Did you know 70% of marketers are actively investing in content marketing? It’s no surprise as we see buyer expectations shifting toward independent self-nurturing through personalized digital experiences. Content is key as it allows marketers to be a part of our prospects’ buying moments long before they book a demo.
That’s why you’ve decided to invest in creating high-value content, and that’s great! But are you investing in the content experience around it, too? Your buyers consider both your content and the environment where it lives to form their opinion of your company. The content experience is so influential to your prospects’ brand perception that 75% of users admit to making judgments about a company’s credibility based on their website’s design.
Getting the content experience right matters to the success of your content marketing campaign. In our experience, marketers who crush content experience deliver higher conversions, better customer retention rates, and greater brand awareness.
Here’s what you need to go beyond content marketing and excel at creating content experiences that convert:
Align your content to the buyer journey
Our raison d'être as content marketers is to help customers solve a problem or make a buying decision. In a sales funnel, you’re likely driving prospects from awareness to conversion. In a customer marketing campaign, you’re likely driving current customers along a post-sale journey towards retention and advocacy. Whichever path your customers are on, your goal is to serve up the most relevant and valuable content to your audience at the right time.
Our prospects’ needs change at every stage of the funnel. Identify the types of content you’re going to deliver at each buying stage by mapping your content to the buyer journey. For example, at Uberflip, we lead with persona or pain-related content at the awareness stage. We then layer on use cases and customer examples during the consideration stage. When a prospect reaches the purchase stage, we share product-focused content. Mapping your content also reveals gaps and opportunities within your content library to help you plan your production calendar.
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Adapt to changing B2B buyer expectations
The B2B buyer journey is experiencing a paradigm shift and we as marketers need to find new ways to meet expectations. B2B buyers look more like their B2C counterparts than ever before; buyers crave a seamless digital experience and want to spend more time self-nurturing before making a decision. Gartner research finds that, when B2B buyers are considering a purchase, they only spend 17% of that time meeting with potential suppliers. They spend 45% of their time researching independently, both digitally and offline.
B2B marketers need to find a way to be a part of prospects’ early buying moments. By reaching the audience with high-value content while they self-nurture, marketers can build trust quicker and accelerate the buyer journey. Enter: personalized content destinations.
The best content destinations give prospects the feeling that the experience was made just for them. When they click on your call-to-action, they should be immersed in a content experience that provides them with valuable content related to their pain points.
You’ve likely done a lot of research to understand your prospects’ needs. Now start creating high-impact content destinations by segmenting your audience based on persona, use case, and funnel stage. You can then use your content map to pick the most relevant content to meet the needs of each audience segment. Don’t be afraid to create multiple content destinations tailored to different pain messages.
Measure the value of your content experience
We’re thrilled to hear that B2B companies are embracing content marketing as a core part of their content strategy, but there’s one downside that marketers need to navigate. As content budgets increase for planning, production, and promotion, so does the pressure to prove the value of content to the wider organization. You can get a more holistic view of how your buyers are consuming your content but, to do it, you’ll need to break down your data silos and measure the performance of content throughout the buyer journey.
Caley Adair, former AVP of Content and Digital at MD Financial Management, shared how he connected his content management system, marketing automation platform, and customer relationship management systems to his content experience platform to get a complete picture of how content was influencing buyers’ purchase decisions.
“Content is not the end. Content is the means to the end,” Caley said.
Measuring the performance of your content experience will look different based on your objectives, but the closer you can get to true business impact—customer retention rate, new opportunities, or sales, for example—the better the key performance indicators (KPIs). According to HubSpot research, the most common measurement of success for content marketing programs is total sales.
When it comes to content measurement, a lot of the legwork happens before you start creating content. It’s a good idea to begin by setting content objectives and KPIs to measure the success of your campaigns. Ultimately, you want to draw a clear connection between content and business goals.
Improve your results by creating better content experiences
Content is a powerful tool that will accelerate the buyer journey… if the buyer finds value in your content. B2B buyer expectations are changing and marketers need to create content experiences that meet the needs of the modern buyer; one that can be tracked back to real business outcomes.