In 2020, it's undeniable how powerful content marketing has become for businesses of all sizes.

In fact, content marketing brings in 3X as many leads as traditional marketing — and costs 62% less.

But, while it's fair to say most marketers are on-board with the importance of content marketing, there's still an aspect of marketing that doesn't get as much love: context marketing.

Whether you know what context marketing means or not, I'm willing to bet you've dabbled or wanted to dabble in context marketing for some time.

Here, we're going to introduce the concept of context marketing and dive into strategies you can use to implement context marketing into your overall marketing strategy.

Free Resource: Content Marketing Planning Template

What Is Context Marketing?

At the most basic level, context marketing is ... well, using context in your marketing.

Since that just sounds like circular reasoning though, let's dive into the definition a little further.

My favorite definition of context marketing is delivering the right content, to the right people, at the right time.

Let me explain what I mean by context a little more, though.

Context marketing is like a spelling bee ...

When you have context around something, you have a larger, more telling picture — you know, those little details that help lend more clarity to things that would otherwise be pretty general, unspecific, and, well, uninteresting.

Let's use a spelling bee as an analogy here. If a judge asks a kid to spell the word "pour," he might want to ask a host of questions to get more context before answering: What's the part of speech? What's the definition? Can you use it in a sentence, please?

Answers to those questions all provide context that helps paint a clearer picture of the word he's trying to spell.

And it's important context, too! Why? Because the word "pour" is different than the word "pore" -- or "poor."

Without getting more context around what the judge is asking, how could that kid possibly provide an accurate answer? Getting more context around that word would be pretty useful to helping our kid become a spelling bee champ!

Ultimately, the same goes for your marketing. Do you want to be a marketing champ like our spelling bee friend?

The marketing champs in every industry are the ones who are leveraging context about their audience, leads, and customers in their marketing. For example, a marketer using context would know more about a lead than whether she's B2B or B2C, and her first name. They might also know what industry she works in, what kind of content she likes best, through which channel she prefers to consume content, whether she's currently using another solution to meet her needs, and whether her company has budget at this time of year.

As a marketer, if you were asked to "market" to someone, and all you were given was a first name and the type of company your lead works at, wouldn't your first question be ... what else do we know about her? Probably, if you want to do your job way better.

That's the idea behind context marketing: Using what you know about your contacts to provide supremely relevant, targeted, and personalized marketing.

Why Is Context Marketing Important?

Context marketing is important for many reasons, but here are the two that I think trump them all:

  1. When you have context around your relationship with a contact, you're able to provide more personalized and relevant marketing content that's targeted at their needs. Personalized and relevant marketing is the foundation for creating content people love! What's more, personalized and relevant marketing is typically not the kind of marketing that annoys people into clicking "unsubscribe". Win-win!
  2. When you're creating marketing that's targeted at people's point of need, it stands to reason that marketing will perform much better for you, because you aren't delivering marketing content that's misaligned with their interests or stage in the sales cycle. Think about it: If you know that our B2B lead from the previous section is getting new budget in January, she's downloaded a couple buying guides in the past two weeks, she's visited your product pages, and it's December, you're able to send her insanely targeted content that addresses her needs — like, say, an offer for a custom end of year demo of your product with a rep that specializes in the finance industry. That's content that she's pretty likely to convert on.

Why not use the context around your relationships with your contacts to create marketing that they a) love, and b) convert on?

3 Areas You Can Incorporate Context Marketing

Alright, these ideas all sound lovely, but how does this "context marketing" theory manifest itself? What would it look like for you, as a marketer? With the help of integrated marketing software, here are some examples of where you'd actually use the principle of "context" in your marketing.

1. Dynamic Calls-to-Action

You have a bunch of offers you want to use to convert traffic into leads, leads into qualified leads, and qualified leads into customers.

To help strengthen your lead conversion rates, you probably don't want leads visiting a case study webpage (typically an action you'd perform further along in your buyer's journey), and finding a CTA leading them to a blog post (which is meant for people earlier in the buyer's journey).

However, not everyone who visits a case study page on your website is necessarily ready to talk to a salesperson. You don't want to turn them away, either, by offering a CTA that's too pushy.

Fortunately, with dynamic CTAs that adjust depending on who is visiting the page, you can actually surface a CTA that automatically aligns with the visitor's stage in the sales cycle ... or any other host of criteria you want to set! Think industry, business type, location, past activity/behaviors, that type of thing.

2. Dynamic Email Content and Workflows

Your forms aren't the only things that need to be smart.

Your email database — especially if you want to maintain your space in people's coveted inboxes — needs to be segmented into highly targeted lists, as well.

Plus, beyond email segmentation, your email lists need to be smart enough to know when to pull in a contact, and certain information you have in your database about that contact, into your email marketing.

Remember, a great context marketer delivers the right content, to the right person, at the right time. So to send emails that are contextually relevant, you need the power of workflows — the tool that will put the right person into the right list.

3. Smart Forms

So you want to be a context marketer and see higher conversion rates.

Let me introduce you to your new best friend: smart forms.

Smart forms are just what they sound like — forms for your landing pages that are wicked smart.

So smart, in fact, that they know if someone has already filled out the form fields you're asking for. If you use smart forms, for instance, your site visitors won't see "First Name" and "Last Name" every time they fill out a form — instead, they'll answer those questions once, and then never again.

This will help youglean more new information about your leads each time they fill out a form, instead of just more of the same stuff.

Ultimately, smart forms will help you gather even more context about your visitors, leads, and customers, and help increase conversion rates over time.

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Originally published Jun 23, 2020 1:00:00 PM, updated June 23 2020


Marketing Strategy