Struggling to reach your target audience? You’re not alone.
While the execution may be challenging, the secret is simple: listen to your customers.
Emily Marsh joined us on The Long Game podcast to share her go-to marketing techniques to engage prospects.
As a Content Manager and Podcast Producer at Iconosquare, an all-in-one analytics and management platform for social media marketers, building an audience-driven marketing machine is Emily’s bread and butter. She offered up some valuable insights on SEO, and the best ways to approach audience-driven content.
- Managing and connecting with international teams
- Positioning your content for advanced audiences
- Targeting and segmenting international customers
- Structuring your day to mitigate burnout
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12:37 – Segment content for multiple audiences
It’s critical to know your audience, but if you don’t segment them effectively you could be missing out on opportunities to connect with them. Iconosquare produces the majority of content in English, but is beginning to branch out so they can connect with their French audience.
“When Iconosquare began, we were only targeting the US so we didn’t penalize ourselves in terms of international expansion, because that’s literally all we were going after originally. We were very much less well-known in France than we are today. We would like to be more well-known across Europe and especially in France. In terms of content, 95% of our content is in English, and I’d say most French people would prefer to read their content and listen to their content in their mother tongue, which is French. So we have a French blog where mainly what we have is translated articles from our English blog, which is our main one. Most of our content I should say is targeted directly to English speakers.”
18:39 – Identify your target market
Iconosquare was getting traffic from newer social media marketers, but realized it was time to focus on the experienced marketers in their audience. While there was a demand for entry-level information, places like Hubspot already had those resources covered.
“We want to target experienced social media marketers with our content. The new blog and the new podcast which came out a few months ago are literally called esm², which stands for experienced social media marketers. All of our content is targeted to these professionals. We’re not looking for newbies. We’re not looking for junior social media marketers. We’re looking to convert with our content the experienced social media marketers. The people that we are really interested in are the people working for big agencies, big companies. And also really experienced freelance social media marketers, because those are the guys who do a lot of the leg work for the big companies out there also. So I’d say that is our vision. We base most of our blog content on Ahrefs and SEO. We make sure that we’re targeting the right keywords. We have content meetings where we put ourselves into the mindset of an experienced social media marketer.”
20:25 – Embrace calculated risk
If you’re targeting higher-quality leads, you’ll have to be willing to accept lower traffic as you pivot your strategy. Less is more if you’re getting a higher percentage of leads to convert.
“Our most-read article on the old blog was ‘The top ten Instagram filters,’ which is great because our content was great, and people loved reading it. We had hundreds of thousands of visits to our blog every month, we were really really good. But that content wasn’t converting into customers. We are now a growth team. We’ve transitioned from content marketing to growth, and we work a lot more with the sales and the customer support team. We’re really looking to up our marketing into something much more professional and which converts a lot better. That was the choice that was made. We know that the trade-off is that we will be producing less attractive-looking content for the untrained eye and that we will be getting less traffic, but we know that traffic we get will be much more qualified, and much more ready to buy. So that is our strategy now.”
23:43 – Understand audience needs
Emily and the Iconosquare team reflected on their own experience working in social media marketing and realized they needed to cater to their audience’s level of experience. Listening to customer needs and creating content that answers specific questions shows prospects you’re there to help them.
“Working for Iconosquare in social media analytics, we’re in the space, we know what’s what, and I would immediately unsubscribe from a newsletter that’s sending me only basic tips. And if I feel that way and if Marie our social media manager feels that way, then why are we continuing to produce that content? Why are we continuing to produce content we know is eventually going to turn good customers away? I think we need to respect them as well in that sense, and give them the content that’s actually going to help them.”
28:13 – Collect community input
Creating a Facebook group, Airtable, or any system to collect customer feedback is key. When you put customer-driven strategies first, you’ll create content that gets prospects more actively engaged during the sales process.
“A Facebook group has been on our list for the better part of the past two years. We haven’t gotten around to launching one yet, but it would be really great because we know that just within the Iconosquare community, the users of Iconosquare have so many relevant questions, which come up sometimes through customer support, but we don’t get the proper feed of all of them. So if we give them that space, I’m sure that that would also be really beneficial to content creation.”
28:47 – Facilitate organic conversations
On the Iconosquare podcast, esm², Emily makes sure she’s producing content that actively pulls from user experiences. Instead of simply creating testimonial content, Emily enables guests to speak more deeply about their process and experiences. This creates a more valuable conversation around the Iconosquare offering that gives value to listeners.
“The podcast, like the blog, is called esm², the podcast for experienced social media marketers. And I interview mainly Iconosquare users. These are the brands and agencies who use Iconosquare and who are getting great benefit out of it and using different features. I don’t interview these people with the aim to promote Iconosquare as a product. I’m looking to tell the stories behind the scenes of their social media strategy. I want to know how many people are in their team, how they go about creating their strategy, how many times a week they post and why, what a good experience is for them on social media, if there’s a memorable moment that sticks out for them, what a typical day looks like. All of that is to inspire others like them. Obviously at the end of the road, the aim is to bring more interest in Iconosquare. But I’ve had a lot of really positive feedback from that, because people seem to have the same problems. A lot of them have the same worry points, and they can learn from each other.”
33:29 – Join social platforms strategically
Don’t join a platform just for the hype. Build a strategy beforehand to ensure you create content your audience can learn from. Differentiate yourself on any content platform you choose by clarifying your brand voice, niche, and using audience response to determine which content to create regularly.
“I’m not an expert on TikTok yet, Iconosquare’s account on TikTok has not taken off yet, we are planning on working on it. However we have opened up TikTok analytics, and had some feedback from our users who are happy with the analytics which we’re providing in terms of early users having a shot at being recognized by the algorithm…I think the consensus is that everyone has their place on TikTok. Everyone can fit in. It’s all about finding the tone of voice and you have to find your niche and being consistent with the kind of content you’re offering up.”
38:41 – Learn to delegate
If there is one thing that Emily has changed her tactics about when it comes to content, it’s that she is quicker to delegate.
“I used to want to do everything myself. And I’ve now got to the stage where I know that it can often be done better by somebody else. And that was a big realization for me. I’m a perfectionist, I mean, a lot of content marketers will say they are perfectionists. I like to proofread. I like to be hands-on. And I think that I used to use a lot of my time making sure that my own work was perfect and it wouldn’t leave me a lot of time for everything else. And now we have freelancers. I have Marie who takes care of social media. And it’s incredible the amount of time that I now have to do other things. Like the podcast has literally been open for a year, and that is thanks to that time. So learning to sort of relax and let somebody else take care of the things that I thought that only I could keep taking care of.”