A weekly Google Hangout dedicated to discussing content marketing, search marketing, SEO and more.
Topic: How to Use Content Marketing to Get More Qualified Leads
In the world of content marketing, a lot of goals and KPIs are set towards acquiring more – more visitors, more time on site, and more likes on social media. Achieving more may mean you’re not reaching your corporate goals of higher revenue and lower churn rates, if the audiences you’re bringing in aren’t the right people for your product.
Erin O’Brien, President at GinzaMetrics
Karen Scates, Manager Marketing & PR at GinzaMetrics
FULL VIDEO TRANSCRIPT
Karen: Hi, welcome to this week’s edition of FOUND Friday. Erin, again on Blab. Once the show is over, I’ll be posting it on our SoundCloud account so you can listen to it as podcast. I’ll also be putting it on our YouTube account so you can share it and play it. I’m Karen.
Erin: And I’m Erin.
Karen: We’re both from GinzaMetrics. This week we’re going to be talking about using content marketing to get more qualified leads. Historically, the goal of content marketing has been to generate more – more website visitors, more time on page, and more likes on social media. Why aren’t those necessarily the goals that will impact the corporate bottom line?
Erin: The world needs more content, like I need a little in my head. It’s pretty obvious to most people that driving a lot of traffic that’s the wrong traffic isn’t going to drive a lot of conversions. Ironically, that realization hasn’t really slowed down requests for content that do just that.
It’s like there’s a disconnect between knowing that you need people to convert and not recognizing how the content you’re creating has an impact on that request. Some nonsense that I heard back in my agency days from my client was, “We’re currently converting for this microsite content at 1.5%. So for every 1,000 people, we’re converting 10 people or so. What we need you to do is drive a million people to the microsite so we can meet our goal for conversions.”
No. What you actually need to do is increase your conversion rates. You don’t have to find a million people who fit this really niched product that you have. Let’s spend our time and money making the actual site more relevant. Delivering things that the market actually needs and making the experience seamless as opposed to continuing this current crap that’s up there that’s driving a bunch of people who just happen to accidentally convert now and then.
I always think it’s interesting when somebody says, “Currently for every X number of site visitors or every X number of people who see this thing, this number of people purchasing or converting is taking this action so the way to get to what we want is to just increase traffic. You do understand that at some point this is diminishing returns because at some point you will run out of people to drive there. So the real idea is got to know how to amp up the conversion rate and understand how your content plays together to really make that happen as opposed to just sheer volume.
Karen: I feel like sometimes people look at what their competitors are doing and saying, “Oh, they’re beating us on the search engine. They’re ranking higher because they’re putting out a blog every day and we’re only putting out two blogs a week. They have slide show every other day. The way to beat them is to do lots more content. We’re going to beat them at the quantity level.” What do you think about that?
Erin: This idea that quantity is the way to win something, obviously you’re not really necessarily understanding the ecosystem and how your business operates.
Just because somebody is creating more content than you doesn’t mean they’re actually moving any more product than you, creating any more conversions than you, etc. So you want to understand and know that before you spend a lot of time and money trying to create duplicate content out there for people, without even knowing how people are really engaging with it. People may even be highly engaged but they still may not be the right people.
I always hate to drop this so early in the episode, but this is a lot of what you can solve with medium, method, and message. You need to know how what you’re saying is impacting people, where you’re saying it and that impact, how well these things work together to really build and experience that delivers on what users want.
I’ll add another M to this mix which is “market.” Essentially, the market refers to the people who you’re talking to specifically. In a lot of cases, this is personas. So you’re setting up goals. You need to take into account what the overall organizational goals are, how your department contributes to that and for your specific role if you’re not the head of the department, what you’re doing to help meet these goals and objectives.
For most people revenue is a goal and that means some kind of conversion is necessary. If you’re watching the show, then chances are it’s because you have some kind of online presence, your website. If that’s the case, a lot of times I tell people to take stock of what you’re already doing across the organization.
