A strategic marketing process created on producing and distributing valuable, engaging, consistent, and relevant content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience, and ultimately, to drive profitable customer action. Whether it's expanding an existing customer or acquiring a new customer.
But this is not a new concept. Content marketing can be found in every form of advertising/direct marketing. Content has ALWAYS been king. Whatever is produced is the content that your message depends on.
If you produce a TV commercial, that's your content. A radio commercial, your content. A webinar, content.
When content marketing does what it's supposed to do it creates a strong relationships that leads to trust.
#When content does it's job, it creates a connection between the brand and viewer that is then built on with trust. (End gets a tad weak.)
Your content is the message, or the story and your marketing is the delivery method that distributes content machine. This marketing process is dependent on content production to thrive.
Otherwise what are you delivering to your audience?
Combine this with the inbound marketing methodology to determine the type of content you want to create. Essentially you are developing a communication strategy for a specific audience.
This is where some of the confusion/discrepancies come between direct marketing and advertising.
Since you're developing a strategy for communicating with a specific audience, you're essentially running a direct marketing campaign.
Meaning, all your online advertising is actually part of your direct marketing.
The goal of your content should be to empower and inspire your audience/potential customers. Inspiration is the act of taking action because you want to, not because you have to.
In other words, the goal of your content should be to drive deliberate action.
This subtle difference can make a big difference.
If you have to watch an advertisement before a video plays then you are probably not going to do anything your asked that will benefit the company.
The next goal of your content should be to deliver lasting value to your audience. Provide your audience with a home base for all of their needs. To do this you have consistently improve your content so it remains relevant over time.
This lasting relationship builds loyalty and trust - both which are factors to increasing your customer lifetime value.
The last goal for your content should be to educate your audience in an engaging and entertaining way.
If your content has great, relevant information but comes as a giant block of text on an all white webpage, then you're probably not to generate a lot of excitement.
The look and feel (overall design) of your content is important to keeping people around long enough form an honest opinion.
Growth-driven design can be summed up as the smarter approach to website design.
The traditional website design process is broken. It hasn't responded to the way companies are communicating with their audience.
Today, your website is the foundation of all your marketing - everything leads back to or starts at your website.
But because website design is still done with the traditional process, there is a great deal of risk and wasted opportunity.
One risk of traditional web design is the high cost. Websites can cost between $10k and $100k with no guarantee of results.
There is no guarantee of results because in today's fast-paced digital world consumers are changing daily and without a constant stream of consumer data we can't possibly know what they are going to be interested in 3-6 months down the road. There may be 3 new competitors that pop up in that time.
Another risk of the traditional web design process is the time commitment. Allocating a lot of time for a project as big as a website redesign can take attention away from other areas of work. So a 3-6 month time commitment may seem daunting with everything else going on.
But where a large time commitment up front can create trouble is once it's been completed. Not having the right information to know if your website design is going to move the needle at all, justifying a large time commitment might prove to be difficult.
And because you spent so much on the redesign, chances are you're not going to do another this year, or next. All this does is make it harder to justify the time you took away from other priorities.
The last risk of the traditional web design process is subjective design work. Design that isn't based on data can lead to a lot of wasted opportunities. Not knowing how users actually use the page will make it difficult to design it for them.
I think it was Steve jobs that said great design is dependent on functionality. What he is saying is that design should enhance the experience not take away from it.
The way growth-driven design alleviates risk is by speeding up the website launch process. This is done by defining what pages and assets on the site currently have the most impact on website performance. And everything else is put aside.
The idea here is to quickly produce a high quality website redesign focusing on the most impactful pages with real-time learning and continuous improvement.
Consistently researching, testing and learning about website users informs the next website improvements. This method of continual improvement fuels high performing websites and reduces up-front risk.
Because your website is your marketing hub as well as your best salesperson, it is a big part of both business functions. Reduce your risk by using your website's user data not only to inform your next website improvements but also your next marketing and sales activities.
There are three major parts to a growth-driven website redesign. Starting with the overall website strategy. Make sure to clearly define the purpose of redesigning your website and your strategy for using it to contribute to the overall objectives.
The second part of the methodology is the launchpad. Your website launchpad is essentially your baseline. Continuously increasing the baseline through researching, testing and learning about how people are using the website and what value you are adding.
Content is changing.
The way people consume content today is different than just a few years ago.
Companies make the mistake of producing content like traditional website design projects.
In other words, you're managing your content marketing as a static project. If we know anything for certain it's that anything that stays static is essentially dead - the pace at which content is created almost guarantees your content will get buried if you don't iterate.
But we don't create a new website after every test cycle, we make the changes and make another hypothesis. So why do we create a whole new eBook, or launch a brand new campaign.
This kind of campaign creation is dying because of the time it takes to plan, develop and launch. By the time your ready to launch - probably behind schedule - things have changed and your campaign isn't responding.
Putting them together
You will begin to see more companies begin to apply the growth-driven design methodology to specific content. Just like you would run GDD on a website, you now want to run GDD on each piece of new content you produce.
Remember, make sure you have a solid content strategy so that you have a vivid picture of how you are using content to deliver lasting value to your audience. Once you know that, get new content out the door as quickly as possible and focus most of your energy on continuously improving it overtime.
If you want to learn more about applying the growth-driven design methodology to your content marketing efforts I'd be happy to chat, just book time on my calendar for a quick chat here.
You can also sign up for a one-on-one growth-driven design training course that will coach you through implementing growth-driven design on your team.