Russ Henneberry – The Perfect Content Marketing Strategy – MicroConf 2017

👈 Back to all MicroConf 2017 talks

Free eBook of every Starter and Growth talk

We’re sending out a beautiful PDF eBook of notes from every MicroConf 2017 Starter and Growth talk – both Speaker and Attendee. Want a copy?

    • Russ Henneberry
      DigitalMarketer.com

      • My favorite topic — content marketing
      • Realised last night how nerdy we all are… honor to be around so many smart people. Speaking to someone last night “WooCommerce…Magento…SKUs…Woo”. Realised… it’s a foreign language! The language we’ve all developed around this… such a cool place for us to all gather. Our spouses are like “shut up…”
      • Was working doing direct mail for a book company
      • Would send out $100,000s worth of catalogues
      • “This internet thing looks like it’s for real”
      • Looked at the web as potentially useful as a marketer
      • “Russ, why are my competitors coming up when people search for stuff, and not me?”
        • “I don’t know. Ask the IT guy”
        • “No, Russ. I want you to figure this out”
        • So I did. Went back to my desk, sit down, …
        • Haven’t looked back.
        • Digital to me is so much more exciting than the mail stuff
        • Learnt about search, and pay per click, and went back to the boss
        • Told him about title tags, and so on and so on
      • Since moved on. Managed SEO at NetworkSolutions. Managed content at CrazyEgg (Neil Patel). SalesForce content marketing. Now– work for DigitalMarketer.com. Just acquired a SaaS called TruConversion
      • Talk today about content marketing
      • Six characteristics of a perfect strategy
      • @RussHenneberry
      • @DigitalMarketer
    • Biggest complaint about content marketing – I write, I swing, I strike out. IS THIS WORTH MY TIME?
    • I talk to a lot of people. No one is more time-starved than startup founders
    • Want you to feel confident executing on a content strategy. Swinging, and connecting
      • Quickly realised — it wasn’t about the title tags, and the meta tags. It’s about content. It’s about putting stuff on your site.
      • First thought — having a product that deserves to win. Having something good.
      • Then I went totally the other way. It’s about content. You just need content.
      • It’s neither. It’s about creating tremendous value. Create value — you win.
      • NOPE. It’s not that either.
    • What most people are doing:
      • Lots of content. See what sticks.

 

  • “This year we should do content marketing”

 

      • Gigantic mistake. Huge waste of time.
      • You’ll connect on a few things, but the ROI will be very sketchy. You might win, you might win.
      • I want to teach you how to increase that batting average
    • Six characteristics of perfect content marketing. At the end — I’ll give the exact template to use.
      • 1) Full funnel.
        • Content marketing != blogging
        • Blogging is an important part. But they’re not synonyms.
        • Funnel: Aware → evaluate → convert → commit
        • Sometimes described as TOFU → MOFU → BOFU → POFU (top of funnel, middle, bottom, & post-funnel).
        • Impressions → Trials → Paid Users → Churn
        • We’ll go into more detail later, but spoiler alert: the blog is really powerful at Impressions. Not so good at Conversions.
        • Often heard: “My blog never gets me any sales”
        • Am I producing content at the top of the funnel, to drive awareness? Do I need more impressions?
        • Ever said “I have this great product, but no one knows it exists”? That’s a good sign that you need a good top-of-funnel content strategy.
        • Most of you are probably measuring Trials, in the middle of the funnel. Then paid users. Then your job’s not done – it’s time to use content to reduce churn.
        • We use officevibe. Super cool app.
          • We wanna know what the vibe is like in the office. Do people like / dislike the decision management just made?
          • Officevibe sends out a question every Friday. Like “do you understand the mission of our company?” A few more questions. Just gets the vibe of the office. All gets sent back to management to get a sense of the vibe around the office.
          • Super awesome content marketers
          • In this talk, gonna unpack a lot of what officevibe is doing well re content, and what else they could be doing
        • What sort of state of mind are our customers in? Whether you’re selling B2B, or B2C, we’re all selling H2H: Human to Human.
          • Customer might be asking “How do I set up an employee feedback program?”  → That gets answered by content that gives them awareness (top of funnel)
          • Might be asking “How does OfficeVibe compare to TINYPulse?” → Intent is that this guy is now aware & evaluating the options (next stage of funnel)
          • “Does OfficeVibe integrate with Slack?” → that’s at the conversion stage
          • Post funnel: “How do I use the Engagement Report feature in OfficeVibe?” → they’re now using the product, but still have questions
        • If you take nothing else from this talk: content marketing is not blogging. Blogging is great at the top of the funnel, but it’s really bad at all these other stages.
        • It’s usually better to start at the EVALUATE / CONVERT stages of the funnel. Then the post-funnel stage to prevent churn. THEN focus on the top-of-funnel blogging to raise awareness.
      • 2) Intent-Based
        • Customer demographics. Or better, psychographics. “How do they think?”
        • If you can start figuring out different BUCKETS of intent, you’re onto something.
        • Intent at the top of the funnel:
          • The “how do I set up an employee feedback program?” guy is not intending to buy.
          • You know when you show the slightest interest in a company and immediately get a sales call? You’re like “I’m looking for an ebook. I didn’t make a blood oath.”
          • Customer asking “How do I set up an employee recognition program?” Again, intent is not yet to buy. Same stage of funnel as the last example, she’s looking for another thing officevibe does, but at the same stage of the funnel (TOFU) as the last guy

