15 Ways To Develop A Customer-Centric Content Strategy

Content marketing is a great way to get in front of and bring value to consumers without going overboard on your sales pitch. However, it can be tough to strike a balance. Your content shouldn’t completely ignore your offerings, but you want to make sure it adds value for your customer first.

Forbes Agency Council

That’s why developing a strategy focused on your target customer is the key to executing successful content marketing initiatives. To help you achieve this, 15 members of Forbes Agency Council gave their best advice on how brands can develop effective, customer-centric content.

1. Create Outcome-Based Content

People today are focused on issues, personal and social outcomes and ways that products and product providers can positively affect their lives and the lives of others. Content should be visual, interactive, emotive and outcome-based. Pick the right channel. TikTok is delivering huge numbers. – Peter Prodromou, Boston Digital

2. Implement Persona Identifiers On Your Website

Implement persona identifiers (via “tags”) into the data layer of your website. Push those identifiers into audiences within your analytics tool. This will enable you to understand which audiences are interacting with existing content, selectively build out additional content based on audience priority and run “lookalike” campaigns to promote the new content to only that audience type. – Justin Cook, 9thCO Inc.

3. Engage In Non-Commerce Dialogue With Customers

We find that most marketing plans emphasize methods for pushing content to consumers while giving little thought to methods for customers to engage in “non-commerce dialogue.” Companies that have effective customer-centric marketing have built these methods, not just “product reviews,” for engaging in these conversations. Focusing on those channels is essential to crafting better outbound content. – James Cioban, Cierant Corporation

4. Focus On Benefits Over Features

Focus on product benefits over features. Use “you” over “we.” And most importantly, do key phrase research and understand the searcher intent behind your phrases. Truly customer-centric content ties the searcher’s intent to the product on the page. It doesn’t rely on brand terms. Instead, it includes non-branded terms that speak to the product’s universe. – Brian Rutledge, GPO

5. Answer Consumer Questions

Create content that provides high-value information, answers consumer questions and guides them toward making the best purchase decision. Within your content, showcase the benefits, uses and value of your products and services as examples and case studies. This tactic will build trust with the consumer and drive them to come to you when they are ready to purchase. – Laura Cole, Vivial

6. Interview Your Customers

Start with interviewing your customers. Find a small number that best represents each audience persona you intend to target. During a brief interview, listen closely to the words each customer uses to describe why they choose your company’s solutions and how it has impacted their business and professional success. – Wendy Covey, TREW Marketing

7. Tap Into Their Existing Motivations

For content that is truly customer-centric, campaigns should tap into the customer’s existing motivations. The reason being, you can’t motivate someone to action, but you can align your content with what that customer already is motivated to do. Once that is done, the content can prompt them to take action. – Roger Hurni, Off Madison Ave

8. Talk About Things They Love

A company’s story is nice, but if you want to engage someone, talk about things they care about or love. Take a page from the big boys: Know what you sell and why people are buying. It is always about the consumer. Apple does not sell computers; it sells a set of beliefs or a way of thinking. Starbucks does not sell coffee; its sells status quo. Even Toms Shoes sold the concept of giving back. – Patrick Nycz, NewPoint Marketing

9. Practice Inbound Marketing

Develop customer personas that identify the needs, concerns, dreams and opportunities of your ideal audiences. Find intersection points and create content that speaks to your personas at every point of the buyer journey. Then, make every communication, from award wins to case studies to blog posts, speak to them about their needs rather than your capabilities. – Mary Ann O’Brien, OBI Creative

10. Ask Customers For Video Content

Customer-generated videos where customers record themselves with the brand and showcase its benefits offer an authentic way to show true excitement and endorsement of the brand from the customer’s individual perspective, which will appeal to others too. – Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, Hawthorne LLC

11. Make It Easy To Find Relevant Content

Make it easy for web visitors to find content suitable for their stage in the buying process. Think of your blog as a hub for insights that educate about your industry. Place evergreen content in static pages to inform about you and your capabilities. Find organic links between the two so that when prospects are ready to work themselves down the funnel, they can do so without friction. – Carey Kirkpatrick, CKP

12. Emphasize The Problem You Solve

There’s that old saying that nobody will care about your solution before they recognize there’s a massive problem—and it applies to them. So think about your customers’ context, situation and problems, and pick them up where they are by emphasizing that they all have a common problem that you figured out how to solve! – Lars Voedisch, PRecious Communications

13. Frame Your Message Around Their Needs

Customers largely see interactions with companies as transactional, while companies yearn for so much more. Content can help you build closer connections with customers, but only if it conveys your deep understanding of them. Always start with the emotional, social and functional outcomes they value as human beings. Then, frame your messages around the needs your offerings can deliver on. – Camille Nicita, Gongos, Inc.

