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successful content marketing tactics

Five Successful Content Marketing Tactics, Backed By Stats [Infographic]

New content marketing tactics are circulating every day. So how do you sift through them all to find the ones that really work? Turn to the ones backed by solid stats.

Content Marketing Tactics & Your Marketing Mix

Content marketing is essential to every business’ marketing mix, from the beginning of the sales cycle to the end. That means everything from a short blog post to a hefty white paper can mean the difference between a bounce and a sale.

Applying fact-driven marketing tactics to your day-to-day marketing mix can have a lasting impact on your organic traffic, lead gen strategy, and sales funnel. Check out these five content marketing tactics that work, with the stats to prove it.

successful content marketing tactics

Sources:

9 Stats That Will Make You Want to Invest in Content Marketing
The 2017 Content Preferences Survey Report
How to Create a Content Strategy That Actually Drives Organic Traffic
2016 Content Preferences Survey: B2B Buyers Value Content That Offers Data And Analysis
B2B Content Marketing Report

Customer Survey

8 Survey Questions That Will Supercharge Your Content Strategy

Creating a customer survey is a great way to get to know your audience (which is pretty essential if you’re a marketer). Customer surveys benefit the entire organization, giving insight that can impact your sales strategy, product pricing, website, and the list goes on.

Once you have a good idea of who your customer is, you can tailor your marketing strategy to fit their needs. Instead of screaming into the void. I’m skipping the essentials (e.g. demographics, job title, etc.) and giving you eight unique questions that can directly impact your content strategy.

Plus, download the 25 Kickass Survey Question Bonus Sheet.

1. What Are Three Topics You’d Like to Learn More About?

Asking your audience what they would like to learn more about is the easiest way to layout your editorial calendar. I’d recommend making this a multiple choice question, so your answers aren’t all over the place. Include an “Other” option for those who don’t see what they’re looking for.

The goal here is to learn your customer’s pain points and to help them find solutions. That’s what builds brand trust and a community of influencers.

2. What Are Your Top Three Job Responsibilities?

If you’re in the business of creating products that help your customers do their job better, this is the question for you. You might have a rough idea of your target audience’s job titles are, but this gives you a more in-depth look at their real stressors. Make this an open-ended question, allowing you to gather as much detail as possible.

3. What’s Standing Between You and Your Next Promotion?

We all want to grow and make more money. So how can your product/service help do that? This question will help you write content for each stage of your customer’s professional growth. It’s a great way to figure out how your organization can fill the gap between where they are now and where they want to be, with content and new products/services.

4. What Are Your Biggest Day-to-Day Challenges?

Here’s where we get down to the nitty-gritty. Use the answers to this question to create freebie resources AKA lead gen resources for your audience. Do they have trouble staying organized? Provide a white paper that helps them do so.

Answers to this question can also help your company on a deeper level. Are your customers working on a tight budget? Start offering payment plans or consider lowering your prices. Are your customers suffering from a lack of technical support? Beef up your customer support team to help them out.

5. Where Do You Go for Industry News?

Learning where your audience goes for industry news allows you to create partnerships or share for share relationships with the right sources. If most of your audience say they like to read product reviews on Jane Doe’s blog, reach out to Jane and ask her if you can do a guest post on her blog. Link that guest post to a lead gen form and you have a steady stream of qualified leads coming in from a credible source.

6. What is Your Preferred Method of Communication?

Where are your ideal customers hanging out? Are they active on social media? Would they prefer print media or email newsletters? Make this question a drop down and learn the best way (and place) to communicate to your audience. Content lives everywhere, from social media to print. Making sure that you are delivering content to your audience in all mediums is extremely important.

7. On a Scale of 1-5, How Would You Rate Our Website?

Your product isn’t the only thing that matters when it comes to hitting your goals. If your website isn’t well designed, your sales will suffer. Asking customers to rate your site gives you a look at how they view your company and brand. I’d recommend including a follow-up question here that asks for ways that you can improve your customer’s experience on your site.

8. Why Did You Purchase From Us Versus Our Competitors?

Knowing why your customers purchased from you versus your competitors gives you solid talking points in your content and sales strategy. Now that the internet has taken over the world, consumers have all of the power (as they should). So standing out from your competitors has never been more important. Hearing why they chose you helps you better outline your key selling points. It’s also a great way to use social proof.

