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If you’re a content marketer, you’ve probably noticed that content marketing is growing. If it seems like everyone is doing it, that’s probably because pretty much everyone is.

The Crowded Content Landscape

crowded content landscape

Here’s what Google Trends tells us about content marketing. You can see that people have been talking about content marketing for several years, but we start seeing a definite uptick toward the end of 2012 and through 2013.

Which makes sense, since 91% of B2B marketers use content marketing today. In addition to the number of marketers using content marketing, there’s also been an increase in the kinds of content, blogs, videos, white papers, ebooks, social media messaging…but it still isn’t enough. 58% of marketers plan to increase the amount of content they’re producing over the next 12 months.

reality

That’s a whole lot of content, and a really crowded space. With so much competition, and knowing your intended audience has a limited amount of time for research, you need more than just great content to attract people’s attention. You have to actively work to get your content in front of them.

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No matter if you’re an embedded member of a long established company, a single entrepreneur just striking out, or if you’re in the first, hopeful stages of start-up-dom — you need a way to reliably predict your revenue.

Last week, we teamed up with the fantastic Aaron Ross, author of “Predictable Revenue.” Aaron played a significant role in the behemoth success of Salesforce.com, and his book has been dubbed the Silicon Valley Sales Bible.

Aaron’s webinar was a crash-course covering Predictable Revenue basics like:

  • The three fatal mistakes sales leaders make
  • How to build an outbound sales machine that can triple your pipeline
  • Why salespeople shouldn’t prospect

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Jeff Clavier, Founder and Managing Partner of SoftTech VC, estimates that he’s heard about 10,000 pitches in his life. Ask him what makes the best ones stand out and he’ll tell you: data. Recently Jeff joined our CEO, Robert J. Moore, for a Q&A webinar, Raising Venture Capital with Data. It’s worth watching all 53 minutes of the recording, or you can take the shortcut and catch some of the highlights here.

Full Disclosure: SoftTech VC is an investor in RJMetrics.

Choosing Where to Invest

On an annual basis SoftTech VC hears several thousand pitches, closing only about 20 of them. One of the most surprising data points that Jeff shared speaks to the importance of a strong network: over 9 years and the 143 closed deals SoftTech VC has made, there are 0 that came without an introduction.

How Founders Should Look at Data

Obviously, data is fundamental to what VCs are doing. The challenge for both investors and founders is that in early-stage companies there can be very little data to look at. Jeff shared a few things investors are always looking for:

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The Social Commerce Accelerator asked Jake to present to their members about how you can use data to optimize your customer experiences and become more effective at acquiring new customers. The highlights of the presentation were:

1) Use different categories of data depending on what you are trying to achieve.

Depending on what you want to measure and improve, the categories can include:

  • Revenue
  • Life-cycle analysis
  • Segmentation

2) Extend data driven optimization of the business to your social media initiatives.

Use data to understand which initiatives and channels are generating the best returns.

Social media intersects with data in the areas of:

  • Acquisition of new customers
  • Retention of existing customers
  • Referrals to friends and followers – help your customers market for you

3) More data is not always better. Focus on what is most effective.

Use actionable metrics. If seeing the data then makes you take action, then it is worthwhile.

  • Know what you are trying to accomplish, and focus on the end goal.
  • Know whether the data you need is accessible.

4) Where do companies see the biggest gains from data:

Companies see the biggest gains from data in making better customer acquisition resource decisions. RJMetrics’ customers (more than 100 e-commerce sites) see 5x difference among best and worst channels. Know your lifetime value (LTV) by channel.

5) Tactics you can use – targeting lapsed customers:

  • Remarketing: repeat purchased from existing customers are much more cost-effective than acquiring new customers.
  • Reactivation: send a targeted offer to your customers to keep them engaged.
  • Segmentation Marketing: tailor your offering so it is more interesting, and give different offers to different segments.

Examples of how to segment your customer base:

  • Those who haven’t bought in the past 90 days
  • People referred by a friend
  • People who have referred friends
  • Customers with the highest order values

Keep it simple to start. Split customers by multiple segments and keep testing.

The webinar is posted here on inSparq and is part of the inSparq Social Commerce Accelerator (SCA). SCA is a 10 week program for established retailers, brands & e-commerce sites aimed to revive their social commerce strategy to drive sales life.