Iterative Marketing Podcast Ep. 39: Content Marketing To The Grow/Give State

Iterative Marketing Podcast Ep. 39: Content Marketing To The Grow/Give State


Hello Iterative Marketers!
Welcome to the Iterative Marketing Podcast where each week we give
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of your fellow Iterative Marketers. Now let’s dive into the show. Hello everyone and welcome to
the Iterative Marketing podcast. I am your host and with me as always is the edumacated and
knowledgeable, Elizabeth Earin. How are you doing, Elizabeth? I am good, Steve.
Edumacated, is that a new one? Yeah, we haven’t made up any words
recently, so we were overdue. Why not? So what’s new in your world? It’s the holiday season and so that’s pretty much taken
over a little bit of everything. What about you? Have you been gotten
wrapped up in the holidays or do you still have
some personal time? Not yet other than the usual chaos of
three children and a single household and a little one under
the age of six months, I have managed to carve out a little
bit of time lately for reading again which is exciting. That is. Are you reading
anything in particular? I picked up Daniel Pink’s new book
To Sell is Human and it’s fascinating. The premise is basically that it doesn’t matter what
you do for a living, you probably have a component
of your job that is sales and it gets into how to be successful
at that part of your job whatever it is your job might be. That’s true, that’s true. Yeah, it’s good, it’s a different
take on persuasiveness which I guess is very
relevant to marketing and certainly my role within the
organization too of sales, so… I am interested in hearing more about
it as you get a little further in. I am too if I actually
get to finish that. We will see,
you’ll have to let us know. So what are we actually
talking about today? So today we are talking
about the intersection of Iterative Marketing and
content marketing specifically as it applies to continuous
improvement in content marketing as it applies to the journey states and for those of you that have
been consistently listening you’ll know that this is the
fourth in a four-part series. In Episode 36 we
explored the “see” state, in Episode 37 we
explored “think” state and Episode 38 we explored “do” and so today we’re wrapping
up this four-part series by discussing what we needed – what is needed to target the last
two states of “grow” and “give”. Yeah. And “grow” and “give”
are two very distinct states, we’re just combining them
for this episode because, A, we didn’t want to make
this a five-part series, we figured that would be cruel
and unusual punishment and, B, they are relatively
simple in the approach, so we have enough time to
cover both in one episode. So we’re going to start by talking
about the objective of the content in each of those states both
“grow” and “give” because they do differ,
there are different states. Then we’re going to
go on to talk about how we measure success of the
content based on those objectives and then how we iterate
on that content. And then we’ll wrap up the episode
with a quick summary of all of the journey states kind of what the objectives
were for each one and a few tips that we had
mentioned in previous episodes that doesn’t mean
you can skip them, you still have to go back and listen
to them if you haven’t already, but it’ll be a nice way
to wrap things up. Sounds good. So when we talk about the content
marketing to the “grow” and “give” state what are our goals? So when we’re talking about “grow” as a reminder to our audience this person has purchased
from our brand before and they’re happy
and loyal customer, they’ve got every intention of
purchasing from us again in the future. That’s very different from “give”
or slightly different from “give” in that in “give” this is somebody
who’s already a loyal customer but additionally they believe
in our company so far that they’re willing
to help us along the way, they believe in our mission and they want to
refer us business, they want to give us reviews, etc. So it’s sort of like the
difference between we have a local coffee shop that I go
to all the time called Lean Bean, it’s delicious. If I was “grow” Lean Bean customer I would go there every
day to get my coffee and if I was “give” I would go there
every day to get my coffee and then rave about the coffee like
I am on our podcast right now, so obviously I am a “give” customer
for Lean Bean in Coeur d’Alene. If you come by I recommend it. And likewise I think there’s
an attitudinal difference from a consumer towards
that brand as well, if you think about it there are
brands that we engage with where it’s purely
a take relationship. Yes, we’re giving them money in
exchange for their goods or services but we want to get whatever
we can from them and we really don’t care a whole lot
about that brand’s success for what’s going to happen there and then for some brands it’s
a give-and-take relationship and that’s really where that “give”
comes from in that journey state is that, yes, I am exchanging my money
