Let’s assume you have just completed your brand foundation (strategic research, positioning, sales tools and website). Essentially what you’ve done is built and decorated your new home. Now that everything is in place, it’s time to throw yourself a housewarming party! How do you invite people over to appreciate your hard work and investment? Bring on the strategic content marketing plan! This article will equip you with the key elements to consider when planning your marketing strategy.
FOCUS! Where to spend your precious time, resources and budget
Most businesses have two growth visions in mind: retaining and growing the customers they already have AND attracting new customers. Your marketing approach should be specific to each of these two groups. Common problems in reaching these target groups:
- Current customers are often willing and able to give you more business, but they might not be aware of everything you offer.
- New Customers don’t know you … yet.
Determining marketing budget is where it gets sticky … BUT marketing drives revenue!
The U.S. Small Business Administration recommends spending 7 to 8 percent of your gross revenue for marketing and advertising if you're doing less than $5 million a year in sales and your net profit margin — after all expenses — is in the 10 percent to 12 percent range.
Know where your company’s revenue currently stands. Consider internal and external factors impacting your bottom line. You can use these insights to prioritize how to spend your time and money on content marketing efforts. *Side note:* Marketing coordinators are great, but one person can only do so much. You can’t do everything alone (writing, editing, graphic design, SEO optimization, social media management, website updates, email development, monitoring analytics, etc. … is your head spinning yet?). That’s where our team of marketers and technologists can help! :)
Building a Plan
Red Caffeine’s strategists conduct in-depth key stakeholder interviews and a badass competitive analysis. We use this information to get a pulse on the marketplace, develop a brand story, and inform our strategic marketing plan so it actually resonates with the wants and needs of the target market. Check out my MakingChips podcast about leveraging research to fuel branding and campaign planning for more information about our approach to campaign strategy.
Content that Breaks Through the Clutter
- What your customers want to see before buying from you -- Content should inform and delight your current and prospective customers.
- Fuel for your marketing campaign -- The caliber of your campaign hinges on the quality and relevance of your content.
When planning a content strategy, start with your target audience in mind. What would your buyer type find valuable?
- Say your message how and where your target buyer type would best receive it.
- Start with a campaign concept. Everything you do should revolve around this theme. You may start with many creative campaign ideas, but you need to narrow it down to 1-2 campaigns for the first year.
- Get buy-in from your team! Regroup with the people responsible for executing your plan. Get their blessing before asking them to run with your vision.
- Ask your sales team for FAQs that customers and prospects have been asking. Write content with solutions to the questions your target is already seeking answers to.
Distribution -- Write once repurpose many
You’ve created a content plan ... what’s next? Launch to your team! If everyone in-house knows the why behind your campaign, their work becomes more genuinely aligned with the vision. Your team should learn to consistently tell your brand story, seamlessly navigate the website, know where all the sales tools are, and understand how to use those tools. Once your team is on board, launch to the world! Find the best avenues for distribution. *Hint:* your content should live wherever your target market normally goes for information.
Some distribution channels to consider:
Email (if you have a list) Social Media
- LinkedIn (on your company page and personal LinkedIn “Pulse” articles)
- Twitter (to engage with influencers around industry topics)
- Facebook (to showcase culture)
- Instagram (fastest growing network for business)
- Podcasts (go on as a guest or host your own)
Search Engine Marketing (SEM) Public Relations
- Associations - newsletters and social media
- Trade publications
- Speaking opportunities
- Award submissions
Measure & Adjust
Measuring success from marketing campaigns is no easy feat. There are, however, many helpful metrics for analyzing and determining how engaging and impactful your content is, such as:
- Bounce rate
- Time spent viewing your pages
- Traffic to your site
- Followers on social media
- Content sharing on social media
- Email open rates and click-through-rates (CTRs)
- Form submissions
- Content downloads
- Leads generated
There are endless content marketing possibilities, and you can’t do it all! Testing what’s working will help you decide which formats to further invest in. If a campaign isn’t performing as well as anticipated, pivot! Before the campaign is in motion, determine what success would look like, establish benchmarks you’d like to track, and determine the key performance indicators (KPIs) you’ll use to track progress.
Still think content marketing is a load of fluffy B.S.?
Our team collaborated with CARR Machine & Tool Inc. to write a case study about CARR’s modern machine shop and process: Protecting Your Parts. Somehow the case study ended up in the hands of an editor at Cutting Tool Engineering magazine and led to an article featured in their February publication. A few weeks after the article was published, Jim Carr, owner of CARR Machine & Tool Inc., received an email from an engineer at a major Aerospace company who had read the article and said, “you’re exactly what we need.” This led to the prospect touring CARR’s workshop, liking what he saw, and requesting a quote. They’re still going through the sales cycle, but it is a prime example of how content marketing really can bring qualified leads to your “houseparty”. After experiencing the power of content marketing first-hand, Jim Carr said, “I am confident he would never have found me had it not been for the case study that Kacey wrote.” Need help bolstering your content marketing plan? Check out our Content Calendar tool as a starting point for developing your content marketing plan. Need a partner to support your marketing efforts? Let our team know how we can help!