You spend countless hours producing and refining your content, to make sure it informs and entertains your audience while fulfilling your marketing goals and staying on brand.
But how much do you really know about the customers consuming it?
In its recently released 2016 Digital Marketer Report, Experian Marketing Services found that 38 percent of marketers worldwide believe knowing their customers is the top challenge they will face in 2016.
More than half of those marketers, meanwhile, say enhancing their customer knowledge is a top-three priority for the year.
Today’s consumers, the company notes, expect “exceptional experiences every time,” across all platforms and channels. “This reality poses a real challenge for organizations as consumer intolerance for mediocre brand interactions puts more pressure on brands to use their data and technology,” Ashley Johnston, Experian’s senior vice president of global marketing, has said.
Understanding the mechanics of your customers’ minds and behavior, and delivering exactly what they’re looking for, is a core tenet of marketing and advertising.
That said, our fragmented media landscape makes it increasingly difficult to determine whether we’re effectively satisfying content demands. Marketers go to great lengths to get inside their customers’ heads, but odds are good that you could use some added insight.
Here are four ways to get it.
- Identify your customers’ pain points
Some of the most successful branded content is informational in nature, and we’re seeing a shift toward more “edutainment”, too. Unearthing your customers’ biggest pain points can reveal the type of content they’ll be most receptive to.
Tap industry research, but be sure to read client and prospect blogs too, as these can tell you a lot about the problems that are currently plaguing your customers.
Keep an eye out for repeat questions and negative language in your search data. Spotting a trend among the queries can hold the answer to the question of what your brand’s own next blog post should address.
- Ratchet up your social listening to create content that’s in demand
You’re likely already monitoring your brand name and tracking mentions on the major social sites. As invaluable as social media can be for measuring brand sentiment, it’s also the ideal way to determine what type of content your audience is sharing online.
Start by searching for conversations related to your industry or product. Trending topics and popular conversation threads can inspire branded blog posts and native ads.
Make the most of the real-time nature of social sites to track the effectiveness of your paid media and gauge which pieces are performing best. The more you know about your audience’s content preferences on social media, the more prepared you’ll be to meet their needs.
- Supplement profiles and personas with face time
Customer and buyer personas – research-based representations of your target customers – are a marketing strategy must, whether you’re devising an ad campaign, designing an ecommerce checkout process, or aiming for a more personalized content experience.
That said, every brand can benefit from spending more time with their customers in the real world.
Look for opportunities to chat, whether at a conference, on a sales call, or in the grocery store aisle. Suss out what it is that they love about your brands, and consider how you might better convey those attributes through your content.
Customer attitudes and behavior are fluid. By meeting your viewers and readers where they are, face-to-face, you can craft a more engaging content experience online.
- Ask your customers what they want
It sounds ridiculously simple, but if you want to know what kind of content your customers want, just ask. Deploy an email survey to your opt-in list.
Incorporate a targeted questionnaire into your site. Or set up a Twitter Poll, like Amazon did when it was trying to determine which topics to address on Periscope at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) earlier this year.
The 3,000 votes it received allowed the brand to ensure that it broadcast exactly what its viewers wanted to see.
We’re at #CES2016 & letting you choose what we cover. Vote now and watch our Periscope tomorrow!
— Amazon (@amazon) January 7, 2016
Your customers want content that adds value to their lives. Is yours up to the challenge?
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