Given the value of content marketing to businesses today and the industry’s ongoing growth, which is set to be worth more than $400 billion by 2021 – it’s prudent to ensure you’re doing everything you can to create content that resonates with your customers.
From blogs, case studies, whitepapers and ebooks to infographics, podcasts, videos, webinars and much more the range of content businesses are creating to engage and educate potential customers is vast. While the range of content tools to both create and reach out to customers continues to grow, the one area that is still relatively under-utilised by marketers is the online survey.
As surveys allow you to ask a wide range of questions, there’s no better tool to help you increase your understanding of your customers, know exactly what sort of content they enjoy hearing about and their preferred format. When armed with this information, you’re able to create stronger more relevant content that resonates more deeply with your customers, increases your sales and helps you to keep one step ahead of your competitors.
3 Ways Surveys Improve Content Marketing
1) Validate your buyer personas:
Effective content marketing is driven by your audience. It’s about knowing what information they need, the content formats they prefer and where they typically go when they need help. Most marketers begin to define the type of content they will create by defining who they are creating it for. This is typically done through the creation of a buyer personas, a fictionalised representation of their target customer. Whilst buyer personas are a fantastic tool, they are made up and ideally should be validated to test the assumed messaging and targeting before you start committing budget to marketing campaigns.
A great place to start is by sending out a Survey to your existing customer base and finding out about their:
Demographics - age, gender, region, nationality
Why they purchase from you - price, value, ease etc
What channels they interact on - Facebook, Google, Twitter, TV, Radio, Magazines
- What content they prefer, e.g eBook, webinars or video etc
The responses you get back from your survey should closely mirror your buyer personas. If they don't it shows you don't know you customers as well and you thought you did! This in turn highlights the need to tweak messaging, channels and strategy to be better aligned with your target market.
If you don't have any existing customers you can always buy responses to a persona questionnaire through our consumer panel service enabling you to quickly validate your positioning.
2) Segment your content and increase its relevance:
The ability to adapt content to the needs of different audience segments is critical to the success of any content marketing efforts, so no matter how many buyer personas you need to reach out to, it is important to get this right.
However, while a small business may only have two or three buyer personas, a larger company with more product or service lines and a broader customer base may have substantially more audience groups to reach out to, making this a much more challenging and complex process. This is where the use of a survey can be extremely beneficial.
While you may have already created a segmentation model of how you think different demographic groups within your customer base like to consume content about your products or services, you could run a survey to validate this.
For example, if you were a beauty company planning to launch a new product line, you might want to survey your customers first, to establish how they initially became aware and interested in your brand and products. You could then evaluate your survey results to see if different demographic groups preferred to consume information about your brand in different ways, such as through online, TV or any other content channels. Once you had this you could then tailor content for future campaigns to ensure it was more relevant and effective to the needs of different groups.
3) Gather and promote your own unique data:
Few things attract more links and social shares than unique data. You only have to think about platforms such as the Content Marketing Institute’s site, and how they have used original research to build their authority and create a strong brand.
Fortunately, the Content Marketing Institute has a very large subscriber list and an extensive social media following, so whenever they send out a survey, they get a lot of data back.
However, no matter how many subscribers or social media followers you might have, you can use and benefit from surveys in a similar way. Think about all your professional contacts, email lists, social followers and anyone else you know who might have some strong insight on an issue of interest to your wider customer base and start surveying them. And even if there’s something you really want to survey, but you don’t feel you have the right people within your existing contacts, there are services such as Consumer Panels available, which allow you to buy responses to your survey’s questions from a Live Consumer Audience.
If this is something you would like to know more about, you might like to visit our Consumer Panels page.
Why it’s never too late to start using surveys to improve content marketing
Understanding your audience is a core part of successful content marketing, so even if you’re not already using surveys to get a better insight into what your customers are thinking, by starting today, you can quickly begin to generate higher value content. Ultimately, when you’re creating content that your audience wants and values, their connection to you becomes stronger and the more successful your business becomes as a result.