prospects every CH
and every day they know exactly what types of questions and concerns your
potential customers have so sit down and speak with your sales team to determine
what exactly they know about your current customers your customer service
teams are also on the front lines with your customers each and every day in
fact they know very very closely what type of concerns your current customers
might have so speak with your customer service teams to determine what type of
issues problems and questions your current customers ask you also want to
speak with current customers it's important to get both sides of the story
so speak to both happy and unhappy customers this will give you a
well-rounded perspective when determining what you should write
content about and then also if possible speak with prospects the people that
have yet to become customers but who hopefully will in the future during your
interviews you want to find out some of the following information and this could
be limited to what's here or you could well expand it into what makes sense for
your own business the type of information you'll want to
find out to actually create your persona as information about background
potentially job details the goals and challenges of your personas where do
they source their information watch their preferred content medium some
people like to read content in an e-book form other people might want to watch a
video get some actual quotes from customers what about their objections
what type of objections do they commonly say if they're speaking to a salesperson
and then watch their role in the purchase process you might have multiple
personas that are the decision-maker and then some personas might also be
assistants to the decision-maker so lots of especially long sale cycle these days
have large buying teams so you might want to create personas for each member
of the buying team and create a sample marketing message for
each one of your personas so that you know exactly how you're speaking to them
in addition to your sample buyer persona you also want to create a sample buyer
journey the information from all of your interviews will lend itself very well to
creating this type of journey remember that a buyer journey has each different
stage and they might be different stages depending on your own sales cycle in
your own buyers but here's just an example it could be calm status quo
shattered search around problem frame problem in solution consult peers and
experts engage potential providers so those are just an example of some of
your buyer journey stages and then in addition to each stage you want to
provide an explanation and potentially any questions or concerns that buyers
bring up at each stage now that you've created your personas and your journeys
it's time to align your content it's extremely important to create content
that speaks to each persona and each stage in the buying journey and that
will make up your content mix so now that I've gone over persona and journey
sit down with your stakeholders in your organization determine what questions
you should ask and now create your own in order for your content marketing to
be successful you must set your content goals you should always have goals for
your content marketing and they should be the first thing that you set up goals
help you choose the right assets for your organization design content to be
measurable upfront and help you define success a content marketing plan without
goals will simply not go anywhere so goals are critical to ensure that the
content you're creating is the right content and now you're able to
appropriately define success so what are the steps you need to take in order to
set your content marketing goals step 1 meet with stakeholders to get their
point of view on goals you need to determine who is involved in creating
content there's most likely a variety of team and a variety of team leaders who
are involved in creating content and promoting it so get together your
marketing team leaders sales team leaders and customer service team
leaders step number two ask yourself some foundational questions why are you
creating content what programs are you planning on using your content in what
are your short-term goals and what are your long-term goals asking yourself and
your stakeholders these questions will help you set a solid foundation for
creating your content marketing strategy step number three define your
qualitative goals these are goals like brand recognition thought leadership
social engagement relationship building trust these are all extremely important
goals to content marketing so although these particular goals might not have a
number assigned to them they are critical step number four define your
quantitative goals so these are goals that actually do have a number
associated with them so these might be number of new leads number of downloads
for each content asset specific number of social shares percentage of leads
that turn to opportunities that turn to closed deals how much pipeline your
content has generated how much revenue all of these quantitative goals are
measurable and should be measured and they should be measured in addition to
the qualitative goals so that you have a holistic view of all of your content
marketing goal how do you track your goals you can
track your goals in your marketing automation platform this is great for
tracking those quantitative goals like number of leads downloads and revenue
Google Analytics is great for traffic and conversions you want to track your
social channels for increase in social shares your CRM tool you could track for
customer engagement and your content management tool you can also track stuff
like downloads and engagement and then add your goals to a plan put it down on
paper you'll want to socialize your goals with your team present it to the
stakeholders you can schedule weekly or monthly metrics check-ins meetings and
hold yourself accountable to your goals you can't create a Content plan within a
vacuum so by showing your organization that you are able to tie your content
