“You can have the best blog in the world, but if you’re not directly tying your content to conversion funnels, your efforts will never get you the results you’re ultimately looking for.”
~ Melissa Joy Kong, Founder of Iceberg Agency
Are you sure you know what your customers want? Are you chasing sales without chasing your tail? What content does your audience truly engage with? Why? How do they find it? What grabs their attention? Where do they go next? What’s with all the questions?
To get to the bottom of these issues, you need a content matrix. But what on Earth does that mean?
What is a Content Matrix?
A content matrix is a fancy term for figuring out how all the content you have online fits together. This goes beyond mapping out your website, building an inventory of your online content, or analysing the underlying architecture. Instead, it’s about looking at this through your customer’s eyes – their journey, their perceptions and, crucially, how they respond to what you put out there.
“The secret to effective marketing is to focus on the needs of others, rather than our own egocentric need to “authentically” express whatever we’re feeling at the moment. We teach that to our children, and yet we’re to believe it doesn’t apply to social media?”
~ Brian Clark, CEO of Rainmaker Digital
Why Would I Want to Do That?
Because that’s just the first step! The second is using your newfound insights to figure out what works for your customers, so that you can prioritize the most effective types of content, making the best possible use of your time and marketing budget.
This keeps your team laser-focussed on the things buyers value most at each stage in their journey, so you can answer the right questions, devise the right offers and develop customer relationships in the best way you can.
In short, there are three massive benefits to developing a content matrix:
- It helps you boost inbound leads coming into your funnel, by tackling issues prospective customers actually want to hear about… and positioning your company as a trusty source of solutions.
- It increases your conversion rates from stage to stage and ultimately into sales. That’s because you have a clear, evidence-based plan for building trust and guiding your audience along their journey, and you’ve addressed doubts and answered key questions that might have been a barrier along the way.
- It makes your sales and marketing team’s job easier, by providing tools they can deploy at each step, that they’re confident will be appropriate and effective at that point. They can then work faster and more efficiently, and you can audit the trail easily later, allowing you to continually assess what’s working and hone this for optimal results.
How Does it Work?
The preeminent content matrix mastermind on the planet is Kevin Cain. His four-part plan for creating a content matrix with the power to convert customers goes like this:
Context – Conversion – Contact – Content
Let’s break that down:
The first thing to do is get to know your customer – what they want, what they value and what ticks their boxes.
The best way to do that? Draw up buyer personas: the more detailed the better.
This means writing a description of your target customer, i.e. the kind of person who is likely to buy your stuff. That sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people miss the point, get carried away writing an aspirational novella about a sexy international jetsetter, full of intrigue and backstory and unnecessary detail. This is fun, but it’s also a load of nonsense and won’t help you at all.
Unless you’re a Saville Row tailor or luxury car brand, your target customer is not James Bond. It’s someone very similar to your existing customers, because they’re the people that have been proven to buy your stuff. So talk to them.
If they’re a B2B customer, ask what their pain points, challenges and goals are, which elements they prioritise when they’re looking for a workable solution and which details they skim right over.
For B2C customers, ask how they see themselves / how they want to be seen, what they love about your product, and how it fits with their interests and identity.
Use this to build a picture of what kind of person likes what you do, and keep these buyer personas top of mind when you create your matrix. You could find that things you considered dealbreakers barely make an impression, while features you downplay are actually top priorities.
Next, apply these insights to the buyer’s journey.
The big question here is: knowing what I know about this type of customer, what kind of content is likely to usher them through to the next stage? What would be appropriate and effective here?
It’s not enough to have the perfect product for your ideal customer if they have no idea that you exist, or if it hadn’t occurred to them to look for a solution because they didn’t realise the problem could be fixed in the first place. If they haven’t started to think about fixing the issue, they’re several stages away from considering a purchase. You have a long way to go.
On the other hand, if the type of buyer you’ve identified is someone who is already frustrated by their existing situation or is tasked with looking for better options, you might not need to spell out the problem – you can cut straight to ways of fixing it.
As Kevin Cain puts it:
“Of course, ultimately you want them to pull the trigger and make a purchase. The important thing to remember is that the conversion goals you set need to be appropriate for where your buyer is in their buyer journey. Someone who’s at the unaware stage isn’t going to sign up for a free trial, let alone make a purchase, because they aren’t going to be ready to do so yet. But, they might be far enough along in their journey that they’d read one of your blog posts or watch a short video.”
Understanding how your customers make decisions, and where they are in their decision-making process, will do wonders for your content matrix.
It’s all very well drawing up a neat line of content stepping stones for potential customers to spring along all the way to a sale, but how do they know that content is even there?
Figuring out how to get your stuff in front of your intended audience’s eyeballs is a big part of the struggle – but again, your buyer personas will help.
Where do they get their information about a business like yours? Does it make sense to target them on social media? Through LinkedIn? Through offline advertising? Do they already read your blog? Are they Googling solutions – and you’re hoping to show up?
All these considerations should help you figure out what kind of content you should make, where to put it and what calls to action you need to get them through to the next stage.
Which leads us to…
Now, and only now, are you ready to specify the kind of content that goes into your content matrix.
That’s because, by this stage, you have a clear idea of what your target buyer is looking for (or whether you need to look for them), how and where you’re likely to catch their eye and what you need to say and do to gain their trust and progress towards a sale.
Based on this, you’re now ready to figure out what content works best for each touchpoint in the process. It might be an infographic. It might be a video. It might be a how-to blog post, or a white paper, or a customer case study. It depends on your buyer’s journey.
The point is, you’re no longer throwing stuff out to see what sticks: you’re in control of the matrix, and you know how to work it to get the results you want.
Ready to talk about taking your content marketing to the next level? Give us a call on +44 (0) 203 070 3775 for a no-strings chat with our team.