Zerys for Agencies Blog

Hit the Marketing Bulls-eye With Targeted Buyer Personas

Posted by Nancy M Ruff

It’s essential marketing 101: know your customer. If you’re already well-established, you have a wealth of analytics to help you define who your current audience is, which can then help you target similar users or narrower, niche subsets. If you’re just getting started, you need to be clear on who your target audience may be so that you can tailor your campaigns to it. In both scenarios, creating comprehensive buyer personas is crucial.

What is a Buyer Persona?

Much more than a simple profile of the audience you want to reach or influence, effective buyer personas tell you what prospective leads are thinking and doing as they search for a solution, be it a product or a service, to a problem they have. Actionable buyer personas are not your audience as you define it, but are constructed from the real words of real people who are looking to your company to meet their need. They reflect each user’s unique attitudes and criteria, which then gives you valuable insight into what your audience is thinking. That, in turn, allows you to align your marketing choices with your buyer’s expectations.

To best understand what a buyer persona is, it helps to have a solid understanding of what attributes define such personas. The Buyer Persona Institute provides the well-known 5 Rings of Buying Insight for Buyer Personas, a great guide that will help you effectively pin down your own buyer personas, especially when it comes to creating content.

How to Use a Buyer Persona in Marketing

You may cry “But, I want everyone to buy my product!” It’s an admirable goal, but unrealistic at best, and a waste of precious time and money at worst. Even the biggest brands out there today have their niche audiences.

When it comes to content marketing, buyer personas are critical if you want to connect and engage with your targeted audiences at a personalized level. In order to succeed, your brand must speak to each specific person. There is no one clear-cut solution, as each buyer persona may be drawn to different content that will influence them in their buying decisions. Examples of content that can be used might include:

  • Brand awareness content that will help your targeted buyer personas understand not only your brand, but the products and services you offer and how they will enrich their lives
  • Educational content that establishes you as an authority and informs your targeted audiences about the varying aspects of your products or services
  • Content for promotion of your products and services that also encourages sales, which is necessary to convince your targeted audience that what you offer is exactly what they need

How to Develop Buyer Personas

Before fleshing out your buyer personas, you’ll need to calculate how many general target customers you already have, or hope to have. Once identified, you can then start to use certain demographics to fully form your personas. Those identifying traits may include things such as age, gender, profession, education, income and online search and shopping habits. Remember, a truly effective persona will be based on data, not guesswork or assumptions. One of the best ways to do this is through online surveys, and if possible, follow-up interviews. While it’s important to understand those buyers who have already made a purchase, it’s at least equally important to understand those who haven’t. Identifying where in the cycle you lost the non-buyer is crucial to building your base.

It’s easy to think only in terms of your potential customer, but if you take the time to also create negative buyer personas, you’ll gain the advantage of weeding out the people who won’t be your customers. Understanding who you don’t want to target is just as important as who you do, because it will help you realize a lower cost-per-lead and increase your sales productivity. In other words, to get to your optimal target group you need to recognize who doesn’t belong there.

When you’re ready to begin creating your buyer personas, the good people over at Hubspot have a great buyer persona template you can use, as well as a handy buyer persona word doc generator. Happy targeting!

Why Local Search Matters

Posted by Robin Kastengren

If you have been diligently working on an inbound marketing strategy for your business, and you have attended to all the SEO best practices for your website, tackling local search probably seems like overkill at this point. Surely all the work you have put in so far will count towards local search, right? Unless you are a national business that is not trying to draw customers into a local storefront, the answer is no; you still need to put in a bit of effort to make sure your community can easily find you.

What is Local Search

About half of all Google searches are people looking for local products and services. For example, a homeowner looking for a nearby painting service, a driver looking for a body shop, or a business owner looking for a printing shop are all local searches. Looking at people who use a mobile device, that number jumps up to 78 percent of searches having local intent. When you consider that Google recently announced that more people are using mobile devices for searching than desktop computers, that number seems even bigger.

Search engines like Google have location data built into their algorithms, so it is no longer necessary for a user to put in a city, zip code, or other identifiers for local results to be returned. That means that someone looking for a nearby pizza joint can simply type in "pizza" instead of "pizza Chicago northside" to find somewhere nearby to grab a slice.

