Content Themes – What Are They? Why Do You Need Them?

As you know, the purpose of inbound marketing is to increase sales and grow your business, by publishing the right content in the right place at the right time.

By doing this your marketing becomes relevant and helpful, not disruptive.

The one action that results in increased sales is the decision to buy.

While that sounds obvious, it is not as simple as just getting a buyer to go from Point A to Point B.

Buyers – and prospective buyers - tend to follow a mental and emotional path that takes them through various decision points to the final decision of placing an order.

That final decision might be made online or face-to-face, depending on the market you are in.

Your inbound marketing goal is to encourage purchase decisions. 

The process (the path your buyers follow) is based on a sequence of stages which include ’ Attract, Convert, Close and Delight.’

One critically important element of the inbound marketing process, is to make it as easy as possible for your (prospective) buyer to follow an appropriate path through those decision points towards that ultimate decision of making a purchase or of deciding to meet with your sales team.

Marketing Subjects and Content Themes

Your marketing material should be focused on the subjects of how your products or services solve problems, meet customer needs or satisfy personal wants.

Your content themes are how you make those subjects of trouble shooting, upgrading or optimizing, meaningful and valuable and help your products or services appear desirable.

Themes are what really help a buyer to become engaged, interested and involved in your marketing message.

Let's take a simple example.

Let's say you're in the business of selling business consultancy.

The consultants you employ, their experience, your typical projects, the increased productivity or reduction in costs they bring about - these are subjects.

Themes might be how motivated your clients' teams become, and how that motivation helps them learn to solve their own problems and increase their own productivity long after the consultancy contract had ended.

Your content theme - motivation - could, therefore, be delivered as a series of personal examples, or stories, by video or text from the point of view of real people who work for your clients.

The CEO, the systems engineer, the shift manager, the production operatives will be able to tell 'before and after stories' of the changes they saw and felt, the amazing differences in them and their teams between how it was before the consultancy contract, what happened while the contract was being executed and how powerfully motivated everyone still is after the contract has ended.

The CFO could describe the effects of all that 'new-found motivation' on the bottom line.

Motivation is a powerful theme.

Every senior exec wants to lead a motivated team because the result will be good for them, the bottom line, the shareholders and the annual bonuses.

In this example of selling business consluting, client motivation, could be a theme you use to introduce your own buyers to the results they want, so they decide to meet with you and then to buy from you - because they can relate, easily, to the stories your clients tell, and the examples the videos portray.

How Do You Come Up With Themes? 

  • Look at your market place - who do you want as your customers?
  • What will attract, interest, engage and involve those people?
  • Look at your products or services - what do they actually deliver to your customers? (Remember nobody buys a drill because they want a drill, and they don't buy a drill because they want holes in the wall. They buy drills because it's easier to hang works of art or put up storage shelves. They want the works of art on the wall to make their home beautiful, so their neighbors walk in and go "WOW!" Or they want shelves so their work space is efficient and they can get more done in the same amount of time, so they are more profitable)
  • Think about those results and decide how making neighbors (or other family members) go "WOW!" can be used to create different themes. Could themes be, family get-togethers at different times of the year, staging homes so they sell better, impressing clients who visit executive offices, neighborhood improvement schemes for the local news program to report.

When you know your customer and why they buy you can come up with as many themes as you want. 

Your own team and your customers will all help you come up with themes - because they know what matters to your customer base.

How Many Themes is Enough?

 That depends on how many different motivators you want to use to take your target audience down the Buyer’s Journey.

The secret is in knowing your target audience, and in being clear about what results you want your inbound marketing to achieve.

After goal setting, the next step of your marketing strategy should include creating buyer personas. 

What is a buyer persona and why does it matter? Essentially, buyer personas are fictional representations of your ideal customers.

They are based on real data about customer demographics and online behavior, along with educated speculation about their personal histories, motivations and concerns.

By creating personas your teams in marketing, sales and customer service better understand who they are communicating with and how to approach the interactions they are trying to establish.

Marketers can create better content when they have a clear vision of their reader.