This post is based on the webinar: Step by Step, How to Accelerate Your Growth Machine With Inbound Marketing, with Samir Patel and Elton Miranda. You can find the webinar here.
- The 5 Ps of Growth: discover what’s behind successful growth strategies.
- Buyer Personas: why they matter and how to build yours.
- Content KPIs: learn how to measure your content performance with KIPs.
- Case Study: how to set up a multi-lingual content organization.
The times of Unicorns and “growth at all costs” are over, investors are now looking for Cockroaches:
“[…] Businesses that build slowly and steadily from the get-go, keeping a close eye on revenues and profits. Spending is kept in check so that it can weather any funding storm.” – Business Insider
And when the goal is growing “slowly and steadily” (and organically and predictably) nothing works like inbound marketing and content marketing together.
On the downside, with so much content out there standing out and reaching your audience is not easy, and driving growth with content marketing requires more than simply creating content.
Keep reading to learn how industry experts Samir Patel and Elton Miranda, have used content to build solid and predictable growth machines.
- The Starter’s Guide To Process Automation: automate your processes and use them to produce any kind of content.
- Samir Patel’s Content Marketing Kit: templates, cheatsheets and tools to drive results with content marketing.
- The Content Strategy Builder: an interactive tool to build your content strategy fast and for free.
THE 5 Ps OF GROWTH
No matter what strategy you use, to drive growth, the first thing you need to do is understand how growth works.
Working both with big companies in growth phase and startups trying to get things of the ground, Samir Patel identified the 5 main elements of growth:
1 – Purpose: having a clear purpose is crucial to any growth strategy.
People want to work with people with a purpose. – Samir Patel
Why are you doing it? What problem are you trying to solve?
The answer to these questions will get reflected on your website, your emails, your ads and your content, making clear to the market what you stand for.People want to work with people with a purpose. - Samir Patel @meetsamir #ContentMarketing Click To Tweet
2 – Planning: to turn your purpose into reality, you need a plan with clear goals, execution strategies and clear performance indicators.
Plans are useless, but planning is essential. – Samir Patel
3 – People: plans are nothing if not executed and great execution comes from a great team.
Hiring and retaining talents is key to any company’s success, and to pick the right players you need to take into account several different elements.
For instance, when doing content marking, do you hire an experience writer who doesn’t know your market or an industry expert with average writing skills? You choose a story teller or an SEO / distribution expert?
The answer varies from company to company, but this gives you an idea of the factors to take into account.
4 – Process: once you find the right people, you need to establish clear process to make them work together and deliver on time.
Having clear processes in place, also helps you measure the efficiency and effectiveness of your team, allowing you test and optimize over time.
5 – Platform: the last piece of the puzzle is using a platform that allows you to speed things up, automate execution and scale your operations.
When looking for a platform keep this in mind: good platforms have smart processes built into them.Good platforms have smart processes built into them. - Samir Patel @meetsamir #ContentMarketing Click To Tweet
Lear how to streamline and automate your processes with The Starter’s Guide to Process Automation. To get your free copy, click the link below.
CLICK HERE TO GET YOUR FREE COPY OF THE STARTER’S GUIDE TO PROCESS AUTOMATION
PERSONAS: WHY THEY MATTER AND HOW TO BUILD YOURS
Needless to say that none of the above would make sense without a clear understanding of your target customer, and building a customer persona is a great exercise to help you with that.
The first step is drawing a sketch of your prospective customers:
- what they do
- what they read
- what their needs / goals are
- where do they hang out (online / offline)
The key here is forget about the data and look at your customers as human beings: find their motivators, understand their whys.Building Personas: forget about the data, look at your customers as human beings. #ContentMarketing Click To Tweet
Step two is combine the behavioural data you collected with your target customer demographics (age, gender, location, income).
This combination will give you a 360 degree understanding of your target audience and will help you both write content that resonates with your audience and distribute it effectively.
For instance, knowing your customers personality you can write tailored to their tastes, and knowing their demographics, you can use Facebook demographics targeting to get your content in front of them.
Brainstorm 5 to 10 different personas, then focus on targeting one at a time.
As a rule of thumb, create different personas only in case of relevant differences. Keep things simple and don’t get lost into details.