Why This Matters

Let's state the obvious: if you are operating a business that draws its customers from the surrounding area, you will want your name to come up when customers are looking for local solutions. What may be less obvious is that 80 percent of local searches performed on a mobile phone end up converting, and three-fourths of those conversions brought a customer into a storefront. On the other hand, if you are not taking the extra steps to be sure your business is optimized online for local search, you have no chance of competing for customers on the go.

Optimizing for Local Search

Just like any SEO strategy, optimizing for local traffic can be as simple or as complex as your resources allow. No matter how much you can dedicate to local search, there are a few things that every business should be doing:

  • Local Keywords. If you want to be associated with a particular city or region, be sure you are using those words throughout your content, page titles, URLs, and headings. Be careful when you are dropping localities into your content, however, as it can be painfully obvious when you are trying to do it only for SEO, and this can be a turn-off for customers that are trying to learn about your business.
  • Google My Business. Give Google everything it needs to know about your business by completing a Google My Business profile. You'll have the opportunity to add photos and location information and get seamless integration with your Google Analytics and AdWords accounts.
  • Local Directories. In the past, directories played a far more important role than they do now. However, it is still important to make sure your business is registered with the big players like Bing and Yahoo, and that you have claimed your business on review sites like Yelp and Trip Advisor.
  • Local Link Building. If you want search engines to find you relevant for a particular location, other local businesses should, too. The more incoming links you can get from other quality sites in your area, the better your local profile will be.

Stay Local, Stay Relevant

For businesses that rely on the local community for building a customer base, it is almost impossible to compete for online attention without local search. As more people use their mobile devices to search for services while they are on the go, local search will become increasingly important. If you want to stay on top of the competition, make sure you're also staying on top of local search.

3 Social Media Tools You Must Add to Your Toolbox

Posted by Robin Kastengren

shutterstock_171894914From Facebook to Twitter to Instagram, making sure you are regularly posting to your business accounts and that your posts are interesting and relevant is no easy task. Plus, you have to read what everyone else is posting in your feeds. When you put it all together, it can become a full-time job—unless you have the right social media tools to streamline and organize the process. Here are three tools that will make your social media management faster and easier.

1. Social Rank

We all know that Twitter is a great place to promote your blog and other content and to collect interesting links from other people. However, have you ever wondered how to maximize all the followers you have collected? While there are plenty of social media tools for analyzing what you are doing, Social Rank is one of the best tools for analyzing what other people are doing.

Once your free account is set up, you can see who your best and most engaged followers are along with who is the most followed among your followers. Understanding how your most active followers interact with your Twitter feed will help you define your audience so you can tailor your content to what they want to see. Social Rank has also recently rolled out a similar service for Instagram and hopes to add other platforms in the future.

2. My Top Tweet

If you are not occasionally stalking the competition to see what's working for them, you are losing out on valuable information about what you can do to improve your own strategies. My Top Tweet is another tool for monitoring what others are doing, but in a slightly different way. When you enter the Twitter handle of any account, you will instantly get a list of the tweets for that account that got the most retweets and favorites. It is super simple, free, and a great way to check in and see what's hot with the biggest players in your industry.

3. Mentionmapp

If you are a visually-oriented person, then this is the tool for you. When you first log in with your Twitter handle, you will get a map with you at the center and all of your connections surrounding you. You can see who is connected to you because you both have recently shared content with the same hashtag, or because of recent mentions and retweets. You can click on any node in your map to expand it and see who else is connected and what topics they also share. This tool makes it easy for visually-oriented people to do hashtag research and hunt for trending topics. It also provides you an easy way to find new people to follow based on shared interests instead of just digging through other users' lists.

Social Media Tools Make it Easy

For individual users, simply posting and reading social media feeds is more than enough interaction. For businesses that need to make the most of time and resources—while still maintaining positive returns on all these efforts—using the right social media tools will help cut down on the guesswork and the amount of time spent researching and discovering users and current topics. That way, you can be sure your social media interaction is always helpful, relevant, and results-driven.

