The “How Content Influences the Purchasing Process” survey from the Content Marketing Institute and SmartBrief recently honed in on how customers are seeking out marketing content.
It showed that the majority (62 percent) prefer content that speaks to their specific needs and/or pain points, but what other aspects make marketing content desirable to customers?
To learn more and gain further insight into the report, we spoke to Lisa Murton Beets, research director at the Content Marketing Institute.
How can marketers ensure that their content is addressing their target audience’s pain points?
“Marketers can do several things. They can study analytics to see how long people are staying at their web pages, how much content they’re downloading, whether they’re taking the next step suggested in a call-to-action, etc. It’s also important to work closely with your sales team. Ask them to review your content and to make suggestions on new types of content you might consider developing. Ask you audience, too. Talk with them at in-person events, call-up existing clients, or conduct brief surveys about their pain points.”
How important do you think it is for marketers to create original content?
“It’s very important for marketers to create original content, but not just any content. The content should be custom-crafted to the audience you’re targeting, depending on which phase of the buyer’s journey they’re in. It should speak directly to the audience’s needs and pain points, and also be differentiated from what your competitors are putting out there.”
Do marketers who have created buyer personas have an advantage when crafting content?
“Yes. How can you create optimally effective content if you don’t really understand who you’re speaking to? To take it a step further, the personas should be created based on different phases of the buyer’s journey. For example, is the persona someone in the discovery phase? Or has she already done background research and is ready to buy?”
Why do you think content formats, such as buyer guides and ebooks, have less influence vs. one-to-one peer recommendations and original research?
“People trust people they know, with whom they have developed relationships. People also trust research, provided it is conducted properly using sound research practices. Research that is conducted in a self-serving manner is often obvious. Buyer guides and ebooks definitely have their place, though. They can be very helpful especially at specific points in the buyer’s journey.”
How can marketers make their content more “shareable” for their audience?
“The study showed that the main way decision-makers share purchasing-related content with their colleagues is via email, so marketers should ensure their content is easy to forward via email. A lot of people read their email on their mobile devices these days, so content should be mobile-friendly with easy-to-read calls-to-action.”
What was the most interesting finding/statistic to you in the report?
“I found it interesting that 40 percent of respondents indicated the source of information does not matter to them as long as the information is credible. That tells us that buyers are looking for information in all kinds of places, or at least open to discovering it in unexpected places. This is an important finding for marketers, because they need to be examining how their brand and content is being presented all across the digital landscape.”
Click here to download your free copy of the report.
ABOUT LISA MURTON BEETS
Lisa oversees all aspects of Content Marketing Institute’s (CMI’s) annual content marketing survey, as well as all custom research projects, and reports on the insights derived from the studies. Follow her at @LisaBeets.