July 7, 2014
Digital marketing is a need that simply didn’t exist 50 or even 20 years ago. Back then, gaining customers was as simple as word-of-mouth and trust-based relationships. If a customer was happy with the service provided or product obtained, they’d spread the word. Likewise, advertising was a simple as putting a few facts on paper and displaying it on a window or local newspaper. Things moved at a different pace.
Today, it’s not enough. Consumers are more educated than ever. They’re aware of how things work and want to be sure that something is done right before it even happens. At the same time, finding information has become easier than ever. A simple online search can return thousands of answers – or local businesses – with a single click. Standing out no longer refers to just the local competition. In fact, local business has become global business. If a business in La Jolla, Calif., can send the same product as the store down the street at a lower price, there’s no reason not to go that route.
What makes one business stand out from another online? It’s not a flashy website or the best search rankings, although they may play a role. Instead, it’s about data. For this reason, data-driven content strategies are more important than ever. Follow the six tips below for best results.
1. Understand Your Customers
If you don’t know what your customers are looking for, you can’t market to them effectively. Take the time to study your target market and look into ways to cater to their needs. Consider content analytics, like those offered by Google, and social media analytics with trend tracking. By paying attention to what your target market is searching for and what they’re talking about, you’ll be better able to cater to them in a data-driven strategy.
2. Follow Your Findings
It doesn’t get much more straightforward than this: Once you know what your customers are looking for, answer those needs.
CJ Pony Parts – an online Ford Mustang parts retailer – did this by creating a Cost of Commute infographic. Through research, the company found that its customers were concerned about fuel economy when making purchasing decisions. Based on this need, the company created a graphic that gave details related to fuel prices and average commutes by state. Specific? Yes. Beneficial? Absolutely.
3. Don’t Let Data Overshadow Stories
Data is important; it’s why data-driven content strategies exist in the first place. However, when something is too number-heavy or statistically driven, the human element is lost. Instead, look into ways to illustrate what goes into the numbers. Share stories and customer testimonials that weave data into them. Provide a mix for best results.
4. Focus on Communities
Look for brand ambassadors within your community. Whether you have an engaged group of employees, a strong Facebook presence or millions of Twitter followers, you probably have certain members of your community – either internally or externally – that are more engaged than others. Find them and engage on a personal level.
From there, look for ways to allow these brand ambassadors – your most loyal and active community members – to speak for you. By creating a program that allows for reviews, like the sports-drink company Cocogo did with its ambassador program, you’re allowing voices other than your own to spread your message. To make your program most effective, provide data and statistics that can be incorporated into community-driven messaging.
5. Create Environment-Friendly Content
A piece of content shared on your blog – detailed and data-heavy – might not be appropriate for your general mailing list or Facebook. Instead, think of where you’d like your content to be shared prior to creating it.
There’s a place for data and details, but you must examine your audience to determine where that place is. This varies from one company to another. If you want your content to be shared, understanding who will be receiving it and what they are interested in is critical.
6. Test, Measure, Repeat
No marketing strategy is set in stone. Technologies evolve, audiences change and needs vary on a regular basis. Because of this, any and every strategy should be tested, critiqued and modified appropriately.
Try sending out an email marketing campaign that includes an infographic and a campaign that contains the same information in text. Compare read rates, open rates and click-through rates. Try it again. Try combining different formats and keep going until you find what works. Once you find success, repeat it. However, continue to test your methods to be sure they are still effective. When the numbers start to change, switch it up and try again.
Data-driven content strategies can lead to great success. The six tips above can enhance the process.
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