When I talk with B2B clients about strategies for content marketing, one common question is how to find the balance between frequency of delivery and the type of content needed. Your company needs different kinds of content designed to move customers through your marketing funnel, guiding them in their decision journey. Frequency of content delivery is impacted by the stage your customer is in. Also consider whether you are leveraging owned, earned, or paid media channels when making decisions about frequency.
Content for Each Stage of the Journey
This depiction of a simple marketing funnel suggests that progression through it is a one-way street. In reality, customers may migrate both with and against gravity. This makes it necessary to have fresh content at every stage to support them. In CMI’s 11th Annual B2B Content Marketing Study on Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends, 63% of respondents said any lack of success could be attributed to content creation challenges. We acknowledge that establishing your content engine can be challenging. Here we outline the basic content types you will need at each stage.
Awareness content is more generic and tells your customers what problems you solve and the ways you solve it. This type of content keeps you top of mind when customers find themselves looking for your solution. It also makes customers aware that their pain point isn’t unique and can be resolved. If your product helps them solve COVID-related problems this is the time to make them aware. Frequency should be at least monthly but, depending on the length of your buying cycle, weekly may be recommended. Content distribution should leverage owned media channels with earned and paid media channels being added as resources and budget allow.
Consideration content provides more detail and addresses product/service features, applications, business relationships and common customer questions/misconceptions. The goal here is to get your customer to engage by requesting product info. Their signaled interest makes them part of your owned content distribution engine. Increasing frequency to weekly or bi-weekly would be recommended at this stage.
Decision content discusses specific pricing details and product implementation information. This content would likely be delivered by a representative of your company who is also engaging regularly with the prospect. The frequency of customer engagement should consider the specifics of your customer’s buying cycle. For example, knowing that your customer has an internal review meeting on [DATE], means you should follow up immediately before and after to deliver any additional support content and ultimately close the sale.
Finally, Retention content keeps existing customers informed about your products and services so they remain loyal and engaged. Frequency should be at least monthly but as often as weekly. Distributing a company eNewsletter summarizing announcements, case studies or outstanding product implementations is a proven approach to delivering this type of content. Content distributed in a company eNewsletter should also be echoed on other owned media channels (e.g. social media).
There is a retention benefit to having your existing customers seeing Awareness “top-of-the-funnel” content in owned and paid media channels. It reminds customers why they bought your product in the first place. Featuring these customers in your content keeps them engaged. They will also certainly share it through their own media channels leading you into the earned media space. This idea of leveraging customers and partners is part of a cycle that establishes and fuels your content engine.
The Role of CRM Tools
It’s worth mentioning that Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools help companies automate the delivery of content on owned and paid media channels. There is much to unpack in a future article about the the benefits these tools can provide. What small to mid-size companies should know is that these tools can automate moving customers along your marketing funnel to the point of Consideration and engagement. The tools can then manage the introduction of qualified customers to your internal sales team for delivery over the finish line.