It was nearly three decades ago that Alec Baldwin, as high-powered salesman Blake, uttered the famous line “Always be closing!” in Glengarry Glen Ross. And how times have changed. That was before the Internet allowed prospects to do most of their research online before even talking to a salesperson. Before the public wised up to sales tactics. And before a pandemic forever changed the face of in-person events.
By now, most businesses have made the sales strategy switch from “Always be closing” to “Always be listening.” But who are you listening – and speaking – to? If you haven’t created an ideal customer profile (ICP), stop what you’re doing and go make one, right now. Your ICP is your highest-value, highest-priority audience. When the vast majority of your content marketing strategy effectively targets your ICP, you’ll see better results. Here’s how.
Determine Your Targets
Your ideal customer profile isn’t necessarily the same thing as your target audience or, in account-based marketing, your target account list (TAL). While your ICP informs who you will target, it can also contain prospects at various stages of the buying journey, in different industries, and more. While you could take the “throwing spaghetti at a wall” approach and target them all at once, you’ll see more success with personalized content.
Choose Your Campaign Type
Now that you know your target, you can determine which type of campaign will best reach them. Do you need a brand awareness campaign to get the attention of high-value, yet disengaged prospects? Do you have prospects showing intent, and need a demand generation campaign to turn them into real leads? Or will you join the ranks of businesses seeing success with ABM? Consider your goals as a business and as a marketing department to determine where your dollars are best spent.
Dig Into Pain Points
Your ideal customer profile should include at least a general overview of pain points – after all, you need to know if your product or service can help them. But once you’ve segmented your target audience, it’s time to really dig in. Your list likely differs in many ways: location, experience, job title, education and more. What a CTO in Silicon Valley cares about will be different from a CFO in the Midwest or a manager in New York. How can you best serve them?
Find Your Content Gaps
Gap analysis is an essential part of any content marketing strategy, especially for personalized content. First, list what you already have, categorized by funnel stage and target audience. Then you can list what you need to create for each segment and make a content calendar. Keep an eye out for similarities that allow you to do more with less, for example, various industries or job titles with the same pain points. You can create templates that allow you to cut down on your content creation time.
Determine Your Channels
Choosing your channels is everything. If your ideal customer profile never sees your ads, they’ll never see your content. While some channels are B2B standbys – looking at you, LinkedIn – because they work, others may depend on your audience. Content syndication is a prime example: You’d want to choose third-party host websites that are relevant to your target audience’s industry or occupation. Depending on the size of your list, you may want channels with better retargeting abilities. And don’t forget classic channels like email and even direct mail.
Write Your Content
Whew – we’ve reached the part where you actually write your content! So bust out that content calendar you made in step 4 and get writing. You’ll need your campaign assets, like landing pages, blog articles and infographics, as well as your advertising assets, including images and social media copy. Make sure you’re not only addressing your ideal customer profile’s pain points, but also sticking with your own brand guidelines for voice, tone and grammar.
Launch, Track and Optimize
It’s the most exciting part of the campaign: launch! Your landing page will be first, as well as any blog articles or other top-of-funnel content. Depending on your campaign type, the rest of your content may launch on a staggered schedule, especially any ads or emails that depend on engagement. You can use programmatic advertising to make this part easier, and always track your results so that you can optimize your campaign and use your learnings for the next one.
Content marketing is incredibly important for B2B. And content marketing that is aligned to your ideal customer profile is even more important. Sound like a lot? Content experts like those at BOL can help. From content gap analysis and strategy to writing and optimizing, we make effective, eye-catching content and creative that gets results. Contact us to learn more today.