Clever Content Marketing Campaigns to Inspire You

Content marketing is an effective lead generation tool, but coming up with ideas for content marketing campaigns can sometimes be a pain in the rear. If you’re finding that your idea bucket is running dry, you’re not alone. According to  Zazzle Media, 65% of companies find it challenging to produce engaging content, while 60% struggle to produce content consistently. 

zazzle content marketing stats

Unfortunately, content marketing is all about consistently producing engaging content to keep your visitors coming back, and hopefully turn them into customers. Producing lacklustre content on an irregular schedule means you’re losing out.

To help you keep your momentum going, we’ve compiled a list of some brilliant content marketing campaigns. We hope they inspire you!

Blogging Examples

When people think of content marketing campaigns, there’s a good chance they’re going to think about blogging first. Understandable, because blogging is a great content marketing tool. It allows you to provide helpful information, grab your visitors attention, it fuels your SEO efforts and it can be used to flesh out your social media presence. 

Here are just a few examples of companies getting blogging right. 

Buffer

Thanks to their three-pronged content marketing strategy, Buffer is definitely a prime example of someone getting content marketing right. A huge proponent of growth hacking, they used guest blogging to fuel their initial growth, publishing content multiple times per day on high-visibility sites. This strategy netted them their first 100,000 users.

On their own blog, they first wrote about people who influenced their customers. This allowed them to create highly shareable, high-quality content.

content marketing examples from the buffer blog

They now have four blogs, including the Open Blog, and the Transparency blogs. Here they share the ups and downs they’ve faced over the years. They also make use of email marketing with their content marketing campaigns to share their best content. 

A highly trusted and recognised brand, their results speak for themselves. They now have around a million social media followers, and close to 400k users. 

Hubspot

When you think of content marketing campaigns done right, you’re probably thinking about Hubspot. At least, they’re who I think about. In addition to creating free tools, Hubspot also uses content marketing campaigns through:

  • Writing in-depth blog posts regarding the problems their users are facing
  • Adding content upgrades like ebooks to their posts
  • Creating an educational content sharing hub, Inbound.org which receives 321,000 guests every month. This also provides an excellent chance for them to market their certification and partnership programs
  • Creating videos for Facebook and exploiting LinkedIn to send traffic to those videos
b2b content marketing examples - traffic to inbound.com

And their content marketing campaigns are definitely working, because they’re a multi-million dollar company.

Social Media Marketing Examples

While you may not immediately associate social media with content marketing campaigns, social shares are useful. They can indirectly boost search rankings, and this in turn is helpful for lead generation. Thus, it shouldn’t really be a surprise that some many companies use social media as a part of their content marketing strategy. 

GE

GE, or General Electric, is an inspiring source of B2B content marketing campaign examples. While some might consider them a dull business, specialising in wind turbines, jet engines, locomotives and so on, they have really brought it to life. Their Instagram content marketing campaign is a perfect example of this. 

content marketing examples on instagram - ge

Combining this campaign with influencer marketing, they roped six influencers and a few superfans into doing the #GEInstaWalk. They toured the GE manufacturing facilities, uploading selfies with the aforementioned hashtag. The only way to describe the results is ‘spectacular’. Through this campaign, they achieved:

  • 8 million account views for the GE Instagram account
  • 3 million reaches per tour
  • 3,000 new followers

And all of  it was done without any paid advertising.

Glossier

Glossier has received some attention for their abandoned cart emails, but they’re also a front-runner in content marketing campaigns. For one, they are excellent at making use of user-generated content to boost their own brand on Instagram.

Not only does this cut down on a lot of the content creation work, it also allows their audience to feel good about themselves when they get featured. This also results in even higher reach and engagement. Here’s an example from when they reposted a tweet from a fan on their Instagram account.

glossier ugc content marketing example

They also showcase some of their latest Instagram content on their homepage, which further attracts customers to the page. They must definitely be doing something right, because they currently have over a million followers. 

Tried-and-True Content Marketing Examples

Next, we have a few examples of content marketing campaigns which don’t rely on any social media promotion. 

John Deere

If you’re anything like me, you probably don’t think of John Deere when you think of examples of content marketing campaigns. But, apparently, most people know of The Furrow – purportedly one of the first examples of content marketing.

First published in 1895, the publication was designed to help customers of John Deere with any issues they faced. This served to demonstrate the company’s expertise, and show customers that they cared. 

the furrow is one of the world's oldest content marketing examples

Doesn’t this sound like exactly the point of modern content marketing? 

Even more amazing than the fact that John Deere basically started the content marketing craze, their publication is still going strong over 120 years later. It’s also now available online. Talk about moving with the times. 

AARP

Knowing your audience and understanding what they want is vital if you want to succeed with content marketing, an AARP is an excellent example of that.

what is content marketing - check out aarp's magazine

Their magazine has won multiple awards for it’s design and photography, as well as the quality of it’s content. The secret to their success is actually no secret at all. They listen to their audience, taking emails, letters and social media mentions, using the information they collect to determine exactly which topics will resonate most with their user base.

America’s largest consumer magazine, AARP The Magazine goes to 22 million households, and more than half of their 37 million readers have read three of the last four issues.

Visual Content Marketing Examples

According to Stone Temple Consulting tweets with images are 65% more likely to be retweeted. This serves to illustrate that images are the lifeblood of social media. Jeff Bullas also found that blog posts with images receive up to 94% more views. 

Our next batch of inspiring content marketing campaigns shows companies making good use of visual content to increase their brand’s visibility. 

Shutterstock

Shutterstock is basically a household name when it comes to images, and they’ve used their expertise to create a resource which is helpful for everyone: a report on creative trends.

shutterstock's content marketing example

People love reliable data, and reports are the kind of thing that get widely shared. One of their infographics attracted thousands of shares on social media, and attracted more than 6 billion visits to the site. This is according to the Content Marketing Institute.

They have since added interactivity to the resource, including music and video as well as images. This attracted over 100k shares. 

Video Marketing Examples

Video marketing has been gaining traction in the past few years, driving brand awareness and increasing lead generation, and sales. Therefore, it’s no surprise that so many of our examples of content marketing campaigns include videos.

Blendtec

Blendtec’s viral videos show that there really is no such thing as a boring industry. While blenders might seem like the most interesting subject matter, their appeal increases tenfold when you put weird stuff in them and try to blend it. Their  Will It Blend video series resulted in 700% increase in sales over three years, and really put their company on the map. 

Today, their Youtube channel has close to a million subscribers, and their campaign is still going strong. New videos attract hundreds of thousands of views. 

Old Spice

Everyone can think of at least one Old Spice, which is impressive for a brand that’s been around for nearly 100 years. Unfortunately, they haven’t always been this good at staying in touch with their core audience. About 10 years ago, they were losing ground to their competitors. 

Then, they created a humorous series of videos, which sometimes didn’t even mention the name of the brand. This allowed the brand to improve it’s image for the new generation. 

old spice video

Their original ad has over 55 million views, and the brand is still using the same approach, now with a series of videos  targeting teenage boys and their mothers. Also, they use Terry Crews. 

Ebooks and Resources Examples

Ebooks and other resources are an excellent way to increase brand awareness and generate leads. Here are a few examples of companies making good use of this type of content marketing campaign. 

LinkedIn

linkedIn can be an effective platform for B2B marketing, and nobody is more of an expert on LinkedIn marketing than LinkedIn itself. That’s why their ebook on their approach to LinkedIn marketing is such a winner. They have a landing page designed to whet the appetite with a series of stats and tips. This means that most users opt-in immediately. 

linkedin content marketing example

They have continued to put this strategy to good use with even more marketing guides, so it’s no doubt that it’s been working for them.

Other Content Marketing Examples

Not all content marketing campaigns fall into neat categories. Here are a few examples of content marketing campaigns which are a little bit different. 

