The value of content marketing is hard to ignore. Unlike traditional advertising, content marketing encourages customers to find your company as they seek solutions to their problems, and with around 4.61 billion mobile phone users worldwide in 2016, a figure expected to rise to over 5 billion in 2019, a massive section of the marketplace has the Internet at their fingertips and almost instant access to the answers they need each day. Every time someone searches for solutions, you want them to find your company, so it’s essential to make sure you position yourself as a provider with content they want. Targeted content marketing makes it easier for your company to rise to the top in a saturated market where a world of information is only ever a button click away.
What Is Targeted Content Marketing?
Content marketing involves creating value-added content providing solutions to customer problems while simultaneously highlighting the benefits of your company. This style of inbound marketing encourages customers to seek you out, and makes it possible to build strong relationships. Targeted content marketing takes the concept to the next level, making it possible to generate content that speaks to specific sections of the marketplace. When creating such content, you need to keep in mind three things:
- Your goals
- Your target audience
- The steps in your buying process
If you evaluate and understand these three core elements of your business, you have the tools in place to create effective content that speaks directly to your customers and has an improved potential to generate results. For example, Virgin Mobile was an early adopter of content marketing, and quickly hit on the idea of deepening the level of engagement with fans rather than simply expanding the reach of their content.
Setting Your Goals
As with any marketing campaign, the first step in creating targeted content is deciding on your goal. Ultimately, you want your marketing to translate into sales, but that isn’t the only way to determine the return on investment. By having a clear idea of what you hope to achieve, and establishing a metric for success, it’s possible to narrow the focus of your content. Possible goals may include:
Increasing audience engagement: Building a rapport with customers to build trust in your brand and reinforce your position in their minds as a viable source of solutions they need
Widening your reach: Focusing on a specific area where your message isn’t currently strong, such as social media, or trying to encourage interactions with a new demographic, such as mature students
Improving search engine visibility: Making sure your company is visible in a crowded market
Building data: Expanding your database by encouraging customers to opt-in with an e-mail address or postal address, and gathering information to inform subsequent campaigns
Increasing sales: Encouraging more transactions, and maximizing sales for each piece of content
Defining Your Audience
Targeted content has a more focused approach to engaging an audience. Rather than speaking in broad strokes that appeal to a wide number of people, it seeks to pinpoint a specific audience and serve tailored content. To achieve this, it’s necessary to develop an understanding of your customers, and then use that understanding to create personas reflecting segments of your customer base.
Gather information on your existing customers. It’s possible to get this information by mining your database, contacting existing and previous customers, analyzing previous marketing campaigns, performing surveys, and talking with your sales team to understand their perspective. Throughout this process, you’re seeking important information that has a bearing on a customer’s purchasing habits, such as:
- Employment status and job title
- Marital status
- Location and accommodation
Having gathered the information, look for trends, and use any patterns you establish to create your personas. It’s usually necessary to have several personas, as they each reflect a theoretical client who ticks all the right boxes for a specific product or service. For example, a very basic persona may be, “Female, late 20s to early 30s, in full-time employment in rented accommodation.”
When you create new targeted content, you select a persona, and you gear the content towards that persona. When people matching the criteria for your persona see the content, they should have a sense that you’re talking directly to them, making them immediately feel as if you have the necessary skills and products to help them.
Understanding Your Buying Process
For the most accurate targeted marketing you must not only understand your audience; you must understand at which stage in the buying process they are at, and what information would drive them closer to a purchase. This kind of pinpoint targeting means you’re serving the right information to the right people at the right time.
Achieving this involves knowledge of the path a customer takes from realizing a problem exists to purchasing your solution. For example, if you sell car tires, you may need content that helps people to understand when they should check their tires and how to establish if it’s time to replace them, content that helps them to identify common faults or make a decision on the type of replacement, content showcasing your understanding of what makes a good tire to engender trust in your brand, and content that drives the customers to make a purchase from you by ensuring they know exactly what they need.
Takeaway: Marketing That Hits the Mark
Developing a system of targeted content marketing ensures you serve existing and potential customers with focused content that appeals directly to their needs; and when the right people are seeing your products, you maximize the chances of success. However, you may not hit the mark first time out. It’s important to analyze the results of your campaigns, developing a quantifiable measure for success to guide your future endeavors. For example, when Cisco Systems, Inc. launched a new router using social media, analysts studying the return on investment determined the company was able to reach its target while spending over $100,000 less than expected, an incredibly valuable statistic highlighting the potential of social media. Take advantage of the information you have available, mine your data sources, and use it to enhance and evolve your targeted marketing content strategy.