You have your website up and running, you have a robust list of email contacts, and you’re updating your blog a couple of times per week with quality Inbound Marketing content you feel confident will generate leads that will ultimately translate into sales. Your marketing team has developed a monthly editorial calendar of dynamic content pieces to ensure appropriate messaging both in terms of tone and timing,. Still, now a whole slew of questions arise:
1) How much content is enough content?
2) Can you ever really have enough Inbound Marketing content?
3) How do you know when you have enough content to continually entice new customers through the sales funnel?
These are not only good questions, but also very common questions within the C-Suite of any business or organization. As companies begin to assess their digital assets and the resources and tools the have on hand, they'll need to ensure those assets remain productive and effective in generating new leads, converting sales, and growing their pipeline of contacts.
Nebulous though these questions may seem, there are a couple of critical guidelines or signposts organizations can use to understand when they have enough Inbound Marketing content and how they should approach and leverage that content to ultimately help grow, develop, and meet their business goals.
Why you’re blogging to begin with
Before we discuss a couple of ways to evaluate when you have enough or at least an adequate amount of Inbound Marketing content, let’s take a moment to quickly recap why you’re blogging in the first place. This brief refresher discussion will help us better answer the quantity of content question in a few moments.
Content (or Inbound) marketing has two primary functions for your organization in terms of creating a footprint within your industry and help to drive new potential customers to your digital front door: organic traffic and brand awareness. Organic traffic and brand awareness work in conjunction with each other in terms of creating a robust pipeline of customer interest, but it’s still important to understand how they function separately to fully realize how they work in concert:
- Organic traffic is quite simply the number of visitors who find and explore your blog (and website) through search terms via Google or other search engines. Content marketing essentially gets you in the organic traffic game by establishing a digital presence for your company and your products that customers can easily find without previously knowing who you are or what you’re about. This is perhaps the main reason why you’re engaged in Inbound Marketing: allowing your company or products to be found without the customer knowing specifically how to find you.
- Brand awareness is essentially the opportunity for organic traffic to position your company or products as the most advantageous in your industry. While every blog post is more or less another door for a potential lead to walk through to learn more about your organization and products/services, it’s critical to remember this: each blog post also serves as an opportunity to highlight elements of your brand that will most impact potential customers and also keep you at top of mind when the customer has weighed their options and is ready to decide on the product or solution that best fits their needs
While this may seem extremely basic, it’s often the most basic elements of any process or strategy that get lost as the questions or challenges become more complex or intricate. If we can remember why we’re engaging in Inbound Marketing to begin with, then answering questions about how much content is truly 'enough' becomes much clearer and easier to understand.
Appeals to different buyer personas
Perhaps one of the more tried and true benchmarks for realizing when you have enough Inbound Marketing content is whether you can appeal to each different buyer persona within your sales pipeline. Not to be too reductive, but quality content marketing that actually moves the needle in terms of leads-to-sales hinges upon two important principles: audience and purpose. In this case, understanding the variety of audiences you’re appealing to, and catering content to ensure each of those audiences can be entered into an insightful, informative conversation regarding your product or service, is key.
A CEO of an organization will have different expectations, needs, or interests regarding the product or service you provide compared to the head of accounting or director of supply chain logistics. While the end goal for each of these buyer personas may be the same (the overall growth and profitability of their company), how you essentially pitch your product or service as an important value proposition should differ for each persona.
To refer back to the beginning of this article, this value proposition is part and parcel of your overall brand awareness.
As such, it’s important to ensure your arsenal of Inbound Marketing content is equipped to handle every buyer persona within your sales pipeline, but also that your content calendar reflects that, by showcasing the most relevant content to each buyer persona given the appropriate context. For example, if you know a sales lead is coming up on the end of their fiscal year and you have content catered to accounting executives that will help them better reconcile their end of year tasks, then it makes sense to publish that content during a timeframe when such a topic would be at the top of mind.
To put a bow on it: You speak to a family member differently than you speak with a friend or even a spouse, and creating content that functions on the same principles for individual buyer personas will help foster lasting, productive relationships in business just like in life.
Stages of the buyer’s journey
Just like how each buyer persona in your pipeline necessitates differences in your Inbound Marketing content, the same goes for each stage of the overall buyer’s journey – which, looking back to the beginning of this blog, is connected to organic search traffic.
For example, a CEO at the beginning of the buyer’s journey is often at the exploratory stage of a product or service. At this point, said CEO is looking to understand the basics of a product or service, or, to better realize how a product or service can best help overcome a given challenge or hurdle in their business. At this point, they’re not looking to understand the in’s and out’s of implementation or an in-depth analysis of how this product or solution operates on a super micro level. Cliché as it sounds, they’re looking for the 40,000-foot view of how this can help their company work both harder and smarter.
Conversely, a manager of supply chain logistics who is tasked with presenting a detailed recommendation for a product or service to increase the efficiency of a company’s overall value chain needs an in-depth, 360-degree view of a product or service in order to make the most informed recommendation possible.
Both of these scenarios represent different stages in the buyer’s journey, along with different buyer personas. This should demonstrate clearly how so much of Inbound Marketing content management is connected and synchronized and, as such, judging quantity of content should reflect whether you have the right messaging for each stage of this journey.
Realizing whether you’re at this point with your content creation or not, points us back to organic search traffic. Understanding the key search terms, ideas, or keywords used during different stages of the buyer’s journey will help you best evaluate whether your stockpile of content can appeal to those from the exploratory to purchasing stage of the buyer’s journey.
The power of use cases
The proof is in the pudding. Somewhat muddled meaning aside, this old adage is something any effective Inbound Marketing strategy needs to incorporate when considering how best to motivate potential customers to pull the proverbial trigger. Exploratory or introductory content to understand a problem and the solution, provide on a macro level one component. A detailed discussion of how a product or service overcomes a specific challenge is another, and documented proof of concepts from current or previous customers is another key marker of when you have enough content.
Companies are often so focused on reaching new customers, closing the deal, and continuing to grow their customer base that showcasing how customers deployed a product or service to ultimately improve the quality of their operations can be overlooked. This is where the value proposition for use cases as part of your Inbound Marketing content strategy can pay dividends when it comes to furthering the discussion with potential customers or answering that all-important question: “Does this product or solution really help my business in the end?”
Being able to sufficiently and holistically answer this question from potential customers and offering the real-world implications of how your product or service positively impacted like-minded companies or those struggling with similar challenges, is a good indicator that you have the right content to motivate customers to cross that sales finish line.