Iterative Marketing Podcast Episode 39: Content Marketing To The Grow/Give State

To see the greatest return on investment, it’s necessary to continually refine our content marketing.  In order to boost our efforts, we must understand our marketing objectives and how these differ by journey state. The Grow audience includes people that have already purchased our product and are happy. The Give audience includes loyal customers that wholeheartedly believe in our brand and are willing to help promote via referrals. In this episode, we explore the different ways to deliver content for a variety of customers and how to successfully optimize and iterate our content for the Grow/Give state.  ​

In this episode, we discuss…

The Goal with Grow Audience (05:35 – 07:12)

  • “Grow” state is the audience that has purchased and is a loyal and happy customer.
  • Our objective with “Grow” is similar to the “See” state; we need to continually add value so that our customers will buy again.
    • Our messaging to “Grow” state should provide value and utility and nurture the relationship so existing customers can get the most out of our product.
    • Cross-selling and up-sell messaging can become a secondary objective in which case the approach is similar to the “Think” and “Do” states.
  • Ultimately, the goal with the “Grow” audience is to retain the customer and get them to buy again.

The Goal with Give Audience  (07:15 – 09:18)

  • For the “Give” audience, we want them to feel good about spreading the word about our product or service.
  • We want to equip these customers with the proper verbiage and tools so when they are talking about the product or services, they are reinforcing the brand.
    • This is accomplished by making the customers feel special and conveying a WIIFM (what’s in it for me) benefit.
  • We can monitor if the goals are being achieved by measuring referral rates and customer review ratings.

Measuring the Efficacy of our Content (09:20 – 13:50)

  • We can measure the success of our content in the three ways:
    • Engagement is the key metric for utility content.  For example,
      • Dwell time/% watched
      • Email open rates/click-through rate (A/B test only)
      • Pages per visit
      • Bounce rate
    • For cross-sell and upsell, it’s more subtle and we must look at which pieces of content are on the customer’s journey for additional purchase.
      • Due to the limited size of the audience, there is never enough data to truly be useful; therefore, engagement metrics are probably more useful in this case.
      • For example, a software client has a series of add-ons mace available to their customers. Which case studies are they taking the time to read completely?  Is it Add-on A or Add-on B?
        • We have to assume that if they are taking the time to read the case study, it’s contributing toward an upsell in this case.
        • Sometimes, there will be a direct response component to the content such as a strong call-to-action and limited consideration. In this case, measurement is simply cost-per-action (CPA).
    • For the “Give” audience, the majority of the content will be persuasive; therefore, we can measure the direct response.
      • There’s also a brand component, though it’s a lagging indicator. This is where using the brand vector process can help us determine if our customers are in alignment with the brand.

Iterating Based on Data (13:50 – 16:12)

  • In the “Grow” and “Give” states, there are two avenues available to us for iteration:
    • Iterate on content which is no different than the “See” state.
      • Execute an A/B test scenario for emails, headlines, subject lines, etc.
      • Try to gain insight by using experiments to determine what is appealing and entertaining to your audience
    • Second, iterate on demand by examining the feedback loop and pinpointing where there are gaps in knowledge.
      • Identify the holes and create content that increases awareness and fills in the gaps

Examples of Content Marketing to Grow and Give (17:10 – 26:40)

  • B2C Example – Camping Gear Company
    • The “Grow’ content for this audience would include lifestyle content that might include camping tips or a campsite review utility.   Also, any customer who registered for a tent warranty could be informed of the new line of portable stoves.
    • The “Give” content could include a community of elite campers, then create a contest for the audience to share stories and pictures.  Publish persuasive content about how the customers can help our company by writing reviews and referring friends.
  • B2B Example – Printer Sales and Services
    • The “Grow” content can include tips for conserving and getting the most life out of the products. Alternatively, a paper compatibility tool (note, this doubles as see content) is a great approach, too.  A semi-persuasive piece can also work by alerting customers when it’s time to replace a printer based on total cost of ownership.
    • “Give” content will be targeted toward customers who have participated in the past and encourage them to write reviews and refer our company to friends and colleagues.
  • Non-Profit Example – American Cancer Society
    • “Grow” content will be heavily targeted to people that have participated in the past.  This content should encourage them to volunteer or make a donation again, because they are able to see how impactful their generosity has been for so many people by contributing to advancements in research.
    • The “Give” content should not only encourage volunteering, but reach out to others to get involved and help the cause.  Including stories of others who have been successful at recruiting and the emotions surrounding their involvement is highly effective.  This is known as “how to” content to make it easier to bring others onboard.

Summary of Content Marketing to the Journey States (26:45 – 31:40)

  • See
    • Objective: Aggregating a consistent, sustained audience and get them to know, like and trust us.
    • Keys to Success:
      • Focus on value – don’t sell
      • Use the PESO model to stack channels
      • Focus on converting a target audience into a subscribed base
  • Think
    • Objective: Be a resource as they move through the buyer’s journey and along the way, influence how they think about their decision.
    • Keys to Success:
      • Be a resource as they move through the buyer’s journey, using our content to educate and influence their decision
      • Again, use the PESO model to stack channels
      • Focus on engagement
  • Do
    • Objective: Provide utility, and grease the skids through purchase
    • Keys to Success:
      • This message is going to be more commercial than what was created for “See” or “Think.”
      • In a lot of cases, this is going to be used to justify the decision, either to themselves or others within the organization.
      • Content is going to vary based on the business.  So, B2B with or without a sales force, B2C or non-profit.
        • This means how we measure and iterate will vary as well.
        • Set up measurement for content by using templates and sending links instead of attachments.
  • Grow/Give
    • Objective (“Grow”): Ensure current customers continue to know, like and trust us as well as encourage them to grow into our product or service.
    • Objective (“Give”): Encourage and enable the customers to share the word about our product/service.
    • Keys to Success:
      • “Grow” and “Give” are separate states and give the audience what they need.
        • Conduct A/B tests to improve content and be sure to measure the right things to determine success.  Is the content designed to increase engagement or an ask?
        • Create a feedback loop with the customer-facing team.  Find out what the customer needs and give it to them and make sure any gaps in knowledge have been filled.

For more information on the charity in this episode, please visit March of Dimes

The Iterative Marketing Podcast,  a production of Brilliant Metrics, ran from February 2016 to September 2017. Music by SeaStock Audio.

Learn more about Iterative Marketing and listen to other episodes on Apple Podcasts, YouTube, Stitcher, SoundCloud and Google Play.

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