If you’ve been keeping up with our recent posts on marketing automation, you probably appreciate the role a stellar content strategy can have on your marketing automation success. It is crucial for attracting your audience to your site, capturing leads, and of course, nurturing them. But it also plays a major role in how you collect data to segment your leads, target content to them and score them according to who is most sales-ready.

Segment your lists with content

You can make more out of your email lists by connecting the right nurture content with the appropriate audience. How? You need to segment your leads, which will not only help you identify who is most sales-ready, but allow you to personalize your content and target your different personas effectively. Oracle found that having a system in place for this can improve your close rates by 30 percent. Scoring your leads – ranking your prospects’ sales-readiness and perceived value to your business – will also sync your efforts up with your sales team and let them focus on the leads that deserve their attention.

You’re going to need data – boatloads of it – to accurately and effectively group your leads and make sense of who is reading and interacting with your site. The best way to get real and relevant user data is by pulling it from your own content. Various delivery methods, voices, formats and topics that you’ve used in your content will help to shed light on questions like:

  • Who is actively engaging with it?
  • What do they want?
  • What do they think of your brand?
  • How can you best help them?

Tip: Segment the emails you already have by sending general audience emails that include CTAs to learn more about your leads.

4 comment content examples (and the wealth of data they provide)

According to Direct Marketing Association, in 2015 over three-quarters of email marketing ROI came from segmented, personalized lists. You can no longer afford not to segment your list to efficiently target your audiences – and you likely already have vehicles for collecting their data in place.

The data you can glean here will also guide you on how to best personalize your nurture content according to each segment of your audience. Many download forms request some personal information like location and job position. Use that along with analytics data and social insights from your content to begin segmenting your audiences.

What can your content analysis tell you about your audience?

Let’s look closer at how four common examples of content that can lead to rich analytics results for segmenting, scoring and, eventually, selling.

The only way to make sense of a massive audience, and meaningfully engage with them, is to segment and score them.

The only way to make sense of a massive audience, and meaningfully engage with them, is to segment and score them.

  • Content supporting events

The data from these pieces should be fairly easy to discern, yet, according to KissMetrics, over 80 percent of marketers have trouble quantifying data from event attendee interactions. Take a look at who comments, shares, links to or converts from pieces about events.

For a B2B business, these mid-funnel leads can likely be segmented into groups such as brand ambassadors, company representatives and presenters – who most likely are vice presidents – and people at the director or manager level. When Brafton, for instance, creates content about an event we are attending, we already know our audience is made up of marketers who are highly knowledgeable, influential at their company, social and ready to schmooze about the industry.

You can scoop up event attendee data by examining how they engaged with your social posts, blog content and CTAs surrounding your event coverage. If you collect any information from them at the event itself, learn more about your new leads through general email outreach to see how they interact with you.

Tip: Segment attendees to provide updates, schedule changes, previews, reviews and follow-ups.

  • Webinars

Webinar sign-ups offer some valuable data to use in segmentation because not only should your attendees match a specific persona you have, their behavior data is easily tracked.

When Brafton hosts a webinar, we know that our audience is going to be made up largely of influencers and decision-makers. They are most likely outgoing, inquisitive, highly influential in their company or industry, and seeking out solutions for their brands. Attendees are often low in the funnel, and nearing the bottom.

You can pull webinar attendee information from sign-up forms, of course. It can also be helpful to explore whether or not they tuned in, how long they stayed and if they completed any actions (downloading the recording, requesting more information, etc.) after the webinar.

Tip: Send out a thank you email with a slideshare of the webinar, as well as a recording, and invite your attendees to contact you with any follow-up questions. Segment their responses.

  • 101-level instructional content

Top-funnel content may not be specifically geared toward collecting leads, but it can still provide insights into how your audience interacts with you at this level.

“101-level” Brafton content, which usually takes the form of educational blogs, infographics and videos, is designed for attracting new audiences. We encourage them to enter the funnel with links and CTAs that will eventually lead to them sharing their information with us. Then, we can look to where our leads came from to learn more about their beha
vior and interests.

When it comes to content like this, you can collect user information by exploring the path your leads took before they forked over their contact information.

Tip: These audiences are likely still getting to know your brand. Keep your brand and message front and center for them by continuing to send them “awareness” content.

  • Social posts

Social posts are wide-reaching, but they can reveal some very granular data on your audience.

We pull data from our prospects by hosting social contests and promotions that require sign-ups. Much like with our 101 content, we can trace the origin of information back to social to better understand how this segment likes to interact with our brand.

Tip: Social contact-collecting power doesn’t stop at linking to your content. You can use promotions, special offers, coupons and contests right on your social page to collect detailed information about your audience.

When it comes to marketing automation, personalizing your content is the difference between generic, spammy content that gets ignored and a friendly message that answers your audience’s specific questions.

Ben Silverman is Brafton's Marketing Writer. His writing experience dates back to his time reviewing music for The UMass Daily Collegian at UMass Amherst. Ben joined Brafton with a background in marketing in the classical and jazz industries. When he's not writing, he's playing drums, guitar, or basketball.