in exchange for their goods or services but I also want the best for that
organization or that brand to the extent that maybe I might
not take them for all their worth, I am willing to pay
full price for stuff, I am willing to refer them business and kind of go above and beyond. Um-hmm When it comes to content what
is our objective for “grow”, what are we trying to
do with our content? Yeah, so this is interesting because our “grow” objective is
actually very similar to “see” and that we need to
add value to the audience to ensure that they continue
to know, like, and trust us, so they continue to buy from us but in addition to that we want
to encourage them to grow into our products and services. And so this comes in the form
of nurturing these customers, helping them get to know
the brand organization better and then providing them
value along the way, utility, things that they can use regardless of whether they’re using all components of our
product or service or not. So in addition to
what Steve just said we’re also looking to encourage greater
adoption of our products and services and so what that means is how to get the
most out of what they currently have, so maybe they’ve purchased
a printer from your company but they don’t know about all of the
different features that that printer has. And for some organizations, organizations where you have
one product or service that they’ve purchased from you but then there are other
products and services that they would also
be interested in that they haven’t bought yet, you’re trying to do that
cross-sell or that upsell trying to get them to add onto
their existing purchase or purchase a completely
different product or service in addition to the one
they already have. Now this is still going to be
a constrained audience with a pretty straightforward
call to action and really what we’re focusing on
here is looking at retention and repeat purchase and as well as
lifetime value or size of the purchase. Right. So we’re trying to
get them to come back or we’re trying to get them
to buy more or both. Or both.
Yeah. Both sounds good. How does that differ when we talk about
“give” and contents intersection there? Yeah, so when we’re
talking about “give” specifically here we’re looking to
make our customers feel good about spreading the word about
our product or services and then not only that, not only do we want to
encourage them to do that but we want to give them
the ability to do that by providing the words to say that
accurately represents our brand. While we’re doing that we are
also trying to achieve the goals that we have in “grow” of getting
them to grow into our products as well as either providing
cross-sell or upsell messaging so that they buy more from us. And its really along the lines of if you think about like these
are your fans, right, so you want to make them
feel special about being fans and then also “give” them the words
and tools they need to spread the word because they’re your most valuable
asset when it comes to your audiences, they’re the ones that
can really truly amplify the best parts of your
product and service while kind of squashing maybe
some of the errors or issues. Yeah, it comes down to that
word-of-mouth referral, I am going to take something
that a trusted friend – recommendation from a trusted friend over an anonymous review
that I’ve read online. You have to connect it back
to what’s in it for me, you have to make them feel
special about doing that share or that review or something
along those lines or even incentivize it slightly without taking the focus off
of making them feel good about helping you and your brand. And here the KPIs that we’re trying
to impact are referral rate as well as consumer review ratings, these are two different areas
where we can really monitor if we are achieving these goals. Consumer review ratings
is actually coming – you think about that in
the context of B2C but this is also becoming to be
a bigger thing in the B2B area where you have sites like G2 crowd or
some of the other B2B review type sites that are coming up and becoming
more and more popular as business stakeholders
start to look to the crowd for their opinions of their vendors. How do we measure this? How do we know whether
or not in sort of real-time whether we’re accomplishing our goals because if we wait to see how
whether we’re getting referrals in or if we wait to see if the
consumer ratings go up that can be quite a lag on when
we are publishing content. The measurement sort
of breaks down into or at least we are breaking it
down into three different areas, we’re talking about measurement
of utility content, we’re talking about measurement of
our cross-sell or upsell messaging and then we’re talking about
measurement of our “give” messaging and the reason that this varies because what it is we’re trying to
achieve with each of these varies. So when we’re talking
about utility content here the key is
engagement metrics, we’re looking for dwell time
or percentage of a video watched, we’re looking at email open rates
