Picture yourself on a train, waiting for your coffee, or standing in line for an event. Whether it’s a five or thirty-minute wait, chances are you’re heads down on your phone or mobile device to check your e-mail, glance at a few social networks or news apps, or switch playlists to make the wait less painful. You look up for a moment and realize that everyone else looks just like you, only making eye contact with others for a few milliseconds when they need to move ahead with the line or get off at their stop.
This is the new norm.
Eventually, some say, this obsession with mobility will kill human interaction, and we’ll find ourselves, our communications, our feelings – everything – living in some sort of cloud rather than right in front of us. And many marketers will tell you that the best way to take advantage of this is to “go mobile,” or provide a mobile web experience to be where our customers are and win the “zero moment of truth.”
But what does simply going mobile do for your business if the experience itself isn’t even worthy of your prospects’ attention? You can create responsive landing pages and mobile apps and e-mails optimized for every device as much as you want, but what about the content behind the 6-inch screen? How can you create experiences that catch (and keep) their attention long enough – and get those milliseconds back?
It’s much more than just going mobile. You need to be nimble and savvy in your approach with a plan for now and for the future, and start taking advantage of your expertise as both a marketer and a buyer. Here’s a few ways to get started with your content marketing.
Ask the people that will tell you the truth.
Thinking like the customer is second-nature for many marketers, and the best place to start is with the ones you already have. Your relationship should remain focused on their growth, the quality of their experience with your product or service and their upcoming challenges and needs, perhaps before they are even aware of them. But there’s also an opportunity to get feedback about their experience with you before the deal was even closed.
If you haven’t already, start interviewing your customers about their experience with you from the very beginning. How did they find you? Why did they choose you over a competitor? At what moment were they researching their need and how did you meet it? What could you have done differently? Not only will this build transparency in the relationship, but you can use what you learn about their journey to create smarter content and experiences for your audience on a regular basis.
Make them do a double-take.
We’ve talked about the need for a marketing automation platform to pre-qualify and nurture leads, and there’s also the human element – the sales or market development representative – that should be on hand to add a personal touch. But marketing departments are not convenience stores. Marketing automation can help you live up to the “open 24 hours” approach and keep the wheels turning, but sometimes you end up looking more like a vending machine – spitting out canned, generic responses that are quickly ignored.
Try being honest with yourself and your audience to capture their attention. If you’re like us, you’re not open 24 hours, and you’re working in a different time zone than some of your prospects. Instead of creating another boring, automated thank you e-mail, try something that will make them look twice.
Maybe you have some people checking you out over the weekend:
Hey there John,
Thanks for checking out our content! Here’s the link for you to download and dig in. We’d love to talk to you more about your interest in <insert topic here>, but it’s Saturday and I bet you’ve got other things planned. How does next Monday or Tuesday sound for a quick call?
Let me know what works best for you – and don’t work too hard over the weekend!
Or they’re showing your content a lot of love late at night:
Here’s a link to download your requested document. Also looks like you might be pulling an all-nighter, huh? If <insert topic> is keeping you up at night, I’d love to hear more about your challenges and share some research that may be able to help. Do you have time for a quick call tomorrow or sometime this week?
Let me know what time works best for you.
Simple, honest, and easy to set up.
If not now, when?
It would be wrong to say that marketers should only promote their content when it’s contextually relevant, but it would be even worse to say that they shouldn’t amplify their content during a time when it’s most likely to get noticed or engage with their audience in real-time. Look at your results and ask yourself: When do I see engagement and conversion? How can I tell my story in the blink of eye? Is my team ready to respond?
Content creation in the moment requires a team that’s structured more like a newsroom than a corporate hierarchy, with different team members dedicated to listening and engaging and others focused on creative production on the fly. Reduce your content to its very essence to make it easy to consume. And use the gut test. Something has to provoke a powerful emotional reaction to get a reaction—a click, a like, a forward, or a share.
In case you didn’t notice, none of these examples mention going mobile. Making sure your audience can experience your website and content on any device is a must, but this is only one piece of the equation. Take a content-first approach – find out when, where, and how your content is consumed by your buyers and whether it’s worthy of their attention to begin with. Think about how you can capture their attention at a moment’s notice – whether you have six seconds or sixty – and you’ll begin to create experiences that keep them engaged at each stage of their journey.