Are you creating content you know your audience wants? Or are you just guessing? There was a time when all a marketer could do is make an educated presumption about what their customers wanted. But with all the data we have at our disposal, there’s no reason to continue taking shots in the dark.
Now, you can shed light on your customer behaviors using the right data. Or better yet, get intel directly from the source — your audience. Today, it’s simple to connect with your readers and listeners to get information about their pain points, desires, and needs. And then, you can use that information to enhance content and marketing messages.
This is what we call a feedback loop. With this feedback loop, you can find ways to improve your strategy and deliver content your audience actually wants. And as a result — you could get more views, likes, shares, and followers.
But how do you create a successful feedback loop? That’s what we’re going to get into now.
Talk to Your Existing Customers
When you want to learn what it’s like to climb Mt. Everest, you don’t ask someone who’s never been. You go to those who’ve actually climbed the mountain. And it’s the same with your feedback loop.
You have a fantastic resource of information right at your disposal via your existing customer base. They’ve already trekked through your customer journey and have all sorts of insights to share. For instance, they can tell you:
- What they like/dislike about your content
- Which content they prefer
- Which formats they consume the most (from you and other brands)
- What made them convert into customers
- Why they continue to consume your content (or why they stopped)
If you’re gathering emails from your customers, then it’s easy to reach out and ask for feedback. Consider using a short and sweet survey that asks under ten questions and uses a star- or number-rating system. The easier and faster it is, the more likely customers will take the survey.
A report also shows 81% of customers are willing to leave feedback if they know they’ll get a fast response. People want to know they’re heard, so a simple personalized thank-you email will go a long way.
Look at FAQs from Customers and Leads
What questions are your leads and customers asking? If your salespeople and customer support teams gather this, you have a deep pool of topics to use for your content. In fact, this is what a lot of businesses are starting to do:
Take FAQs and turn them into a content hub. A resource like this is in-depth and can guide your audience through your buying journey. By answering all of their pressing questions, you turn them into informed prospects. Ask any salesperson, and they’ll tell you it’s a lot easier to convert well-informed leads.
Ask for Feedback on Social Media
Don’t just use your social channels to showcase your content. Engage with your audience by asking questions that help them (and you). It’s a win-win since you can learn how to improve CX (customer experience) and grow conversions. Also, by asking for feedback, you’re telling your audience your brand cares.
This is critical, especially since many customers don’t leave feedback because they believe brands could care less about their opinion. Back in 2013, 43% of UK customers felt this way. Brands have since taken heed and are regularly asking customers for reviews and feedback.
Make it fun. Platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook allow you to create polls. From what we see, these polls get a lot of engagement. Pose questions that pique interest while still giving you the information you need.
For example, you can ask, “What’s the most annoying way a salesperson can contact you?”
- A) Phone
- B) Email
- C) Social media
- D) Text
And this will tell you if you should discontinue methods your audience dislikes.
Or you can learn the best way to market by asking something like, “What type of content do you enjoy the most?”
- A) Blog posts
- B) Videos
- C) Podcasts
- D) Newsletters
Just don’t make them feel corporate — keep the tone fun and use an angle that puts your audience at the center of attention (not your brand). In other words, don’t make your brand the focal point of the poll.
Empower Your Company to Ask for Feedback
Your marketing team shouldn’t be the only department getting feedback. Make it a cross-company effort by empowering all departments to do the same. For example, your salespeople and customer support teams are customer-facing. This puts them in a great position to ask for feedback during or after communications with your audience.
They can do this by sending a follow-up email after a sales or support call. Or it can be right after completing a conversation via your chatbot or online chat.
And don’t stop there. If you have teams with a podcast, blog, social media, or other platforms, then get them involved too. The wider you spread your feedback net, the more you can loop into your strategy.
Examples from the Real World
Alright, so there are several ways you can create a customer feedback loop. But how does it work in the real world? Here’s a look at how several brands are using feedback to enhance their marketing and content campaigns.
Misfit Media: Going Where Your Audience Is
Misfit Media knew the importance of having a multimedia strategy. This is why they made an effort to include video within their content strategy. But they soon learned that they needed to expand their content into the audio realm.
“The whole reason we wanted to do a podcast in general was we’re pretty active on our content in general, like posting through social media and being active on our YouTube channel and stuff like that. I mean, we push out a lot of content in general, but during COVID, I think actually COVID was what led to the podcast to start with, because we had a bunch of our clients saying, ‘Hey, Brett, love your guys’ content. But I’m a restauranteur, I’m usually on the go, or I’m in the kitchen or whatever the case. I don’t have time to watch a 20-minute, 30-minute YouTube video and sit there and just look at my phone or computer.’ They asked if we had a podcast actually initially. And that’s when I had the idea, “Oh, damn, maybe we should do this,” said Brett Linkletter, CEO of Misfit Media and host on Restaurant Misfits.
Command Line Heroes: Listening to the Audience to Improve Content
Here’s proof that the best resource for learning what content to create comes from the audience themselves. At least, that was the case for a podcast called Command Line Heroes.
“I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately in light of the show we do with Red Hat; it’s a show called Command Line Heroes. It is designed to reach a very specific, fairly nerdy audience of pretty technical people. So the core target audience is software developers and CIS admins and IT architects, and people who are interested in and operating at the command line. So a pretty niche audience, and what I think Red Hat does really, really, really well is work to understand their audience and the needs and desires of their audience.
“And so, when I say that, I mean that Red Hat, the human beings who work on Command Line Heroes, they are at developer conferences. They are at user groups, they are at meetups, and they’re there to listen. In fact, the entire story of Command Line Heroes and how it came to be came out of sitting and listening to and spending time with the audience that they wanted to serve,” explained Dan Misener, podcast producer and Director of Audience Development at Pacific Content.
And this is the same thing we’ve learned here at Casted. We don’t use keywords to dictate the content on our podcast. Instead, we have conversations with our audience and really listen to what they’re saying. Then we align this with the topics we discuss to ensure we’re creating impactful episodes. By doing this, we see better engagement from our listeners, which makes the extra effort totally worth it.