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How to Grow Your Business with Digital Marketing

Your guide to attracting, nurturing, and converting leads with digital marketing.

Content marketing is a powerful tool for businesses to utilize for generating, nurturing, and converting high-quality leads. This resource will explore why content marketing is so important and specific strategies your business can start implementing immediately.

Table of Contents

What is inbound marketing?

What is content marketing?

What are buyer personas?

Identifying your buyers’ journey

How to develop an effective content marketing plan

Selecting topics for your content

Creating content that converts

Promoting your content

Further reading

What is inbound marketing?

Inbound marketing is centered around the concept that consumers today are looking for more autonomy in the sales process. In today’s digital world, modern buying behaviors require modern marketing strategies.

Your target audience should be able to learn all about their problems and how to solve them through the informational resources you provide. Inbound marketing is particularly beneficial for brands looking to develop an ongoing relationship with customers, not just a one-time transaction. Through your content, you develop a relationship built on trust. 

As they warm up to your brand and recognize your expertise, they’ll be open to starting a sales dialogue with you. If they’ve made it this far, they’re self-identifying as very interested in your brand, moving forward through the sales process on their own. This makes it far easier for your sales team to qualify leads before nurturing them the last mile to purchase.

What is content marketing?

Similar to inbound marketing, content marketing focuses on providing resources that make your audience’s life easier, either via education or a template. Content marketing encompasses that and focuses on value-driven content to attract and nurture leads.

Content marketing spans a number of platforms, the most effective for your business will depend on your audience and where they spend their time. Your content marketing campaigns could include posting on some (or many) of these channels:

  • Twitter

  • Facebook

  • LinkedIn

  • Instagram

  • Industry blogs

  • Local news outlets

  • Your website or blog

Overall, it’s most important to center all your efforts around your target audience. What do they care about? How do they like to receive information or do research ahead of purchase? Once you’ve developed your buyer personas, then you can begin developing content that supports them.

What is a buyer persona?

Creating buyer personas is a strategy for understanding your ideal buyer’s pain points, motivations, and more. By developing a fictionalized characterization of your ideal buyer, you can target them more effectively, leading to increased conversions.

Buyer personas are semi-fictionalized generalizations on your target buyer. Most companies have multiple buyer personas they target. Depending on your business, you may decide to divvy up your buyer personas differently. You don’t need different personas for every buyer, just for every “type” of buyer. 

Buyer personas are a combination of demographic, psychographic, technographic, and firmographic data. Together, all of this information can be used to optimize sales and marketing strategies, as well as to qualify leads.

How to create buyer personas

Start by identifying your ideal buyer. If it helps, use an existing customer for reference. From there, outline the demographic qualities of your persona. Some of these can be ranges or lists.

  • Age

  • Gender

  • Location

  • Education

  • Marital status

  • Job

Once you’ve outlined the quantitative data points, move onto qualitative data with audience psychographics. Consider the following for your target buyer:

  • Pain points

  • Motivations

  • Interests

  • Fears

  • Beliefs

  • Desires and values

  • Attitude and personality traits

Technographic data is also helpful to consider for your ideal buyer. Technographic segmentation is a strategy for organizing prospects by their technology ownership and usage. Today, technology affiliation influences almost every buying decision, making it crucial to consider in prospecting. Technographics include:

  • Hardware use

  • Software use

  • Technology spend

  • Social media activity

When developing a B2B buyer person, you should also outline firmographic data. Firmographic data is a set of characteristics to segment companies by. While demographics qualify on an individual level, firmographics qualify on a business-level. Firmographic characteristics include:

  • Industry

  • Size

  • Location

  • Status/Structure

  • Performance

Once you’ve laid out all relevant qualities for your persona, give them a memorable name, then repeat for all of your target audiences.

Buyer persona template

Your buyer personas can be as simple as notes in a document or spreadsheet. OR, you can get fancier and design profiles. The easiest strategy, especially when you’re first collecting your thoughts, is using a buyer persona template. 

We have a free template you can grab right here.

Identifying your buyers’ journey

No matter what you sell, your buyers go on a journey from first discovering their problem, to eventually deciding to purchase from you. That series of events is called the buyers’ journey and can be divided into 4 main stages:

  1. Awareness

  2. Consideration

  3. Decision

  4. Retention

In the awareness stage, your persona is just beginning to understand their problem. They’re likely researching their symptoms and pain points, but aren’t quite sure if a solution is available yet.

By the consideration stage, your persona has defined their problem and is beginning to consider the different solutions they can implement to solve that problem, or at least minimize pain points.

Once buyers are in the decision stage, they have settled on a strategy for solving their problem and now have to decide between just a few options. Depending on your market, these solutions could be your different offerings or similar offerings from your competitors.

After making a purchase, your customers move into the retention stage. In this stage, your relationship with the customer is not over! In fact, some might say it’s just beginning. It’s very important to continue to share helpful resources and information with your customers as well as check-in regularly to see how they’re doing.