or click through rates, again when we’re looking at
an A/B test specifically not necessarily comparing across multiple
programs or campaigns that we’re running, we’re looking at pages per visit
and we’re looking at bounce rate. And then for cross-sell, up-sell this is going to look a lot more like
a direct response sort of piece, it’s going to be persuasive
in its content and if at all possible we have
a call to action embedded right inside of that content to get them to take action
and upgrade their service or add-on this additional product or
service that they weren’t thinking about. The frustration here is if you look at
we’re cross-selling and up-selling to our existing customer base which is not a huge audience and then we’re really only sending them
ideally the offers that are relevant to what they already have which makes it an even
smaller audience. So chances are our data,
our feedback on those sales, on those conversions is going
to be relatively limited, still we’re going to want to track
it to the best of our ability. And we can do that through
engagement metrics, this is where we have the opportunity
to really see what’s impacting that and the assumption here is that if
someone is reading our content that then that’s contributing to
their purchasing decision, so a great example here is a software
client has a series of add-ons that you can purchase in addition
to their primary software and so they write various case studies to talk about the benefits of
those additional add-ons and looking at the engagement metrics is it the case study for add on A
or the case study for add on B which one are people
engaging with under the assumption that if they’re
taking time to read the case study then again that is contributing to an
upsell in that particular scenario. Right, because we can’t just wait around for
those upsells and cross sells to occur and if we try to measure them chances are we’re not going to have
a whole lot of statistical significance and whether or not the upsell or cross
sell occurred for an existing customer who is in market for that
particular cross-sell or upsell and receive that piece of
content at that time. And then finally “give”, that’s one we haven’t
talked about yet. What sort of measurement
do we have in terms of “give”? Well much like your “grow”,
your upsell or cross sell content this is going to be
persuasive in nature, so chances are there is a
direct response component. We’re asking them to take action
either subtly or directly to share the virtues of our product
or service or to give us a review or a note or referral
that they that they gave so that we can reward them for
it in some way, shape, or form. So we’re going to be looking at
what is that response rate based on the content that
they’ve consumed. And while it’s a lagging indicator there’s also a brand component
to our “give” measurement and this is where we really want to take
a look at the brand vector process and if you need a refresher, we talked about that in Episode 11, but the brand vector process
can help you to determine if your customers are in
alignment with your brand. Because if you’re effectively
getting this evangelist group, this “give” group to talk about
your product or service that is going to carry a lot more
weight than any one else, but if they’re not talking about it in
the same way that you’re talking about it that you’ve published in
as your brand, right, then they’re going to be guiding
a segment of the audience off on some tangent of what
your value proposition is or what it feels like to work
with you or etc., etc., that isn’t core to your brand and so you want to kind
of keep tabs on that and make sure that your customers
actually know, like, and trust the same you that
you think you are. Um-hmm. And so now that we’re measuring
and we’ve got some data to look at now we have the ability to
iterate or improve on this and so when we are talking about
our “grow” or “give” states there’s two avenues of
iteration available to us, we can either iterate on the content
or we can iterate on the demand. And iterating on the content
is pretty straightforward. This is what we’ve been talking
about basically the whole time. How can you execute A/B tests to
test email subjects or headlines or different types of content
or calls to action to improve the content
that you’re producing based on the metrics
that you’re looking at whether that’s engagement
or some sort of direct response on cost per action type of metric. And at the end of the day what
we’re trying to figure out here is we want insights
into our audience, what did they want
to learn more about or what did they want to
be entertained about, so we can get them to
engage with this content. Yes, aside from share buttons which we talked about in the
last several episodes, we’re not talking about today, aside from share buttons
we want insightful experiments. We want to learn more
about the audience and not just whether this headline
beats that headline, right? Exactly. What about iterating on demand?
