The buyer’s journey can be a complicated road to try and navigate for many content marketers. We all know there’s a top, middle and bottom. According to Google, it takes 11 touches by a brand to secure an average customer. These can be online or in person. Some products, like toothpaste, don’t require so many touches. Other’s, like a car, do.
In either case, both have a buyer’s journey prospective customers travel. As content marketers it’s our job to provide and deliver the content they need to fulfill all 11 touches where necessary. The challenge many of us have is assigning lower funnel key performance indicators (KPIs) to upper funnel content. In other words, assigning direct response KPIs to upper or middle-funnel content.
This is problematic, because a blog post like this one isn’t supposed to sell anything. It’s supposed to be helpful, provide awareness and knowledge, and perhaps spark an interest in our brand and online community. Retargeting bottom-funnel content, on the other hand, is supposed to drive consideration, intent and sales. However, this content is vastly different from top to mid-funnel content.
Businesses are in the business of solving peoples’ problems. That’s what they do and why they exist. It’s what makes them fundamentally different from households and governments macroeconomically. Whether it’s toothpaste or cars, every business solves problems. As a result, their content should solve problems, too. That said, each person’s problem is uniquely different at each stage of the buyer’s journey.
Because of this, how success is measured should be unique, too. Amplifying top to mid-funnel content shouldn’t be measured by direct response metrics like leads or sales, but rather, dwell time, awareness, affinity, and perhaps, subscribers. One KPI could even be the quantity of the retargeting pool created.
That’s where content amplification comes in. It’s top-funnel content engagement that enables brands to sure up their retargeting pool for direct response content – more salesy content. Just like the funnel above highlights – content amplification resides at the top and mid-level of the buyer’s journey.
The benchmarks provided in the above funnel are from millions of data points gathered by SAP’s own CRM. In my experience these numbers work well for buyer’s journey content management and planning. Anything above 10% means the tactics at that stage are working well.
Some content amplification tools enable marketers to directly query a content consumer after they engage with top to mid-funnel content. This is a content marketer’s way of nudging a prospective customer down the funnel to more content. Remember, according to Google, it takes on average 11 touches to make a customer.
The more a brand can get a prospective customer to engage with content the closer they get to that 11 threshold. It’s the same concept behind email automation but executed via a content amplification platform. Add to that retargeting and you have a full-funnel content marketing distribution machine. That said, keep in mind the benchmarks listed above. Marketers shouldn’t expect more than 10% of the retargeted audience to become sales qualified.
Just like top to mid-funnel content, bottom-funnel content should be uniquely measured, too. This is where direct response KPIs come into effect – leads, sales, etc. Measuring bottom-funnel content performance any other way just doesn’t make much sense just like it doesn’t make much sense to measure the performance of this blog post on creating new customers for inPowered.
The purpose of this blog post is to help solve a problem, build brand awareness and hopefully get readers to subscribe. Over the course of time, perhaps a reader consumes 10 blog posts and a case study. If that’s the case, I would send them an email with bottom funnel content – a free demo offer.
These same principles hold true with content amplification and retargeting. Direct response measures aren’t realized until the content consumer is near the bottom of the funnel. There’s not a direct response KPI at the top or middle of the funnel. Instead, we’re focused on audience building, brand awareness and engagement.
If your campaign goal is to drive leads or sales using content don’t measure top to mid-funnel performance using bottom-funnel KPIs. Instead, divide your buyer’s journey up accordingly and establish goals for each level. Remember the benchmarks, too. Don’t expect a wave of funnel jumpers, either. It’s rare for someone to read a blog post and immediately become a customer. Unless, of course, you’d like to buck that trend.