efforts to goals you ultimately get more budget and more team and bandwidth to
create more content over time now that we've sat down to discuss how
to create your goals for your content marketing sit down talk to your
stakeholders ask yourself questions put everything down on paper and ultimately
create your plan mapping your content to your sales
funnel helps to ensure that you're moving new buyers to actually become
customers once you understand your buyer journey and have created your content
themes and brainstormed ideas you need a map your content to your sales funnel
why well you need to create content that speaks to your buyer at every stage of
your sales funnel first you need a know your sales funnel
this could be different based on your business whether you're a b2b business
or b2c business that'll make a difference your sales funnel typically
starts at a top of funnel stage where most of your new buyers and your new
leads are coming in it gets a little narrower in the middle of your funnel
where you're actually starting to nurture your leads and you know who they
are and then at the bottom of your funnel you have leaves that are very
close to becoming customers and then they are customers so again this will
vary based on your business but it's important to understand your funnel and
to start to map your content to these different stages so let's walk through
let's start with your top of funnel tofu content this person is at the beginning
of your sales and marketing funnel she is aware of your service but she is not
ready to buy this person might have found used their social media she may
have gotten on your website offered types for your top of funnel content our
educational and thought leadership do not mix this with content that has too
much product information let's take a look at some tofu content in action all
of these examples are ebooks that are best practice in thought leadership that
each of these vendor publishers have created to help educate their audience
so now let's go to the middle of your funnel your mo foo content this person
has displayed buying behavior is engaged with your content and is potentially a
sales lead so this person knows who you are and you might be nurturing them over
time offer types here are third-party reports return on investment calculators
for your products or buying guides to help these people make a decision to
purchase your product so now let's take a look at mo foo content in action in
contrast with the tofu content assets all of these three examples actually
speak a bit about the product in the core business Kate says each of these
companies are trying to sell so the one on the
left developing a business case from marketing automation the one in the
middle is a third-party asset that talks about the total and economic impact of
the company and then the one on the right is a buyer's guide so all of these
pieces are working to push the buyer through that funnel now let's talk about
your bo foo content that bottom of the funnel content this person is very close
to becoming a customer your offers here are very specific to your product or
your service so your offer types are promotional and return on investment
proving some examples here are to prove competitive and value so some ideas
could be pricing sheets these could be customer case studies you really want to
show a customer in the bo foo stage that your product is the correct choice now
that you understand your own sales funnel you can take your content and you
can map it to each of the stages in your funnel then you can make sure that
you're pushing leads to eventually become customers you want to make sure you have a solid
content mix so you need to choose your content types when it comes to content
there are a lot of types to choose from you can choose your content types based
on your brand look and feel the different content topic you choose your
content goals and your proposed promotional channels first let's talk
about blog posts blog posts are short pieces of content that are regularly
updated on your company blog your blog post can range anywhere from about 300
to 700 words and they can be about a variety of topics blogs are fantastic
for tren related content and when you need to put out a point of view at a
very fast pace now let's talk about cheat sheets cheat sheets are short
pieces of downloadable content that are created for the purpose of giving the
reader quick access to a series of tips or best practices your cheat sheets are
typically one-page they can be front and back and they don't have too much design
these are simple easy to digest content assets you may or may not want to create
a content piece similar to a definitive guide a definitive guide is a very large
content piece often over 60 pages that you can then break apart into smaller
supplemental content items these take a lot of effort and are often in
conjunction with a large promotional plan these can really anchor your
content themes for a quarter ebooks are the bread and butter of your content
strategy particularly if you are in a b2b company an e-book is an electronic
version of a shortened book it is designed to contain salt leadership and
best practices on a particular topic ebooks can be short four to five pages
or they can be much longer at around 50 pages your ebooks should be designed to
fit your brand and give you the opportunity to present your information
in a creative way infographics take information like statistics or best
practices and present it in a visual way infographics are generally vertical
graphics that are short and easy to consume your graphics should be highly
visual with an interesting hook typically infographics are created to be
presented on your blog and then you can promote them out for inbound links in
media attention reports can be created by collecting survey and industry data
and presenting it prehensile document reports often
contain lots of statistics a strong point of view and are generally
formatted like an e-book reports can be a critical cornerstone of your content
and gain a lot of recognition in your industry don't just stop at downloadable