How can we do that? So iterating on demand really we’re
looking at our feedback loop here, we want to get with our frontline
representatives on a regular basis and we want to find out what is it
that our customers are asking for, what do they have questions about, where are their
gaps in knowledge, what parts of the products
or services are they not adopting because they don’t understand it or
they just don’t know that it even exists. And then we can go and create
content that fills those gaps that meets those needs and it
creates better informed consumers of our own products
and services. The trick is you always want to make
sure that this is an ongoing process so that you can come back and get
that feedback again from that frontline whether its customer service or sales or whoever else is communicating
directly with the customers, get that feedback back again to make sure that you have
actually closed that gap and you’re not going to
get it immediate but you should see that
over time the issues, the questions that your
customers are having are changing as you’re
plugging different holes. And again just to sort of point
out something that you said is that make sure you’re
doing this consistently because if you don’t you could very easily get off on a
tangent of developing content that has absolutely no tie
or interest to your audience at all and then you’ve sort of
wasted this opportunity. So, I think this is a great opportunity
for us to take a quick break. When we get back we’ll take what we
are talking about in very abstract ways and break it down into some concrete
although fictional examples. Before we continue I’d
like to take a quick moment to ask you Iterative Marketers
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are important to you. And we are back. So, before the break
we talked about content marketing to the gross
state in very abstract terms, we talked about the objectives
and how to measure, but I think it’d be really
helpful to our audience if we broke this down with a
few concrete examples rather than just talking about
this at a high level. So for each of these examples
we will give you a company, a fictitious company,
in a specific industry, sorry, segment and we’ll talk both about “grow” content
and “give” content. So, for the first one
let’s talk about B2C and for this example we’re going to
make up a camping gear company and again this is entirely fictitious, we don’t have a
9camping gear client. That said if you’re in the industry
and would like to work with us, slots open, right? That would be fun! That would be fun. So, in this scenario our camping gear manufacturer
wants to create some content for its “grow” audience, will it be some examples of some
things they could do here. So again this is going to be similar
in some ways to our “see” content, so we’re talking about lifestyle
content including camping tips. When we’re talking
in terms of utility we would be putting out a
campsite review website for them. And then we also want to get them
to buy more camping gear, right, so they in theory have
bought something from us, we want them to buy more, so anyone who returns
their little warranty card, we can reach out to them and say
they returned a warranty card for a tent, we could reach out
with a some content about how to select
an air mattress or a portable stove. Yeah. And this is great insight because again we know
who these people are, we know what they’re buying, we know what their interests are and we can find that
next offer for them that is going to be aligned
with those interests. How does this differ for
our “give” audience for the people that are really
gung-ho about our whatever brand it is of camping gear? So here we’re looking to create
a community of elite campers. These are people that we really
want to encourage them to share their camping stories
and their pictures and potentially we’re doing
this through a contest, again we want them to talk about
our products and our brand in a way show them using it, showing their engagement with it so then their friends
and family see that and then think about us next time
they want to make a purchase. And then we want to sprinkle in
a few persuasive pieces here asking them to spread the word, talk about how they can help our brand
by posting reviews of their products and by sharing with our friends
and family how great our stuff is and that they can be part of
this elite group of campers that we love and love us. And here’s the key. If we want them to do
this for us we need to, one, ask them we can’t just assume
they’re going to do it on their own, we need to make the ask but we also need to
make it easy for them, so for asking them
to write a review we are including a link
to that review site, we’re making that path, have the least number of
speed bumps along the way so that that we are able to
get to our end goal. And this is different when
we look at a B2B group. Can you think of a good fictitious
example for a B2B company? Sure. Let’s talk about printer
sales and services. So here when we’re talking
about our “grow” content we’re talking about this could
be tips for conserving or getting the most life
out of your products, it could include paper
compatibility tool. Again if you have a printer
you need to buy paper, so how can we help to
encourage those sales and also extend the life
and happiness that they have with the product that they’re using. And then you could also throw
in a semi persuasive piece talking about when it’s time
to replace your printer, so we’re not directly
selling in this piece, it’s still content but it’s content that provides
utility the audience well helping upsell or cross-sell, again helping them identify their needs
for additional products from us. Now when we move
into “give” this changes. Here we’re looking to
sort of the track a list of what we would consider
our happiest customers and we’re doing this based
on their net promoter – I can’t say this word,
promoter score. And once we have that list, in a B2B it might be a little
bit harder to create like a true community out of this, although some groups do it, I mean Marketo has a great community
of their most, their evangelists and Hubspot as well. I mean a lot of – there are a lot of
examples within marketing of organizations that have created communities but if you’re selling
printers and toner you’re probably not going to create a
community of printer and toner evangelists, so you’re probably going to be looking
