Content marketing has always been touted as a successful means for companies to generate customer data (leads). And for good reason; it is responsible for the wealth of customer data available to many organizations.
Hubspot, for example, is one martech company that collects leads (data) through most of their blog posts (and it does work for them). Example: in a post about How To Use A CRM, they mentioned their CRM tool including a link to it.
You’d agree any reader in need of a CRM tool might be clicking that link.
Once readers click through the link, they land on a page that provides more information about the tool and directs them to a form to fill out in order to get it.
But that’s that for collecting data.
The question now is, how accurate is the data that Hubspot (or any organization) generates from these leads that content marketing snags — especially when 78 percent of businesses say they have problems with the quality of the data they collect?
The first step to ensuring you’re capturing accurate data is to target the right audience.
Target the right audience
Targeting a poorly defined audience with content marketing and bringing their information into your database is the same as having inaccurate data.
Let’s say you’re a martech business selling a 360-degree-view customer data software.
Your right audience is typically sales and marketing professionals. If for some reason, your content marketing has brought product designers into your database, their data in your CRM is tantamount to inaccurate data. Because these designers, unless they’re in charge of marketing for their businesses, have no need for your customer data platform and will never buy it — no matter how much you call or email them after getting their details.
And if you are not aware of that, you will find yourself throwing part of your budget away on people who, by no fault of their own, are receiving messages from you that they have no reason to respond to.
So you need to target the right audience via your content marketing campaigns so you’ll have the right customer information in your database.
How do you target the right audience?
Let’s get back a little to one of the fundamentals of content marketing: topics. Doctors read content on topics related to their field; CFOs read content on accounting, finance, and trends. Marketers consume content on growth marketing, KPIs, and buyer persona. The same goes for professionals in every field.
The right topics will always drive the attention of the right audience. As a martech brand, once you’ve figured out what marketers — your target customers — will love to read, you’ll be able to drive their attention towards your content and brand.
Content marketing veteran Ann Handley put it more succinctly: “The biggest mistake is to create content that your boss or client loves, but your customer doesn’t. If your customer loves your content, that means it’s meeting the needs of the people you are trying to reach, which your boss or client will love by default.”
The HubSpot example above is an excellent case of content that targets the right audience. Hubspot needed leads who were interested in a CRM and created content around that topic:
Because of their targeted efforts, they’re able to get marketers who actually need the CRM tool into their database. But that’s only the first step of getting accurate data. The next step to ensure you’re collecting accurate data from your “right audience” is to validate the information they submit before allowing them into your database.
Validate data before letting them into your database.
Regardless of how much you target the right audience with content and bring them into your database, they can still submit irrelevant information. This happens for different reasons, though: spelling errors, system errors, wrong questions on forms, data integration problems and so on.
If collecting data was all Hubspot was doing in my example above, chances are they might just be getting inaccurate data as some readers might be (mostly indeliberately) submitting incorrect information. But no, Hubspot uses a validation process on the form. If your email or web address is wrong, you don’t get the tool.
This way, the martech giant is able to not only generate targeted leads and accurate data from content, but also accurate data. This is the same method of validating data that helped marketing agency iProspect improve the number of qualified leads by 140%.
There are several other ways to validate data. A recent piece on BBC shows the different ways by which organizations today can validate customer information before they collect them into their databases:
These methods, however, don’t ensure the validity of every entry. But they do improve data quality. They are all ways to keep data error to the barest minimum before you let them into your database and incur unnecessary costs on them.
So, as content marketing helps you generate leads, you want to ensure those leads are submitting the correct information. Validating data before they get into your database is a great way to do that.
Let’s draw the curtain here
Corrupt data once made the US police wrongly detain six innocent citizens. And one study says it costs US companies up to $600 billion dollars when they make decisions based on bad or inaccurate data.
That’s how much corrupted data can affect lives and businesses.
To ensure your content marketing isn’t bringing in bad data, you want to ensure you’re targeting the right topics.
After that, validate submitted data using the tip I’ve shared above (and meet with your team to see other ways to validate data) before letting inaccurate data clog up and foul your records. This way content marketing won’t just be generating customer data for your business, but accurate and profitable leads where you can safely invest your time and money.
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