Charmin

Charmin has always had a quirky sense of humour, and this carried through into the content marketing campaign we’re talking about now. Perfect for their customers, they created the Sit or Squat app, designed to help their users find clean bathrooms on the go. A pretty practical (and hilarious) example of an out-of-the-box content marketing campaign, the app has been downloaded more than 100k times. No one will forget about Charmin anytime soon. 

charmin content marketing example

Burberry

Definitely one of my favourite examples of content marketing campaigns was Burberry’s Burberry Kisses. Combining mobile technology with the innate desire to connect with others, the app allowed users to press their lips to the screen to send digital kisses to anyone. 

burberry kisses is one of the famous content marketing examples

This campaign also allowed people to use Google Maps and Street View to watch the journey their digital kisses took.

Lush

Most millennials know about Lush – and are probably right now thinking about the smell of their local store. While they might be known for their luxury bath bombs and extremely friendly staff, they’re also extremely successful with their content marketing campaigns. They make use of a wide range of content marketing techniques to engage with their audience.

The brand already resonates with their core audience, thanks to their ethical values, quirky product names (and don’t forget the friendly staff). But beyond that, they also use behind-the-scenes videos of the making of their products, and encourages their users to share photos and videos of their products in use.

content marketing campaigns

With more than 4 million followers, Instagram is definitely one of their main platforms. 

zazzle content marketing stats

Unfortunately, content marketing is all about consistently producing engaging content to keep your visitors coming back, and hopefully turn them into customers. Producing lacklustre content on an irregular schedule means you’re losing out.

To help you keep your momentum going, we’ve compiled a list of some brilliant content marketing campaigns. We hope they inspire you!

Blogging Examples

When people think of content marketing campaigns, there’s a good chance they’re going to think about blogging first. Understandable, because blogging is a great content marketing tool. It allows you to provide helpful information, grab your visitors attention, it fuels your SEO efforts and it can be used to flesh out your social media presence. 

Here are just a few examples of companies getting blogging right. 

Buffer

Thanks to their three-pronged content marketing strategy, Buffer is definitely a prime example of someone getting content marketing right. A huge proponent of growth hacking, they used guest blogging to fuel their initial growth, publishing content multiple times per day on high-visibility sites. This strategy netted them their first 100,000 users.

On their own blog, they first wrote about people who influenced their customers. This allowed them to create highly shareable, high-quality content.

content marketing examples from the buffer blog

They now have four blogs, including the Open Blog, and the Transparency blogs. Here they share the ups and downs they’ve faced over the years. They also make use of email marketing with their content marketing campaigns to share their best content. 

A highly trusted and recognised brand, their results speak for themselves. They now have around a million social media followers, and close to 400k users. 

Hubspot

When you think of content marketing campaigns done right, you’re probably thinking about Hubspot. At least, they’re who I think about. In addition to creating free tools, Hubspot also uses content marketing campaigns through:

  • Writing in-depth blog posts regarding the problems their users are facing
  • Adding content upgrades like ebooks to their posts
  • Creating an educational content sharing hub, Inbound.org which receives 321,000 guests every month. This also provides an excellent chance for them to market their certification and partnership programs
  • Creating videos for Facebook and exploiting LinkedIn to send traffic to those videos
b2b content marketing examples - traffic to inbound.com

And their content marketing campaigns are definitely working, because they’re a multi-million dollar company.

Social Media Marketing Examples

While you may not immediately associate social media with content marketing campaigns, social shares are useful. They can indirectly boost search rankings, and this in turn is helpful for lead generation. Thus, it shouldn’t really be a surprise that some many companies use social media as a part of their content marketing strategy. 

GE

GE, or General Electric, is an inspiring source of B2B content marketing campaign examples. While some might consider them a dull business, specialising in wind turbines, jet engines, locomotives and so on, they have really brought it to life. Their Instagram content marketing campaign is a perfect example of this. 

content marketing examples on instagram - ge

Combining this campaign with influencer marketing, they roped six influencers and a few superfans into doing the #GEInstaWalk. They toured the GE manufacturing facilities, uploading selfies with the aforementioned hashtag. The only way to describe the results is ‘spectacular’. Through this campaign, they achieved:

  • 8 million account views for the GE Instagram account
  • 3 million reaches per tour
  • 3,000 new followers

And all of  it was done without any paid advertising.

Glossier

Glossier has received some attention for their abandoned cart emails, but they’re also a front-runner in content marketing campaigns. For one, they are excellent at making use of user-generated content to boost their own brand on Instagram.

Not only does this cut down on a lot of the content creation work, it also allows their audience to feel good about themselves when they get featured. This also results in even higher reach and engagement. Here’s an example from when they reposted a tweet from a fan on their Instagram account.

glossier ugc content marketing example

They also showcase some of their latest Instagram content on their homepage, which further attracts customers to the page. They must definitely be doing something right, because they currently have over a million followers. 

Tried-and-True Content Marketing Examples

Next, we have a few examples of content marketing campaigns which don’t rely on any social media promotion. 

John Deere

If you’re anything like me, you probably don’t think of John Deere when you think of examples of content marketing campaigns. But, apparently, most people know of The Furrow – purportedly one of the first examples of content marketing.

First published in 1895, the publication was designed to help customers of John Deere with any issues they faced. This served to demonstrate the company’s expertise, and show customers that they cared. 

the furrow is one of the world's oldest content marketing examples

Doesn’t this sound like exactly the point of modern content marketing? 

Even more amazing than the fact that John Deere basically started the content marketing craze, their publication is still going strong over 120 years later. It’s also now available online. Talk about moving with the times. 

AARP

Knowing your audience and understanding what they want is vital if you want to succeed with content marketing, an AARP is an excellent example of that.

what is content marketing - check out aarp's magazine

Their magazine has won multiple awards for it’s design and photography, as well as the quality of it’s content. The secret to their success is actually no secret at all. They listen to their audience, taking emails, letters and social media mentions, using the information they collect to determine exactly which topics will resonate most with their user base.

America’s largest consumer magazine, AARP The Magazine goes to 22 million households, and more than half of their 37 million readers have read three of the last four issues.

Visual Content Marketing Examples

According to Stone Temple Consulting tweets with images are 65% more likely to be retweeted. This serves to illustrate that images are the lifeblood of social media. Jeff Bullas also found that blog posts with images receive up to 94% more views. 

Our next batch of inspiring content marketing campaigns shows companies making good use of visual content to increase their brand’s visibility. 

Shutterstock

Shutterstock is basically a household name when it comes to images, and they’ve used their expertise to create a resource which is helpful for everyone: a report on creative trends.

shutterstock's content marketing example

People love reliable data, and reports are the kind of thing that get widely shared. One of their infographics attracted thousands of shares on social media, and attracted more than 6 billion visits to the site. This is according to the Content Marketing Institute.

They have since added interactivity to the resource, including music and video as well as images. This attracted over 100k shares. 

Video Marketing Examples

Video marketing has been gaining traction in the past few years, driving brand awareness and increasing lead generation, and sales. Therefore, it’s no surprise that so many of our examples of content marketing campaigns include videos.

Blendtec

Blendtec’s viral videos show that there really is no such thing as a boring industry. While blenders might seem like the most interesting subject matter, their appeal increases tenfold when you put weird stuff in them and try to blend it. Their  Will It Blend video series resulted in 700% increase in sales over three years, and really put their company on the map. 

Today, their Youtube channel has close to a million subscribers, and their campaign is still going strong. New videos attract hundreds of thousands of views. 

Old Spice

Everyone can think of at least one Old Spice, which is impressive for a brand that’s been around for nearly 100 years. Unfortunately, they haven’t always been this good at staying in touch with their core audience. About 10 years ago, they were losing ground to their competitors. 

Then, they created a humorous series of videos, which sometimes didn’t even mention the name of the brand. This allowed the brand to improve it’s image for the new generation. 

old spice video

Their original ad has over 55 million views, and the brand is still using the same approach, now with a series of videos  targeting teenage boys and their mothers. Also, they use Terry Crews. 

