How To Marry Content With Marketing Automation
Marketing automation without quality content is like a brand new sports car with an empty tank of gas (or a drained battery). It might be the perfect vehicle, but it can’t really take you anywhere.
Great content without marketing automation, on the other hand, is like fuel without the car. You could go places if only you had something to take you there.
But together, high-quality content and a robust suite of marketing automation tools can take your business places.
Still, what most marketers fail to realize is that you don’t just need any great content. You need content geared to customers along the entire buying journey — from their first contact to long after they’ve become a repeat customer.
What is the buyer's journey?
It's the process that buyers or consumers go through before they become customers. They start with becoming aware of their needs, move on to evaluate options and then after consideration, they purchase a new product or service.
The three-step process in a nutshell:
- Awareness Stage: Buyer realizes they have a problem.
- Consideration Stage: Buyer researches options to solve it.
- Decision Stage: Buyer chooses a solution.
So, to help you understand the kind of content you need to get the most out of your marketing automation and to develop the right pieces of content at each stage of the buying journey, we’ve put together this guide.
Beginning the Journey: Solving People’s Problems
In the marketing world, as in life, first impressions are important. The content on your website and social media channels should provide potential customers with enough value to get them interested in your products, consider buying from you in the future and maybe give you permission to sign them up for your email newsletter.
What kind of content does that, you ask? Simply put, content that solves your audience’s problems.
To better understand your social media followers and people who visit your website, you’ll want to research your audience’s wants, needs, questions and objections. Then you can use that data to create useful, interesting and entertaining content that addresses these issues.
Marketing automation not only helps make this easier, it also helps sustain your relationship with potential customers. Then as you start to better understand your audience, you can create new content for each of your customer segments.
Continuing the Journey: Sharing Your Expertise
These days, everyone’s an “expert.” But what sets real experts apart is quality content. By passing along the knowledge in a friendly way, you establish credibility and authority and naturally, your online presence will grow.
But how do you become an expert online? You might be a real expert in real life or you might just be learning, but either way, the trick is the same: creating educational content.
Educational content can both introduce people to your products and also help them understand more about the area you’re working in. Either way, great content establishes credibility and builds trust.
You don’t even have to come up with all the authoritative content yourself. You can also interview experts on subjects your audience is interested in and ask thought leaders to write guest posts for you, too.
Just remember that your audience is made up of people with varying degrees of knowledge of your product area. Some people are just starting out. Others may know more. And some are experts themselves, but could still benefit from your products. Since they’re all your potential customers, try to offer content for each group.
Your educational content should also help customers choose you over the competition. But once they’ve chosen you, their journey continues.
The Journey Doesn't End at the Sale: Inspiring, Engaging, and Encouraging Loyalty
After someone purchases your product, they become potential advocates, influencers and brand ambassadors. You want them to understand what your products and get the most out of them. Again, quality content can help funneled through marketing automation software can help.
At this point in your customers’ journey, there are many ways to add value to their experience. You can inspire them with tips about your products. Host Q&A sessions on Facebook Live, hold competitions on social media and email marketing, organize monthly challenges and more to keep your customers engaged. You can also encourage them to share their stories, reviews and testimonials about your products.
All of this will help your customers reassure themselves that they’ve made a good purchase and encourage them to tell others about them.
Again, marketing automation not only makes this possible but also makes it easier and more effective.
Now that we’ve looked at the buyer’s journey from beginning to end, it’s time to take a look at your existing content. Do you have every stage covered? If not, you have an opportunity to fill in the gaps and not only improve your customer experience but also meet your business goals. That’s the power of marrying content and marketing automation.