You’ve heard the stats. You’ve read the articles.
Today, the majority of the buyer’s journey is self-directed and happens before you even know who they are. This reality has made marketing teams accountable for engaging buyers sooner and getting them to that first “hello” faster.
At Netskope, we knew we needed to strategically guide the conversation from the very first touch to the last–and to do it, we invested in creating relevant, buyer-centric content for every stage of the journey. It’s how we scaled our content efforts for the best experience at every touchpoint, leading to more business impact and less content waste. As a result, we saw a 5x increase in website visits, 10x increase in qualified leads in our database, and 10x the social reach.
But getting there was a journey in itself with a lot of learnings along the way. Here are five tips to successfully map your content to the buyer’s journey:
1. Brute Force Only Gets You So Far
For any organization, large or small, it’s easy to fall into the trap of producing a high volume of content to fuel prolific campaigns. Unfortunately, this endeavor involves churning out as much content as possible, often with a lack of regard to efficiency or effectiveness.
To become a content juggernaut, you have to build a repeatable, scalable process for content creation–and spreadsheets won’t cut it. For us, this is where technology, specifically marketing automation and marketing content software, became essential. By integrating the two, we were able to build a truly effective and efficient marketing operation. Marketing content software helps you plan content, meet deadlines, and coordinate teams to create and deliver buyer-centric content across the funnel, and marketing automation enables you to distribute that content to the right people and measure the impact on your target audience, not to mention track how they progress through the buyer’s journey.
2. It’s Okay to Repurpose Content
Repurposing content in different areas throughout the buyer’s journey was key to our success. Don’t get stuck thinking that a report can only be used in one stage of the buyer’s journey—there are multiple ways to use a single asset. For example, my team initially leveraged a Gartner report as a didactic piece to drive awareness and support lead generation. However, when our sales team began using the asset to drive engagement later in the sales cycle, we realized we were missing an opportunity. The report lists our company as a representative vendor and so we used it to set buying criteria during the evaluation stage as well. We started to encourage customer-facing teams to re-use this asset to support multiple stages of the buying cycle. For potential customers who weren’t familiar with our product, we were able to use it to garner interest in the general topic and challenges. Then, as they started engaging with us, we used it to introduce our solution. For buyers further along in the purchasing journey, we used it to establish authority and differentiate ourselves from our competitors. This strategic repurposing helped us get the most out of a single asset.
Keep in mind that reusing content doesn’t mean hitting people over the head with the same piece of content, providing an infographic to generate awareness only to repeat it in an additional nurture email to the same lead. But, it does allow you to take successful content and frame it in a new way strategically. For example, you can easily take a ebook or flipbook and create an infographic on the topic or share digestible, interesting quotes from it on social media.
3. Don’t Let Great be the Enemy of Good
When it comes to planning, creating, delivering, and analyzing content, remember: everything doesn’t need to be perfect. You need to move fast, and some content can not only survive, but thrive in a less-than-perfect state.
Our Movie Line Monday series, for example, is filled with fun, short videos running less than five minutes each. We film each video in just one take, with no do-overs and no extensive editing time. These quick videos deliver content in a way that is digestible, genuine, and, most importantly, scalable. When it comes to content planning, we create workflows to align with the amount of time a given asset requires, factoring in additional time for assets that require near-perfection and less time for others that thrive on quick turnarounds like our short videos.
If you’re not talking to your customers, prospects, and cross-functional teams, such as customer support or sales, you’re missing the boat. It’s essential to incorporate feedback as you create new assets and iterate on existing content. You need to get out there and listen to what people are thinking.
Markets change over time. When we started at Netskope, it was a very evangelical sale—not many people knew about our product as a category, so much of our content was focused on awareness and education. But today, analysts, press, and, of course, competitors are talking about cloud security. Because people understand the category, we had to reframe our content in a way that recognizes that people are familiar with the term and then take a deeper dive.
To deliver a positive experience at each stage of the buyer’s journey, you need to stay on the pulse of your buyer—taking into consideration what they see, what they respond to, and what they find interesting. For example, through talking with sales and customers, we discovered that IT teams and CISOs were inundated with fear-mongering tactics regarding topics like data breaches and job security. If we went in line with that topic, we’d just be a part of the never-ending noise. Our solution? Keep reading…
5. Establish a Brand Voice
To stand out from our competitors, we knew our content needed to be different. Accordingly, we focused on content that was fun and authentic, balancing a lightheartedness with the serious importance of security. We believe in injecting humor and personality—and focusing on topics that make people think. This has been a way for us to reach our customers and keep them engaged long after we’ve closed the sale. While this strategy may not be the best for your target audience, the key is to understand the tone of voice for your brand and be consistent about it. Look at your company’s values, which can often be found in your mission statement, and see what tone to incorporate into your content that aligns with it.
Taking a buyer-centric approach and getting out of spreadsheets, you too can increase the quantity and quality of your content throughout the buyer’s journey. When you create a scalable process for delivering the right content at the right time, you can focus on topics and tactics that drive revenue and increase retention. Not to mention, you can boost morale, knowing your content is making a significant impact on the success of your company—and on the success of your buyers.
What other advice do you have for mapping content to the buyer’s journey? Shared your tried-and-true tips below!