Some companies are reverse engineering the canonical path: MPV —> Early adopters —> Persona —> Content and are using content for customer development purposes. They start publishing content at a pre MVP stage and then analyse who’s engaging with their content and using this information to start profiling their potential customers. The key is having a clear purpose and vision, to set apart random readers from true potential customer. – Elton Miranda
To help you build your personas, Samir put together the Persona Cheatsheet and the Persona Worksheet. Click the link below to get them for free.
MEASURING YOUR CONTENT PERFORMANCE WITH KPIs
A key factor of content marketing success is planning, and many companies make the mistake to forget about it.
To lay out your plan, you need to answer some key questions:
- What’s my mission / purpose?
- How am I different than my competitors?
- What’s my goal with content?
- How do I measure my content performance?
- Who’s my persona?
- How does my buyer’s journey look like?
- Who will be responsible for content?
As you can see there’s a lot to think about and if you’re just staring off things can get messy.
However, documenting your content strategy is key to your success, so:
1 – Click the link below to access the content strategy builder, a simple tool to help you document your content strategy fast and for free.
2 – Keep reading to learn how to establish effective content KPIs
BUILD YOUR STRATEGY FAST AND FOR FREE HERE
Content KPIs – key performance indicators – are quantifiable metrics that help you answer one question: how is my content performing?
Visitors, shares, backlinks, comments, subscribers, leads: there’s a vast range of metrics you could use to measure your content performance.
The trick associating the right content to the right KPI, which un turn depends on your final goal.
Let’s explain this with an example:
Case A: You have good base of leads of leads at that have been engaging with your content for a while without converting into customers.
Your goal here is to turn those leads into customers, and to do that you publish case studies, videos of your product and comparison pages.
How do you measure your content success? In this instance, likes and shares are vanity metrics. The number you’ll want to look at are actual sales.
How many of those who engaged with those guides have turned into customers? And what was their content journey?
Case B: You are going through a tough fundraising process (note: there’s no such a thing as “easy fundraising”), your metrics are good but investors have never heard about you.
Your goal is to increase your brand visibility, creating hype around your company and results, and to do that you create some cool videos, infographics and press releases about your stunning metrics and product.
What would your content KPIs be in this case? Page visits, social shares, referrals from major publications. This is what you’re looking for.
As you can see, different goals requires different content strategies, which, in turn, have different success indicators, and to understand what’s going on you need to pick the right KPIs.Different goals = different content --> different KPIs @meetsamir #ContentMarketing Click To Tweet
To help you understand content marketing KPIs and match the right KPI with the right objective, use Samir’s content development framework. You can download it by clicking the link below.
Content Marketing is about walking your readers through a journey: every time they take a step, you need to invite them to take the next one, till converting them into customers. That’s what CTAs are for, still most companies completely forget about it. – Elton Miranda
At Contentools we invest a good amount of time crafting and optimising our CTAs: copy, position, offer and so on.
Here 3 principles we follow to write CTAs that convert:
1) Respect your readers: invasive CTAs will just piss your readers off. Keep them elegant and discrete and make sure they don’t ruin your readers experience.
2) Be clear and on point: tell your readers what they are going to get, why they should care and what they have to do to get it.
3) Follow the journey: a “FREE TRIAL” CTA at the end of a TOFU piece of content is a waste of space. Don’t rush your leads down the funnel, use your CTAs to offer something relevant to them, based on where they are in your funnel.
Personas, buyer stage, KPIs, CTAs…as you can see, there’s much more to content marketing than content creation, and without the right framework in place, things can get messy. To keep things organised, use Samir content development framework. You can download the template by clicking the link below.
Content Creation Cheatsheet: 3 steps to produce engaging content and put it in front of your audience.
1 – See what’s trending: use Buzzsumo to discover what content your target audience is engaging with. It allows you to see what topics, content types and communication styles are performing better and what distribution channel is giving more returns.
2 – Play with keywords: don’t write for search engines, but be smart about the keywords you use. That will help you get found. Use MOZ to find keyword opportunities.
3 – Increase your reach: partner up with brands targeting the same personas with different value propositions to increase your content reach.
CASE STUDY: MULTI-LINGUAL CONTENT MARKETING
You have a strong position in your country, and want to explore different markets to uncover new sales opportunities.
Content marketing can help you do your customer development, but running a multi-lingual content organisation is not easy and you need to set up things right.
Here 3 pieces of advice that will make things easier:
1) Direct foreign traffic to your existing content: before going through the hustle of writing content in a foreign language (or hiring someone to do that) invest in ads to drive foreign traffic to your existing content.
