Conversions have always been a vital metric of success in marketing, and the rise of account-based marketing (ABM) has made them all the more important. After all, if you're allocating your time, energy, and budget into a smaller, more highly qualified group of folks, you need a higher conversion rate to justify the approach.
Most B2B marketers understand that... but they struggle to find ways to achieve high conversion rates.
Here's how you can use content to align with the buyer journey and drive up your conversions.
1. Go beyond personas
Marketing teams have evolved over the years to the point where constructing well-researched buyer personas—and marketing to them—is the norm. It's a great starting point, but it's no longer enough on its own.
Once you know the demographics, psychographics, and other details that a typical persona provides, you need to keep digging. The goal now is to figure out how each potential customer thinks and what he or she values.
Each person that fits a particular persona might share similarities. But numerous variables come into play that result in important differences—for example, industry.
Let's say your top persona is a female executive. in a purchasing role, between age 30 and 40, with a $100,000 median income. If that woman is in the manufacturing industry, she's going to have drastically different priorities from those of the same persona in the tech industry.
Furthermore, consider company size. Even if two target buyers fit the same persona and are in the same industry, they still don't necessarily value the same things. For instance, one might be in a tech startup, whereas the other is in an enterprise software company. Their worlds are millions of miles apart, and they'll need different content that speaks to different issues.
There are other variables in addition to those (e.g., geography) that affect how personas think and what they value. It's your job to get as nuanced and specific as possible, based on all of those criteria, before trying to create and share the right content.
2. Adapt to modern customer expectations
Personalization used to be a nice-to-have, but it's table stakes today. Companies such as Netflix and Amazon changed the game by giving highly customized recommendations to their audiences, and other organizations have followed suit. If you're not giving buyers content that is explicitly tailored to them, they'll tune out and move on.
So, once you have your personas (and, based on numerous variables, know how they think and what they value), you must take on the role of detective. Figure out each buyer's journey and what it will take to get to a purchase decision.
Once again, those factors can't be copied and pasted from one persona to the next; they will vary. Only after they are defined can you start mapping content to each stage of the journey so that the content actually resonates and moves someone forward.
Also, it's important to note that this process isn't as simple as it used to be. Even recently, marketers might have said, "Here's our top-of-funnel content" (or middle or bottom), and then expected that category to work across the board. Now, it's more complex. Buyers don't just want top-of-funnel content; they want introductory content that addresses their particular pain points and acknowledges what they value.
How do you do that? By centralizing and organizing your content. That might sound like a beastly task—and it certainly can be—but it's critical to both aligning your content to the buyer journey and increasing conversions.
Start by assessing what you already have available in your content library; then, make sure it's all in a central place (e.g., a content experience platform). Go through and tag every single piece of content based on persona, stage of the buyer journey, industry, company size, geography, and so forth. By the time you're done, you should be able to quickly pull a deeply relevant, personalized piece of content for just about anyone.
3. Track your progress
Simply organizing your content won't translate into increased conversions overnight, but it will pave the path for that eventual outcome. Your team members must also be educated on how to use the content properly (and educate the sales team about how to do the same), and they should be in cahoots about your overall content strategy.
Through this process, you might find you have a lot of content gaps that need to be filled. Or, you may discover you have a lot of outdated, irrelevant content that has no place in your buyer journey. It's all a learning process, requiring agility and an openness to make changes as you find what works and what doesn't.
On that note, it's imperative you track your progress. Look for a content experience platform that integrates with your marketing automation platform, gives you lead and account attribution, and helps you understand the ROI of your content experiences.
Marketing has historically been a lot of guesswork, but tools are getting more specific, and they can provide direct insights to enable you to know exactly whom you're talking to.
* * *
As you work to increase conversions, well-organized, relevant content can be your best ally throughout the buyer journey. So keep your personas (and beyond) front and center, customize your content, and keep tabs on your effectiveness.
Wishing you an optimized buyer journey—and increased conversions to follow.
More Resources on Aligning Content to the Buyer's Journey
The 4Es of Video: How to Align Your Marketing Content Strategy With Buyer Expectations
How B2B Marketers Can Align With the Self-Directed Buyer Journey
How to Create Buyer-Focused Sales Content That Gets Traction
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