content think about what else you can create that is interesting fun shareable
and engaging for your audience think outside of the box because content can
take many forms videos are an engaging and visual form of live-action content
that can be filmed and promoted on YouTube social channels and your website
your videos can range from product related topics to stories music videos
and more they can also range in length from 30 seconds to 10 minutes however
note that best practices here are for most of your videos to clock in at
around 1 to 2 minutes people have short attention spans visuals slide decks
present information statistics and best practices in a highly visual format
using slides often your slide decks can almost be like an infographic chopped-up
you can publish them on SlideShare and promote out on your website in social
channels a caution here is to make sure each of your slides are professionally
designed and does not include too much text a webinar is either a live or
recorded presentation that a speaker presents along with a slide deck these
are generally events for your audience signs up at ends and asks questions
webinars are generally topical and can be easily recorded for later viewing a
downloadable workbook provides your readers with an actionable template to
fill in his or her own answers to questions these are great if you're
trying to teach your audience something in particular using a checklist table or
fill in the blanks now that we've broken down all the different content types you
can then start to really formulate what your content marketing mix is going to
look like once you have a good idea what types of
content you will be creating next you have to plan your editorial calendar
before you create your calendar you need to think about your content mix what are
the different types of content you're creating and how are you going to fit
them in your plan to make a diverse content plan think about your content in
food groups this is actually a great analogy developed by Ann Handley to help
you determine what should be in your content mix first you have your roasts
these are your large content initiatives this would be if you're planning to
create a definitive guide a large ebook or anything that has a promotional plan
that's extensive behind it these would be your big rock pieces next you need to
make sure you have your Raisin Bran these are everyday pieces of content
they are quick and consumable like cheat sheets checklists and best practices
these should also be a big part of your content mix in addition to those roasts
next we have our spinach these are content items packed with nutrients this
is your high-level thought leadership this could be a report that presents
findings that you have in a survey it could be a really high-level ebook an
executive piece of thought leadership either way you need to make sure that
these items are included in your overall content plan next we have chocolate cake
these are your fun light-hearted and indulgent pieces of content this could
be infographics any type of special projects you're creating fun videos
ideally these are pieces of content that you're sharing on a regular basis on
social channels and then you have your Tabasco sauce this is content with some
spice content that challenges asks hard questions or provokes responses your
Tabasco content is often best on a blog post so definitely take that into
consideration but make sure you're not saying anything that's off-brand a
Content plan and an editorial calendar can help you stay organized so you need
to make sure that you are adhering to this mix you don't want your content to
be homogenized and you don't want to be putting out things that are the same day
in and day out editorial calendar also helps you
increase visibility across your organization so that people in your
company know exactly what content you're creating and when it also helps to align
your team's you might have different content that you're creating on demand
gen versus customer versus brand so how do you organize your calendar first the
content mix that we spoke about earlier then you should organize based on
different teams depending on who you're creating content for any ongoing
campaigns that you have to keep in mind and strategic initiatives these should
all be on your editorial calendar what calendar platform should you use there
are many options here basically you just need to make sure that you're putting
them down into a calendar form you can use a calendar in your content
management tool consider a google calendar that you can share with folks
across the organization or a Google spreadsheet even if you don't
necessarily want to put it in a calendar form or your marketing automation
calendar many marketing automation platforms today have calendar
functionality that you can add your content mix to who should see my
calendar your editorial calendar should be available to marketing sales customer
service executives or anybody else who wants to know what specific content that
you're creating here's a few examples of different types of calendars calendar
example number one is a detailed spreadsheet a spreadsheet could be
useful if you have multiple different content types you want to include the
status production start and completion date maybe you want to say what business
unit this is for your persona right resource section type if you have lots
of different items that you need to put in a calendar form sometimes a
spreadsheet type format works great calendar example number two is within a
content management platform this one is from Divi HQ this one has an actual
calendar format where you can toggle based on specific due dates
what calendar so what business unit is for the team member it's assigned two
content type or your content strategy no matter how you decide to organize your
editorial in what you include in your calendar
make sure it has that content mix that we spoke about and that everything is
organized so go ahead write down your plan and put it in a calendar you

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