Why is it important to define the buyers’ journey?

Defining the buyers’ journey for each of your buyer personas helps you move prospects through the process more efficiently and effectively. All of your sales and marketing efforts should take into consideration the stage your prospect will be in when exposed to the message.

By defining common challenges and questions at each stage of the buyers’ journey for each of your personas, you’ll have a ready-made list of content ideas that will help nurture prospects and push them toward making a purchase.

How to develop an effective content marketing plan

Now that you’ve established your buyer personas and buyers’ journey, you can begin developing a content plan that engages and nurtures your target audience. This section will cover topic ideation, content development, and post-publication promotion. 

How to select topics for your content

Start by doing keyword research. Once you have a list of target search terms, organize them by theme. For each theme, pull out a few topics that align with your buyer personas, their pain points, and their interests. 

It’s best to start by focusing on Awareness stage content that’s purely educational. Select topics from your list that align with common questions or pain points you see early on in the sales process. Don’t promote your product or services in this content, just focus on helping your audience.

As possible, consider industry events and holidays that you can play into with your content topics. Developing a relevant tie-in to current events will make it easier to gain traction with your content on social media, but can also limit how long you can promote it.

Your specific business goals should determine how you prioritize content topics from there. If you really want to get a headstart on SEO, look for topics with keywords that have high search volume and low competition. If you want to pivot to target a new market, focus on topics that demonstrate your expertise in that industry.

How to create content that converts

Once you’ve selected your topics and keywords, confirm which persona you want to target. The personas you target will guide your messaging and content format.

Since you’ve outlined your personas interests, pain points, and demographics, you should use that to create targeted messaging. Engage your audience by helping them avoid their fears or accomplish their dreams. 

Whether you’re creating an article, ebook, video, or something else entirely, you need to include call to actions (CTAs). A CTA tells the reader what they’re supposed to do next, like read another article or make a phone call. The best way to create content that converts is by making it extremely clear what the next steps are for prospects.

Content marketing is not an instant win strategy. You need to develop content for each stage of the buyers’ journey to nurture and educate your leads. While it does take time, content marketing generates higher quality leads.

How to drive traffic to your website

Once you’ve created great content, you have to get it in front of your target audience. Optimizing for keywords is great and showing up in search results will be beneficial for getting attention to your content. However, it’s important to also promote your content actively and use the tools at your disposal to distribute it to your audience.

Social Media Promotion

If you already have a significant social media following, promoting your content there can be an effective way to quickly drive traffic to your website. Even if you don’t have an established audience, posting on social media platforms your buyer personas use and including relevant hashtags can ensure your target audience sees your content.

Focus only on the channels that your buyer personas actively use and engage with. If you only sell to adults over 65, you probably don’t need to be on Instagram or Twitter. Even if do have an audience that spans many platforms, it’s best to choose 3-4 you can use really well. From there, follow the best practices for each platform to drive traffic to your blog. 

Best Practices for Promoting Content on LinkedIn

LinkedIn is especially beneficial for B2B companies and organizations targeting professionals.

  • Utilize both personal and company pages for content promotion.

  • Include 3-5 relevant hashtags in each post.

  • Instead of including a link in the post body, place it in the first comment.

  • Interact with other pages before and after posting.

Best Practices for Promoting Content on Facebook

Facebook is useful for almost every industry. With nearly everyone on Facebook, it’s a powerful platform for reaching your audience.

  • Include 3-5 relevant hashtags in each post.

  • Run small A/B ad tests to drive more traffic.

Best Practices for Promoting Content on Twitter

Twitter is incredibly popular in the VC and tech space. 

  • Include 1-3 relevant hashtags in each post.

  • Mention other users in your tweets.

Best Practices for Promoting Content on Instagram

Instagram is one of the more difficult platforms to promote content on your website. Unless your account is verified, the only link you can place is one in your bio. 

  • Use a tool like Later to make it easier for your followers to access the links mentioned in your posts.

  • Use up to 30 hashtags in each post, but place them at the end of your copy where they won’t be seen.

Best Practices for Promoting Content on Quora

Many people turn to Quora for answers to their questions or problems.

  • Find and answer questions related to blog topics you’ve written.

  • Provide value in your answer, before linking to your content for more information.

Email Marketing

Email marketing can be another effective way to get your content in front of your ideal buyer personas. 

Develop personalized emails highlighting why your readers care about the content. (Does it solve a pain point, help them do something better, or make more money?) 

Just like when you created your content, remember not to focus on yourself. In fact, try to avoid statements like “I”, “Me”, and “My” altogether. Pivot your attention to your audience.

How to Drive Traffic to Your Website

While promotion is important, quality content is key to a successful strategy. Your audience should feel like the resource was so helpful they want to share it with a friend or colleague.

If you feel like you need more help developing a digital marketing strategy that converts, reach out to us!

Related Resources

Buyer Persona Template

Content Planning Template

Digital Marketing Jargon Dictionary


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