Ebooks and Resources Examples

Ebooks and other resources are an excellent way to increase brand awareness and generate leads. Here are a few examples of companies making good use of this type of content marketing campaign. 

LinkedIn

linkedIn can be an effective platform for B2B marketing, and nobody is more of an expert on LinkedIn marketing than LinkedIn itself. That’s why their ebook on their approach to LinkedIn marketing is such a winner. They have a landing page designed to whet the appetite with a series of stats and tips. This means that most users opt-in immediately. 

linkedin content marketing example

They have continued to put this strategy to good use with even more marketing guides, so it’s no doubt that it’s been working for them.

Other Content Marketing Examples

Not all content marketing campaigns fall into neat categories. Here are a few examples of content marketing campaigns which are a little bit different. 

Charmin

Charmin has always had a quirky sense of humour, and this carried through into the content marketing campaign we’re talking about now. Perfect for their customers, they created the Sit or Squat app, designed to help their users find clean bathrooms on the go. A pretty practical (and hilarious) example of an out-of-the-box content marketing campaign, the app has been downloaded more than 100k times. No one will forget about Charmin anytime soon. 

charmin content marketing example

Burberry

Definitely one of my favourite examples of content marketing campaigns was Burberry’s Burberry Kisses. Combining mobile technology with the innate desire to connect with others, the app allowed users to press their lips to the screen to send digital kisses to anyone. 

burberry kisses is one of the famous content marketing examples

This campaign also allowed people to use Google Maps and Street View to watch the journey their digital kisses took.

Lush

Most millennials know about Lush – and are probably right now thinking about the smell of their local store. While they might be known for their luxury bath bombs and extremely friendly staff, they’re also extremely successful with their content marketing campaigns. They make use of a wide range of content marketing techniques to engage with their audience.

The brand already resonates with their core audience, thanks to their ethical values, quirky product names (and don’t forget the friendly staff). But beyond that, they also use behind-the-scenes videos of the making of their products, and encourages their users to share photos and videos of their products in use.

content marketing campaigns

With more than 4 million followers, Instagram is definitely one of their main platforms. 

Facebook Ads vs. Google Ads: Which Is Better?

As specialists in digital marketing, hundreds of customers have asked us this question: “Which is better for my business, Google Ads vs. Facebook Ads?” Almost every time, we have the same answer! 

Both are great and, depending on your company, your audience, and your goals. But yes, one can be better than the other. 

The Big Debate on Google Ads vs Facebook Ads

We recognize that small companies also have a restricted marketing budget and it can be incredibly difficult to determine where to put their dollars. If you don’t fully appreciate the difference between Google Ads vs Facebook Ads, it can be even more challenging. 

Which is why we are taking it upon ourselves to settle this debate once and for all and add some clarity to the situation. Additionally, we want to help fellow business owners determine, in the end, which one gets the best return on their investment in marketing.

Let’s start by looking at some of the primary differences between the two, before jumping straight to the part where we tell you which one gets you a better ROI in the epic fight of Google Ads vs Facebook Ads.

What are Google Ads?

The advances in technology over the years have given us more options, both as advertisers and even customers, than we could possibly have expected in our lives. As a consequence, how we search, send, and obtain information has changed. How to search for and buy items today has also changed drastically.

Google is one such internet firm that has not only welcomed change but helped foster it. Google was created in 1998 and is a search engine that almost 70% of internet users use to search for anything and anything under the sun. More than 40,000 search queries are processed every second by Google currently, more than 3 billion every day and a little more than a trillion per year.

And this steady growth has been seen since the beginning of 2000. Imagine how this has and will continue to affect the marketing world. 

Formerly known as Google AdWords, Google Ads has become one of the largest and most successful PPC advertising channels in the world. This means that advertisers on this website only pay when their ad is clicked on by a customer. Other search engines use similar techniques on their own platforms. Yet, Google is so widely used by users and marketers that the term paid search is most often related to Google Advertising.

Facebook Ads vs. Google Ads

A fast Google search for “house cleaners near me” is seen in the image above. Note how all of the listings are labelled in the top right corner of the screen with a green “Ad” label to the left of the listing or “Supported” label. Not only did Google show me the most appropriate advertisements for my search query, but they also showed me relevant results based on my location.

What are Facebook Ads?

If Google Advertising is popularly referred to as pay-as-you-go search, then Facebook Ads will most certainly be given the title of paid social search. Changing customer habits and trends have undeniably given rise to social media giants that let consumers interact with their friends, express complaints about their lives, and engage with themes and businesses they like. 

In the previous post, we clarified why owners of companies need to include Facebook ads in their marketing strategies. We illustrate how Facebook has today become a social force with 2.27 billion active monthly users (and counting). 

The most tangible advantage of Facebook over Google is that it understands our social conduct.

We may not be completely aware of this, but we subconsciously share more information about ourselves on Facebook than we want to do. 

Yeah, Facebook is gathering a lot of data. Even more than you even know. The pages you like, the subjects you participate in, your friends, your date of birth, your current place, your holiday in 2018, and so on. Imagine what value such a data bank would have generated for advertisers looking to target individual users. And these feelings, our attitudes and what we want have a significant effect on our buying decisions.

Introducing Facebook Ads!

For this reason alone, Facebook Advertising remains popular with many small business owners as they provide the opportunity to recognize your target customer and only advertise to people who are actually likely to buy your product or service. 

Another example of this is the Facebook Google Quest. You may have seen some Facebook advertisements for goods or services you’ve already studied. Then, you might find yourself wondering, “How does Facebook know what I’ve been looking for on Google? “Facebook itself does not know this detail, but if a company is affiliated with or linked to Facebook, that data can be used to view their ads on your Facebook feed. 

This level of precision is something that not many advertising channels can do, at least not in as much detail.

What Exactly is the ROI for Google Ads vs Facebook Ads? How Do We Determine It?

There was a time when conventional outlets, such as print advertising, were going-to-market tactics for business owners. Relying on mass communications in local newspapers, and then hoping that somebody would see their ad and visit them to make a purchase. Not knowing for sure how successful their new advertising campaign was. 

We’ve come a long way from that time. Today, business owners and marketers have sophisticated digital resources at their disposal. Newer advertising technologies allow them to advertise their companies in various ad formats while targeting particular customers. 

It gets even better… 

Computer science and data analytics have made it possible to track these promotions and count the conversions down to the very hour they occur. It’s awesome how advertising networks tag every visit to your website that happens via advertisements. Furthermore, the tag accompanies them even when they make a transaction or bounce off. This level of detail ensures that there is more data than ever before to help you maximize the success of your campaign. 

Our Recommendation

If the decision is focused on the return on the actual investment dollars invested, Google Ads has always proven to be the undisputed king. The fact that we’ve all managed to make more transactions while using less ad spending helps to highlight the efficacy of Google Advertising in terms of ROI. 

If you’re a new company and need to make a difficult decision based on making more revenue right now, Google’s lead campaign will give you a stronger return on investment, based on sales performance. 

While Google Ads typically require a larger advertising budget, they also require experience. Google aims to deliver the best to its customer, so you’ve got to deliver the same. The quality of your ad and website content, rather than your ad budget, is a big Google ranking factor. To make sure you are the triple threat that you want to be, we strongly recommend partnering with an agency that has advertising experts in your field. 

So that’s the gist of it. If you’re a new business with a decent budget and a clear target, Google Ads could be the best choice for you. Especially when you’re looking for a simple response in the war between Google Ads and Facebook Ads.

The Flip Side to Our Recommendation

Without a question, Facebook Ads should be at the core of the marketing campaign of the business owner. Especially when it comes to his / her paid social strategy. Not only does it give you a deeper insight into the social behavior of your audience, but it also helps you to create a social community around your company. 

One that we all know is the most significant factor in business growth – word of mouth. No other advertisement channel has greater influence when it comes to building communities and fan interactions around businesses like Facebook. 

