Content Marketing

Why customer experience matters even in your content marketing efforts

Customer experience is a key component in every aspect of your business. It affects your growth, your marketing performance, your retention rate, your customer acquisition cost - it has an impact on every nook and corner of your business. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise to learn that even when it comes to your content, customer experience plays a crucial role in determining whether your content is a hit or a miss.

Let us make things simpler. Assume for a minute that it doesn’t matter what your product does. This way, you would be forced to look at your content in a better manner. So, now that your content is your “product”, the readers of your content become the customers. Which means that in this particular case, your customer experience is the same as the experience your reader is going through while interacting with your content.

How do you create a better content for your readers?

There are different types of content, and every single piece of content needs to be created with an intent. To create content that is deemed worthy of your readers’ attention, and more importantly, recall, the first step is asking yourself a few crucial questions.

To begin with, let us ask these questions every single time you are creating a new piece of content:

  • who is this content for?
  • what is this content aimed at helping them with?
  • is this content the right type, format etc. for my audience?
  • what is the immediate goal of this content?
  • does this content provide all the information a user would be looking for?
  • where can this content be useful for my audience?

As you continue this exercise for every new piece of content, you will start realising that the answers to some of those question remain unchanged. These ‘fixed’ questions become the guiding philosophy and driving thesis of your overall content strategy. The mistake most businesses make is that they start with the guiding philosophy. This bias ends up severely limiting both the impact and effectiveness of their content. So, you need to do it the right way.

Anyway. To better understand what each of these questions mean, and how the answer to these will help you craft a better experience for your readers, let us look at an example.

For this particular case, I am taking the example of an article I came across on the Baremetrics blog, titled “How to import, augment and segment customers in baremetrics”.

customer experience in content marketing 1

Let us look at the questions we would have asked ourselves before creating this piece of content, and measure it across on real parameters.

Who is this content for?

This content is meaningful on two levels.

A/ For anyone looking for a solution that can help them segment customers, and

B/ For existing baremetrics customers who are looking for some information on how to segment customers in their baremetrics account.

Note: I have not been a Baremetrics user, so I cannot comment on how the user experience on importing/augmenting/segmenting customers actually is. My comments are purely as someone just going through the content for the first time.

Where can this content be useful for my audience?

To attract new customers, this content needs to be found in search results. I did a couple of searches:

  • How to segment customers
  • What is the best way to segment customers
  • Customer segmentation

What I found was that this content (or any related content or even pillar content from baremetrics) was not present on the first two pages of search results. I found content from Hubspot (no surprises there), Optimove, Clevertap, Freshworks, Segment, Intercom, Shopify even the VC firm OpenView Partners. I almost did not make that third search “Customer Segmentation”, but I am glad that I did because I ended up finding another Baremetrics blog titled “Customer segmentation vs Market Segmentation” at the end of the second page of search results.

(What that means is that their content is probably optimised for keywords and not intent based queries or conversational searches, which is disappointing to be honest. Disappointing but not very surprising. If you recall, I did mention that most businesses, even today, focus on keyword optimisations as their search strategy instead of optimising for conversational search queries.)

So, we are missing out on the opportunity for this potentially customer acquiring content to get found by relevant audience.

As we mentioned, this content also serves an important purpose for Baremetrics’ existing customers who are looking for a “to-do guide” on how to segment customers. For that intent, this blog post needs to be inserted as a helpful content within the product’s interface (in the user dashboard) in the section where a user is trying to segment his customers.

Is this the right form of content for my audience?

For existing users of the product - yes, it is. The article has detailed step-by-step process flow along with screengrabs, and product usage gifs. So, if you are a baremetrics customer and wanted to create a report that presents a segmented view of your business metrics, this article would have helped you do that easily.

But, for new users of the product, no it isn’t. But before we get into that, let us address a crucial point.

Segmentation is not the right word to be used here, IMHO. The actual content, in its current form, flow and shape, has very little overlap with the search intent of someone searching for queries around segmentation.

A good chunk of customers looking for segmentation would be having a marketing intent in mind. How they can segment their customers so that they can market to them more effectively and efficiently. So, even if this content was to make its way up the ranks in search results, it would witness an unavoidable drop in rankings because it would be witnessing very little useful engagement from its audience.

Bad engagement, in turn, is an indicator of bad customer experience, which eventually will get your content penalised in the search rankings it can receive.

What is the content aimed at helping customers with?

It is a product guide, aimed at helping customers use a feature well and get the maximum value out of the product. To that end the content hits all the right notes.

But the title of the article is slightly misleading. The title makes it feel as if it will help me understand customer segmentation better, or that baremetrics can help with the segmentation process. Neither of which are true.

It does, however, help create a segmented view of my customer metrics to understand performance of different business metrics based on my segmentation criteria.

This does present a more clearer answer to another important question for us.

Who is this content for?

  • For existing customers, not new
  • For customers who are already aware of what customer segmentation is, and why it is important for a business to segment their audience

What is the immediate goal of this content?

Now, this is a question you need to ask yourself. And depending on the answer, your content flow, structure etc. would change.

For example, in this particular case, the article has the same call-to-action both at the beginning and end of the article - start your free trial.

customer experience in content marketing 3 customer experience in content marketing 2

But I think it misses the mark as far as getting a prospective customer interested in taking the product for a spin. It does explain - quite well, I might add - how to use a particular feature, but does not do a good enough job highlighting the value of this feature to a business.

Why did we do this whole exercise?

To understand the importance of asking these questions.

If I know my next content is targeting existing customers and not potentially new ones, the entire structure, flow and format of my content would change. The CTA I would be having in that article would change.

If I am thinking about my users’ search behavior, intent and possible search queries, my content strategy vis-a-vis SEO would change.

You want your content to cultivate and nurture relationships with your audience. It needs to address the most pertinent questions in your customers’ minds.

Wrappin’ Up

With a few changes in the subject matter your content covers as well as its structure and flow, you can make a content much more appealing to your audience, and improve the experience your customers would have while going through your content. And these are things you need to think of.

Just consider this simple scenario. If there are multiple such content pieces on your website that do attract new customers via searches, but isn’t contextually relevant to their searches, would that affect the credibility of just those content pieces?? Or will that negative experience raise a question mark to the credibility and contextual relevance of other content pieces you have as well?

If you recall, I had once mentioned that I start writing an article with a heading in place, but when I am done with the article, I do go over the heading again to see if it still tracks with respect to what I have just finished writing.

Treat your content like your product, and give enough importance to the experience your customers will have engaging with your content. Your content’s exposure and lifetime depend on it.

Come say Hi on Twitter. Let’s talk about content marketing.

That’s it for today, see you tomorrow.

Cheers,

Abhishek

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