Why You Should Use Data to Inform Client Content Strategy

    Putting together a successful client content strategy takes more than just doing some keyword research and coming up with ideas for blog posts and social media updates. These days, growing your inbound marketing agency enables you to employ a multitude of new methodologies, which many small businesses simply haven’t co-opted into their offering yet. Big data, account-based marketing, predictive analytics, web personalization and intent marketing are just a few of the buzzwords that come to mind. Why not take the principles behind some of these ideas and put them to good use to boost the success of your clients and your agency?

    Targeting the Customer

    How often do you ask a small- to medium-sized client for their customer personas, and they come up with information based on a “gut feel” or a sense of who their customer is and what they want? Meanwhile, large corporations with huge marketing budgets are almost certainly not doing it this way. They’re making use of big data to inform their content strategy, and smaller clients should do the same.

    Obtaining Big Data

    You’d be surprised just how much “big” data is available, even in the smallest companies. Gather information from past sales records, use free external data sources, such as census and demographic information and research services like SBA.gov, Pew Research Center and City-Data.com, to build a comprehensive picture of your ideal customer and what their pain points are.

    Employing Predictive Analytics

    Making the effort to crunch the numbers can be an important asset for smaller companies, particularly when marketing resources are lean. Predictive analytics looks at the past performance of a company’s products or services and compares it to the present. The information is then correlated to predict future likely sales patterns. Once you have this knowledge, you can tailor your client's content strategy to focus on the target audience or the products you expect the most action from. A number of affordable software programs are available to help you pull it all together, such as Domo, InsightSquared and others.

    Collecting Intent Data

    With the right type of program, you can pare out the intent data from your business intelligence, too. By understanding where your target customer is in the sales funnel, you can determine what their intent is and predict their next move. This enables you to personalize your content strategy through email marketing, for example, by sending just the right message to the customer at the right time. What could be more powerful than that for engaging your prospects?

    Implementing Account-Based Marketing

    For agencies with clients operating in the B2B environment, account-based marketing is based on the identification of high-value business prospects to target, by developing customized content just for them. In the small business environment, it works well for companies if they serve a narrow niche, because they only have to customize for one type of client.

    If your client provides accounting services to smaller law firms, for example, by targeting the content strategy at specific law firms that are identified as ideal customers, you’ll make it meaningful to other firms operating in the same market space. It’s niche marketing at its best.

    Website Personalization

    If account-based marketing isn’t an option for your client because their target audience is too broad, website personalization can hold the key to better performance of their content strategy. This is particularly applicable to clients with e-commerce operations. In an old interview with the Washington Post, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos said prophetically “If we have 4.5 million customers, we shouldn’t have one store. We should have 4.5 million stores.” That’s what Amazon has done in the years since then, and that’s what you can help your client to do effectively.

    Every one of these options requires the availability of data, which is rapidly becoming more accessible to small businesses. For an agency, the solution could be subscribing to software and services on behalf of your clients, so you can achieve some form of economies of scale. You can certainly apply the principles of data-driven marketing to your content strategy, and your clients will benefit from it. To learn more about developing a client content strategy, check out our white paper, "What is a Digital Content Strategy? And Why You Need One."

    Topics: content strategy

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