Great content is in the eye of the beholder. You may think that you have the best content ever written, but if your audience isn’t reading it, then you’ve won the battle but could be losing the war. One of the biggest goals that marketers focus on today is how to get in front of the right audience. To break through the online noise and get a return on your content investment, you have to be hitting your target market with everything you have.
The State of Targeted Content
According to an annual international study from Experian Marketing Services, knowing customers is the top challenge and priority marketers face in 2016. Knowing your audience goes beyond targeted marketing algorithms that redirect advertisements based on audience interest. True audience understanding means knowing where your customers are today and anticipating their future needs.
To succeed with content marketing, you need a strategy. To create a strategy, you need to know the value you offer.
Value Propositions: Create a Bond Between You and Your Audience
While marketing personas, geographic spread, and business plans are important pieces of understanding your target market, one other factor acts as the glue between your target market and your products – your value proposition.
With a well-crafted value proposition as your launch pad, you can find where your company intersects with every target niche you pursue. Instead of creating content that only helps the customer or only sells the company, you can help consumers cross the bridge to your products.
Customers gravitate toward companies that deliver a specific purchasing experience. Value propositions look different depending on who you ask. You may want to have two written proposition statements, a longer one for internal guidance and a concise version to use in marketing materials.
Creating Value Statements
Your statements should reflect how your company is uniquely qualified to serve your target demographic. The statement should briefly explain the problem you solve, its benefits, and your competitive advantage.
For example, Mint’s homepage uses simple, precise language to demonstrate all three criteria:
- Problem solved. Everyone has financial goals, and Mint helps users achieve them. Customers who use the product can reach their financial horizons more effectively.
- Benefits – the product offers budget management, an all-in-one dashboard, and credit checks.
- Competitive advantage – the product is free, personalized, and secure.
Use your mission, qualifications, products, and marketing personas to develop a short statement of worth. Your value statement is not a tagline, so it doesn’t have to be catchy. It’s not a mission statement, so it doesn’t have to reflect company ideals or a long-term purpose.
If you choose to write a longer value statement for internal use, consider going beyond the overt benefits of your product and list the impact of your product over time. For instance, if you sell clothes, you’re not only giving someone an affordable, stylish, and well-made piece, you’re also helping your customers build self-confidence and achieve their goals.
Dos and Don’ts of Conveying Value
Use your value proposition to reach your target market, whether you’re developing product descriptions for an Amazon listing or writing your weekly blog. Every piece of content should subtly or overtly convey some benefit your reader will gain from reading the content or making a purchasing decision. As you start to develop content, keep these simple dos and don’ts in mind:
- Do keep your value proposition handy. As you brainstorm, ask yourself how your content ties into brand value.
- Don’t slap a generic value proposition on every marketing piece you produce. Your value proposition is not boilerplate language; it’s a frame of reference. Use the verbatim statement in select pieces and reformulate the proposition for all other content.
- Do reformulate your value proposition as needed. Companies and audiences evolve. Revisit your written language every few years to ensure it aligns with company direction.
- Don’t limit yourself when you create content. If you can make a valid value connection between a niche and your product, go for it! Although you normally target baby boomers or older generations, a dedicated campaign for other niches may improve your conversions. Look for value connections across mediums, demographics, and content topics.
- Do look for multiple value bridges. Your marketing personas may find different levels of value in the product. For instance, if you direct content toward multiple generations, the value proposition may change. Some individuals purchase products as gifts or for someone else’s benefit. While a parent may benefit directly from a medicine delivery service, an adult child also receives peace of mind that aging parents don’t have to drive to the pharmacy.
While analytics help tremendously, companies need vision and insight to maximize targeted marketing efforts. For example, many companies put off targeting their marketing efforts to Millennials and Generation Z’ers because they don’t have as much spending power as older generations. However, online activities are changing the fundamentals of marketing. To reach your age-specific target market, your business may need buy-in from demographics of people who spend time online. Furthermore, these younger populations will soon enter the target spending zones and begin making decisions for their aging parents and grandparents. Just because you sell your product to one audience, doesn’t mean that you can’t convey value to fringe demographic populations.
Hit Your Marketing Goals with Value-Driven Content
With your value proposition firmly planted in your content production process, you will naturally start to create content that your audience will appreciate. You don’t have to start with a value proposition, but you do need to think about it as you develop landing pages, product descriptions, social media language, and blog posts. Sell your value and customer outcomes before the product.
Along with marketing personas, data-driven metrics, and some creative risk-taking, your value proposition should tie all your content together into underlying and memorable theme. Over time, your audience will internalize the benefits and outcomes they will achieve by choosing your brand for their next purchase.
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