How to Build a Dialogue With Your Audience by Listening
September 17, 2015 | Guest Post
Today’s buyer is self-informed, making 70% of their purchase decision before interacting with a sales rep.
This means that marketers need to provide content for every persona at every stage of the buying cycle. Taking a step back, this also implies that brands have the opportunity to interact with buyers at every stage of the buying cycle.
To ensure that your prospects are moving through the buying cycle, it’s important to plug all the potential leaks, but it’s also important to propel your prospects forward by building and maintaining a dialogue through content.
The best way to start building a dialogue? Listen!
Here are three areas you should tune in to.
1. Listen to industry buzz
Listening to industry buzz is a surefire way to start a dialogue at the top of the funnel.
Once you open the window to understanding what is appealing to the masses in your corner of the industry, you’ll know exactly how to hook your audience. And between social media and all of the other tools and channels that exist today to connect with your industry, there’s no excuse for not knowing what’s dominating the conversations that are happening in your industry.
To start developing or improving your industry listening skills, you can:
- Use Google Trends to find out what people are starting to care about. If a topic is trending upward, it means more people are talking about it, and there are more opportunities to open up new conversations surrounding that particular trend.
- Use BuzzSumo to understand who’s leading the conversations and what content is being shared in your industry. BuzzSumo allows for users to search a particular term (or domain) and see what pieces of content are most shared in a specific time period. It also allows you to identify influencers in a particular area.
- Subscribe to influencers’ and competitors’ email lists. Use the information you’ve found from Google Trends and BuzzSumo to turn your inbox into a powerful listening channel. This is a surefire way to keep up with updates and news from key players in your industry.
2. Listen to your Sales team
Your Sales team is on the front lines and is constantly fielding questions about how your product can help resolve a prospect’s pain points. Talking to your Sales team is a great way to generate more middle and bottom of the funnel content ideas.
Effectively communicate with your Sales team by:
- Scheduling regular “SMarketing” meetings. Put time in the calendar to regularly meet with and update your Sales team. Additionally, if you use an office messaging app like Slack, it’s also a good idea to start a SMarketing channel that will keep everyone in the loop in real-time.
- Ask the right questions to get in line with real prospects. When communicating with your Sales team, ask them the following:
- What questions, outside of our product, are prospects asking?
- What’s the biggest pain point we’re solving?
- What objections usually arise about our product?
- How do prospects perceive our brand and product?
- Create a system for “content requests” from your Sales team (and figure out a way to deliver these requests). This could mean dedicating time to discuss this in your SMarketing meetings, or inviting a Sales rep into your content brainstorming meetings — find a system that works and run with it.
3. Listen to your customers
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, you need to be listening to your customers. This isn’t only important from a Customer Success perspective (i.e. to prevent churn); it’s also important for marketers to understand the key issues and successes that customers are seeing when they use your product or service. This so you can provide content that will resolve this pain point.
A few ways you can start listening customers:
- Invite your Customer Success team into content brainstorm meetings. Your Customer Success team’s inboxes are a treasure trove of content ideas. Ask them to bring two or three questions they’ve recently been asked to your next content planning meeting — I guarantee you’ll be able to turn them into two or three blog posts.
- Interview a sample of your customers to better inform your content strategy. Understand who they are, what they do, what kind of language they use, and what their biggest problems are. Aggregate the insights you find to refine your buyer personas and fuel your content strategy.
- Try an advocacy marketing program. Use an advocate marketing program like Influitive to regularly encourage customer feedback on products, content, and so on. Incentivize their feedback with swag or gift cards to encourage quality.
Turn the volume up to 11
Sure, a dialogue involves two parties, but if you want it to be an effective dialogue that actually solves a problem, you need to listen first (and listen well) — only then can you provide the content you need to build and maintain a productive dialogue.
Now that you have a better idea of the channels you should be tuning into, turn the volume all the way up so you don’t miss a thing.
Victoria Hoffman is the Content & Community Manager at Uberflip, a platform that helps marketers create, manage and optimize content experiences at every stage of the funnel to boost engagement and generate leads. She also contributes to The Globe and Mail as a Gen Y Money blogger. When not talking social strategy, she can be found watching Netflix and eating pizza.