What’s the Point?

Customer surveys serve many purposes and benefit the business as a whole. Understanding your customer and taking a look at your organization through their eyes can change the way you approach your marketing mix and sales strategy. If you’re looking for free survey tools, try Survey Monkey or Google Forms. Build your survey and send it to your list with an incentive. If there’s no incentive, your chances of getting people to take the survey are pretty low. Go get ‘em!

Audience

3 Easy Ways to Get to Know Your Audience

Let’s take a few steps back from the content and talk about your audience. Understanding your audience is essential to creating a marketing strategy that really works. Here are three easy ways to get to know your audience.

Create Customer Personas

The idea here is to create a persona for each type of customer. This process allows you to understand the persona’s pain points, why they might be interested in your product and how to best market to them.

HubSpot is big on creating personas, and they offer a bunch of free resources to help you do so including persona templates and the MakeMyPersona Tool.

The HubSpot templates break the persona’s profile into four sections:

  1. The Who: background, demographics, identifiers
  2. The What: goals, challenges, solutions
  3. The Why: read quotes, common objections
  4. The How: marketing message, elevator pitch

Ask Your Clients

I’m a big fan of direct feedback from existing clients. It gives you a realistic look at how others view your product and why they ended up making a purchase.

As marketers, it’s so easy to get sucked into the “we know what’s best for our clients” mindset versus the “what do our clients need from us” mindset. It happens to the best of us. But when it does it’s time to take a step back and hear from the source.

The easiest way to get to know your clients is to create a survey and send it out via email. These surveys can help you craft your customer personas, and allow you to ask the burning questions most businesses have for their clients. There are tons of free survey tools out there, my favorites are Survey Monkey and Google Forms.

Get Social

Social media is the gift that keeps on giving. Not only does it basically serve as a free advertising platform (excluding paid ads, of course), it also gives you insight into what your customers are thinking and allows you to engage with them in a non-invasive way.

When getting to know your audience, look for places on the internet where they might be hanging out. Join social media groups to see what they’re talking about. What pain-points are they discussing that your product might be able to solve? What’s their tone when speaking to one another? (Tone is a big deal!)

Don’t just limit it to social media. There are a ton of online forums that might hold pockets of your customers. Scour the internet!

What’s the Point?

Long story short, researching your target audience is important. Like, REALLY important, especially when it comes to creating content. Having a good idea of who they are, where they hang out, and their wants and needs play a big role in your marketing and content strategy.

Use the data you’ve collected to create content for those specific personas, or the specific problems addressed in your survey. It’ll ensure that your messaging is sharply targeted and that you’re not just screaming into the void.

free marketing tools

12 Free Online Tools That Will Make You a Better Marketer

If you’re in marketing you know one thing to be true: the internet is your friend. I would even go as far as to say the internet is your BEST friend. Sorry, Gretchen Wieners. Online tools can help you work smarter and faster, giving you more time to focus on analyzing and optimizing versus creating and implementing. Check out my favorite free marketing tools below.

1. Headline Analyzer by CoSchedule

If you haven’t heard of CoSchedule yet, allow me to introduce you to your new favorite all-in-one marketing calendar, project management, social campaign scheduling platform. Yeah, that’s a mouthful, and they do much more than that. On top of delivering a great product, they also have a bunch of free resources for busy marketers like you and me.

Let’s start with their Headline Analyzer. Using this tool is simple, paste your headline, click “Analyze Now” and receive a score of 1-100. The closer to 100 the better (obvi). The Analyzer looks at your headline and gives you suggestions based on your score, allowing you to optimize your headline for higher open rates and engagement.

Here are a few things the Headline Analyzer looks at:

  • Word balance
  • Length
  • First and last words
  • Keywords
  • Sentiment

2. Email Subject Line Tester by CoSchedule

If email marketing is apart of your marketing mix (which it absolutely should be) then you know the power of a well-written subject line. We want high open rates people! The Email Subject Line Tester is similar to the Headline Analyzer where you paste your subject line into the tool and are given a score from 1-100.

Here are a few things the Email Subject Line Tester looks at:

  • Words that increase opens
  • Words that decrease opens
  • Letter case
  • Whether you include numbers or not
  • Character count
  • Word count
  • Emoji count

3. Social Message Optimizer by CoSchedule

You guys, I swear I’m not being paid by CoSchedule to name drop these tools. I just love them! The Social Message Optimizer helps you write posts that boost engagement, build trust and drive traffic. Once you enter your post content, they’ll give you a score (you guessed it, 1-100) for each social platform.