These will give you a first hint on what these new customer segment likes, what their reading habits are and what content is performing better.
Note: this tactic works great if your content is in English, Spanish or other wide-spread languages, you may have a hard time if your blog is in Arab or Chinese.
2) Readapt the best performers: once you have a clearer understanding of what content resonates the most with you new audience, you can launch the new blog populated with the best performing articles (from phase 1) readapted for the foreign audience.
Note: readapting your content is much more than a simple translation: different audiences have different habits, follow different influencers and have different motivators. Make sure your readapted content reflect that.
3) Develop a new strategy: there’s no “one-strategy-fits-all”, and when you get the hang of the new audience, it’ll be time to adopt a new content strategy.
Audiences from different countries can deeply differ from one another: culture, habits, influencers, motivators, pain points, maturity and so on. Thats why you need a different content strategy.
To give you an example, at Contentools we have implemented two different strategies, one for the US and one for Brazil.
As one of the largest content marketing companies in Brazil, receiving over 12K leads / month, we need to constantly push out fresh content, to keep our thousands of inbound visitors engaged.
In the US, the market is more complex: there more competition and higher expectations and we’re hustling to gain our share of eyeballs. Here we opted to publish less content and invest more in getting it in front of our readers (distribution).
Note: you don’t need two separate content marketing teams. Establish unified processes, KPIs, quality standards and best practices, make everyone feel part of the same team: this will increase collaboration and idea flow, with a positive impact on the overall results.How to run multi-lingual #ContentMarketing @meetsamir @eltonmiranda_ Click To Tweet
QUESTIONS FROM THE AUDIENCE
1 – What framework can you use to build your personas?
[Samir] Your first goal is to capture the human side of your prospects, so more than looking at datas and analytics start with face to face interviews.
Pay attention not only to what they say, but how they say it, their body language. Try to capture their feelings and needs.
The second best solution are video calls. Last resort are written surveys.
2 – As an early stage startup, what’s the right time to start thinking about growth?
[Elton] As a startup, the first thing you have to focus on is finding a product market fit. If you don’t have this, everything else is useless.
In a startup’s life there are three main moments:
– finding product market fit
– getting ready to scale
– investing in growth
When you are at the first stage you need to focus on building a product or app which is easy to access and use. Invest all your time time on creating a product that’s 10X better than anything else in the market.
Then you need to start worry about finding people who’ll buy it and make the whole process as frictionless as possible. Here’s is where you run experiments to find the right channels and set up processes to welcome, convert and retain your first users.
Once you find scalable acquisition, conversion and retention processes, this is when you are ready to scale and can start investing on growth.
So, don’t waste resources on growth for now, you are not ready, but run little growth experiments to draw attention to your product and validate your purpose.
3 – What are the best content marketing platforms available?
[Elton] There are a lot of free and paid tools you can use for content marketing and the first question you need to answer is: “do I need a content marketing platform?”
What we noticed is that a lot companies come to us (Contentools) when need scale their content marketing, increasing the team and volume. When it’s just a couple of people you work side by side and there’s not much content to manage: things are easy.
But when you start increasing your content output (and at some point you’ll have to – link to article) and growing your team, maintaining alignment becomes a real pain and you need a software that operates on a differ level of sophistication.
So look at your content marketing operation and ask yourself: #ContentMarketing: what are you missing out using spreadsheets and other unintegrated tools? Click To Tweet
4 – How do I increase my visitors to leads conversion rate?
[Samir] Your goal is to capture they information, and the only way to get it is by gaining trust.
Think about a real life situation: you don’t meet someone and ask him 5000 dollars straight away. That’ll (probably) never happen.
It’s something you’d do with people you’ve had a long time relationship with, in this case it may actually happen.
The same principle words when converting visitors to leads and to customers: you need to build trust, and the only way to do that is by delivering value upfront, in the form of free content and software.
That’s what makes content marketing so powerful: it allows you to earn your customers’ trust over time, creating a bond that will bring long term returns.Before asking for information, gain your prospects trust with #ContentMarketing @Meetsamir Click To Tweet
READY TO SET UP YOUR CONTENT MACHINE?
Start by downloading Samir’s Content Marketing Kit: a bundle of templates, cheatsheets and resources to help you accelerate your growth with inbound marketing.
If you are killing it at content marking, and are looking for ways to automate and scale your processes, check out Contentools.