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Content analytics

At least quarterly, business leaders turn to metrics to evaluate the success or failure of their businesses—be it profit margins, retention rates, units sold or people served. Almost every business department uses some kind of analytics tool to distil reliable metrics (even if only via ledgers or spreadsheets). The problem with analytic tools is not their lack of use, but how they are used. If analytics tools are passively used to measure results, they, at best, inspire debates about improving strategies months after-the-fact, i.e. too late to be effective. By the time results are in, new trends, new processes and new journeys have already formed, rendering any “new” strategies void.

A Forbes article stated that according to a KPMG survey of C-level executives, only 35% of U.S. enterprises invest in data and analytics to generate sales growth.

With the increasing emphasis on agile development, mobile interactions, real-time services, and overstimulated consumers, a company’s reaction time becomes the variable by which to measure success. But gathering and analyzing data quickly is not enough. Companies need to set detailed standards for when and how to engage with collected intelligence. The main goal of a successful analytics strategy is not to measure results, but to drive profitable action. With the right focus, most strategies can be monitored and monetized with just one asset: product documentation.

Signs of an effective content analytics strategy

The implementation of a content analytics strategy as outlined in this article, should:

  • Capture new customers by extending product content into marketing strategies.
  • Increase revenue by providing product content during product verification.
  • Decrease time to value by offering self-service product content channels to customers and support agents.
  • Reduce churn by creating visibility for product content to create brand adopters and loyal customers.
  • Inform business strategies by identifying product content that is misaligned with strategic goals.

Implement a content analytics strategy

The key element to a successful content analytics strategy is a strong product content foundation and leveraging analytics to audit the effectiveness of that content across all strategic departments. This section outlines the steps for implementing a content analytics strategy.

Step 1: Assemble a content analytics strategy team

Since an effective content analytics strategy relies on the interdepartmental collaboration of your strategic-driven departments, assemble a team of analysts from each of the following departments (newly appoint if necessary): sales, marketing, content development, success and/or support.

Step 2: Establish audit baselines

To audit your marketing, sales, success and support goals, use built-in reporting functions of your customer engagement content platform (such as MindTouch reports), Google Analytics, or any other business intelligence tool that allows you to collect data around content use and user search and viewing behavior.

Marketing — Analyze research opportunities

After first exposure to any product, today’s buyers perform extensive research before deciding to invest in the product. To identify a potential lack of exposure of your product content in your marketing materials, collect the following intelligence:

  • Identify your content reach. Identify how many connection points exist between your web properties and product documentation. Can prospective customers research your product and access your product information directly from any of your web properties or applications?
  • Analyze your web search ranking. Analyze your web visibility. If a customer searches for product information, help documentation or answers to a specific task question, how many entries on the search engine’s results pages does a prospective customer have to scan to find your content? 
  • Survey your product messaging. Identify your most searched and viewed content and survey your content diversity strategy. Does your content strategy involve a persona-based, individualized approach, i.e. do you appeal to specialized groups of users?

Sales — Analyze buyer verification opportunities

Customers who are close to completing a purchase are often in need of buyer assurance, i.e. buyers want to verify specific product information such as specifications and features. To assure buyers, product content needs to be available at the right moment of doubt or insecurity. With user analytics tools (such as the MindTouch customer insights Touchpoint tool) integrated into your customer relationship management (CRM) system, identify whether your content strategy leads to lost sales.

  • Survey content gaps that stall sales. Survey which product content prospects search for and view the most during specific stages of the sales cycle. Do opportunities tend to drop off at a certain point during the sales process, e.g. after searching for specific content right after a product demo?
  • Identify causes of shopping cart abandonment. Identify the product content customers searched for and viewed right before they abandoned their shopping carts. Are you providing last-minute opportunities for buyers to verify a forgotten detail or to confirm a specific application?

Success — Analyze customer success crossroads

The most important metric of any customer-success oriented organization is--as the name suggests--the customer’s success. While measuring success can be tricky, user analytics tools (such as the MindTouch customer insights Touchpoint tool) integrated into your customer relationship management (CRM) system and surveying your communities can provide a clear picture when customers stop being successful and are looking for assistance elsewhere.

