According to the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) 2016 B2B Content Marketing report, companies are actually regressing when it comes to developing marketing strategies. The report showed that the percentage of companies that have a documented marketing strategy dropped 35% from the previous year to 32% in 2016.
Organizations that want to be successful at marketing can’t afford to take a haphazard approach. A sound and profitable marketing strategy requires careful planning and evaluation. Before developing a marketing strategy, your business needs to take stock of the marketing assets you already have so you can fill in gaps. Conducting a thorough content marketing inventory and audit will help you plan a marketing strategy that reaches your customers where, when, and how they prefer.
Filling the Content Marketing Funnel
To make the most of your marketing strategy, you need to create content for each part of the marketing funnel. During your marketing inventory, categorize your content according to funnel position so you can see if you have gaps at points in the funnel or if you are covering points in the funnel unevenly.
It’s not enough to just attract potential customers at the top of the funnel. You need to keep engaging your audience throughout by creating content that targets them at the consideration and decision stages. The further a potential customer progresses down the funnel, the greater the chance of converting them to a sale.
If you are missing content that addresses the top of the funnel, you need to generate pieces that educate your audience about their pain points. At the bottom of the funnel, sell sheets and white papers show how your solutions solve a customer’s problems.
Reaching Your Entire Audience
A content inventory should determine if you are reaching all the right people. You need to develop personas as part of an effective marketing strategy. These personas are detailed pictures of your ideal customers. For instance, what are some of the challenges an IT Manager or CIO faces on the job? What resources do they turn to for insights and information? What objections do they raise during a sales pitch?
The marketing content you have on hand should target all the key personas your business interacts with. If you have neglected a specific persona, adding applicable content should be part of your new strategy.
Marketing All You’ve Got to Offer
Remember that content marketing is all about leading customers toward your products and services. At the top and middle sections of the funnel, you won’t be mentioning your products openly. However, the goal is to move your audience down the funnel until they realize your product is the correct solution to their pain points.
A content inventory offers an opportunity to see if you are marketing all your solutions. Some companies tend to focus marketing on the products that are bringing in the most revenue, disregarding that an additional marketing effort could boost the revenue of less popular products. Taking an inventory of your calls to action will show how often you point your customers toward a specific offer.
How Effective Is Your Current Marketing Content?
The content inventory lays the groundwork for a content audit. Now you know what content assets you have and don’t have. But how does the content you have perform? Using analytics, you can determine if your content is optimized for search engines. Key performance indicators, such as social shares, conversion rates, numbers of visits, and lengths of visits, speak volumes about the quality of your existing content. If your current content is performing poorly, now might be the time to refresh it.
Optimizing Your Marketing Opportunities
By not taking inventory, it’s easy to lose track of your marketing assets. Unless you have a complete picture of your content portfolio, you may be missing out on opportunities to engage customers at crucial points in the marketing funnel. Every piece of content should be part of a complete workflow that can lead to a conversion.
Your marketing inventory and audit are going to prepare you to develop a formal marketing strategy that hits all the marks your business needs to be successful at reaching and winning over customers.
Learn how TSL approaches content marketing at every stage by viewing our infographic, How the Marketing Process Grows Customers.