Ever found yourself scrolling through your inbox chock-a-block with marketing emails? I think we all have. Irrelevant product offers, flash sales, newsletters and endlessly boring feedback forms. Sometimes it can all get a bit too much.
Delete, delete, unsubscribe, delete… the tale goes on and on.
And it’s not just email marketing. People are now exposed to over 5,000 marketing messages per day, a 900% increase from the 1970’s. Blimey ...
More and more businesses are producing digital marketing content through social media, online blogs, podcasts and videos, making it extremely difficult for brands to cut through the clutter and have their voices heard. Not to mention our time-poor lifestyles and ever-shrinking attention spans, which don’t help the cause for content marketers!
So, with all of these factors against us, how the hell are content creators supposed to make their marketing messages stand out from the crowd?
To answer this question, it’s important to consider what consumers crave regarding the content they consume. That is, content directed towards them and highly relevant and helpful to their personal situation. Because of these preferences, prospects tend to favour brands who communicate in a personalised manner and provide the most valuable content that meets their individual needs.
And that’s where contextual content marketing comes into play!
What is Contextual Content Marketing?
Essentially, contextual content marketing is all about delivering the optimal content to the right customer at the right moment. It’s all about relevance and personalisation.
For example, a clothing company having an end of season sale may choose to advertise different discounted items to different groups of contacts in an email campaign, based off their demographic characteristics and past purchase behaviour. A strategy like this would be much more effective than simply sending every contact the same catalogue of all discounted items. It’s a no brainer!
Executing contextual marketing successfully relies upon five key aspects; customer data, target audience segmentation, timing, tone of voice and the optimal delivery channels.
So, now you know what’s coming up – lets’ get into it!
Steps to Forming a Contextual Marketing Campaign
Establishing Customer Data Collection
Whilst executing contextual marketing doesn’t require an enormous investment, it’s essential to have the right data to develop the context for your communications.
To do this you must set up customer data collection through a customer relationship management (CRM) tool, of which there are stacks of options, even for those who are a little tight with their money.
CRM software is basically a tool that allows businesses to better store, organise and access often large amounts of customer data. And given we’ve established that customer data is the backbone to any successful contextual marketing strategy, you can see why they’re pretty handy to have!
Buyer Persona & Buyers Journey Segmentation
Once customer data has been aggregated, buyer personas – a fictional representation of a business’s ideal customer – can be created. Doing this will allow you to classify your contacts and determine the type of content and the delivery platform which would best allow you to reach them, and achieve the highest conversion rate.
Segmenting via buyer’s journey stages is also super important. For instance, an informational blog post probably wouldn’t suit the context of someone in the decision stage of the buyer’s journey who is ready to make a purchase. Similarly, a product demonstration wouldn’t be overly appealing to those in the awareness stage, who need to first be informed of who your business is and what solution you provide to their address their challenges.
In many cases, contextual marketing without timing is like scones with jam and no cream. It just doesn’t quite hit the mark! So why is timing so important? As long as someone sees your content it shouldn’t matter when, right?
Nope. Let me explain.
Say you’ve just woken up at your usual time before work on a Friday afternoon. You pick up your phone, jump onto your favourite social platforms and come across an advertisement for Domino’s pizza. Undoubtedly, you scroll straight past, barely noticing the ad, because the last thing on your mind at 6:30 in the morning is pizza!
But what if you saw that advertisement that same evening on the train home after a long day at work. You’re hungry, tired and can’t be bothered to cook. So you give in, click on the advertisement and order pizza to be delivered when you arrive home. Now that’s delivering content to the right person at the right time!
Utilising timing in a similar fashion, the crew here at Neighbourhood implemented a Facebook ads strategy around the new year for one of our clients, Enable College. The timing for the campaign, entitled “Start the New Year with a New Career”, was pivotal to its success, as it aligned with the changes people were looking to make in their lives come January 1st.
Tone of Voice
To create contextually relevant content, you must speak to your buyer personas in a way that will resonate with them. Ask yourself, who am I talking to?
If you’re reaching business people via LinkedIn in a professional context, you might consider communicating in a more formal tone. Alternatively, if you’re an owner of a quirky café, you’d be better suited to humanising your brand by using colloquialisms and letting your unique brand personality shine through in your content.
And now for the final step of implementing a top-notch contextual marketing strategy; choosing the right digital channels to deliver your content. Looking at your buyer personas, you must determine the channels that your target audience are most engaged with.
It’s also important to remember that not everyone consumes content in the same way, so you can repurpose material into different content formats. Applying this concept to create unique pieces of content, you might write a blog post on your website, summarise the blog in an infographic to be posted on Instagram and use the blog as the basis for a video on your YouTube channel.
So that’s contextual content marketing in a nutshell. By following these five steps to create personalised, contextual content (without going overboard and making your target audience feel like you’re stalking them), you’ll be well on your way to cutting through the clutter to increase your return on investment and grow conversions. How good?!