 

  • People are telling you what they’re interested in, implicitly, just by them reading a certain article.

 

          • “How can I become a better leader for my employees?” Again, something officevibe can help with.
        • Middle of funnel
          • “Does officevibe work on mobile devices?”
            • It’s a different sort of question. This person is now asking a branded question about your specific app.
            • If they can’t find the answer, they walk away. Their intent hasn’t been satisfied.
        • Bottom of funnel
          • “Who else has used officevibe and had success?”
            • Social proof style question.
            • Don’t wanna be the only one on the dancefloor
            • If you don’t satisfy that intent, conversion rate goes down
        • Post-funnel
          • “How do I change the default language from English to Spanish in OV?”
            • If that intent isn’t satisfied, the person may churn. This is post-funnel.
        • None of this is that crazy, not rocket science
        • TIP: the low-hanging fruit is often at the bottom of funnel or post-funnel. Don’t start way up at the top of the funnel.
      • 3) Asset Driven
        • Ever thought about a blog post on your site being an asset to your company? You should.
        • Two types of company write content-
          • The publisher – Huffington Post is probably putting out 6-8 pieces per day. Are you gonna compete with that? Or MensHealth? Not typically, no.
            • Ezra, how many pieces of content do you use to drive top of funnel?
              • “1”
          • But unless you’re a publisher, don’t be a publisher. You don’t need to be churning out 10, 15 posts.
        • You must have these assets. You don’t have to go crazy with it, like a publisher, but you need pieces in place.
        • When there’s something that your potential customers are obviously asking — do you have content in place to answer it?
          • “How do I set up an employee feedback program?” → OV has one piece to answer that — a blog post/whitepaper all about employee feedback and what it is.
          • “How does OV compare to TINYPulse?” → “Officevibe vs TINYPulse” comparison article (they weren’t ranking for it, so it’s delivered through paid Google ads)
            • Try this: Google for your own brand followed by “vs” (e.g. close.io vs ) and then look at Google’s autocomplete suggestions.
            • If something comes up, YOU NEED AN ASSET THERE! One person typing that in is worth 100 people searching a top-of-funnel question.
          • Bottom of funnel, e.g. “Who else has used OV and had success?”
            • OV have a bunch of logos on their site to satsify that intent
            • Another example: SalesForce case study: “As business heats up, YETI stays cool with Salesforce.”
            • Tons of social proof
              • Super powerful content (articles, case studies, even just an iPhone video).
              • Great way to start content marketing is at this stage. Send emails to customers, get customer stories, use them as assets.
          • Post funnel, e.g. “How do I change the default language from EN to ES in OfficeVibe”
            • OV have a page in their knowledgebase about Language Preferences.
            • Amazing how many companies don’t do this. Just look in your helpdesk at what your customers are asking. Create assets answering those questions. Reduces churn.
            • “How do I even install the damn thing?” → if someone is post purchase and can’t even install, they’re very likely to churn, or refund, or chargeback. Use assets to mitigate this.
          • You need different assets at different stages of the funnel, because intent changes as your prospect moves through the funnel.
      • 4) Ascension focused
        • At one point, my wife and I didn’t know each other. Now we have children. How does that happen?
        • Through a normal progression of a relationship.
        • You need content that’s a handshake, a “how do you do?”
        • You need content that’s a coffee, or a first date
        • And so on
        • Failing to provide an appropriate call to action isn’t just bad (terrible) marketing, it’s also bad UX.
          • “I’m ready to go to the next stage of the progression of this relationship, and you’re not showing me how.”
        • OfficeVibe, in their top of funnel piece: “Want to save this guide for later?” Call To Action. It’s an opt in, that’s going to get you an email address, so you can now do some nurturing. Moving the relationship forward one step.
        • “Who else has used OfficeVibe and had success?” Your asset that satisfies that intent shouldn’t be moving people to a blog post – that’s a step BACK in your funnel! You want to be promoting e.g. the trial at that stage.
        • “How do I change the language?” → The CTA from that could be create a support ticket.