14. Align Your Brand Ethos With Their Values

Newer generations care less about products’ USPs and more about how the brand’s ethos aligns with their values. To create a customer-centric content strategy, you have to understand what values are important for your audience and authentically align not only your brand message, but also your actions with those values. Brands that can create content around that will see the benefits of a customer-centric approach. – Emilie Tabor, IMA – Influencer Marketing Agency

15. Showcase Your Solution Through Testimonials

True customer-centric content needs to answer the questions your audience is asking. Rather than touting how great your products or services are, you need to provide a solution to their problems. Some of the best customer-centric content actually includes customer testimonials. This is especially helpful as video content: Let your customers speak to how you helped them solve a problem. – Jason Wulfsohn, AUDIENCEX

11 Valuable Data Points To Be Gleaned From Clients’ Google Analytics

Some agency clients aren’t able to address important questions their marketing partners need answered in order to devise the best strategy to meet their needs. Luckily, analytics tools can help agencies uncover illuminating data points that clients can’t provide up front.

The key to informing a strategy that will achieve a client’s marketing goals is to identify which specific types of data you’re looking for before diving into the analysis. Below, experts from Forbes Agency Council share 11 of the most valuable pieces of information you can glean by analyzing your clients’ Google Analytics.

Forbes Agency Council

1. What Attracts Versus Repels

As communications experts, we love reviewing Google Analytics to better understand how customers are engaging with a brand and what’s attracting them versus repelling them. This establishes information that allows us to develop more compelling content strategies. You’re able to see the level of leads coming from media relations and placed articles, which is a strong indicator of campaign success. – Kathleen Lucente, Red Fan Communications

2. The Client’s Audience

At the end of the day, the most valuable element of successful marketing is understanding the consumer. Google Analytics can provide some insight into a client’s audience. Combining this with other data sets and marrying the research with strategic analysis can inform an insight-driven marketing strategy. This can inspire consumer targeting, creative, media and more. – Marc Becker, The Tangent Agency

3. ROI On Marketing Investments

No matter what, you want to make sure that you are getting ROI on any marketing investment. Even if your Google Analytics are telling a positive story, if you aren’t getting actual ROI, there is data that either is not accurate or needs to be looked at holistically. There should always be a system of checks and balances, and all touch points should be telling the same story. – Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, Hawthorne LLC

4. Return On Ad Spend Performance

The most important piece of data you can glean from Google Analytics is the ROAS performance of your clients’ media buying across the various websites they are advertising on. By tracking where the users are coming from and tracking their activity on your clients’ sites, you can determine their ROAS. You can then shift media investment to the top-performing websites. – Dennis Cook, Gamut. Smart Media from Cox.

5. The Source Of Relevant Traffic

Analyzing their clients’ Google Analytics allows agencies to see where relevant traffic is coming from, identify trends and target opportunities. Additionally, optimizing your campaigns based on the data feedback will lead to higher conversion rates. – Jordan Edelson, Appetizer Mobile LLC

6. Time On Page

Time on page is the most important Google Analytics statistic. Once you get traffic to your site, do they stay? What content do they consume? How much mindshare do they give you? What pages are sticky and not transactional? Time on page tells you what prospects value and where they give your ideas credence. Know this, and you’ll know your audience. – Randy Shattuck, The Shattuck Group

7. Where Viewers Leave The Website

The pages where viewers are leaving the client’s website at abnormally high rates is where to focus. By finding out what pages are causing website viewers to drop off the most, clients can analyze these pages and make necessary adjustments to better grab the attention of future visitors. – Stefan Pollack, The Pollack Group

8. Behavior Flow

Behavior Flow is still my favorite feature offered by Google Analytics. Studying the flow of the visitors and the path they take while interacting with a website helps business owners understand what a page means to the customer. This information helps business owners understand how to prioritize and optimize pages to offer visitors a better user experience. – Ahmad Kareh, Twistlab Marketing

9. Goal Conversion Data

Google Analytics can be overwhelming, so a great place to start is by looking at a client’s goal conversions (the number of visitors that took the action your client intended for them to take). This one area can give quick insight into how and why a website was built, as well as whether or not the site is performing the way it’s meant to. If goals have not yet been set up, this is a great opportunity to start a conversation with your client about short- and long-term objectives. – Carey Kirkpatrick, CKP

10. The Most Popular Content

Simply looking at your website’s most popular content can tell you if that website really serves your target customer. All too often, content serves another purpose or user. My agency’s example is that the bio I wrote for our vice president was the most popular piece of content, which proved that web visitors came to copy that bio rather than to hire our agency. – Jim Caruso, M1PR, Inc. d/b/a MediaFirst PR – Atlanta

11. Device Usage

One often overlooked piece of data in Google Analytics is device usage. All clients basically have two websites: a desktop site and a mobile site. Understanding what visitors are doing on both sites is critical, especially when it comes to advertising and landing pages. – T. Maxwell, eMaximize