  • Identify struggling customers. Identify at what point customers stop looking for information and contact support or start interacting with communities. Are there specific tasks a lot of customers are struggling to accomplish and for which no help is available?
  • Identify success limitations. Identify customers who may be struggling with a specific feature or feature set or who encounter limitations with the product. Are other solutions or products in place that could help the customer to success?
  • Identify product adopters. Identify product adopters and brand advocates in your community platform who help struggling customers to success. Do these loyal customers have the tools to encourage other users to become product adopters?

Support — Analyze support interactions

Customers measure the quality of support by the time it takes to get an issue resolved. Use user analytics tools (such as the MindTouch customer insights Touchpoint tool) integrated into your customer relationship management (CRM) system and surveying communities and feedback to identify when and how customers reach out for more support.

  • Analyze ticket mean time to resolution. Analyze your mean time to resolution (MTTR) for support cases. How long does it take for a case to be resolved from first contact to closing the ticket?
  • Survey community engagement. Survey which tasks customers are posting on your community platform. Are there specific topics that keep surfacing?
  • Audit customer feedback. Audit any feedback customers provide, whether captured through personal interactions, surveys or via page feedback. Do customers give the same or similar feedback?   

Step 3: Put your analytics findings to work

  • If prospective customers cannot research your product because of lack of access to product content throughout the research stage, put mechanisms in place that provide pathways for specific personae to engage from anywhere on your website.
  • If your content does not rank well in search engines, and prospective customers have to flip through search results page after page to find your content, improve web visibility by adhering to search engine optimization (SEO) best practices and putting an SEO content strategy in place.
  • If your content strategy follows a one-solution-fits-all approach, but you find that your customers tend to search for task-specific content, personalize your messaging on your web properties and implement a persona-based approach.
  • If opportunities fail to transform into prospects at certain stages during the sales cycle, leverage a targeted product content strategy to ensure content supports the sales effort to a successful close.    
  • If customers cannot verify product information during a stage in the sales cycle or abandon their shopping carts, expose product content at the right moment with a product verification strategy.
  • If customers struggle to successfully accomplish a task, leverage your content development team to guide customers to success via learning paths, such as MindTouch Paths.
  • If customers struggle with certain features or limitations, provide them with opportunities in the product content to research upgrades to the product via, for example, MindTouch contextual help button Touchpoint tool.  
  • If product adopters regularly interact with your community to help solve problems, encourage them with tools and strengthen your relationship by implementing a community engagement strategy.
  • If your mean time to resolution exceeds your customer’s expectation. If customers express they are unhappy with the amount of time it takes to resolve a ticket, empower your customers and agents to self-serve and access immediate and up-to-date product content with a self-service product content portal.
  • If the same topics keep surfacing in your community, create self-service opportunities by embedding content search tools such as the MindTouch search-in-place Touchpoint tool into your community pages.
  • If customer feedback reveals similar concerns, carefully look at feedback that revolves around the same tasks, features and issues and implement any of the above solutions to provide tools for the customer to self-serve and succeed.  

Step 4: Implement your content analytics strategy

To make any of the above solutions work, create the product content that will help support the strategic goals for your sales, marketing, and success and support departments:

  1. If no central repository for your customer-facing documentation exists, leverage a customer engagement content platform such as MindTouch to house your documentation.
  2. If documentation exists that can address departmental analytics findings, decide on the appropriate vehicles to accomplish various departmental goals for the research, buy and succeed stages.
  3. If documentation does not yet exist, leverage your content analytics team to create or update the missing product documentation and to decide on the appropriate vehicles to accomplish the various departmental goals for the research, buy and succeed stages.

Step 5: Audit your content analytics strategy

To ensure the continued effectiveness of your content analytics strategy, periodically assemble your content analytics team and adjust strategies as necessary to meet departmental goals.

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