There are three fundamental steps to online marketing. These are:
Step 1. Understand Buyer Personas
Step 2. Understand the buyers journey: Awareness, Engagement, Purchase
Step 3: Map Content to Stage:
- Awareness: blog, infographic, general market information
- Evaluate: case-study, ROI calculator, company-specific content
- Purchase: pricing, demos, evaluations, product-specific content
In the “awareness” stage, the buyer is simply learning more about the product or service. Content here should be “non-gated” (i.e. no request for email addresses, usernames or passwords, or other hoops to be jumped through.) Once the user has progressed from getting general information about the domain (e.g. by reading white-papers or other forms of thought-leadership), they generally transition to the “evaluation” stage. In this stage, simply gated information (email address/phone no.) should be requested before the buyer can access specific content about the nature of the product or service. This type of content should include case-studies, ROI calculators, user-cases, scenarios etc. After the buyer has consumed this content, they are ready to transition to the “purchase” stage. Here the buyer requests specific information (a demo, an evaluation, a download or free trial version of the product.) At this stage the buyer may need active assistance from a sales representative to assist in the buying process.
All content should be created with one or more of the three stages of the buyer persona in mind. In addition, content can and should be repurposed for different media. Examples of content media include:
- Blog posts
Content should be ungated, partially gated, or fully gated depending on which stage of the buyer persona is being targeted.
Tips for Better Content Marketing
- Use visual content to stand out (Look at “inbound content marketing” Marketo on Slideshare)
- Repurpose, Redesign, Retire – get rid of tired, old content
- Design programs to be measurable
- Make it easy for people to engage (e.g. make forms SHORT)
- Use multi-touch promotion for webinars and events
- Make every campaign social (share buttons, etc.) Enable referrals
- Follow-up FAST (For example, send an email of the webinar slides within 1-hr. of the completion of the webinar)
- Measure ROI – focus on decisions that improve ROI
Remember that content should be meaningful, actionable, shareable, findable, relevant (for the buyer), readable and consistent (online and offline).
Tips for Maximizing the Top of the Sales Funnel:
- Have a calendar plan: Year, Quarter, Month
- Decide how many emails, webinars, events you need for each quarter by working backwards from number of SQLs (Sales Qualified Leads) you need and therefore how many MQLs (Market Qualified Leads) you must generate.
- Test a mix of content offers for social: use VISUAL content (note that the “edgebreak” algorithm rewards graphics.)
- Use Twitter Website lead-gen cards: keep copy concise with a clear call to action.
- Add slides to slideshare.net and promote them there.
- Create and manage a blog.
- Set up regular webinars: calendar (.ics), fast follow-up (slides), social promotion. Rename webinars to clinic, workshop, etc. to spark interest.
- Post all sessions on website. Make slides and videos available.
- Use LinkedIn Promoted Posts: They are generally very successful for B2B. They can be targeted directly to specific titles, enterprises, industries, etc.
- Use paid email campaigns, but do tests and negotiate offers from email campaign vendors.
Tips for Email Nurturing:
- 30s rule – call to action must be transparent within 30 seconds.
- Quick informative download.
- Create “cool” accelerators for late-stage (e.g. donate to charity, play game etc.)
- Most leads aren’t ready. Engage them! Create relevant emails that match each of the buying stages.
- Have email campaigns that target: Buying Stages; Buying Profiles; Buying Needs.
- Use lead scoring and nurturing techniquest to qualify leads and determine when to pass on to sales (or disqualify.)
- It generally takes seven touches to turn a lead into a sale, and 5-21 people are involved in a deal. Therefore it is essential to track all customer touches across people (e.g. via Salesforce.)
Tips for Measuring Program ROI:
- Evaluate metrics that matter (no. of leads, vs. no. of qualified leads vs. no. of opportunities vs. no. of closed sales)
- Remember that the CxO suite only cares about opportunities and sales; web-site visits, downloads, etc. are “vanity” metrics and are IRRELEVANT if they don’t lead to more sales!
- Look at programs at different stages
- Determine the Pipeline to Cost ratio
- Determine the number of sales opportunities vs. program investment
Remember! Content powers lead generation, so focus on quality content. Leverage peer-peer content (user testimonials, use-cases, tweets, blogs etc.) Be sure to follow-up fast, and evaluate marketing campaigns by measuring appropriate metrics only: opportunities and sales (not “touches”, “opens”, etc.) Remember the mantra of real-time engagement: connect the right content to the right prospect at the right time.