#2: Have a messaging strategy and good content
Marketing automation requires quality content, and plenty of it. If you don’t have content, give yourself a budget for content strategy and content creation and build this library while you get started with marketing automation. It’s almost impossible to overstate how important content will be to your success. Remember: One great piece of content can act as a pillar that builds your brand. One bad piece of content wastes resources and slows brand momentum.
One reason why it’s worth the trouble to build that one great piece of content is that you can re-use and scale content from foundational content pillars to build a comprehensive library. One good eBook, for example, could become a webinar, a podcast, four blog posts, and two infographics. You could advertise it on third-party websites, link to it on social media, and send it out in an email newsletter. You can adjust the messaging on various pieces so they are tuned to buyers at different stages of the buyer’s journey. This gives you an entire program that’s consistent across channels.
As you build content, have in mind which pieces you will gate – that is, which ones you will ask people to fill out a form to access. These pieces should be strong enough, and compelling enough that the people you attract to your website will be happy to give you their contact information in trade for access.
Your marketing program needs these basics to plan your strategies and create your content:
A solid messaging strategy
- Know your value proposition and what problem your product or service solves.
- Understand your audience, their personas, and their needs, from their point of view. This informs your message, so you can build content that speaks to your audience.
- Understand the best-fit companies for your product or service. This tells you who to say it to, so you can build targeted audience segments and prioritize how you invest in each.
- Have consistent messaging for every persona at every stage. Here’s an example, so you can see what I mean:
- The early stage buyer may be just realizing they have a problem or a need; help them define the issue with general, big-picture content: “How X Affects Your Business”
- The mid-stage buyer may be scoping the extent of the problem, and beginning to explore solutions: “Three Ways to Solve the Problem of X”
- The late-stage buyer is getting ready to pick a specific vendor and make a decision: “How Our Company Solves Your Problem with X”
Know your audience so you can tailor your content to:
- Each funnel stage: top, middle, bottom; or as we say at Act-On – attract, capture, nurture, convert, and expand
- Each different persona (e.g., influencer, decision maker, user of the product/service)
- Each different channel (e.g., social for inbound, email for outbound)
Develop content on topics such as thought leadership in your industry, problem analysis, how-tos, trends, research, etc., in formats such as newsletters, articles, infographics, listicles (as articles or infographics), white papers, eBooks, case studies, blogs, webcasts, webinars, advertorials, etc.
Need help? Act-On’s eBook “4 Steps to Develop a Content Plan” has three easy-to-work-with templates that make it simple to develop the content you’ll need. The companion 5-minute video shows you how it works.