Is your content really helping your prospective customers? Inbound marketing strategy calls for you to create content that helps people who fit your targeted persona. Your persona is a semi-fictional depiction of your ideal customer.
In other words, your content should not be a sales brochure for your products or services. It should help the prospect solve a problem that they have that is related to your product or services.
Are you really 100% committed to creating helpful content for your prospects or do you find yourself falling down that slippery slope of your content slowly turning into a marketing brochure?
Here are 4 crucial questions you need to ask yourself about your content. Your answers will help you make sure you are creating content that will move your prospect into your sales funnel.
1) Can the prospect read your content and implement your tips and guidance without you?
What??? The whole point of this is to help me get these prospects as customers and you’re telling me I should help them so they can solve their problem without me?
That’s exactly what I’m saying.
Understand that using inbound strategies will attract some people who are never going to become your customers. But it will also attract some who will. Plus it will help you find out who is who so you don’t have to waste valuable time chasing down a lead that will never pan out.
The people who are true prospects will see your company as an authority on the subject of your content and that is the first step to building a trusting relationship. The people who aren’t possibly customers were never going to be so you’re not losing anything by having them consume your content as well.
Most of the people who would use your services either can’t do what you could do for them or they don’t have the resources to do it themselves. So showing them that you know what you’re talking about is a big plus.
2) Is your content specific and direct enough to be acted upon?
Cut out any vague or indirect text. Your content should be very clear how-to type content whether it’s a blog post, ebook or video.
Don’t try to veil the specifics to encourage users to contact you to “get the rest”. This tactic only ensures that you’ll upset your prospects and send them into the open arms of your competition.
Simple direct solutions to your prospects questions and problems are what will move them through your sales funnel to become customers.
3) Does your content match where your prospects are in their buyer’s journey?
In order to truly help your prospect, your content must match up with where they are in the buyer’s journey.
The buyer’s journey is an active research process that the buyer goes through. Here are the three stages of the buyer’s journey:
Awareness Stage – The buyer experiences symptoms of a problem but doesn’t know what problem is yet.
Consideration Stage – The buyer did some research, named the problem and is looking at solutions and strategies available but not yet considering vendors.
Decision Stage – The buyer is building a list of vendors, comparing them and ultimately making a purchase decision.
By creating content that is relevant to where your prospect is in the buyer’s journey your content will have a better fit with their needs and will resonate with them better.
If a prospect reacts to awareness stage content but not consideration stage content then they are not yet ready to move forward to the consideration stage. They also may never be ready to make that leap. By learning that, you save time and money you would have wasted pursuing a prospect who will never convert to a customer.
If the prospect is in the awareness stage and they don’t even know what their problem is, they only know a symptom of their problem, and you try to offer them decision stage content, you will lose them.
Matching the content to the buyer’s journey is one of the key ways to make inbound marketing work.
4) Does your content help a real problem that many people have?
If you haven’t developed your personas and done your keyword research, you won’t know how many people actually look for help with the problem you have chosen to create helpful content for.
If you write an awesome ebook about how to make your pet duck more aerodynamic, but no one is searching for how to do that, then you my friend are the tree that falls in the woods when no one is there to hear it.
Always try to hedge your marketing strategies on as much data and fact as possible. Going by your gut can work too, but if your gut is wrong, you have no one to blame but yourself.
They say marketing is part art and part science and it’s true. I like to maximize the science part as much as possible. It makes the art part easier and makes your gut look a lot smarter.
Answer these 4 questions completely and honestly and you’re well on your way to content driven inbound marketing success!