Why get serious about great web content? The ROI for investing in a content marketing program to drive demand generation is pretty clear.
Despite the fact that content marketing is likely the biggest buzzword in B2B marketing at the moment, and is the lynchpin of inbound marketing, many marketing teams are reporting dismal results from theiir efforts.
How do you become one of he winning sales organizations that is seeing this tremendous improvement in marketing generated revenue – over 600% increase? If you are attending Hubspot Inbound 2014 in Boston this week, you likely know that inbound marketing – primarily organic web visits – is a technique growing in importance to convert visitors to leads and sales at a far higher rate than outbound methods (ex: paid advertising) and also speed up prospect movement through the funnel.
In fact, SiriusDecisions reports that by 2015, over 71% of all new leads will come from inbound sources, and content is the key driver.
What kind of special sauce flavors content that works? Content that works accounts for our now socially connected business world. This world thrives on helpful, interesting and informative content for all the people (buyer personas) who may be in the market for your product or service.
Social aware content marketing doesn’t mean adding social sharing to your blog post or tweeting it (though you should). It means that your marketing content production has made the shift in understanding that we now live in a world with 3 degrees of separation – not 6. In this world, B2B buyers will work their network to scope out your product, search social connections for inside information and information-rich web sites for guidance well before they call your company and book a demo.
Buyers don’t need to talk to your sales people during early discovery periods — and they don’t want to. Lori Wizdo of Forrester reports that buyers are 65 – 90% of the way through the buyer journey before they ever reach out to your sales people, and that that point, you are already on the short list of vendors. If all your content reads like a product brochure, you are not doing content marketing; you are doing product marketing and you are not going to win.
A great socially aware content apporach is to act like a helpful, trustworthy and sharing friend.
- Share all the integrations you support. Let propects easily find the integration they are looking for.
- Do you have an API? Provide deep guidance and information on how to use it, and maybe a chat box.
- Produce a comprehensive, and continuously growing FAQ listing each individual problem or question and the answer. Make it searchable.
- The more of this type of content you produce, the more of those pre-sales discovery questions are answered on your web site or blog before your prospect reaches out to you.
The B2B product information shared socially through forums and professional group discussions offers allows networked individuals to share opinions about a vendor and its product, its usefulness, ease of use or deployment, buyer satisfaction and definitely how it compares to other vendors on everything including price. You can’t control these conversations – so how about helping them along. Provide links that support discussions, facts on integrations and anything else relevant to what is being said. Don’t interrupt with a sales pitch. You’ll literally hear the thud of the discussion stopping if you do.
Your content marketing will work then when your inbound web site supports this type of discovery. Make this content easy to find, and plan it into your marketing mix. Includes plans for posting relevant, helpful answers to problems on forums like Linkedin, Quora and community forums for your relevant buyer groups and with links back to your content. Make sure you have helpful content to let folks pre-determine whether buying what you are selling is going to be worth it (ROI calculators, case studies).
Getting started with great content doesn’t have to be a heavy lift – start by seeing if the most helpful information you could offer is on your website, in your social mix and if not, start adding it in and make sure it’s easy to discover (SEO and planning social sharing). Talk to your customer support people, and see if the answers they’ve already provided could be the basis for new and helpful content.
Taking these steps, and thinking of content in the social context, could put you on the road to those triple digits gains – the same kind of business gains that Hubspot is seeing for themselves.