Your customers are central to your business. Without them… well, you wouldn’t have a business. This is why it’s key to put them at the forefront of everything you do – including your content strategy.
Taking a shot in the dark and assuming you know what your audience wants when it comes to content is a recipe for disaster. But you have incredible insights at your fingertips with the feedback you get from buyers, whether it’s through customer reviews, surveys, or customer support channels.
The above photo shows five of the best methods for collecting customer feedback along with their advantages and disadvantages. Every business is different, choose what works best for you.
So how can you leverage this information and use it to create a powerful content strategy that converts?
1. Create Customer Personas
You shouldn’t even think about planning out your content unless you have two or three customer personas in place. These are profiles of specific customers that represent a chunk of your audience. They include psychographic tendencies as well as simple demographic information, like age and location.
But you should go beyond just basic demographic information when creating your customer personas. Dig deep into your buyers’ data to pick out concrete facts about them, like what kind of products they like to buy, when they are most likely to buy, and how they found your site in the first place. If you find that you don’t have enough data or information to form these personas you may want to consider collecting customer feedback at this point by conducting some qualitative research. These activities can include things like short customer surveys or quick phone interviews with existing customers.
Once you’ve gathered the data and your customer personas are nailed down you will form the starting point for your content strategy and will ensure you’re creating content that your audience actually wants to consume.
2. Identify Knowledge Gaps and Spark Ideas
Knowing exactly what your audience wants and needs from you means you can come up with content ideas that they’ll absolutely love.
Look into the comments you receive on blog posts, replies you get on social media, and the questions that are most common from customer support.
Specifically, look for questions and problems that the customer wants to solve and use these to start creating a list of content ideas. If one customer has a pressing question, there’s a high chance other customers have the same or similar questions for you.
For example, in the image above the user comments on a post and asks a question about how many list-type blog posts to include in their publishing schedule. This could serve as a perfect topic for the brand to then cover in a separate article.
Here’s a quick strategy for using customer feedback to fuel content ideas:
- Trawl through your customer support tickets and identify the most commonly asked questions
- Dig into customer reviews to see if there are any patterns or potential content ideas (for example, if you sell colored pens and you see a lot of reviews saying they love the product but would like to know how to make the most of them, you can create content around that)
- Check out comments on your blog posts. Quite often, commenters will ask for clarification on a point or share their own stories, and these can fuel content ideas
- Create a list of all the topics that you’ve identified in your customer feedback and group them together into themes
- Brainstorm blog post topics, ebook ideas, and other content formats from these themes
The mind map above illustrates how a central topic can branch off into tons of other topic ideas. For example, let’s say your central topic is marketing. This could branch off into the subtopic of email marketing which could then include related ideas such as “The Most Effective Subject Lines for Email Open Rates”.
3. Use Value to Build a Funnel
When you know exactly who your audience is and what they want from you, you can start to build out a sales funnel with your content. Usually, this starts with a series of top-level blog posts, videos, and articles that cover key questions that need answering.
From there, you can use these deeper insights – like what they like best about your brand and why they choose you over a competitor – to create lead magnets and downloadables that get them onto your email list.
A few ideas for these lead magnets at this stage of the funnel include ebooks, checklists, and case studies.
A lead magnet from SmartBlogger
Overall, you’ll want to make sure your lead magnet is super specific, quick to digest, instantly accessible, and most importantly — solves a real problem. A quiz with immediate feedback, for example, could do the trick.
The key questions that customers ask will help identify the objections they have about moving through to the next stage of the funnel. By pre-empting these and answering them before they’re even asked, you can make your funnel super slick.
4. Know Where to Reach Your Audience
Customer feedback comes in many shapes and sizes, but one thing it’s excellent at is showing you where your customers hang out the most. If you get a large number of reviews on Facebook, it’s a pretty safe bet that your audience is hanging out there. As a result, you can meet them there and join in the conversation on a platform they’re already comfortable with.
Starbucks joins in with discussions their customers are already having on Twitter.
To uncover where your audience is hanging out, keep a track of all the comments, messages, and engagement you get across social media. If you find that you get the most amount of comments on your Instagram posts despite sharing similar content on Facebook, there’s a high chance your audience feels more comfortable on Instagram or is at the very least hanging out there more than on Facebook.
This helps dramatically with the distribution phase of your content strategy. Knowing where to reach your audience means you won’t waste time sharing content on the wrong channels.
5. Implement Feedback Into Your Strategy
Customer feedback isn’t just a great asset to fuel your content strategy, it can also be a major part of it in general. 91% of consumers actively seek out reviews before they make a purchase, so sprinkling real-life customer feedback throughout the sales cycle can really boost your bottom line.
HashChing does a great job of integrating customer reviews into their website. They pull reviews from different sources — as you can see the three in the picture are from Facebook — as well as showing when the customer left the review. These factors let the user know that these reviews are real and authentic.
It’s not just reviews that work, though. Try integrating customer-generated content and stories in the form of testimonials or case studies to showcase proof and create a sense of community. Content like this is low-effort and affordable but incredibly powerful when implemented in the right places.
Phocas has a section of their site specifically dedicated to customer testimonials. On this page they showcase plenty of user reviews which builds trust and shows proves to prospects that their software works.
Try adding customer feedback to:
- Your homepage to show how popular your products are
- Product pages to prove that your products are better than the competition
- Checkout pages to gently nudge new customers to buy
6. Pinpoint Collaboration Opportunities
Your content strategy isn’t just about the content you create for your own site. It also refers to the content you place elsewhere around the internet – like partner sites and high-profile industry blogs.
This is known as guest posting and exposes you to a wider audience. Knowing who your customers are and what they want through the feedback they give you can help you identify sites that would be a good fit for collaboration.
For example, if your brand sells healthy smoothies but you know that your customers are very much into fitness, you can pinpoint fitness blogs to guest post on knowing that their audience is likely to be interested in what you’re offering.
A blog post about smoothies on a fitness blog
Are You Making the Most of Customer Feedback?
Customer feedback is a goldmine. It can help you improve your products and position your brand, but it’s also a really valuable source for content ideas.
Dig into customer reviews, send out surveys, and ask your customers what it is they really want and need from you. Then, use this information to craft powerful content ideas and a funnel that you know is going to work.
About the author:
Vice President of Strategy and Marketing Services
From legacy Fortune 100 institutions to inventive start-ups, Ryan brings extensive experience with a wide range of B2B clients. He skillfully architects and manages the delivery of integrated marketing programs, and believes strongly in strategy, not just tactics, that effectively aligns sales and marketing teams within organizations.