at a list of your most loyal customers and then you’re going to want to reach
out to them with some persuasive content about how they can help your brand
and your organization again through reviews
and referring colleagues. So that’s our B2C and B2B,
how about we tackle nonprofit? Sure. So for a non-profit example
we’re going to talk about, will actually pull a real organization
here because I did not want to – that’s a client although again if you work for
American Cancer Society and are looking for some help please feel free to reach out to us, but it will make a little bit easier
to get your head around it. So we’ll talk about fictitiously what
American Cancer Society could do although in many cases they are
actually doing some of these ideas. So when we talk about “grow” content, again we’re targeting this content at those people that
have participated before and we want them to participate
again either by volunteering or giving money to
American Cancer Society. You’ve got a lot of givers who
are just annual givers. You want to make sure
that you’re top of mind when it comes time for that
annual giving cycle for them again and you don’t want to
wait until you get to September, October,
November, December before you get back
in front of them, so having some ongoing content that
can help solidify that relationship and make them feel good
about it is a good thing. And we do this by keeping them
posted on their particular impact that their involvement has had
on that awareness program or on that donation program. So when we’re talking about perhaps
the Great American Smokeout we’re talking about the number of
people that the program touched. How many people participated? How many people made
the commitment to quit or never start smoking
in the first place? These are all things
that help demonstrate how it’s not just necessarily one
individual person contributing that each person adds up together to
make this overall impact on the community. And then you also want to try and tie
in maybe some user-generated content because if you can get the stories
from people as to why they gave and why they donated, it can be really impactful and giving other people even more
reason to continue to contribute and donate in the future. Well, in a lot of cases even
if you haven’t been touched, you particularly haven’t been
touched by something the likelihood that you know
someone who’s been touched by one of these awareness
campaigns is huge and so I know the user-generated
stories get me each and every time and even though I don’t know
the person on TV, I am tearing up right
along with them. Let’s move into “give” content
for our nonprofit audience and I know for me this gets
a little bit fuzzy and blurry because if you think about it
unlike a commercial entity where when you move from “grow”
it’s a one-way sort of thing where you’re just taking from the
company and you’re moving to “give” and now you’re
taking and giving. In non-profit by virtue if you’re a donor
or a volunteer you’re already giving, so how do we “give”
on top of giving? So this is where it really comes out and
being an evangelist for the company, so when we’re talking
about our “give” content we’re targeting this at people
that are not only volunteering but that are reaching out to others
to help get them involved. And so here we’re really trying to
pardon the overused cliché here but really grease the skids on this
for trying to reduce that friction and motivate people to
get others involved and so this could be stories about
others who have been successful in rallying a team or additional donors
or additional volunteers and what it felt for
them to do that and how great of an experience it was
to contribute at an even higher level. Yeah. We’re talking about a lot of times
the just one donation messaging or sort of concept gets used
where one donation can do this and if you’re someone who is so tied
and so invested in the organization then you want to
increase your impact and you want to reach
out to your friends and you’re going to say,
hey, look at what your $10 can do and you’re actively calling
your friends and your family, you’re putting messages
out on Facebook asking for people within
your community to help get involved in this organization
that you’re passionate about. And to do that we want to
make it easy for them, right? So, we’re going to give
them links to download, posters they can put up, we’re going to give them things that’s
easy for them to share socially to rally others, stuff that we know work, so that they’re not just blindly poking
at trying to get other people involved, they’re actually going to be armed with
the messaging that we know works to get other people involved. And in some cases its content
that’s planting the seed, it can be content that
sort of how to content of, how to start your local branch
of a certain organization or how to put together a team
or a group to fund raise or to walk in the next walk including fundraising ideas for that or ways to get people involved. I think we’re coming up on
another nice long episode, so why don’t we start
to wrap things up and look through all five of the
journey states that we’ve talked about in this four-part series and just kind of summarize what our
goals are and a few keys to success. So we started our journey into
the journey states with “see” and really as a reminder here, our “see” objective is aggregating
a consistent and sustained audience and getting them to
know, like, and trust us and when we do this really
what we’re looking to do is, one, we want to make sure that
we’re focusing on value and not selling, this audience is not ready to
hear a sales message yet, instead again we’re trying to get
them to know, like, and trust us and to help make sure that we’re
getting that message to them, we’re using the PESO model
to stack our channels so that we’re touching them
in a lot of different ways and they’re getting that consistent
comprehensive message sort of as they move
.through their daily lives. And then we want to take
a targeted audience, so we’re staying in front of the
same people over and over again and convert them into
a subscribed base, we want them opting in to receive our
content on a regular basis so that, A, it becomes a free channel and, B, we can absolutely
ensure that we’re hitting the same people
over and over again, so that when they are ready
to make a purchase, when they are in market
we are top of mind. How about “think”?