The Nuts and Bolts of Inbound Marketing Methodology

Posted by Don Musacchio

shutterstock_274827941So many small businesses play with different online marketing resources. They build websites, collect emails and start social media pages. But very few put all the pieces together into a coherent strategy. Inbound marketing methodology is great way to put these elements together and make them work for your business. Here are the basic nuts and bolts of inbound marketing to get you started.

Hubspot has identified four basic activities associated with inbound marketing methodology. They are:

  • Attract

  • Convert

  • Close

  • Delight

Today people are using the Internet to search for the goods and services they need to satisfy desires, fulfill needs and solve problems. Instead of pushing out messages on mass media, your business must use the Internet to pull people toward you by providing valuable content on digital channels.

The first step is profile your ideal customers. These profiles, called buyer personas, help you to understand what content you will need to attract these customers to your site. Once you have a basic understanding of your customers, then you can set up your Internet presence to attract these kinds of people.

Here are some basic tools for doing this:

  • Your webpage is the center of your online marketing activities. You want an attractive site that is easy to navigate.

  • A blog is the basic platform for inbound marketing. By updating your blog with valuable content, people come to recognize that you are an expert in your field.

  • Search engine optimization is a set of tactics that helps your site show up on search engine results for relevant key words.

  • Use social media to promote your content and amplify the reach of your content.

Once people are visiting your site, you want to begin developing an ongoing relationship with them. You need to get their permission to continue to share content with them. Usually this is done by offering them some premium content in exchange for their contact information. This process is know as conversion.

  • Premium content is more in depth than what appears on your blog. It may be a white paper, an ebook or a webinar. It has to offer real value to make it worth it for the visitor to enter his contact information.

  • Calls-to-action are appeals to visitors to respond to the offer with an action. These buttons or links invite the visitor to subscribe to a newsletter, download a white paper or view a webinar.

  • Landing pages are where people who respond to the call-to-action are directed. These usually contain forms for people to enter their contact information.

At this stage, you are looking to take the leads you generate through the conversion process and continue your relationship with them until they are ready to become customers.

  • This means having a good Customer Relationship Management system. This software helps you to track your leads as they move through their buying journey. It tracks their activities so that you can know what content is appropriate for them and when they might be ready to make a purchase.

  • You will need to develop a lead nurturing campaign. This can be a series of automated emails designed to engage and educate the people on your contact list.

The final stage of inbound marketing methodology continues to build your relationship with your customers and to transform them into promoters. By continuing to supply your customers with valuable content, you continue to delight and serve them. By offering your customers opportunities to share your content on their own social media, they can become promoters of your business.

Inbound marketing methodology relies on solid analytics at each stage of the process. You can measure increases in traffic to your site. You want to know how much of this traffic converts to leads and how many leads convert to customers. You can also track how your customers are sharing your content in order to reward your best promoters. By measuring everything, you can make changes and measure how much these changes improve the results.

Many small businesses hear about how great online marketing is for generating new customers. They jump right into blogging or social media without a strategy. Instead, your business should take the time to implement inbound marketing methodology in order to achieve the best results.

Create Blog Topics Your Buyer Personas Will Read

Posted by Carrie Whittier

shutterstock_237047554Blog topic and title creation isn't easy, but it's a critical skill set and is imperative when it comes to increasing website visits and generating qualified leads. Not only will targeted topics and titles make your blog a favorite amongst your regular clientele, the process of creating blog topics will get you in better touch with your clients' buyer personas.

When you reach heightened levels of marketing intuition, the blog content you create will become increasingly more meaningful to your company's inbound marketing strategy.

Identify Your Buyers Personas & Don't Forget the Niche Markets

Are we tired of the phrase "buyer persona" yet? Seriously! Yet, it's mind boggling how many small- to medium-sized businesses have never sat down and actually done the work to identify their key marketing personas, as well as a handful of glorious niches. If you haven't taken this vital step, your blog titles are like a shot in the dark (at worst) or a shot in a candle-lit room (at best).

You simply cannot create important, problem-solving, unique and engaging content (not to mention social media posts, offers, campaigns, etc.) if you don't "get" the nuances of the people who purchase your products and services. Targeted blog posts and blog titles are only compelling if you truly understand the inner-workings, challenges, wants and needs of the people you hope to convert into qualified leads.

Once you've got highly detailed and descriptive buyer personas in mind, you're ready to begin writing the blog topics that will draw them in and successfully through the buying cycle.

