The Yellowstep Team By The Yellowstep Team • July 27, 2016

A step beyond content: What is contextual marketing?

By now, most marketers working in the digital sphere understand what is meant by content marketing

The process of creating remarkable content such as blogs, social media posts, videos and ebooks has been implemented successfully for some time now. But, of course, us marketers are always looking for ways to improve our marketing strategies. Although our campaigns are performing well using a content marketing strategy, how can we push ourselves towards gaining more visits, leads and ultimately closing more sales with our marketing efforts?

Enter Contextual Marketing?

Think of contextual marketing as an even smarter approach to content marketing, kind of like Content Marketing Beta...

Brian Halligan, Founder and CEO of HubSpot once said;

‘The way I think about the next six years of inbound marketing is: if we use content to pull people in, pull people into our website, pull people into our front door, the next phase of inbound marketing is how do you use context to pull people through the funnel?’

The answer is by being smart about the type of content your visitors are going to be seeing. Deliver them the right content, in the right place at the right time.

It's all about making sure that you are not only creating remarkable, educational content, you're creating content that is also in context for your buyer persona

The things you'll need to consider when looking to incorporate contextual marketing best practices into your marketing strategy are: 

  • Smart content, tailored to answering your visitor's pain points. 
  • A great user experience across your website 
  • Using dynamic calls-to-action and forms

We'll go into each of these a little later...

How will implementing a Contextual Marketing strategy benefit me?

Don't you just love it when you're searching for a product or an answer to a question, and you're able to find it online, with a minimal amount of effort and stress?

Contextual marketing will cut out unnecessary clicks for your visitors, allowing them to achieve their goal much quicker...and when your visitor completes their goal, they're also completing yours too!

Contextual marketing is mostly beneficial to website visitors who are already leads, as you're able to utilise the information you know about your leads to your advantage; gently nurturing them further down the marketing funnel, towards a sale.

By using context in your marketing, you're improving your digital user experience, and a good user experience will correlate with happier visitors and ultimately more conversions.

So, now we know what context marketing actually is, let's look deeper into the factors that make up a contextual marketing strategy…

 Creating smart content...

As mentioned earlier, contextual marketing is all about nurturing your leads further down the sales funnel by delivering them content which is in context with their current position in the buyer's journey.

To do this, you need to have a bank of content that surrounds your target audience's needs.

If you are already executing a content marketing strategy, you'll already have a bank of ebooks, webinars, whitepapers and even blogs that you can use as bait for your potential customers.

If you don't, you can use our content marketing worksheet pack to get started with planning your buyer persona, and then detecting the types of content you'll need to create. These will ensure you're not missing potential customers by not addressing their needs.

Content is essential, and once you have nailed your content strategy, you'll be ready to take the next steps towards implementing a contextual marketing strategy.

Ensure a great user experience across your website

You'll have heard the saying 'your website is your most important employee, it never takes a holiday, never gets sick and is on hand to provide your prospects with the information they need 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

All of your employees are trained to give the best service to your customers, and wouldn't dream of making it difficult for them to learn more about your business or to make a purchase. So why should your website be any different?

We see it all the time; a business will be stocked up with highly trained marketers and salespeople, but have an over-complicated website with few conversion points.

Your visitors have landed on your website for a reason, whether that be because they have a quick question that needs to be answered, or they've checked you out before and are ready to pick up the phone and talk to you.

Your website needs to cater for visitors at every stage of the buyer journey, and to do this; you need to tailor your conversion points to their needs.

One of the most effective ways of ensuring your contacts have a great user experience, is by using dynamic calls-to-action and forms...

Ensure your visitors only see what they're ready to see

To optimise each of your pages for conversion, you'll need to ensure that they all have the right calls-to-action.

When designing your website, or having a content refresh, it's important to look at each page and ask yourself 'what next?' If you were a visitor, what would be the next logical step from that page?

Perform an in-depth conversion point review of your website, and ensure that you've best matched a call to action to every page: For example, someone who lands on your product pricing page is probably much more likely to request a free trial than someone simply reading a blog.

Within HubSpot, we're able to set up our calls-to-action, forms and even text boxes as smart pieces of content.

These smart modules across our website can be based on many different rules including: 

  • The lifecycle stage of the lead - is this person a subscriber that would be interested in downloading a top of the funnel how to guide? Or could you target an existing lead, showing them 'free demo' or 'expert review' call-to-action instead?
  • The IP address of the visitor - Do you have content that is country specific? This setting is especially useful for ensuring visitors get the right content suited to their needs. 
  • Device type - If a high volume of visitors are visiting your website on a mobile device, you may need to think about creating a different user experience. Perhaps use smart text to cut out unnecessary steps for visitors on a mobile device, for example; including a link to premium content on a thank-you page instead of making them wait for an email. 
  • Referral source - Adapt and show different calls-to-action and content to visitors coming from organic, direct or social sources. For example, a visitor comes from social media...why not highlight a social media specific offer, or show more top of the funnel content for someone visiting from an organic source. 

Using dynamic calls-to-action and content decreases the amount of steps a visitor would have to take to converting, but also improves user experience by presenting the visitor with tailored content. 

So, what are you waiting for? 

By reading this blog, you may have realised that you're actually carrying out one or more of the best practices that make up an effective contextual marketing strategy.

Making these small changes to your existing marketing efforts will ensure that not only will you be generating more visits, but you'll also be converting those all-important relevant leads in no time.

Want to learn more about what you can do once you've started converting those leads? Download our free inbound marketing blueprint...