I work with a lot of established, successful B2B businesses, so most clients I talk to are pretty clear on who their customers are. What I’m surprised by, however, is how little some businesses actually know about those customers!
When a client asks me questions about their content marketing strategy – anything from “Jessica, should we be publishing white papers or e-guides regularly in addition to our blog?” to “What social media platforms should we concentrate on?” – I have two questions that I always ask in return.
- Where are your customers hanging out – online and off?
- How do your customers consume their content?
Where are your customers?
If your target audience is spending all their time on LinkedIn and you’re spending money on Facebook ads, you’ve got a content strategy problem.
Find out which social media platforms your ideal customers are using heavily, and concentrate your attention there.
Find out what websites they frequent, and guest post there.
Find out what business groups they are a part of, and either join those groups or offer to speak at them.
Find out what podcasts they listen to, YouTube channels they subscribe to and magazines they get in their mailboxes every month, and find a way to appear there.
How do your customers consume content?
In my recent podcast interview with Maggie Patterson of Marketing Moxie, we talked about how businesses need to really consider their audience when it comes to content strategy.
As a writer, I would rather read than listen to an audio – so if a podcast doesn’t have a transcript to go along with it, I’ll likely not pay much attention to it. You won’t reach the “Jessica Mehrings” of the world through audio only.
Maggie brought up the example of busy moms as an audience, too, and how they’re simply not able to stop and watch a 15-minute video. So that is not the type of content a business should be producing if they want to reach the busy-mom market.
What type of content do your customers prefer? Maybe they spend a lot of time in their cars, so they prefer to listen to podcasts as they drive. Maybe they have a hard time focusing on written words and would rather watch a 5-minute video blog. Maybe they’re busy executives and they need the straight answers a white paper can give them.
Match the type of content to what your audience will most easily and eagerly consume.
How to Find Out More About Your Customers
Market research and customer feedback are critical in any business – especially to B2Bs. While there are robust systems and tools for gathering feedback and target market insight, the simplest way to start is to just ask your current customers.
This can be as simple as sending them an email after they purchase your product or service. Thank them for buying, then ask them if they would take 5 minutes to fill out a survey. (CRITICAL: Keep the survey short, and whatever amount of time you tell your customers it will take, don’t make it any longer.) At the bottom of that email, you can include a list of questions designed to get to know them better.
You can also set up customer surveys using a free SurveyMonkey survey or a simple Google Form. If you really want to get fancy, you can build a Typeform survey, host it on your website and send a link to those you want to get feedback from.
You can also do your own market research, simply by googling terms related to your target audience. For example, search for things like:
- Social media use by industry
- What social media platform do auto dealerships use?
- Most popular websites for accountants
- Denver business groups for IT services
Don’t just guess where your customers are hanging out or how they’re consuming their content. Spend the time and energy to find out so you can create a content marketing strategy that really works for your business.
So tell me. Where are your customers hanging out and how do they consume their content? Comment here or send me a tweet!
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