Facebook Advertising ‘return on investment is much broader than something that can be calculated by a dollar sum alone. We all know the tremendous potential of the channel and how great a crowd puller it can be. This makes them a powerful advertising platform. 

As we have said, every company is different. 

With a range of items and exclusive customer profiles.

This means what could work for one business owner, maybe not another. This is definitely true when you judge your return on investment in advertising. 

The Final Decision 

Sure, in this particular debate, we had a definite winner. But the wider question between paid search and paid social search is obviously one that needs a lot of research for several different variables. We also recognize that the solution is not always as straightforward as the one we have addressed today. Option depends on a number of factors, such as your business goals, your form of business or your consumer base. They all have an equal role to play in the success of the campaign and the success of the ROI. 

The choice might not always be apparent. However, we also recommend that business owners look beyond ROI. Consider evaluating promotions based on the overall benefit they add to your business. Even in the case of Google Advertising vs Facebook Ads. Value may be anything from creating brand recognition to meeting potential buyers, to getting more leads, conversions, and transactions. 

We’re going to tie it up and leave you with the following thought: 

Google Advertising will help you find potential customers right away. This gives you an immediate return on your marketing investment in the process. Though Facebook Advertising is helping new customers discover and explore you. And this way, in the long run, give you a better ROI.

Digital Marketing Experts to Inspire You

To succeed in digital marketing today, you have to stand out from the crowd. If you’re interested in striving to be the very best in your field, standing out and taking risks? If so, then today’s blog is for you. We’ve compiled a list of some of the top digital marketing experts for you to follow, learn from and occasionally even emulate, along with a few of our favourite quotes. 

RAND FISHKIN

Founder and former CEO of MOZ

digital marketing experts
Founder of MOZ, a household name in SEO, Rand Fishkin is a world leader in the field of search engine optimization tools, resources and community. Follow Rand on Twitter to keep up with his SEO and social media tips, along with his “Whiteboard Friday” videos.

Our Favourite Quotes

“Don’t conflate revenue with success, especially not long term. Many of the best things we’ve done have cost or lost money in the short run, but built a better brand over the years because of it.”

“Tell a story. Make it true. Make it compelling. And make it relevant.”

“Best way to sell something: don’t sell anything. Earn the awareness, respect, and trust of those who might buy.”

NEIL PATEL

Founder of Crazy Egg, Quick Sprout, and KISSMetrics 

digital marketing experts
If you don’t know Neil Patel, you obviously haven’t been in digital marketing very long. He’s one of the world’s most respected marketers, and writes on social media, content marketing and SEO at his website, neilpatel.com.
With more than a million followers on social media, Neil Patel is a NY Times bestselling author, has been named a top 100 entrepreneur under 30 by former President Barack Obama and his skill endorsements on LinkedIn are maxed out at “99+.”
It’s difficult to overstate just how influential Neil Patel really is in the digital marketing sphere. 

Our Favourite Quotes

“If you frequent a local coffee shop for example, they know you personally.  They might even have your coffee order just the way you like it ready as you step up to the counter.  Why is that not happening on the web?  Why can’t we help businesses re-create that warm and fuzzy feeling online.”

“[The biggest mistake I ever made?] I lost over a million dollars into a hosting company. It was my worst investment to date. The idea we had was great, but the people who ran it weren’t rockstars. The big lesson I learned… ideas are a dime a dozen, it is all about the people.”

“Learn from your mistakes. The number one reason I see entrepreneurs failing isn’t because they make mistakes, but they keep on making the same ones over and over again. Learn from them and avoid making the same ones over again.”

SHAMA HYDER

Founder and CEO of Marketing Zen

digital marketing experts
 An entrepreneur, best-selling author, and online and television personality, Shama Hyder has been called the “Zen Master of Marketing” by Entrepreneur Magazine and the “Millennial Master of the Universe” by FastCompany.com. One of the Top 30 under 30 entrepreneurs in the field of marketing according to Forbes, Businessweek, and Inc, she has also been named one of LinkedIn’s Top 10 Voices in Marketing for four years in a row.

Our Favourite Quotes

“I think regardless of the type of field you want to be in, what’s really important is figuring out how you’re going to add value to that given field.”

“Great marketing happens on both levels (digital and physical) and the more on leaks into the other, the stronger (and more effective) the marketing becomes.”

“You have to work three times as hard to get half the results you did three years ago when it comes to marketing. That’s just the way it is today.”

GARY VAYNERCHUCK

New York Times bestselling author, speaker, internet personality, and co-founder of Resy and Empathy Wines

digital marketing experts
No list of digital marketing experts would be complete without Gary Vaynerchuck, who hardly needs introducing. Follow his Twitter feed to keep up with him.

Our Favourite Quotes

“Life shrinks and expands on the proportion of your willingness to take risks and try new things.”

“Live your passion. What does that mean, anyway? It means that when you get up for work every morning, every single morning, you are pumped because you get to talk about or work with or do the thing that interests you the most in the world. You don’t live for vacations because you don’t need a break from what you’re doing—working, playing, and relaxing are one and the same. You don’t even pay attention to how many hours you’re working because to you, it’s not really work. You’re making money, but you’d do whatever it is you’re doing for free.”

“Being unafraid of making mistakes makes everything easy for me. Not worrying about what people think frees you to do things, and doing things allows you to win or learn from your loss—which means you win either way. Hear me now: you are better off being wrong ten times and being right three than you are if you try only three times and always get it right.”

TIM FERRISS

Entrepreneur, investor, author, and podcaster

digital marketing experts
Probably best known for the Four-Minute Work Week, Tim Ferriss is a prolific entrepreneur and one of the digital marketing experts we look up to the most. Author of multiple best-selling books, with a blog and podcast that reach millions of listeners, he has been named one of Fast Company’s most innovative businesspeople and is one of Fortune’s “40 under 40”.

Our Favourite Quotes

“Being able to quit things that don’t work is integral to being a winner”

 “A person’s success in life can usually be measured by the number of uncomfortable conversations he or she is willing to have.” 

“Never automate something that can be eliminated, and never delegate something that can be automated or streamlined. Otherwise, you waste someone else’s time instead of your own, which now wastes your hard-earned cash.”

ANN HANDLEY

Author and Contributor to Entrepreneur Magazine, LinkedIn, Influencer Program and Huffington Post

digital marketing experts
Author, trainer, consultant and the head of Content at MarketingProfs, Ann Handley is an expert on marketing writing. She insists you can’t be a good marketer if you can’t write (and we tend to agree). Follow her at annhandley.com where she blogs about how important good writing is for improving your marketing performance. She co-authored the best-selling book Content Rules: How to Create Killer Blogs, Podcasts, Videos and Webinars That Engage and Ignite

Our Favourite Quotes

“The truth is this: writing well is part habit, part knowledge of some fundamental rules, and part giving a damn.”

“Done right, the content you create will position your company not as just a seller of stuff, but as a reliable source of information.”

“So instead of viewing your story or content as a static and pristine object owned by your site, think of it as a social object that can be taken, retold, and shared by others.”

SETH GODIN

Entrepreneur and author of nineteen international bestsellers

digital marketing experts
An expert on the subject of unconventional entrepreneurship, and undoubtedly one of the best known digital marketing experts, Seth Godin has been educating the world for more than three decades, and 18 of his books are best-sellers, must-reads for anyone interested in becoming a business owner. On his blog, he posts his insights on all things marketing. He also has a podcast,  and on his podcast Akimbo, offers courses on Udemy, and books regular speaking engagements. One of his most famous speeches, his TED talk “How to Get Your Ideas to Spread,” has over 1.5 million views.

Our Favourite Quotes

“Remarkable marketing is the art of building things worth noticing right into your product or service. Not slapping on marketing as a last-minute add-on, but understanding that if your offering itself isn’t remarkable, it’s invisible.”

 “And yet the real success goes to those who obsess. A woodpecker can tap twenty times on a thousand trees and get nowhere, but stay busy. Or he can tap twenty-thousand times on one tree and get dinner.”