Have a Blog Topic Brainstorming Party

If you work as part of a team, sit together in a group for a solid hour and start brainstorming topics. If members of your team relate to a specific persona, let them brainstorm the topics for that niche. This process may get off to a slow start but multiple heads working together create a synergy that simply can't be generated in isolation.

Before you know it, a wide range of spot-on topics will be flying out at a rapid pace and you will be shocked at how many weeks' or months' worth of blog titles you can create in a single hour.

Now, you can take those topics and begin to refine them, tailor them to particular buyer personas or niches or expand them into other areas. For instance, a blog on tips for using social media to enhance inbound marketing performance can be expanded to additional blogs that cover specific social media platforms. In this way, your list of blog topics can increase exponentially.

Read & Respond to Blog Comments

It's shocking how many companies ignore this simple but essential step. Is it because their website manager/content marketing team forgot to link comment alerts to someone in-house? Is it because an employee who used to monitor them no longer works there? At any rate, paying attention to blog comments (and responding to them) provides multi-fold benefits to the marketing team.

Firstly, it increases your connection and engagement level with visitors, prospects and followers. Blog comments are a veritable garden of future blog topic fruit. Maybe you wrote a blog titled, "Top 10 Blogs About Subject X." Commenters will often post links to their favorite blogs about Subject X. Even if some of these are self-serving, it's a launching board for "Part 2" where you can link to more Top Blogs.

Readers' comments, questions and insight can provide a wealth of up-and-coming blog fodder, and it's fodder you know people are already interested in or they wouldn't take the time to post a comment about it.

Use Content Analysis to See What Works - Then Do More of It

Content Analysis is a vital step (and an often dreaded one) for successful content marketing. It provides you with valuable data regarding which blog topics generated traffic and which ones didn't. Use the former and generate more blogs around similar topic areas, or take each sub-heading of successful blogs and turn them into blog of their own. Use the latter information to evaluate what went wrong and learn from your mistakes. It may be that slight variations will re-vamp under-performing blogs into resources about subjects visitors and followers are waiting to learn more about.

Your blog is one of the most powerful tools in your inbound marketing toolkit. Keep it polished, comfortable and at the ready with a variety of targeted topics and titles that draw your future customers right in.

Make Social Media Work for You

Posted by Nancy M Ruff

Can social media help you grow your business? The obvious, short answer is yes. There’s no denying that shaping a social media marketing (SMM) presence can build awareness for your brand and drive leads to sales. How to be a voice above the crowd in a noisy social world, however, is the toughest challenge for many people. When you’re faced with zero comments on your blog posts, or too few likes on your Facebook page, it can lead to questioning if SMM is all it’s cracked up to be.

With so many opinions and social media marketing tips available, yet so little time to read or implement them, it’s no wonder you might want to raise up the white flag in defeat. But if you do make the effort to read enough of the advice out there, some common themes start to emerge.

It Takes a Village

No surprises here – social media alone will not work. The epic fail with SMM for so many people is the lack of an integrated marketing approach. Platforms like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are exciting tools for communicating with your audience, but the old standards like email cannot be ignored. In fact, surveys have shown that SMM actually makes consumers engage more with their email inbox.

Start with a few social media platforms and consistently check to see what is or is not working. Don’t get caught up in “musts” and “shoulds” dictated by others; find out what works for you. The takeaway here:

  • Don’t abandon your email list; it’s still your most valuable asset when it comes to SMM.
  • Facebook is a great place for content sharing, but not necessarily ideal for gathering new followers.
  • The Twittersphere is ideal for engaging with followers. Create a bio that attracts new followers and regularly interact with experts in your field.
  • Experiment with other platforms such as Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Instagram to see where your audience lies. Did you know there are over 50 social media platforms? If your business is highly specialized, don’t ignore the opportunities that might exist on one of these lesser-known outlets.

A Mad Men Strategy

Mastering SMM need not be mysterious or complicated if you keep in mind that not much has changed since the days of radio. Substitute “ad” for “content” and things suddenly start making sense. The biggest change social media has brought is your customer’s ability to directly interact with you.

