Content continues to prove itself as an invaluable part of a marketing strategy, for both B2C and B2B. Brands that make it a point to create and deliver engaging and useful content can keep their audience engaged, earn their trust, and establish themselves as an authority in their field.
Content strategy can play a major role in achieving business goals – according to Semrush’s Global State of Content Marketing 2022 report, more than three-quarters (78%) of brands that have achieved their business goals have a documented content marketing strategy, while 81% of businesses that didn’t meet their goals don’t.
Content has a role to play throughout the customer lifecycle, although it has the most impact when delivered at the right time, which is where email comes in.
Mapping the right content at the right time in the customer journey and delivering it via email can be extremely effective. With consistent delivery of quality, relevant, and valuable content, you get higher quality leads and customers who are more likely to stick with you, as well as the ability to learn more about your audience and what he wants, thus continuing the virtuous circle.
In this article, we’ll look at how you can effectively integrate content into your email strategy in three steps: map the customer journey, gather the right content, and bring the two together in an email program.
Step 1: Understand the customer and map their journey
As with every marketing campaign, the best place to start is to understand your audience. First, leverage all the information you have about your existing customers to develop different personas, before charting the journey they take with you from awareness to conversion and beyond.
Think about the prospect’s needs, challenges, and concerns at each stage of this journey. Next, identify the points at which they will be most receptive to content from you and determine what that content should look like.
An important point to keep in mind is that your messaging and content strategy should be aligned with broader business marketing goals. According to a 2019 survey by the Content Marketing Institute, the two main benefits of a documented content marketing strategy are the alignment of teams around common missions or goals, and the ability to more easily determine the types of content to develop.
If your business goals are well defined, content strategy goals will follow more naturally. It also means you’re less likely to waste money and effort on campaigns that don’t produce meaningful business results.
Step 2: Gather the right content
At this point, you should have a good idea of the content you need, and luckily it may not be necessary to create it from scratch. It can be much more efficient to update or reuse content that already exists in the company, which you can find with a content audit. This is where you take stock of all the content you have on your site, such as blog posts, videos, guides, white papers, and survey results, noting what content is performing well or has tendency to incite action.
If it’s necessary for you to create new content, be sure to think about who your audience is as an individual – where they work, their life stage, their challenges, what they enjoy, where they get their information – as well as where they are on the customer journey, to guide what you create.
Step 3: Align content with the customer journey
Once you understand the likely journey the prospect will take with you and the content they’ll be most receptive to, it’s time to combine the two with your messaging strategy.
With a mass communication and marketing automation platform, like Everlytic, it is possible to set up automated workflows that send emails in response to certain behaviors, ensuring that the prospect receives the right content at the right time. good time. Plus, if you have segmentation in place, you can tailor the email and personalize the content in it based on their profile, making it even more valuable.
For example, when the Independent Institute of Education (IIE), South Africa’s largest private higher education institution, wanted to convert potential leads into applicants and ultimately into enrolled students, they used Everlytic to create a series of emails to encourage those who wanted to continue their studies.
A series of emails and text messages were sent to contacts over time, which were triggered by their behavior. The message content, of which there were five variations, would reflect where the recipient was in the integration lifecycle. The IIE credited the campaign as a factor in the 20% growth in student numbers the following academic year. This fast-paced approach also relieved their sales and marketing teams.
One of the most useful features of email is that it is a two-way street. Yes, you send the prospect content most relevant to them, but you also have the ability to learn more about them based on their behavior – what emails they open and when, which links they click on – as well as what they tell you directly (via surveys for example). Leveraging this information throughout the lifecycle gives you the flexibility to adjust your strategy as needed.
A few examples of the types of content that work best at each stage of the customer journey are given below, keeping in mind that any successful campaign – content or otherwise – must balance the needs of the customer with those of the business.
At this point in the interaction, you have the prospect’s attention. Now it’s up to you to help them make an informed decision. Educational content, such as guides, original research, or case studies work well here. While the ultimate goal is for the prospect to convert, this content shouldn’t be sales-driven — rather, it should offer value to the recipient while establishing your expertise.
The prospect is now a customer. At this point, you might consider sending additional information about the product or service they just purchased and related items they might find useful, laying the groundwork for another sale. You also have the option to find out more about the customer and their experience by sending them a survey, for example.
Now is a good time to reward the customer for their business and show your appreciation by continuing to provide them with valuable content. From a business perspective, another goal could be to make the customer an advocate, which could start with an invitation to leave a review.
The success of such email campaigns requires a long-term view. This means paying as much attention to what happens after the sale as before. At Everlytic, we imagine the digital marketing funnel as an hourglass, where pre-purchase stages, including engagement and research, represent the upper room, while post-purchase stages, including retention and advocacy, are in the lower house.
How does this work in practice? One strategy is to use messaging to keep your customers engaged and satisfied long after they make their first purchase from you. For example, when tire retailer TiAuto Investments (Pty) Ltd sought to keep its customers engaged after visiting one of its service centers, it used Everlytic to develop an automated workflow that would send messages – by e-mail or SMS – asking them to give their opinion. about their experience or reminding them when it was time for another service.
Since implementing the workflow, the company has seen an increase in service delivery in its retail stores. The approach also helped them better manage their workload and understand how it could improve their experience.
Delivered at the right time, content can be the crucial factor that turns an undecided lead into a satisfied customer, or a one-time buyer into a repeat customer. With a responsive messaging strategy and delivery system, it’s possible to create those moments at scale.
To learn more about creating automated email campaigns that keep prospects and customers engaged, contact Everlytic for a free consultation.