“As new forms of media develop and clutter becomes ever more intense, it’s the asset of permission that will generate profits for marketers.”

GUY KAWASAKI

Marketing specialist, author, and Silicon Valley venture capitalist

digital marketing experts
Another one of our favourite digital marketing experts, Guy is a veteran of social media and noted brand evangelist. He writes and Tweets on a wide range of online marketing topics, which are widely followed. Follow Guy on Twitter.
A self-described “chief evangelist,” Kawasaki is famous for his marketing work at Apple in the ’80’s, and today works at online graphic design company Canva in much the same role. He’s also, according to his website, a brand ambassador for Mercedes Benz and an Executive Fellow of UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business. He holds degrees from Stanford and UCLA.

Our Favourite Quotes

“Do not write to impress others. Authors who write to impress people have difficulty remaining true to themselves. A better path is to write what pleases you and pray that there are others like you. Your first and most important reader is you. If you write a book that pleases you, at least you know one person will like it.”

“Defy the crowd. The crowd isn’t always wise. It can also lead you down a path of silliness, sub-optimal choices, and downright destruction. Enchantment is as necessary for people to diverge from a crowd as it is to get people to join one.”

“The biggest daily challenge of social media is finding enough content to share. We call this “feeding the Content Monster.” There are two ways to do this: content creation and content curation.”

How Content Marketing Can Help You Generate B2B Sales Leads

According to the 2019 trends report released by The Content Marketing Institute, 78% of B2B marketers already make use of content marketing. The most successful of these have a well-documented content marketing strategy. Another study by MarketingProfs and ContentMarketing puts the number even higher, at 91%

On average, B2B marketers are spending up to  33% of their marketing budget on content marketing.

Unfortunately, having said this, not all marketers get it right, and executing your content marketing the wrong way can lead to frustration and mediocre results. In a study by CMI, only around 30% of B2B marketers claimed that their organisations effectively implemented content marketing.

WHY IS CONTENT MARKETING IMPORTANT

Content is the foundation of a good and healthy website, and search engines like Google prioritise websites with a decent amount of content. SEO and lead generation are all about increasing time on page and building engagement. You can do this by following the EAT guidelines with your content. 

  • Expertise
  • Authority
  • Trust

By positioning yourself as an expert in your field, your content automatically gains more authority. The more authority your content has, the more your audience will trust you. In turn, having the trust of your audience is vital for improving your search rankings. 

Why is any of this important?

The top five results on the search engine results page (SERP) receive 67.6% of all clicks

HOW TO GENERATE LEADS THROUGH CONTENT MARKETING

Now that we’ve had a bit of an introduction, how do you actually generate B2B sales leads with content marketing? Content marketing is a wide field, with dozens of subfields. Here are just a few of the ways you can generate B2B sales leads with content marketing.

The Basics

  • Host a webinar. Choose a topic that should appeal to your target audience and host a webinar on that topic. Remember though, webinars are not the time to sell your product or service. They’re for informing your target audience about a topic they’re already interested in, or answering some of their questions. Webinars are a relatively low-cost way of getting your message in front of a large audience, and to generate a good amount of leads. 
  • Publish research reports. Using research reports as lead magnets can be a great source of leads, especially in the B2B sector. Most businesses know the value of research, so they’ll often be more than likely to share their contact information in exchange.
  • Publish videos. Videos are no doubt the content with the most current appeal, and the most viral potential. After all, Youtube is currently the second largest search engine in the world. If videos are not a part of your content marketing strategy, you’re losing out on one of the biggest sources of lead-generating content. 
  • Create blogs. Obviously, blogs are far and away the best form of content. As long as you do them right, blogs are more likely to appear on the SERP than any other type of content. Blogging effectively can allow you to dominate the SERP, build authority and gain recognition and trust from your target audience. 

Of course, all of these mediums can be used together. For instance, you can publish the results of a research paper on your blog. You could publish video snippets of your webinar to your Youtube channel. Announce your upcoming webinar on your blog. You can use each technique in tandem with the others. 

Why Your Content Marketing Isn’t Working

Right now, more B2B companies are using content marketing than ever before. It’s definitely one of the most effective forms of marketing available today. Unfortunately, most businesses dive in head first, creating content randomly without first devising a strategy. Often, they’re blithely assuming that their audience wants to read endless blogs about their products or services, or watch 20-minute product tutorials and testimonial videos. As a result, many content marketing campaigns fall flat at the first hurdle. They fail to generate the leads businesses think they will.

There’s a simple reason for this. 

“Content without strategy is just stuff.” – Arjun Basu

The internet is a massive place, and there’s a ton of content out there. Some of it’s good, some isn’t. A lot of it is entirely out of data. So the main challenge in generating leads with content marketing becomes offering relevant, useful and helpful content that your audience actually wants to read.

Most people don’t have the time to read content that doesn’t answer their pertinent questions – especially in the B2B sector. The bitter truth is, they don’t care about your product or service. They also don’t care about your new office, or the latest office birthday. They want answers to their questions, and solutions to their problems.

Besides these basic mistakes, there are a few other reasons you could be failing to generate B2B sales leads with your content marketing:

  • Lack of detailed strategy
  • Lack of buyer personas
  • No clear goals or KPIs
  • Lack of creativity or differentiation
  • No promotional activity

In this digital age, there are few things that audiences want, besides the answers and solutions we mentioned above. They want product comparisons and accurate reviews, as well as pricing documents.

If you’re not offering any of the above, there’s a good chance that your visitors will just click away.

Content Marketing Tips

If you want to generate B2B sales leads with content marketing, there are a few things to keep in mind.

Help People Do Their Jobs

Your B2B content should, above all else, be useful. Whereas B2C content can be either educational or humorous, the target audience in the B2B sector is on the job. They need to sell your solution to the people they work with. The easiest way to generate B2B sales leads with your content is to solve a problem that they’re having – make their jobs easier. 

You can do this by researching your audience, including the positions they’re likely to hold and the common problems they face. With these factors, you can start building a buyer persona (or multiple) and applying that persona to the content you create. 

As an example, when health information management company Ciox Health wanted to launch into a new market, they launched a six-part content series of informative and important information. This included a video, checklist and a listicle. 

generate B2B sales leads

This content provided legal firms with the information they needed to streamline the process of retrieving medical records. This campaign reached 1,884 potential prospects and achieved an Open Rate of 42.8% and a CTR of 14.5%. 

Deliver the Right Content at the Right Time

Though you might have created a great piece of content, and it might be getting good traffic, there’s no guarantee that the audience you’re attracting will be ready to make a purchase. Why? Maybe you’re delivering your content at the wrong time. If you’re not delivering content to your audience based on their position in the funnel, it’s unlikely that they will convert. 

Think about it like this. When you meet someone new, unless the stars have aligned, you don’t jump right into being best friends. Rather, you make a bit of small talk, and get to know each other over time. The same principle applies to content marketing. 

If your content isn’t converting, maybe it’s because you’re treating brand new acquaintances like old friends.

So, what’s the solution?

Create a segmented strategy with different goals for different content, making use of different buyer personas in varying stages of the funnel.

Gate Your Content

One of the most obvious ways to generate B2B sales leads with your content marketing is to gate it. Offer access to your content in exchange for the readers information – their name, email address and company, for example. This is something that HubSpot does particularly well. 

Of course, it won’t work for every piece of content, and it won’t work for every business. 

If you’re not sure which content is worth gating, here are some examples of the pieces of content which are considered most valuable:

  • Whitepapers and industry research
  • Exclusive eBooks
  • Expert-led training and webinars 

Don’t Forget About Social Media

Though we discussed social media at length in the previous post, it works especially well in conjunction with content marketing. Many B2B buyers have social media profiles, and by sharing links to your content, you can catch them in their down-time and ‘plant the seed’ in their mind. From social media, you can drive them to informative landing pages, or get them to engage with your content. 