  • Before putting yourself out there, learn how to create a SMM plan. Doing so allows you to keep SMM missteps to a minimum and helps you up your inbound game.
  • Engage, engage and engage some more. SMM requires you to be proactive, be a good listener, and be a great storyteller.
  • Use your SMS strategy to increase traffic to more traditional platforms like your website. Be sure to create a landing page that is simple, creative and, most importantly, effective in growing your email list.

Everyone Has a Story

Perhaps the most important social media marketing tip out there is this one: tell your story, and tell it authentically. Simply setting up social media pages and accounts and then sitting back to wait for the customer onslaught is a sure path to frustration and discouragement.

  • One of the best ways to tell your story is through your blog. The challenge here is to generate consistent, terrific content that your viewers will want to engage with and return to time and again. If you lack the time and/or writing talent yourself, it is well worth it to hire someone who can capture and reflect your authentic voice.
  • Remember to tell, not sell. Inbound marketing is all about drawing your customers in, not bashing them over the head with buy, buy, buy messages. Give them a reason to want to do business with you and the rest will follow.
  • Don’t be the party bore. Earn people’s attention by listening first and then giving them what they want. Building emotional connections with your followers motivates them to take action. Tell them a story that not only engages them, but inspires them to share it with others.

Your SMM strategy is just that – yours – and it isn’t written in stone. As you move forward, hold on to the tactics that work, move on from those that don’t, and perfect the art of adapting. You’ll find at the end of the day you’ve created an effective SMM campaign that brings exceptional results to your business.

Better Client Communication Starts With a Process

Posted by Rachael Gerkensmeyer

shutterstock_127288934One of the most important aspects of ensuring client satisfaction is making sure the content you create for them effectively achieves noticeable results. In addition to growing a customer base, engaging quality content helps build a client’s brand and gives them an opportunity to stand apart from the competition. If you expect to really come through for your clients, it’s essential to make communication a priority.

You have to tap into your clients’ true expectations and make sure that the whole team is always on the same page, or you may just risk the longevity of your working relationships. Here’s how you can create a communication process to work from that will help you maximize client satisfaction and achieve your business goals:

Send Out Questionnaires

A great way to keep communication wide open is to send out small questionnaires to your clients when you send them completed projects. You don’t have to send one out with each project completion, but shoot for doing it two or three times a month so your clients have ample opportunity to reach out with questions, concerns, suggestions and compliments.

Ask your clients for feedback about things like word usage, formatting, presentation, topic choices and voice implementation. After a while, you should start to see some patterns with your clients which will help you to avoid content creation techniques that they aren’t crazy about as time goes on.  

Pay Attention to Undertones

When having a conversation with clients on the phone or in person, it’s important to pay close attention to their undertones to make sure you aren’t missing an underlying message. For example, if your client agrees with your content plan by simply nodding or humming in agreement instead of confirming with the word "yes," they may be a bit uncomfortable with some or all of your plan.

To gain some insight, you can probe a little by offering a couple of alternatives or asking for suggestions. When an alternative suggestion is offered by your client even if they’re telling you that your progress is satisfactory, chances are that they’ll be a lot happier if you implement their suggestions – even if it means a bit more work for your team.

Always Clarify Details

When clients send you details about an upcoming project, it’s always a good idea to recap those details in your own words and send the recap back as confirmation that you understand the project. This will give your clients an opportunity to make clarifications based on your feedback if something it misinterpreted.

This technique can be used to clarify questions that come up in the middle of a project. Once your questions are answered, shoot a quick recap of the conversation back to your client to confirm your understanding and to create a document trail or written record of any changes that have been agreed upon.

Keep Basic Records

To ensure that you don’t have to make clients repeat their preferences and other details that have already been previously established, keep a basic record for each client that outlines the important stuff as it comes up, such as color schemes that should be used when including visual aids, subheading preferences, voice/tone and language requirements,and research needs, just to name a few.

It’s also helpful to notate passing comments in these records, like when a client mentions that they prefer the word “peruse” over “check out” in their content or when a client’s planned work droughts are expected. Before you know it you’ll understand your clients as if they’re your personal friends.

By using these steps to create your own custom communication process, you should find that you get better content results for your clients, thanks to the benefit of more direction and the need for less guesswork.