Here are a few things the Social Message Optimizer looks at:

  • Message type
  • Characters
  • Hashtags
  • Sentiment
  • Emojis

Plus, at the end, they’ll tell you the best day and time to post your content. 👍

4. Blog Ideas Generator by HubSpot

HubSpot is another incredible marketing tool that manages just about everything from email marketing to lead gen and closing sales. I live for it, it’s amazing. Their Blog Ideas Generator is great for content writers who feel a little burnt out and find themselves asking the forever looming question: what will I write about next? The way it works is stupid simple: enter three nouns, get five new content ideas.

5. Keyword Explorer by Moz

Moz is your all-in-one SEO tool. If you’re not ready to allocate some of your budget for Moz Pro, check out the Keyword Explorer. This tool allows you to enter your URL (or a competitor’s URL) and see what keywords are trending for that specific page. This is an easy way to grow your keyword list, and see what other people are using/writing about to gain web traffic.

6. Keyword Planner by Google

You guys have heard of Google, right? Just kidding, I know you have. Frankly, I’d be worried if you hadn’t. Aside from being the Beyonce of the internet (amazing, revolutionary, etc, etc, etc.), they also offer a bunch of online tools. Including Google AdWords. AdWords has become the number one tool when it comes to digital advertising. Within that tool is the Keyword Planner. Use it to search for keywords related to your business and help budget your PPC ads.

7. Google Analytics

I’m not ashamed to say that I am a Google Analytics addict. If you’re big on ROI (which you should be) then you’re probably an addict too. Google Analytics analyzes your website, giving you insights on how many people visit your site, how they got there, what pages they’re viewing, whether they’re staying around or bouncing, and so much more. Really, a lot more. I use Google Analytics for a lot of things, but it’s a big help when it comes to figuring out what to write. What pages are your visitors going to the most? Do you see a trend in the article topics they’re looking at? What can you learn from their behavior?

8. Grammarly

Grammarly is probably the tool that I use the most, seeing as I have it installed on every device I own. One part of being a good content marketer is making sure that your writing is well written technically. That means grammar, spelling, and all of the other important stuff. Grammarly scans your writing and offers suggestions to make it more readable, and notifies you of any technical errors that might exist. It’s a great tool that will make a lasting impact your day-to-day productivity.

9. Hemingway

If you want to strive for ultimate readability, use Hemingway to perfect your content. It’s really easy to use. Just paste your text, they’ll score your readability and tell you how to make it better. They even highlight the passages that they recommend fixing and tell you how to fix it. It can’t get much easier than that.

10. Canva

Most small businesses rely heavily on “wearer of many hats,” especially when it comes to the marketing department (or lack thereof). I’ve worked at businesses where I make up the entire marketing department, and that’s where tools like Canva become an important resource. If you’re not a graphic designer but don’t want your social media, print media and digital media assets to suck, allow me to introduce you to Canva. Canva is an easy to use tool that uses drag and drop features to create eye-catching assets. They even provide free (and paid) templates, icons, images, and more.

11. Yoast

If you’re using WordPress and you’re NOT using Yoast, you cray. Or you just haven’t heard of it yet. Yoast is a free plugin that helps you optimize your content. SEO is really important when it comes to gaining organic traffic for your website, and it impacts your overall rank. Yoast makes it easy to modify and optimize your content and enhance your on-site SEO.

Here are some of the best features included in the free version:

  • Keyword optimization
  • Google preview
  • Readability check
  • Heading and meta description modification
  • Set cornerstone content

12. Evernote

Okay so Evernote might not have much to do with the nitty-gritty of marketing, but it is a great tool for any type of professional. Evernote is a project manager and electronic notebook that helps keep you and your team organized. I used to be big on writing all of my notes by hand, but after using Evernote I am now a firm believer in electronic note-taking. Evernote lets you create notebooks, web snippets, to do lists, reminders, and more. It’s good for the environment, great for your workflow and very user-friendly.

What’s the Point?

There are a ton of free tools out there. The internet is a vast and wonderful (sometimes scary) place. I hope you try some of these tools out, and let me know what you think. If I missed a tool you really love, mention it in the comments below!