Do you have a website, microsite, a bunch of social channels, content you’ve been posting in other places, blog posts, videos, whatever you’ve got? Where does all this live? Do you know how everything is actually performing right now at the medium, method, and message a little? Do you know how often these things are managed and updated? Do you know how individual pieces of content on each of these different things are performing? Do you understand why certain content performed better on certain channels than on others? Do you know how different markets or different audiences actually consume content differently on each of these different channels?
Before bothering to set up a lot of arbitrary quantities as your goal, you should probably know what’s working now, how it works and why. Because essentially, if we go back to that example of, “What I really need you to do is drive a million people to this microsite so that we can meet our goals,” if you met your goal, if I drove 5,000 people to the site, does it matter how many people came as long as you met the end conversion goal or the end revenue goal? It really doesn’t.
Karen: Right. That’s where maybe a content audit at this point comes in to really figure out, “Okay, what are we already doing that works? What isn’t working but maybe we can do something to it, we can freshen that up to make it work? What do we need to move away from?”
Erin: It’s interesting you bring up the content audit situation because I think where we get into this thing where people don’t actually do a real content audit, there are a couple of reasons I think. One, people do content audit because they may have done one in the past and it didn’t really yield anything or nobody used the output of it, and they felt like they spent a lot of money and didn’t really get anything for it. That’s really tragic.
The second reason is that stopping other things to do an audit isn’t a very sexy thing to do in an organization because it tells me you’re going to do this big content audit, the idea is you’re going to stop doing things that people feel move the ball forward to take time out to look at the past. And then the idea is everybody is like, “What now?”
What you have to do if you’re thinking about doing is content audit is understand and explain that what the content audit will yield is specific actions and specific insights that you can use moving forward to make everything work better. You need to be able to show some kind of plan or you need to work with an organization that can show you that plan and help you make sense of that. Because otherwise, it does fall [7:45 inaudible]. Anything else that provides you insights and recommendations it’s, “Hey, we went back. We looked at this. We got all this information.” Then there’s this report. There’s all this numbers. People are like, “Ooh numbers, charts, graphs.” Then they don’t do anything with it. You’re like, “Fantastic. I’m really glad you did this.”
Karen: That was exciting. What are some ways that marketers can make sure they’re attracting the right audience? We talked about making sure it’s the right audience, not just the whole group of people but the right people, and not just more audiences?
Erin: When we talked about personas a few weeks ago, what I wanted to drive home is that you want to be able to slice and dice and measure and understand behavior for more than just things like men versus women or this income group versus that income group. You need to understand what matters to them and how their reception of the content is affected by that.
This goes back to the “you are not your audience” comment and not necessarily grouping people in a way that seems immediately important to you but rather collecting all of this data around how people are actually arriving at your content, consuming it and converting on it, and then finding common threads from those methods.
You might find a connective tissue between the type of product, the geography, social media involvement, and specific keywords all can be grouped together to understand a specific persona. When you can understand who converts at both the user level alongside group data around things like keywords and content exploration and other parts of their [9:26 inaudible], you can start to really dissect things and get in there and create these groups where you can figure out a better path. You can figure out what you really need to be creating.
Once you get to know these people who are converting, you can try to find more people who look like them in smarter ways. You can also figure out who’s coming to the site and not converting, and what similarities those people have. Then that allows you to dig into why they’re not converting. Then you can figure out if you can make changes that would actually ultimately help them convert or if you need to stop trying to attract a certain type of person based on the fact that they’re probably really not a good fit and are never going to convert despite their traffic and frequency of being on your site.
Karen: I think part of the problem with that is that people don’t want to let go of all those page views. “If we stop marketing to these people, we’re going to reduce the members or numbers.”
Erin: If you think about it – yeah, 10 million people onto the site but only three of them converted. Your conversion rate goes down when you attract a bunch of people who don’t do anything. Mathematically, screw the traffic.
Karen: That’s right. Unfortunately, I think that’s sometimes what maybe the C-suite or something that people are used to looking at so when they see the amount of traffic go down, they immediately think that’s a fail instead of, “Maybe we’re just narrowing our focus.”