What are we looking for with “think?” So in “think” we’re looking
to be our resources, they move through
the dividers journey and along the way
we want to influence how they’re thinking about
their purchasing decision. And so here it is again that
focus on being a resource and not necessarily
on a hard sell, it can be commercial content because
they’re considering a purchase but we don’t want
to say buy now and here’s a sense of urgency and here’s why you need to buy
and get in the store now and here’s a coupon. No, it’s not that kind of content, it’s here are some things to consider
if you’re in market for such and such. Really, you are focused on educating
and influencing their decision. And again we can
use that PESO model to make sure that we’re
checking all the boxes and all the available channels and that we’re taking advantage of
the synergies between them, when we can use paid
to amplified owned or when we can use earned
to amplified paid. And coming back to engagement we want to make sure that they
are engaging in this content and optimized for that engagement
not necessarily that sale. When we get into “do” we’re
looking to provide utility and make it easy for them to make this
decision to purchase the product. Here we’re looking at a message
that’s going to be more commercial than “see” or “think” state and that’s okay, they expect it,
they want it in the state. In a lot of cases keep in mind that
that the content that you’re creating is going to be used
to justify the decision either to themselves
or to someone else within their organization
or their family, whoever else is involved
in that buying decision. And the content is going
to vary pretty widely depending on what type
of business you’re in, whether that’s B2C,
whether it’s an impulse purchase or a very considered purchase, whether it’s B2B
or nonprofit or political. I mean it’s very different depending
on what it is that you’re offering here but that also means that your
measurement is going to have to change as you move between
businesses as well, and one of the key areas that we
noticed when working with clients that they miss oftentimes is if you’re
delivering your “do” state content directly person-to-person either
through customer service or through sales or through
account managers or whatever, make sure that that’s trackable so that you can measure
and iterate and improve upon it and that means using links instead of
attachments and a bunch of other stuff. And finally getting into what we
talked about today ““grow”” and ““give””. Our objective in “grow” is to ensure that
our current customers continue to know, like, and trust us as well as getting them to continue to
purchase our product or service or additional products or services
that we may be offering. And “give’ is just
a little bit different, we’re trying to do all of
the above and grow but more importantly we want to
take advantage of these fans and encourage them
and enable them to share the word about
our product or service. In both cases we want to use A/B testing
to help improve our content and we want to also make sure that
we’re measuring the right things to determine success. And ideally we want to
create a feedback loop because we have people on the front
lines that are hearing from our customers on a day-to-day basis, they know what their needs are, so let’s make sure that we’re
catering to those needs and then checking to make sure
that we filled those gaps in the future. Um-hmm I think that brings us to the end
of four very long episodes and a very long series and I think that’s a great thing. I love the content
that we covered but it’s definitely time to
move on to something else. So, I want to thank everybody for their
time that they made for us this week and until next week
onward and upward. If you haven’t already, be sure to
subscribe to the podcast on YouTube on your favorite podcast directory. If you want notes and links to
resources discussed on the show sign up to get them emailed to you
each week at iterativemarketing.net. There you’ll also find
the Iterative Marketing blog and our community LinkedIn group where you can share
ideas and ask questions of your fellow Iterative Marketers. You can also follow us on Twitter. Our user name is @iter8ive or email us at
[email protected] The Iterative Marketing Podcast is
a production of Brilliant Metrics a consultancy helping
brands and agencies rid the world of marketing waste. Our producer is Heather Ohlman with transcription assistance
from Emily Bechtel. Our music is by SeaStock Audio,
Music Production and Sound Design. You can check them out
at seastockaudio.com. We will see you next week. Until then onward and upward!

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