 

  • What is the next thing they should do, based on what stage they’re at right now?

 

    • 5) Segmented
      • If someone read:
      • You know they’re doing performance reviews!
      • CTA: Free bonus download: should be related to performance reviews!
      • Between .5% and 20% take rate on that offer depending on congruence with the content.
      • “You’re interested in performance reviews. I’m going to segment you. And I’m going to RETARGET you”
        • Probably the biggest thing in content marketing since I’ve been in the game
        • Really, really powerful, especially when you combine it with good content.
        • I know what you’re interested because of what you’re reading (people don’t spend time on what they’re not interested in) – and now I’m going to retarget you
        • Facebook, Adwords, YouTube, Email Marketing, Social, whatever. Buy that traffic.
        • Buy CLICKS → a BLOG POST
          • They’ve seen your brand before. They’re warmer than before they did the click
          • They’re segmented. You can provide relevant content
          • Recommend starting with Facebook. Easy to get started. They make it super easy to drop a pixel (cookie) on your site.
          • Give them an ad back into a more direct response offer
            • “Opt in to get this ebook”
            • Some % of that traffic will convert to leads
            • Maybe they opt in → you make a phone call. Maybe it sets off email communication. Maybe it triggers more retargeting. Maybe all of the above. But it starts with understanding their intent, building content that causes them to raise they’re hand “yes I’m interested in that right now”, then retargeting with some direct response marketing.
            • Use a whiteboard, plan out this funnel.
          • THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS A TRAFFIC PROBLEM. There’s way too much traffic on the web. You just need to write a check to get a bit of it.
          • “Buy my $99/mo thing” at the beginning of the relationship is way too early.
        • Salesforce: buy traffic into a blog post → Cookied (Facebook pixel) → Facebook retarget → Squeeze page → Fill out the form, they call you.
          • Every day, all day long. Just one of many types of funnel they have running.
        • Or SEO, free traffic’s great too. But the concept is the same. Segment them. Offer them relevant content later.
        • The simplest funnel for an app. Top of funnel content. Segment them by what they read. Retarget them.
        • (Simple spreadsheet of what happens from step to step. How many click through?)
    • 6) Cross-Channel
      • It’s not just about your blog, or your podcast.
      • YouTube search of “officevibe demo” → No content from OfficeVibe. Fortunately some customers have put positive stuff there. But there could be official OV stuff too.
    • Create a content campaign for your product. Spreadsheet with columns:
      • Asset.
      • Description.
      • Intent it satisfies.
      • Channel(s).
      • (Owner).
      • Ascension (i.e. the CTA / what the next step in the relationship should be)
    • Get the template: http://bit.ly/content-campaign-template
  • Q&A
    • “What conversion rates can you expect for these CTAs?”
      • Lead magnet (specific, valuable piece of content in return for an email address) 40-60%. And webinars. Other things at the top of the funnel. We’re at 60% trial → full paid. They’re pretty good rates. Seen as low as 30%, as high as 70%. It really comes down to the offer. And how good the design is. Recommend LeadPages. If the content’s good, and the offer’s compelling
    • “What could you have in the middle of the funnel if you don’t have free trials? E.g. 99$/mo membership”
      • It’s tough to sell. Free trials are much lower friction.
        Membership is a tough sell. If it’s information you’re selling,— the problem is, you have this promise of content, “I teach you how to grow tomatoes”, but it’s not specific. You need to be able to be specific about what you’re selling. Not “we’ve got EVERY piece of content”. So splinter off one piece of specific content from inside your membership site, with a CTA of “did you like that? There’s more stuff like it in the membership site”.
  • END – thanks Russ!
  • Next up is lunch… back at 1:30pm Pacific with James Kennedy – How to Stop Giving Demos and Build a Sales Factory Instead

👈 Back to all MicroConf 2017 talks