Erin: Somebody in the C-suite really only cares about traffic. They probably shouldn’t be in the C-suite, to be honest with you. Really having somebody who comes to your site regularly and never buys anything doesn’t seem like that big of a deal but it can be really problematic for your organization. What you don’t want to do is expend a lot of resources on somebody who’s never going to be a buyer.
I know that there’s a certain amount of – people have to try and do some considering before they become a buyer. So I’m certainly not saying that if somebody doesn’t come and buy something or do conversion or whatever in the first 10 seconds, you’re like, “Screw you.”
But people in car sales and department stores and things really understand this. You have to think about it. Somebody who has a Honda budget is never going to buy a Ferrari off your lot. So having your salesperson ignore potential qualified customers to let somebody who’s really only going to buy a Honda test drive a Ferrari for a while is not a good idea.
Some reasons that I really think this is nuts. If you’re spending your time not focused on somebody who’s your real audience member, you’re not able to understand who your real customer is or you don’t care. If you can’t tell the difference from your Honda people and your Ferrari people, if you own a Ferrari dealership, you would probably want to look into that. This goes back to persona development and really understanding your market.
Spending time with the wrong customer is not spending time with the right customer or figuring out how to attract the right customer, which is what ultimately makes you money anyway. Spending time with the wrong customers also gives you feedback and data input that you don’t need and don’t want to mix in. For instance, you don’t necessarily want to mix in somebody who’s looking for a minivan or a family sedan’s wants and needs and features from a luxury performance vehicle if what you sell is Ferrari. The feature input and commentary that you’re going to get from the minivan person is way different. You don’t want to try to make a Ferrari a minivan. So why do you really want to spend a lot of time interacting with these folks? It’s not to say that there’s anything wrong with either one of these situations. It’s just you really need to know what you’re selling and who you’re selling it to.
Karen: I agree. We have a comment from David – hi, David, thanks for joining us today – about buyer personas. Can you expand on that a little bit for me, David? I’m not exactly sure what you’re saying that buyer personas are greater than the goal. I don’t know. Erin, can you –
Erin: I think maybe what he’s saying is that buyer personas get you toward the goal. David’s totally right. He’s saying knowing your target audiences and how they relate to your goals for each persona. That’s exactly the point. It’s all of these [13:58 inaudible] and groups and things that you can slice and dice need to help you understand how each of their paths get to the goal and how each of these people’s things is different because that’s how you’re going to create content that actually resonates with them and how you’re going to actually ensure that each of these groups is most optimally set up to do those things and converts at their highest possible rate.
This can be different for each persona group. Not every group will have the same conversion rate, Obviously, you can look at this as an aggregate as well, but these are oftentimes really different things.
Karen: David also says that then you may as well test the metrics for each persona and how each one is converted.
Erin: Yeah, David and I are totally on the same page in terms of –
Karen: Content grouping. David, you get the GinzaMetrics love because we are so into keyword and content grouping. You’re going to have to go back and look at some of our old FOUND Fridays.
Erin: Content and keyword grouping thing I think is funny because I think a lot of times when people are looking at persona groups, they don’t look at keyword groups and content groups that match those personas, which is crazy to me because what you’re trying to do with the persona group is understand how those groups want to be spoken to. Not how you want to speak to them, how they natively look for things and talk about things differently than other persona groups. A lot of that is understanding at the keyword level and at the content level how they’re describing, talking about things, looking for things, sharing things, interacting with things on their own so that you can most clearly and effectively mirror that natural behavior instead of trying to force them into the behavior you think they should have.
Karen: Right. That’s actually the end of our Blab today. David, I’m really glad that you joined us. I’m going to be putting this on YouTube and SoundCloud. You can also replay it on Blab. Join us next time too. I love the comments. Anyone can e-mail us at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll be back next week.
Erin: All right. Bye, everyone.
Karen: Thanks for joining. Bye-bye.