Let your Prospects’ Behavior Drive your Content Strategy

June 02, 2016

Before predictive analytics, content marketing – and marketing in general – raised a lot of question marks. When a piece of content was hot, you’d get to enjoy the surge, but not have any great insight about what was making it work or who was really enjoying it. Content that would flop would simply flop – you’d know not to do that again, but why?

Without having data-supported answers to those questions, changing your content was once an expensive and frankly dicey game of trial and error. And don’t get us wrong, there will always be some element of risk when it comes to creating marketing materials – but predictive has changed the game and made it possible to raise your standards for success.

Predictive analytics not only answers your questions, it offers up the data you need to learn what’s happening in your target market and use that knowledge to modify your strategy. Today, we’re going to zoom in one strategic area that can be improved with predictive data: your content. We’ll talk about the key ways that you can learn about your prospects’ behavior through predictive data, and use that knowledge to drive your content strategy.

Understanding Traffic
Predictive data gives you a high level of visibility about the traffic your website gets and where that traffic is coming from. When it comes to display ads and social media marketing, tracking their traffic peaks and valleys can help you to really sharpen your timing and placement while elevating your creative and messaging. If you look at the trends, you’ll see where you can improve: on which sites do these ads perform best? Which types of personas tend to prefer which channels?

But that’s speaking in the broad sense – if you want to get more granular, predictive data can actually help you to understand things like, just as an example, cultural trends. For example, is one type of ad generating a lot of traffic from one particular geographical region? There might be localized or cultural reasons that messaging is resonating, and now you have a data bite that can help you to further personalize your content. The same goes for other demographics: age, gender, job title – are your ads gathering traffic from the right people?

Understanding Verticals
To take it a step further: let’s say one piece of traffic is getting a lot of traffic from one certain vertical – for example, a whitepaper about cloud security gathering a lot of clicks from people in the healthcare industry. Now you have useful awareness about what’s happening in that industry. Maybe there have been a lot of security breaches recently, or maybe there’s a big shift in healthcare datacenters moving to the cloud. Not only can this help you to tailor your content to focus on the service offerings that hit those hot points of interest, but it also gives you knowledge about industry trends that serve as a leg up. In the short term, you can think about how you’re selling, but long-term you can consider what you’re selling based on this knowledge and use that to guide your strategies and direction.

Understanding Retention
Think about your competitors. What if you knew that your hottest leads or even your current customers were taking a peek at your biggest competitor’s website? That’s no good – it might be an indicator that your competitor’s messaging is hitting pain points that yours is missing. That information is possibly suggesting that it’s time to switch up the content you offer your late-stage prospects during this crucial buying stage. It’s also a good time to revisit your current customers with a conversation to ensure that they know everything that your company offers. It could be a sign that they were intrigued by a competitor’s offering, not aware that you have a similar service – this is an opportunity for an upsell. In the big picture, this is also a way for you to keep your finger on the pulse of industry trends. If your competitor is doing something that you aren’t, and it’s working, that’s your cue to follow suit.

Sales and Marketing Content Coordination
Learning a prospect’s buying stage from predictive data gives you the ability to strike while the iron is hot. This opens the door to a great opportunity to collaborate with the sales department: if you see that a prospect has been engaging with your content recently and often, it’s time to pass that lead over to sales and let the make the phone call. A sales call reinforces the marketing material that has already garnered their web traffic, thus improving your chances of making a deal.

If you get creative, there is really so much that can be accomplished both inside and outside the marketing realm by analyzing predictive data. It’s not just about seeing your prospects’ behavior, but understanding what that behavior means about how they shop and how they interact with your brand. Down the line, we can discuss what this means on a larger scale: using predictive data to inform your service offerings, your sales calls, and even your branding.

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