A strategic inbound content strategy is a powerful tool in any marketer’s arsenal. If executed correctly, you will never have to make another sales call again.
The key to a lasting inbound marketing strategy is knowing exactly who your customer is. What are their wants, needs, goals? How can your product, service, or brand be that solution for them?
With these answers, you can create thought-provoking content so that when customers are ready to buy, you are first on their list (or…search query).
How can you find these answers? With market research of course.
Build a smart, strategic inbound marketing strategy by speaking to what customers really want – without you having to ask. How is this possible? With market research.
What is inbound marketing?
Before diving into the how, let’s discuss the what.
At a very high level, there are two main marketing strategies that help increase the likelihood of a customer choosing your product, service, or brand. This includes:
- Inbound Marketing: A strategy that focuses on using pull marketing tactics such as blog posts, search engine optimization (SEO), social media, white papers, infographics, etc. The goal of inbound marketing is to have a prospect find and contact a company through these techniques.
- Outbound Marketing: A strategy that involves a company initiating a conversation with potential customers first. Outbound marketing techniques include online and print advertising, sales calls, tradeshows, and spam emails.
What are the benefits of inbound marketing over outbound?
It is important for every organization to utilize techniques from both inbound and outbound marketing strategies. However, inbound marketing is much less intrusive and focuses on the long game of building a strong customer base.
The major benefit of inbound marketing is that customers are coming to you – you are not interrupting people as they scroll on Facebook or are watching a YouTube video. Inbound strategies help build content so your target audience can find you when they are ready to purchase.
It is always easier to make a sale when there is already an intent to purchase.
For example, a manufacturing company is looking to conduct market research. It would serve a greater benefit for our team to build website copy around “Manufacturing Market Research Company” to increase the chances of the manufacturing company choosing our firm.
This strategy is more likely to result in a new client as opposed to running a Facebook ad targeted to manufacturing companies. Many of those who see the ad likely don’t think they need market research and continue to scroll. This results in a wasted marketing budget.
You may be thinking…”But I don’t have the time or resources to build out lead-generating content.” Cue market research.
What type of market research should I conduct to help build inbound marketing content?
The concept of market research sounds a lot more intimidating or even expensive than it really is. You don’t have to be a Fortune 500 to be able to invest in unique customer research in order to build an effective content strategy.
Of course, it would be easy to increase sales or conversions if you knew exactly what your customer wants and how to create perfect marketing messaging to fulfill their desires.
Market research with a third-party can tell you what customers want, without you having to ask.
Depending on what your main objectives are and what areas of your inbound marketing strategy you’d like to grow, our market research company may recommend a different approach to build out this content.
However, generally content surveys or market surveys will be your best bet. These methodologies will supply you with quick feedback and data you need to easily create research-driven content.
These types of surveys can be conducted in many ways – online, phone, in-person, web interviews, etc.
How can I use the results from a survey for content?
The best part about working with a content marketing company, like Drive Research, is that much of the heavy lifting is done for you. Our team follows a very hands-on approach where we create the content survey, find qualified respondents to take the survey, and analyze the results
After fieldwork and analysis are complete on your content survey, our team will start drafting a market research report.
A report from our content survey company typically includes an executive summary of key findings, recommendations for how to use the results in content, and a breakdown of question by question results.
In short, much of the content is already written for you.
All it takes on your end is to edit and repurpose the report into as many different inbound marketing efforts you can think of.
- Revise your web content to be more SEO friendly
- Create a new blog post speaking to each survey question (ie. 20 survey questions = 20 blog posts)
- Design social media graphics with key findings from the study
- Write a white paper where people must fill out their contact information to download it
The list can go on and on. If your team needs additional help writing website content, blogs, white papers, infographics, or social content post-research, Drive Research can assist with that too!
What is the process of using surveys for content?
The best way to answer this question is by using a real-world example of a recent market research project conducted by Drive Research.
In 2021, our team of senior market research professionals was hired to conduct a series of content marketing surveys for a marketing firm.
The first survey focused on the impact of a specific task and how it relates to stress and productivity.
Step 1. Kickoff meeting
To kick off the project, the teams met and discuss several potential topics for the surveys.
After this, the team confirmed the topic and created a list of questions they were most interested in.
Step 2. Write the survey
The Drive Research team used best practice techniques to fine-tune the survey questions to meet the clients’ needs.
Example content marketing survey questions
Below is an example of the questions covered in the content marketing survey.
The following topics were formed into questions to fit the clients’ needs.
- Hours spent completing a task
- Time spent prepping for the task
- Hours worked each week
- Impact of task on productivity
- Rate level of stress over the past month
- Presence of health conditions
Step 3. Program the survey
After the survey document was approved by both the client and the Drive Research team, it was ready for programming.
In other words, survey questions were recreated from a word document to an online survey platform.
Step 4. Launch the survey
Once the programmed content survey passes our internal quality checks, it is ready for fieldwork.
As soon as the survey is live and respondents start answering questions, our clients have access to up to the second results with our live client dashboard.
See an example of a client dashboard here.
As for this particular study, fieldwork for the survey began on February 2 and lasted until February 3, 2021.
Details of the content survey
- The survey took an average of 1 minute to complete and included 8 questions.
- The survey received 400 responses.
- Fieldwork was conducted with adult residents of the United States.
- Quotas were created to ensure the mix of respondents was Census representative.
Margin of error
With a probabilistic sample, a total of 400 responses at the 95% confidence level offers a 5% margin of error.
If the survey were conducted with another random pool of 400 respondents, the results would yield within +5% or -5% of the stated totals in the reports.
Step 5. Report on the results
After fieldwork for the content survey is complete, our market research firm begins reporting on the results.
All of our reports include recommendations to assist clients on how they can effectively repurpose the findings.
Deliverables of the content survey
The deliverables requested from this client included an email summary of key insights with a paragraph on the methodology of the study.
The key findings included 16 headline-driven statements broken down by topics like stress, employment status, urbanicity, generation, and health conditions.
The client also received seven online report links. The first featured the question by question results.
The following six report links were crosstabulations which broke the data down by stress level, employment status, urbanicity, generation, and health conditions.
Example of content marketing research in action
A common use of content surveys is when an organization is looking to position themselves as a thought leader among their target audience.
For example, a marketing agency would like to grow its client base with banks and credit unions. The content survey would be targeted to decision-makers of a financial institution.
The survey may ask respondents:
- What is the biggest challenge you face when marketing your financial products and services?
- What do you see as the biggest benefit of marketing?
- What marketing activities are becoming most important?
- Do you have a dedicated marketing budget?
With this information, a marketing agency can build out content (website copy, blogs, white papers, infographics, etc.) that speaks to:
- How a marketing agency can help financial institutions overcome challenges when marketing their services
- How they deliver the marketing services seen as the most important by financial institutions
- How to effectively use their marketing budget with an expert third-party
There are many examples of how marketers can leverage a market research survey to create lead-generating content.
Let’s discuss your unique goals and options today!
Drive Research is a market research company that specializes in research-based content and research-driven content insights. We work closely with organizations that are looking to use market research to drive content strategies.
Questions about how we can help? Want to talk about a project? Reach out through any of the four ways below.
- Message us on our website
- Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Call us at 888-725-DATA
- Text us at 315-303-2040
A SUNY Cortland graduate, Emily has taken her passion for social and content marketing to Drive Research as the Marketing Coordinator. She has earned certificates for both Google Analytics and Google AdWords.
Learn more about Emily, here.