The Evolution of Content Agencies - Staying Relevant

Posted by Rachael Gerkensmeyer

shutterstock_288373937Staying relevant as a content agency means keeping up-to-date on all the latest content creation and marketing techniques, especially if they’re proven to be effective. Once a tactic no longer works, you have to move on quickly so ensure that you don’t end up spinning your wheels and wasting both you and your clients’ valuable time. Luckily, following the trends by keeping tabs on popular search engine news and content marketing research can keep your agency relevant so you aren’t left trailing behind the competition. Here are some things you should be doing right now:

Local Targeting

If you’re working with clients who run a brick and mortar business or serve local customers in-person, it’s a good idea to create content that targets locally based consumers. For example, instead of simply writing about how to get stains out of vehicle carpet for a car detailing company, discuss natural products or specialized services available in the client’s local area. This technique won’t yield you millions of hits from around the world, but it will ensure that the leads your content does create are made up of those most likely to be interested in the products and services you’re ultimately promoting.

Mobile Accessibility

Google’s latest big algorithm update involved scouting out websites and content that is optimized for a mobile experience on smartphones and tablets. So in addition to making sure that the webpage your content will be posted on is easy to navigate on small screens, you need to create short, succinct paragraphs within your content so it’s easy to follow while scrolling.

Frequent subheadings help to break content down into small digestible parts so readers don’t get lost if they have to look up from their screen or tend to another task in the middle of reading your content. Short paragraphs and unique subheadings also happen to look good on larger computer screens, making it easy to streamline your content and make it accessible to a various types of Internet users.

In-Depth Pieces

While short pieces aren’t necessarily a no-no, they shouldn’t make up the bulk of the communications you create for your clients. Focusing on long form articles that provide in-depth insight, information, solutions, and reviews will help you generate more recognition for your clients’ brands and establish them as knowledgeable authority figures within their product or service niches.

When creating long form content, start with an outline that answers the traditional “who, what, when, where, why, and how” questions as this should help you better understand your target audience and how you can meet their needs more effectively. Of course you don’t want your readers having to scroll through several pages to read one article so when you find that the word count for a specific piece starts edging over the 1,500 mark, consider creating a series out of it and split the content up into a couple of different pieces before publication.

Visual Engagement

Visual aids do a good job of helping readers better understand the information that’s being presented to them. Colorful visuals that relate to your content will help to bring it to life, and even draw in those who wouldn’t normally stop and take the time to read an article they come across.

General photos that represent the idea of your content, infographics that back up statistics and obscure information, as well as animations that exaggerate aspects of the topic at hand are all effective options to consider. The bottom line is that every piece of content should accompany visual engagement whenever possible.

It’s important to keep in mind that if quality isn’t made a priority, no content marketing trends are likely to produce the results that you and your clients are looking for. 

3 Things to Remember Before You Tackle B2B Content

Posted by Don Musacchio

shutterstock_222453112For many content marketing agencies, marketing directly to consumers has been the primary focus of their clients. However, that is changing. 81% of buyers say that their business' purchasing process begins by searching the Internet. Many buyers are following industry trends on their social media accounts. Business to business marketing is undergoing the same digital transition as consumer marketing. This is great news for your content marketing agency because your business opportunities are expanding. You can now create marketing strategies and content for B2B clients.

While the fundamentals of content marketing are the same, producing content strategies for B2B customers may require some adjustment on your part. Here are three things to remember before tackling content for your B2B clients:

Longer Buying Process
Consumers can make decisions fairly rapidly, even decisions involving substantial investments. Businesses, on the other hand, have a more involved buying process. It takes longer for businesses to make a purchase. In addition, many purchases involve service contracts that last for a long time, so the business may not be able to simply opt for new services whenever it wants. For example, if a business has a contract with a printing service that involves renting copiers and printers, it may have a two or three year contract. If a business is at the beginning or middle of this contract, it may not be in a position to consider competitors for some time.

This makes lead generation and lead nurturing an important part of B2B marketing. When buyers interact with your client's content, they may only be kicking the tires and doing research in anticipation of the end of their current contract. They may not be ready to buy for another 18 months. Your content may capture the important information about this prospect, but instead of passing this information directly to the sales team, it should go to a lead nurturing program. The prospect should continue to receive emails, news items and technical information about your client without attempting to sell the product. Good CRM software can identify when a prospect that has been in the lead nurturing process starts to exhibit behavior that shows that he is ready to make a purchase. Then the information can go to the sales team for them to make the connection.

