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How-to: Get the most out of your content strategy

Smarter Writer
Smarter Team

The Smarter Team is made up of business and technology journalists who write to offer insights to small and medium businesses about technology, business know-how and emerging trends.

Smarter Writer
Smarter Team

The Smarter Team is made up of business and technology journalists who write to offer insights to small and medium businesses about technology, business know-how and emerging trends.

Build an effective content marketing strategy with these digital techniques.

In the war for attention, the challenge for a small business is to create content that engages the right audience to reach more customers and achieve sales targets.

To make your content stand out amid the seemingly never-ending array of op-eds, think pieces and native content, simply having relevant content isn’t enough. To get traction, you need to think strategically. Below are five essential tips for getting the most out of your creative marketing strategy.

Image shows a person sitting at a laptop computer and working on a website design.

1. Measure, reflect, react

Your web content could offer the secret behind human existence but without the right technology, tools and placement, it might be seen by too few to make a difference. So, how do you know if your content is working? Get the numbers, the raw data, and analyse them.

It is essential to measure the success of your content and adjust your content marketing plan accordingly in order to maximise your return on investment. Evaluate the following: Who is reading it, and where are they reading it? How many views converted into sales? And then explore the idea, ‘How can I gain more eyeballs for my posts?’ Thankfully, there are plenty of data analysis and marketing technologies to help you understand all aspects of the content lifecycle.

Google Analytics is hugely popular with users who manage individual sites, and for good reason: it combines plentiful data with a user-friendly interface. Its strength lies in its ability to get a complete picture, so you can “evaluate the performance of your marketing, content, products, and more”. But despite how it may seem, there is more out there than Google, and the right tool to measure your website’s performance depends on what your aims are.

4 top tools for your website analytics

Google Analytics: Hugely popular and features the ability to connect with Google advertising and publisher products.

Adobe Analytics: Adobe claims to out-perform Google in ad hoc reporting and audience segmentation.

MouseFlow: A tool that lets you replay the full visitor experience to identify opportunities for optimisation.

ClickMeter: A centralised tool to monitor, compare and optimise all your marketing links.

2. Target, personalise and adapt

While they all might share a common interest in your business, different customers have different needs. Creating a catch-all solution – content and copy that attempts to appeal to everyone – is bound to exclude some people. What’s the answer? Personalising your content to empathise with particular audience segments can be far more effective.

Content marketing portal Contently is an account-based content marketing platform that allows users to ‘hyper-personalise’ content for each audience. In a nutshell, hyper-personalisation describes the consumer effects of big data. Basically, with more data than ever before, businesses are, for the first time, able to apply what is known as ‘attributable analysis’. It answers the ‘why’ of most consumer behaviour – for example, there’s a lot to be learned from knowing what content someone viewed before they made a purchase or entered their email – so it enables the ‘how’ of your content marketing approach.

In only the last few years, businesses can learn about individual consumer behaviour of each and every customer, rather than relying so heavily on demographic data alone. And with other apps, personalisation can include optimising content experience based on referral source, tailoring content to the viewer’s device, or even learning from their behaviour to make content decisions.    

3. Don’t neglect your website

In many cases, companies will invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in content marketing but often neglect the content on their website, despite its importance as a lead-generation tool. Website personalisation app Triblio allows companies to customise the user experience through their behaviour, industry, buying stage and other characteristics. Its software can also create digital profiles and content for interest-specific email campaigns.

Website personalisation is a way to engage people through the purchase cycle via increased awareness, upsells and customer retention. For example, in an e-commerce setting, information on how long a customer leaves items sitting in their shopping cart before checkout is valuable. It gives you the opportunity to offer a discount and close the sale. Data on customers’ purchase habits – say, a penchant for hoodies or sneakers – means companies can deliver a targeted display on site to maximise sales opportunities.

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4. A/B testing

Providing measurable value to your customers is really important. But to establish value you need to have something to compare it against.

In a nutshell, A/B testing is a way to test layouts, features or content against one another to discover which drives more sales or increases brand engagement (or whatever your desired performance metric may be). But today, data can take us even further.

We’re way past A/B testing in what data is able to tell us. A more fitting phrase is A–Z testing, because companies shouldn’t be limiting themselves to polarities. Web layouts can be customised and targeted to individual customers and shareholders. There is any number of ways to display content to maximise your return on investment. The most important thing is to ensure you’re properly interpreting the results. This is where tools can be of benefit. Optimizely, the world’s leading optimisation platform, makes sense of your customer insights and guides you towards an optimised sales and content strategy.

5. Questions to ask yourself when assessing your content strategy

Your content sits at the heart of any good creative marketing strategy, but success comes only with having measurable outcomes. It's important to ask yourself the following questions when evaluating the success of the elements in your content strategy, whether it’s web copy, interactive marketing or social media, and more.

  • Who is my core audience and does my content adequately address and engage with their needs? Renowned marketing expert Neil Patel recommends creating customer personas and customising accordingly.
  • What traffic is my content generating? There are plenty of free tools available, from Google Analytics to the metrics offered within the platforms of social networking sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.   
  • What is my website’s bounce rate, conversion rate and average length of visits or time on page? These criteria will help you assess whether the content delivers sufficient value to your customers.   
  • Can customers engage with our brand or business without visiting the website? Are our current customers being served adequately on social media? And are we using social to track new sales leads?

Originally published May 19th 2017. Updated January 23rd 2020.

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