FINAL THOUGHTS

Content marketing sometimes gets a bit of a bad rap in the B2B sector, but the truth is, it can be an amazing source of leads. The key to content marketing success is to know your audience. Know their problems, and the questions they have, and provide the answers and solutions they’re looking for. According to research by the Content Marketing Institute, 90% of the best-performing B2B companies are hyper-focussed on their audience’s informational needs. 

Don’t limit yourself to just blogs. Find the type of content that works best for you and works best for your audience. For some, this may be online courses and webinars. For others, it may be whitepapers and other industry research. No matter what your strategy, put your audience’s needs first, and always be testing. 

How to Develop a Killer B2B Content Marketing Strategy

With this guide, we’ll show you how to build an effective, lead-generating B2B content marketing strategy.

Just by the fact that you’re reading this blog post, you should hopefully know that we are major proponents of content marketing. Content marketing works. While it’s not just as simple as slapping together a 600-word blog post twice a month, it’s an effective source of leads when done correctly.

According to the 2019 trends report released by The Content Marketing Institute, 78% of B2B marketers already make use of content marketing. The most successful of these have a well-documented content marketing strategy. Another study by MarketingProfs and ContentMarketing puts the number even higher, at 91%.

On average, B2B marketers are spending up to  33% of their marketing budget on content marketing.

Unfortunately, having said this, not all marketers get it right, and executing your content marketing the wrong way can lead to frustration and mediocre results. In a study by CMI, only around 30% of B2B marketers claimed that their organisations effectively implemented content marketing.

WHY IS CONTENT MARKETING IMPORTANT

Content is the foundation of a good and healthy website, and search engines like Google prioritise websites with a decent amount of content. SEO and lead generation are all about increasing time on page and building engagement. You can do this by following the EAT guidelines with your content. 

  • Expertise
  • Authority
  • Trust

By positioning yourself as an expert in your field, your content automatically gains more authority. The more authority your content has, the more your audience will trust you. In turn, having the trust of your audience is vital for improving your search rankings. 

Why is any of this important?

The top five results on the search engine results page (SERP) receive 67.6% of all clicks

WHAT IS CONTENT MARKETING?

Content marketing is an approach whereby businesses use content – blogs, eBooks, case studies, market research, videos, podcasts and so on – to attract, engage and convert website visitors. 

It’s the most cost-effective marketing strategy and can help support a business’ long-term objectives, be they brand awareness, lead generation, revenue or growth.

A content marketing strategy is essentially the plan of attack; how these content assets are brainstormed, created, published and promoted to meet a particular objective.

So, think about the following questions:

  • Who are you creating content for? 
  • What are the problems you are trying to solve?
  • What makes your content unique?
  • Which keywords do you want to be found for? 
  • What content types are you going to use? 
  • Do you have a CMS to create and publish content?
  • What channels will you use for promotion?
  • What are your main KPIs?
  • Do you have content you can repurpose to start with?

Where do you start with a B2B content marketing strategy?

  • Set goals
  • Create buyer personas
  • Run a content audit to identify gaps 
  • Brainstorm content ideas
  • Keywords and search intent 
  • Use topic clusters in your content strategy
  • Other content brainstorming methods you can use 
  • Choose the right content types
  • Create a market research report
  • Work out how you’ll create and manage content 
  • Leverage your existing workforce as spokespeople and content creators
  • Content promotion and amplification
  • Paid advertising 
  • Email marketing 
  • How does content help you to generate leads?
  • Track and report on the performance of content 
  • Repurpose and update content

Content is still king.

Though more than two decades have passed since Bill Gates’ seminal article, Content is King (1996), content marketing remains – and overwhelmingly so – the single-most powerful and cost-effective means of B2B lead generation.

B2B Content Marketing Strategy

Nowadays, every business understands the power of content marketing; they’ve heard the praises, seen the reviews and read the statistics. If they haven’t, they’re already long behind the competition.

According to the Content Marketing Institute, content marketing gets three times more leads than paid search advertising (Content Marketing Institute, 2017). Similarly, 72% of marketers said that having a good content strategy was “key to their success in 2018”. (B2B Content Marketing, 2018 via HubSpot). 

But while every business understands the value of content, few implement content marketing campaigns or strategies properly. Indeed – in 2018, only 39% of marketers had a documented content marketing strategy, and while that number jumped to 65% in 2019 – there’s still a whopping 35% of marketers without one.

Who Are You Creating Content For?

It’s a question we often ask prospects and clients and, for many of them, it’s the first time they’ve really thought about it.

Some of them have answers, of course – business leaders, marketing managers, technicians, engineers – but few have gone about researching their customer base and identifying the challenges they have before creating a B2B content marketing strategy.

As a result, the content they create (while well-written and interesting) can be wide of the mark and fails to resonate with their target audience(s). Sure, it reaches people and receives views – but there’s no engagement beyond that initial click or view.

Eventually, they become frustrated with how B2B content marketing can take a long time to provide results – gradually reducing the amount of content they create – and invest their time and efforts elsewhere.

But the great thing about content creation is that there’s never a bad time to get started. You just need to ensure you know who you want to speak to and how to speak to them before you start creating.

An example from another world…

In banking – there’s a process called ‘Know Your Customer’, alternatively known as know your client or simply ‘KYC’.

This process is essentially where a business verifies the identity of its clients and assesses their suitability for particular products or services, along with the potential risks of illegal intentions – i.e. money laundering.

It’s a well-established process but ultimately, it enables banks and other financial institutions to know who they are dealing with and tailor their products and services accordingly.

And it isn’t limited to just banking. In some way, shape or form, every industry has its own routine to identifying and understanding target customers and in marketing, we use ‘buyer personas’.

What Problems Are You Trying to Solve?

As harsh as it sounds, marketing isn’t about you. It’s not about your brand; not about your product either, and it’s not about what you do.

It’s all about helping your customers.

Your B2B content marketing strategy should, therefore, focus on solving the business challenges your customers have. They want answers, help and advice – they don’t want to be sold to.

By educating customers, demonstrating you get what they’re going through and can help them resolve their challenges, you can quickly build trust.

So, what are the problems you are trying to solve?

It all comes back to your buyer personas: what are their pain points, business challenges, and drivers for change? Once you have this information, you can start creating content that really does resonate with your target audience.

What Makes Your Content Unique?

OK, here’s the kicker: even if you create a B2B content marketing strategy, there’s no guarantee that your content will generate views, traction, leads, sales – at least, not until you create stuff that’s unique and interesting.

It’s all well and good writing blogs, eBooks, etc – but if you’re saying the same thing your competitors or other businesses are saying, people won’t get any value from it.

But perhaps more importantly – a lot of the content available doesn’t answer the ‘difficult questions’, provide comparisons or suit the way that people search or educate themselves.

The responsibility falls to you, as an expert in your particular area, to answer the questions that people have, provide comparisons so that they might educate themselves, and ensure the content you produce is 10x better than what’s out there already.

Many companies have forgotten they sell to actual people. Humans care about the entire experience, not just the marketing or sales or service. To really win in the modern age, you must solve for humans.

— Dharmesh Shah, CTO & Co-Founder, HubSpot

What content types are you going to use?

When we talk about ‘content types’ we’re referring to blogs, eBooks, case studies, infographics, videos – essentially what kind of content asset you’re going to create. 

Each content type has its advantages and disadvantages – and how and where you use them will affect overall engagement. For example, a short promotional video on Instagram will be infinitely better than a blog post on the same topic on LinkedIn. 

In today’s world, it would be accurate to say we’re in the age of video and consumable media. Think Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok. People like watching things. It’s easy and more engaging. Reading still has a place at the table but that’s often reserved for when people – your prospects – have time to do so… and more often than not, they don’t.

You also have to think about how your target audience goes about consuming media and where they hang out online. Your B2B content marketing strategy needs to be built around how your prospects like to consume content.