More Involved Decision Making Process
Businesses may have multiple people in different departments involved in the decision making process for the purchase. For example, a company that sells medical devices to hospitals and research facilities may have to deal with doctors, technicians, buyers and administrators in order to win a contract. Each of these people will have different concerns, goals and interests to promote in the purchasing process. A content marketing agency will have to produce content targeted at each of these different groups in order to succeed. The key to working with B2B clients is to understand the different audiences that might be involved in the purchasing process and create content that appeals to each of these different audiences.

Solutions-Oriented Content
While much of content marketing aims at offering solutions to problems, consumers tend to want more entertaining content and make decisions based on emotional factors. Businesses, on the other hand, have different motivations to purchase. They are looking for solid solutions to their problems. Your agency must provide this content. You have to start by offering the practical benefits that your client's products and services can offer without the emotional sugarcoating that is sometimes found in consumer-oriented content marketing. Your content must demonstrate that your client is an expert in the field who can be trusted to provide effective solutions to their customer's problems. This involves establishing real thought leadership in the field. You will have to interview your client's technical and sales staff in order to create content that is technically rich enough to attract the prospect's interest.

In addition, your content can support the sales team. By interviewing your client's salespeople, you can find out what questions they are constantly answering and what objections they often face. Then you can produce content that addresses these questions and objections. The salespeople can then refer prospects to this content instead of constantly answering the same questions.

Content marketing is not just for businesses selling to consumers. It is also very effective in B2B marketing. With just a few adjustments, your agency will be ready to take on B2B clients and tackle their content needs.

Creating a Winning Topic List for Your Clients

Posted by Rachael Gerkensmeyer

shutterstock_242783257As a content agency representative, coming up with the right topics for your clients is essential if you expect to get the results you've committed to working for. If you continually use the same variations for the topics you create, you'll find that your content ends up too familiar to competitive pieces already floating around on the Internet. It's essential to keep things fresh, viable, and unique to not only attract new readers, but to keep them coming back for more. Here are three steps you can use to create winning topic lists for your clients:

Step 1: Doing Some Research

Keyword research is one of the most important aspects of developing effective topics for clients. Keyword research offers an opportunity to learn about the basic interests of your target audience so that you can better meet their needs. Keyword research is about getting the right audience to your content – those who are more likely to have an interest in the products and services your content is ultimately promoting.

Your keyword research should be the basis for every topic you develop. But you'll need to be creative and come up with topics that have not already been saturated on the Internet. The other methods in this list will help you do just that.

Step 2: Gaining Consumer Insight

After getting your keyword research done, it's time to dig deep and gain some insight into what your target audience is interested in so you can develop topics that they're more likely to read and share. This can be done in a number of effective ways including:

  • Visiting and interacting in forums where your target audience frequents.
  • Adding surveys to websites that you manage.
  • Reading user comments that have been left on previously written content.
  • Researching what competitors and their audience are talking about.

You can also be straight forward and ask your readers what they want to learn, which types problems they need solutions for, and even how they like their content delivered. This won't only give you some topic ideas, but you'll find that readers appreciate the personal connection and attempt at understanding them.

Step 3: Establishing a Unique Storyline

It's important to design your topics in a way that draws readers in and engages them with a storyline of some kind. Take your topic and turn it into its own spectacular story that your readers can relate to. If you've got an article to write about MP3 players, put yourself in the shoes of your audience to determine what might trigger them emotionally. You may great results outlining the challenges of sticking with a workout regimen as a busy mom, and outlining how an MP3 player can help moms get the most from the little time they have to workout.

The idea is to go beyond generalizations by tapping into specific demographics within your audience and fleshing those angles out one at a time. Don't worry about alienating a part of your audience when developing targeted content because you can reach everyone who might be interested in the products and services you're promoting by simply diversifying your topics.

Good keyword research, understanding your audience, and crafting ideas that meet their specific needs will help you effectively create fresh topic ideas that gets your content noticed and sets the brand you represent apart from the crowd.