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Digital Engagement: Targeting People, Not Consumers

By Cam Secore on October 28, 2015

Reading Time: 8 minutes

Content Marketing Targeting People

What is important regarding your brand’s presence on the Web?  Is it getting more shares?  Publishing more content? Synching it up with the buying cycle? Getting links?  Surely, all those are important; they’ve been thoroughly discussed. But what about digital engagement?

[tweetthis]To engage a buyer, do you only see them as a consumer, or view them as a person – one with interests?[/tweetthis]

Content Marketing and Driving Shares, Links, and Digital Engagement

In a recent Moz post, popular author Rand Fishkin reminds us of the importance of better digital engagement versus assuming expertly marketed content will get shares, which will lead to links and online dominance.

Social Media Tactic
Using Social Media as Primary (or Only) Link Building Tactic Probably Won’t Work, says Rand

His suggestion is inspired by a Buzzsumo/Moz study involving a million posts. Just how many posts get shared?

75% of articles get no social shares, which does not indicate good post engagement.

It turns out in that study 75% of articles received no social shares, though there are techniques that can be attempted to amplify a social campaign. Well, what about the 25% that do?  This content must generate links, right?

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While you would think that would be the case, it is sadly not. There is abysmal correlation between marketed content that gets shared and that is eventually linked. Such information is daunting–disheartening even–especially for those who advocate content marketing.

You might say, “Well, wait just a minute.” Associates were quick to reinforce faith in content marketing. Others challenged Rand’s assumption that the content-shares-links trifecta was futile. Of course, there are exceptions, Moz being among the most obvious. However, as Rand states in the video connected to his post, the unique nature of the SEO industry may inspire such success.

What About Content Marketing in Your Industry?

But, what about your industry? I assume that many readers who seek the help of digital marketers are not peers.

For better digital engagement, you need to know your customers, not only as you wish them to be–that is consumers ready to buy your service or product–but as dynamic entities, you know, like actual people.

pen-idea-bulb-paper
Getting to know your consumers like actual people drives better digital engagement.

Getting to Know People Via Google Analytics

Let’s get to know some of our customers by using Google Analytics.

You can do this by exploring a section called Affinity Categories, as analytics will categorize visitors depending on the nature of their Internet use. 

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Though you could be looking at analytics data related to your plumbing, baking, sales, or SaaS site, you can see visitors in a more comprehensive way. They’re movie lovers, travelers, news junkies, investors, etc., and they’re all a market just waiting for your content. 
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What does this mean for you as individual businesses and publishers of a variation of content?  It means opportunity to engage not just “consumers” but people with the potential to become consumers. It’s a shift in viewing your target market and thinking about how to engage them as people, not only consumers, to inspire advocacy.

Let’s dig deeper. If we click on any of the provided Affinity Category selections, we get a breakdown of age for our target audience. And if you click on any of the age groups, it reveals the percentage of that group who are male/female.

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And if we focus on just one affinity category, assuming that GA data reflects within a yearly range, those labeled News/World News Junkies (males aged 35-44) convert the most regarding a created goal.

 

You can engage your consumer as you build landing pages in more than one way with Pagewiz. One incredibly easy way to start is by choosing a template that will visually communicate your strategy and purpose to your consumer.

templates, books, emarketing, engagement
This template features a form that allows your reader to download an e-book in exchange for their contact information, and serves as a point of engagement.

Solutions for Higher Digital Engagement

With that data, one can easily hyper-target paid ads or consider subtopics for blog posts whether they are for a marketing or not-for-profit.

In the first scenario, knowing what other interests potential consumers have, you can strategically position existing content. So even though your content is about your products and services (hiking, sneakers, investing, etc), you’ll be targeting those with interests illuminated by Google Analytics.

Paid Facebook Ads

Like those who challenged Rand’s assertion, you’ll have to test for yourself whether targeted ads are worth the investment, but at least your test will be vindicated by Google Analytics data.

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Blog Subtopics

Alternatively, or in conjunction with paid ads, you can inspire digital engagement and advocacy on your own site by considering the interests of your market, that is engaging in content discovery and interests outside of your specific industry.

[tweetthis]You can increase digital engagement by using specialized tools as you consider your affinity categories.[/tweetthis]

Revisiting the Affinity Category topics above, we can consider those who are:

  • Movie Lovers
  • TV Lovers
  • Travel Buffs

You don’t have to reinvent the wheel, but use a few tools to help find what topics are popular within a niche. Let’s use Disqus to see what’s popular regarding Travel.

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The topic of hiking mountains generated interest and discussion.

hiking
Using Disqus to generate topics, like hiking, can be a great way to engage your customers on a broader topic.

At this point you may be saying, “My business has do with sales, baking, batteries, etc. Why should I produce content about mountains and hiking?”

Because you’re trying to engage your target audience on a broader scale, people and not just consumers.

The sad truth is that not many people are interested in content that is strictly marketed towards the consumers of batteries, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be interested in a battery company.  For example, a battery supplier could market content about battery-operated tools to take on a hike. Understanding your customers can also justify higher pricing because it creates a strong tie between their desires and your product .

Let’s use another tool, Buzzsumo, to see research content marketed another Affinity Category, television. We can find what types of content about television are getting shared and attracting interest.

In a total of 14,296 articles about television, a large majority is shared on Facebook (in this case, further vindication to think about Facebook targeting). Looking into content type, we can see that curating lists is favored with sharers.

Let’s say your business is related to sales, you can create a list of the top television shows to watch on the plane ride to a tradeshow or a Netflix series to watch while at a hotel when on a business trip.

Planning your content to fit your strategy can help you achieve your goals and return on investment.
Planning your content to fit your strategy can help you achieve your goals and return on investment.

Brian Dean, from Backlinko, recently posted a case study about creating engaging content for boring niches. For example, he talks about having a client in the pest control niche. How can you create engaging content based around pest control? You just want to make sure you don’t have bugs inside your house, you really don’t care to talk about them, right?

This is where “shoulder niches” come in. He saw that people were super engaged with certain gardening topics, so he came up with an infographic idea of “Do it Yourself Organic Garden Pest Control.”

When you’re looking at your Affinity categories, how can you take those sections and spin them off into something related to your business? This is where you get to let your creative juices flow! The thing you don’t want to do is to try too hard to incorporate one of the categories into something completely irrelevant to your niche. Or even worse, create something engaging (for engagement sake) that your brand doesn’t stand for.

Conclusion

As Rand and most seasoned digital marketers admit, there is no catchall solution to winning the content marketing game on the Internet. However, using data to understand potential customers as people with broader interests can help you better engage them. Just because you’re a doctor does not mean you can’t be a hit at a dinner party. A people-smart doctor won’t start a conversation discussing medical jargon.

[tweetthis]When making friends and acquaintances, we look for opportunities to find commonalities.[/tweetthis]

In some cases, we pander to their interests, such as using targeted ads, or we find a way to form a union between our own interests and theirs, such as fusing a provided service/product with a potential consumer’s interest or hobby.

But you can win the content marketing game with Pagewiz, as you create landing pages and calls to action to drive consumers to your engagement points. Create conversions, track your metrics and design engagement to fit your consumer as you easily build landing pages.

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