According to Smart Insights, the top-performing content assets are:

  • Long-form content
  • White papers
  • Videos
  • Resource pages
  • Websites 
  • Guest blogs

Creating Out of This World Content – The Advertising Hour Podcast

Recently, our founder Raj Anand had the privilege to join Scott Colenutt on The Advertising Hour podcast. During their chat, Raj and Scott took a look at the GL journey; how the company began and how it transformed into what it is now. Spoiler alert: it didn’t necessarily start with content writing. It’s been a long and winding road full of challenges and lessons learned.

Raj sheds some light on how we work with our clients in a collaborative way. It’s all about being flexible and making sure we understand their requirements depending on where they are in their content marketing journey. We assign a fully fledged content writing team, including a project manager, editor, and writers to each client. This helps us make sure that every possible base is covered. Content marketing is never a one-person show; there’s more to it than writing simple text.

gl content writing on the advertising hour

This episode tackles a fantastic amount of interesting subject matter including: .

  • The benefits of a tier-based pricing model
  • Upselling bespoke services to existing clients at a later date
  • How to keep your brand message clear when outsourcing your content to an agency
  • The marvel of innovation consulting
  • Why remote working is a blessing in disguise
  • What MarTech investors look for in a business
  • Trends in MarTech product, particularly how AI is being used in content development

Head on over to the podcast and get ready for a fully hour of informative, entertaining chit chat – it’ll definitely be worth your while.

B2B Content Marketing Basics: How to Understand Your Target Market

If there is one thing that harms many new businesses, it’s that they don’t take the time to properly define their target market. Or they go about it all wrong. Understanding your target market is vital for ensuring that you don’t waste money or energy on going after clients that aren’t a good fit for you business.

While many businesses will define their target market as “anyone”, this isn’t really helpful. Your ideal buyer will have specific characteristics, pain points and situations that your service or product can speak too. On the other hand, having a target market that is too narrow can also be harmful. 

Understanding your target market will allow you to use the right words and enticements to speak specifically to their needs, as well as place your messages where they’re most likely to see them. As an example, if you’re a graphic designer that works specifically with real estate agencies, you could post an ad for your services in the local newspaper. You’ll probably pay through the nose for that ad, and most people who see it won’t be specifically looking for your services. If you understand your target market, you instead place your ad in the newsletter for the local Realtor Association. While your reach would definitely be smaller, you’d also be more likely to appear in front of someone who actually requires your services.

WHAT IS A TARGET MARKET

So now you know why understanding your target market is important, let’s get into the details of what a target market is. Too many people think that a target market is the customers that you’re already serving. For instance, if you’re a digital agency that currently has a lot of property development clients, that doesn’t mean that they are necessarily your target market. 

A target market is the group who are most likely to purchase your products or services, and who’s needs you could most easily fulfil. Because these people already want or need your services, it makes the most sense to market to them. The alternative, which is marketing to everyone else, is inefficient and expensive.

FINDING YOUR TARGET MARKET

To determine who exactly your target market should be, you can start by answering these three questions:

  • What problem could your product or service solve? Does it help companies better manage their leads? Allow people to communicate better? Does it kill spiders?
  • What type of person is most likely to have this problem, and in what situation are they most likely to use your product or service? This will help you to narrow down whether you should be focussing on individuals or businesses.
  • Does your product or service help different groups with different needs? It’s possible to have more than one target market, or market segment. These segments will be divided on how you utilise your product or service. As an example, bike shops may service families with children choose a safe bike for their little one. Or, they could service professional athletes who may need assistance choosing a professional racing bike.

Get really specific with your answers. Try to narrow down the pain points your product or service could address for your audience, and who would typically feel that pain.

SIX STEPS TO DEFINING YOUR TARGET MARKET

Once you’ve answered the above questions, you can start to get into more detail about who exactly your target your market is. Understanding who you are selling to, what they stand to gain and why they should choose your product or service above that of your competitors helps you to increase the effectiveness of your marketing messages. 

1. UNDERSTAND THE PROBLEMS YOUR PRODUCT OR SERVICE SOLVES

As we’ve mentioned, this is the first question you should answer when you begin your journey of understanding your target market. Once you have a good idea of exactly the pain points your product or service addresses, you can begin to identify who is most likely to experience these pain points. 

2. PAINT A PICTURE OF YOUR IDEAL CUSTOMER

Once you’ve made a list of all the different problems your product or service could solve, you can start to build up an idea of who you should market them to. You can segment your potential ideal customers in many different ways. For instance, if you service a local market, you might know that high net-worth individuals tend to live in certain neighbourhoods. Alternatively, you could group your prospective clients by market sectors, such as manufacturing or recruitment. 

Answer as many relevant questions about your ideal customer as possible. If they’re individuals, are they married? Are they male or female? Do they work a specific job? 

If they’re a business, what industry are they in? Are they B2C or B2B? What is their yearly revenue?

3. WHICH SPECIFIC CUSTOMERS WILL BENEFIT FROM YOUR OFFER?

Ask yourself a few more questions:

  • Who will these pain points be the most bothersome for?
  • Who will have the most to lose by not dealing with these issues?

Your job is to demonstrate that the cost of not addressing their pain points and sorting out the issues is greater than the cost of purchasing your product or service to address them. This allows you to craft benefit-driven messaging to draw prospective clients in.

Factors such as stress, emotional distress and the prospective customer’s reputation all play a role in the value of your offering. 

4. THINK ABOUT NICHE MARKETS

Nowadays, we live in a world of niches. Just like people are no longer restricted by television schedules, and can watch whatever they want, whenever they want, they are similarly no longer restricted when it comes to the other content they consume. The internet is excellent at delivering personalised recommendations for products and services, and it has outdone many of the traditional and outdated distribution channels businesses used to have to deal with – along with the challenges they brought along. 

All of this means that it’s now easier to be a big fish in a little pond. Not only is it now easier to gain referrals and build your reputation, but you’ll probably also find that you get more from your marketing. 

Now that you’re a little bit closer to understanding your target market, you can begin to segment them:

Do you know what particular type of person or business you want to work with?

Are there any specific geographical locations you want to work in?

Are there any defined market sectors you particularly want to work in?

5. WHAT COMPANY EXPERTISE CAN YOU OFFER?

One way of deciding on the right markets to pursue is to think about your business and its employees.

  • Do you have particular areas of expertise? For example, do you have a lot of experience in particular markets, such as working with lawyers?
  • Do you have unique knowledge of a specific geographical area?
  • Are you better at getting on with certain types of people?

All these factors could help you establish a particularly attractive offering for your target market.

Take an accountant working alone in Manchester, for example. For a start, working all over the country is probably not practical. They may therefore decide to only work with clients in the North West.

It may be that before going it alone they worked in-house for a couple of different entrepreneurial businesses. Therefore, the accountant may decide to make their marketplace ‘Entrepreneurs in the North West’.

Suddenly, if you are an entrepreneur in the North West, this is an accountant probably worth knowing. Because the accountant only works in this area, they are more likely to introduce you to the right people and know about schemes and funding available to entrepreneurs.

Meanwhile, by concentrating in this marketplace, the accountant knows which websites to look at and belong to, which publications to read and possibly write for, and which networks to attend. Within this target market it will be quite easy for the accountant to become known. Without limiting their market it would almost be impossible to know where to start.

6. WHO ARE YOUR COMPETITORS?

Once you have decided the answers to some of these questions, you must look at the market to see what else is available. The question you must have an answer to is:

  • Why am I uniquely placed to solve the problem?

It may be that for some marketplaces there is no answer. However, in certain sectors or geographical locations there may be a compelling response to that question.

If you are unable to answer the question, you either have the wrong target market or the wrong offering. In this case, more work will need to be done before you start targeting your potential customers.

ZEROING IN ON YOUR TARGET MARKET

Once you are clear about who is most likely to need or want your product or service, it’s time to get even more specific about this group, or groups, of people. There are several different ways to define your target market, based on different characteristics.

