There are many different tools to use data to improve content efficacy. However, most marketers waste time and resources trying to acquire every new gadget in the ever-expanding MarTech stack. In practice, data analytics begins at the simplest level with the simplest tools.
- Get an Idea First
- Know Your Best Customers
- Contact Your Customers
- Data Analytics
- Conduct a Survey
- Google Analytics
- Social Section
Get an Idea First:
The majority of content marketing campaigns are just not very good. The single biggest factor is the use of data. Content is graded on 2 factors:
- Ability to reach the intended audience
- Quality of the information (relevance and accuracy)
Classify Your Best Customers
If you don’t know where to find your target audience, or if your content is reaching the intended audience, look close to home. Any content marketing campaign should be oriented around its current customer base first. All the answers come from the data in your CRM. Analyze your current customers and identify trends from that data. Key metrics to pay attention to include:
- Company Size
- # of Employees
- # of Records
- Company Industry
- Renewal Rate & Customer History (how long a customer has been with your company)
These are just a few simple standards to measure your customers. Categorize your customers, and grade them on a spectrum. For example, do companies with 10-50 employees buy more than companies with 50-100 employees? More detailed analysis of your CRM data is enabled with the use of specific data quality tools, but this basic analysis is a good place to start.
Contact Your Customers
After you’ve determined the customer profile to address, the next step is learning what content performs best with those current customers (quality of the information). Once again, start with the customers you already have!
Call your customers personally to get personal insights. This approach is not extensive, but the information you will learn from speaking to customers directly will be precise. Not to mention your customer base will appreciate the gesture.
You don’t know what you don’t know. This is pretty much the case for businesses that are not data-driven. In fact, roughly 90% of businesses fail because they don’t know their target audience. Data provides the necessary information to track the performance of your current content, and provides key insights on how to improve.
Conduct a Survey
Similar to calling your customers directly, a survey will provide insights from your current customer base. However, a survey is more extensive and you can extrapolate empirical insights from the meta data provided by a survey. Use a free online tool, like SurveyMonkey, and ask your customers:
- Which content was most helpful? Least helpful?
- What type of content would you like to see more of?
- What is your biggest challenge or problem?
- What interests you most?
The results of a survey can be compiled into statistical evidence. Incentivize your customers to participate, and the results will be informative. If 60% of your current customers report that your demo videos are not helpful you know there is a problem with the content of the videos.
Use Google Analytics
The foundation of content marketing is finding the most targeted audience, with the most specific content. In this regard, less audience is a better audience. Data is the tool to distill a general target audience into the most precise customer profile. Supplement preliminary empirical evidence from a survey, with decisive statistical evidence. Google Analytics provides coherent, easy to understand reports from data.
These are just some questions about your website and content answerable with Google Analytics:
- How many people visit the website?
- Where do my visitors live?
- What websites send traffic to my website?
- How is my content being interacted with?
- What content marketing tactics drive the most traffic?
- Which pages on my website are most popular?
- How many visitors have we converted into leads or customers?
- Which blog content do my visitors like the most?
All of these questions are answerable through different tools in Analytics. Look for another blog post on how to get the most out of Google Analytics. But for now, lets address some helpful tools in the Social section.
Google Analytics: Social
The Social section will provide insights on the impact social media is having on your content marketing efforts. Discover who is talking about your content, where content is shared, and what action is taken after the audience finds your content. Click on the Social section for options from a drop down menu:
- Data Hub Activity: how people are engaging with website content on social media
- Add to people to your social network that have shared your content regularly
- Find influencers and target them
- Landing Pages: engagement metrics for each URL (page views, # of pages visited, time spent on page)
- Landing page reports show you the content that performed best on social media.
- How engaged the visitor was by your content (duration)
- Track social ad campaigns
- Track content that gets engagement (content that generates shares)
- Trackbacks: list of sites that are linking to your website
- Pages linked to the most
- See what content is most popular
- Find the right audience (if your blog is popular with other marketing blogs, you know to target marketers)
All of these tools are extremely helpful to diagnose the current location of your audience. See what type of content performs best, who is looking at certain types of content, similar sites to your content, how the user interacts with your content, user history… Learn from these results and change your content accordingly.
Google Analytics is a perfect introduction to using data for content marketing returns, because the platform is readily available and easy to use. Start simple and become more effective. There is literally no end to the intuitions gained by becoming data driven. The trick is to start right now!