What kind of marketing content influences your customers the most?

In a study by marketing research firm Clutch, 73% of people surveyed indicated they made purchases as a result of viewing marketing content. This is a powerful statistic that highlights the importance of content marketing to attract and retain new customers.

In this post, we'll review what kind of content motivates buyers the most, and how to best present this content to your prospects.

 

What is useful and valuable content?

Before you start creating a content strategy or developing a new piece of content, it’s important to understand, specifically, what your customers consider useful content (versus content that’s biased and unreliable.) This will obviously be different for every company and customer persona.

Useful content addresses an audience’s specific needs. It solves a problem – and if you’re content is going to do this effectively, you must know what problems your customers are trying to solve.

For example, a high-tech startup may be going through the process of selecting a new domain name. They may not know how to get this process started, so they start their search on Google using the keyword: “domain names for IT businesses.”

To address this topic, an internet service provider (ISP) could write a blog post that explains how a new business can choose a domain name. But for the article to be useful, it needs to provide a high level of detail and not just skim the surface of this topic.

This post on GoDaddy’s website is an example of a blog post that’s comprehensive and targeted. The post is aimed at technology businesses who are actively researching new domain names in the technology sector and includes segmented lists of Internet domain extensions based on business type (e.g., IT Services vs. Business Process Management).

Excerpt from GoDaddy Blog Post

 

Content preferences by age and intent

According to Clutch, people’s content preferences vary for a variety of reasons including age and motivation. This means you should be producing a variety of content for a variety of different types of people.

This chart from the clutch survey breaks down several types of content type preferences by age group including Millennials, Gen X, and Baby Boomers.

 

Image Source: Clutch

As you can see, content preferences vary widely depending on a person’s age. Baby Boomers tend to prefer reviews and product descriptions compared with millennials and Gen Xers who are more partial to blogs and articles.

User intent also factors largely into the type of content that people respond to. When you take age out of the equation and look at audience type - for example, B2C versus B2B audiences - then the type of content people find valuable changes.

 

A word about B2B buyers

Demand Gen’s 2018 Content Preferences Survey found that B2B buyers are becoming more selective about the type of content they consume.

Nearly 90% of B2B buyers think that content producers should focus less on product specifics and more on the value their products bring to the buyer’s business. But what does this mean in terms of content type?

Buyers favor blog posts and podcasts as content they find valuable. Other notable types of content favored by audiences include case studies, webinars, video, and interactive content.

The following graphic illustrates the type of content  buyers are most likely to share with colleagues.

Image Source: DemandGen



Content as part of the buyer’s journey

Whether you’re targeting a B2C or B2B audience, the content you create will play huge role in your buyers’ journey. This journey often starts with a keyword search.

The Clutch study revealed that nearly 90% of people find new businesses from search engines. They may not be actively looking for you, but they are looking for specific information to help them solve a problem or meet a need.

If you think about the entire trajectory of a buyer’s journey, it can help you understand what type of content to create and where to place that content.

A well-optimized website and a blog that is up-to-date and contains relevant articles, will rank better on Google. Your content – whether it’s a blog post, a case study, or a whitepaper - will be front and center, ready to greet people at the start of their journey.

But what comes next?

Visualizing your customer’s buying journey from awareness to consideration to purchase will help you understand what type of content to create and where to feature it.

Here’s a simplified example of what this means in terms of a buyer’s journey – though keep in mind that we didn’t make the distinction between B2B and B2C buyers.

Our goal with this example is to illustrate a few different “content source” and “content type” scenarios along a three-step buyer’s funnel.

For example, if you know that your buyer is starting off at a search engine, then you should create content (like a blog post) that ranks well for a specific keyword or phrase.

You could even write a guest post on a third-party blog, since the initial aim is to get your content (not necessarily your website) in front of potential customers.

 

Key Takeaways

If you want to create content that consumers respond to, always consider the buyer’s journey and customer intent. This will keep you focused on what to create and ensure that your content Is comprehensive.

Remember that different age groups place more value on certain types of content than others. So, if your target persona spans multiple generations, make sure you’re creating content that appeals to multiple demographics.

The value of a specific type of content fluctuates depending on what stage a consumer is on their buying journey.

When someone clicks over to your website, you’ll have no idea if they’re in the early research phase of their buying journey or ready to make a sale. Thus, make sure the content on your website is up-to-date and varied.

Articles, Testimonials, product reviews and videos can all work together to instill confidence in your company, products, or services. Likewise, a sales force armed with relevant comprehensive marketing materials, research, and information will make a huge difference when moving someone down the funnel from consideration to purchase.