HomeBlog Content Marketing: Don’t Offer the Same Thing Twice

Content Marketing: Don’t Offer the Same Thing Twice

October 06, 2011|Jay Famico

Question: If someone goes to your Web site and downloads a white paper, what value is created by sending the same white paper to the same person one month later? Answer: None whatsoever. In fact, sending an offer for content the recipient has already consumed can irritate the recipient. Frequent redundant offers will lead to increased opt-outs and degrade the perceived relevance of your communications.

Question: If someone goes to your Web site and downloads a white paper, what value is created by sending the same white paper to the same person one month later? Answer: None whatsoever. In fact, sending an offer for content the recipient has already consumed can irritate the recipient. Frequent redundant offers will lead to increased opt-outs and degrade the perceived relevance of your communications.

Many organizations inadequately exclude people from receiving emails whose call to action is the same as an offer to which they’ve already responded (e.g. download free white paper). Too many companies don’t have a consistent process for linking content responses via multiple distribution channels to a named person. The result is that any exclusion filters used in email distributions and nurturing programs are incomplete. This is especially difficult when using ungated content, because individuals accessing this content do not explicitly indicate their contact details.

Though exclusion criteria are often used in batch emails and nurturing programs to check whether an individual filled out a specific form, rarely do the exclusion criteria encompass every channel or method by which an individual may have consumed a specific content asset, including the following examples.

Inbound Examples

  • Social media. Tweeting key statistics and posting abstracts of content on social media sites (e.g. LinkedIn, Facebook) and enabling an individual to download the content unencumbered.
  • Web site postings. Highlighting the content on the corporate Web site and, when clicked, requiring an individual to fill out a registration page to get the content.
  • Banner advertisements. Posting a call to action for the content on online banners and requiring the individual to fill out a registration page.

Outbound Examples

  • Batch emails. A one-time email sent to contacts with either a direct link to the content or a link to a registration form.
  • Nurturing programs. Emails sent to an individual as part of an automated nurturing program with either a direct link to the content or a link to a registration form.
  • Sales emails. Emails sent directly from sales with links to (or attachments of) content assets.

This issue can be addressed through marketing automation as follows.

Setup

  • Standardize content URLs. Content viewed or downloaded can be measured through URL visits. Make it easier to identify who has accessed specific content by reducing (ideally to one) the number of URLs by which individuals can gain access. Don’t maintain multiple copies of the same content piece; instead, store the content in one location so there will be only one URL that points to it.
  • Make ungated content trackable. For downloadable content such as PDFs or for Web pages not under your management, prepend them with tracking codes (available in most marketing automation platforms) or redirect individuals to those content assets through HTML pages with tracking scripts.
  • Enable sales to send trackable content. Create email templates that have tracked links to the content. Sales can then use these email templates to send content to prospects or customers. If the ability to send emails with the content attached is also required, enable sales to indicate what was sent to a contact in the customer relationship management system.
  • Audit all forms. Ensure that for each content asset, all of the forms that can possibly grant access to it are noted.

Execution

  • Create an exclusion filter/segment for each content piece. For each content asset, create a filter/segment that identifies all individuals who have responded to the content based on URLs that individuals have visited and forms that they have completed.
  • Create groups/lists if necessary. Some marketing automation platforms retain Web site activity only for a specific amount of time (e.g. one year), while others do not have a time limit. If your marketing automation platform retains activity only for a specified amount of time, create an automated campaign/program that places all people from a filter/segment (e.g. visited specific content URLs or filled out forms to access specific content) into a corresponding content asset group/list.
  • Apply the exclusion filter (or list/group). Leverage the exclusion filter (or group/list) for all automated nurture programs and email distributions that use content as a call to action. These best practices will resolve more than 90 percent of “sending the same content twice” issues. The remaining 10 percent of issues occur when content is forwarded or reposted by customers/prospects, or when individuals clear their browsers’ cookies prior to the marketing automation platform cookie mapping to a contact record.

Remember that while these best practices will help resolve content resending issues, what they cannot address is content relevance: How focused is your content on the individual’s specific needs? This will always be most important content consideration.

Jay Famico

Jay Famico is the Vice President of Client-Facing Technology at SiriusDecisions. He is a thought leader focused on helping companies gain maximum value from their investments in marketing programs and technology. Follow Jay on Twitter @JayFamico.

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