You should decide which approach comes closest to exactly describing your perfect customer:

  • Consumer or business – Start by clarifying if you have a B2B (business-to-business) or a B2C (business-to-consumer) offering.
  • Geographic – Local  brick-and-mortar stores may find that their most likely customers are within a two-mile radius of their store, or within a particular zip code. This target market is defined geographically, based on where they live or work or vacation or do business.
  • Demographic – Describing  your best customer demographic means that you define your target market in terms of their gender, age, income level, education level, marital status, or other aspect of their life.
  • Psychographic – Sometimes customers don’t fit into a particular group based on outward characteristics, but more based on internal attitudes and values. These are psychographic characteristics.
  • Generation – Many companies today define their target market based on which generation they were born in, such as baby boomers or Gen Y.
  • Cohort – Other companies find that their target market is better defined by looking at cohorts, or groups of people who had similar experiences during childhood, such as being raised by a single mom or attending boarding school.
  • Life stage – Other target markets are more alike because of the stage of life they are in, whether it’s post-college, retirement, newly married, newly divorced, or parenting young children, for example.
  • Behavioral – Another approach is simply based on frequency of use, or behavior, which could be a good choice for nail salons, car washes, or vacation rentals, for example.

Armed with a clear understanding of your target market(s), you can now begin to craft marketing messages that appeal to that particular group’s pain points and preferences.

Our Top 8 Tips For Writing Amazing B2B Landing Page Content

Conversion copywriters are wonderful human beings. They write B2B landing page content that converts readers and produces sales. Would you like to have the same skills they do? Would you like to be able to write effective landing page copy? To draw readers in, create endless buzz and produce endless profit?

To be honest, it’s only part skill. The techniques can be learned, practiced and made perfect. The best part is it can be mastered by all. You can write copy that would inspire others and leave them in awe. The most important thing is to understand the techniques at play. 

Writing conversion-focused copy is all about understanding your prospect’s mind. How do they process information? How do they make decisions? What convinces them to make a purchase? In today’s blog, we’ll be discussing a few writing techniques that have been proven to drive conversions. 

Once you’ve done the hard work of generating loads of traffic, these writing tips will help you turn that traffic into revenue with conversion-focused copy

8 TIPS FOR WRITING EFFECTIVE B2B LANDING PAGE CONTENT

Use customer testimonials.

Having your customers write your copy for you is one of the most powerful copy techniques.

Nothing starts conversations like testimonials. Good copy consists of source as much as it does style and substance, and that is why any copy you write will never be as good as a customer testimonials. Testimonials are persuasive because they show the consumer exactly what they’ll encounter when using your product or service. 

The landing pages of HighriseHQ are a prime example of using customer testimonials, and this plays a big role in their success. Featuring a customer photo next to the testimonial can even further spark conversation around your copy.

Most well performing companies will have testimonials on their landing page, but ConversationXL use testimonials as their headline.

Customers are your best conversion writers. Let them speak for themselves – a good addition to your copywriting and marketing strategy is social proof.

Emphasize the benefits, not the product.

One lesson a lot of marketers still need to learn is that customers don’t actually care about your products or services. They only care about finding an effective and affordable solution to their problem.  A Harvard research survey, performed in a number of different fields, encompassing 1,400 B2B consumers, concluded that we have reached “the end of solution sales.” 

Sales have historically been focused on the “solution-selling technique.” According to this technique, “salespeople are trained to fit a solution with an identified customer need and show why it is better than the competition.” 

This approach is no longer valid, as customers already know what they are looking for.

Thanks to the internet and search engines, they are able to discover just about everything. In reality, not only do consumers understand the solution, they also recognize the specifications they are searching for the criteria that the product must fulfill, and a pricing benchmark.

By only pitching your solution,  the customer does not find all they are looking for. Customers want to know the benefits of the solution or service you are pitching. You can mention your solution to let the customer know they are at the right place. That being said, push the benefits of the solution more than the solution itself. Let the customer know what they will receive from using this solution.        

Unbounce does this well, successfully emphasising the benefits of their product: “Without IT”; “build a high-converting landing page now”; “we’ve doubled and tripled conversion rates.”

effective landing page copy

Jaybird, who sells high-end Bluetooth headsets also speaks exclusively about the benefits on their landing page.

effective landing page copy

Benefits will always be better than solutions. By putting the customer benefits front and center, you can dramatically increase conversion rates, and by doing so take your copywriting to a whole new level.

Spend time writing a killer headline.

People do not read landing page copy meticulously. They search, they glance, and they allow the page to flitter through their eyes, but they don’t read every word. 

This means that it is the copywriters job to compel the customer to stop their skimming habits. Here are some things that customers would pay attention to.

  • The headline. 
  • The subheadline. 
  • The images. 
  • Buttons for CTA. 

Clients may or may not read the following after that: 

  • Major sections portion. 
  • Bullet points. 
  • Short paragraphs. 
  • Image captions.

As you write your conversion copy, thisshould give you an idea of what to focus on. The ten or fifteen words in the headline are the most significant piece of your material. Focus on it, nail it, and you’ll have accomplished a lot. In order to help the “non-readers” convert, you should:

  • Make your headline stand out and be clear.
  • Remember to push your benefits and be compelling.
  • You can further display the benefits by using images with written explanations.
  • Use strong copy in your CTA.
  • Lead with large headlines and break your copy into major sections.
  • Use bullet points to discuss the benefits of your product. Short bullet points. Not long ones.
  • Use short paragraphs, rather than long blocks of text. Any paragraph over five lines long can be hard to digest.
  • Use captions on your images.

Keep your writing simple.

The best advice you’ll ever hear for writing effective landing page copy is going to be the next few words: keep it simple. You could be as literarily great as J.K. Rowling or Stephen King, but literary prowess is useless when it comes to writing conversion-focussed copy. The most powerful writing skill when it comes to writing effective landing copy is simplicity. 

Let’s look at Optimizely as an example. They produce some excellent landing pages for their clients, but take a look at their landing page:

effective landing page copy

Though it seems simple, it’s extremely effective. And why? Because of its simplicity. GetResponse has the same idea.

effective landing page copy

Again, super simple. Whoever created these landing pages didn’t spend hours brainstorming, outlining, meditating and thumbing through a thesaurus. They wrote the simplest, clearest statements they could. That isn’t an invitation to replace creativity with buzzwords, though. There are certain words and phrases that kill conversions stone dead. ConversionXL has a list: 

  • “On-demand marketing software”
  • “Integrated solutions”
  • “Flexible platform”
  • “World leader”
  • “Once-in-a-lifetime opportunity”
  • “Changing the way X is done”
  • “Paradigm shifting”
  • “Exceeding customer expectations”

Clichés like that just don’t work anymore. Simplicity is key, and we have a few tips for writing effective landing page copy that keeps it simple:

  • Keep your sentence structure simple.
  • Use short sentences and short words that are easy to skim and understand
  • Be clear, be succinct and don’t use fancy wording. 

If you can be simple, you can write effective landing page copy..

Write like a human

There is another tactic that can help you smash your competition: sound like a human being. 

At some point, a group of copywriters thought it would be nice to create copy that sounded forced and robotic. Who writes like that?  Who’s reading this stuff? I don’t remember, but I do know that nobody’s going to convert on it. 

People prefer to communicate with other people, not robots.  That’s why your copy has to sound like it was composed by an actual person. Here are some unique things that you can do to make your writing more personal:

  • Write the way you talk
  • Use normal words and sentences, like those you would use if you were talking to a ten-year-old. Why use “convivial,” for instance, if you can use “friendly?” ” 
  • Break the laws of grammar if the writing still sounds normal and pleasant. 
  • Be funny. 
  • Talk in the first person. 
  • Use terms and expressions like you would in a regular conversation. ” I’m wondering…,” “Wait a second.” “It was nuts.” “Wow.” “It was pretty cool.” “It’s like…” “Wow.” “It was pretty awesome.”

With sky-high conversion rates and a strong personal style, Ramit Sethi, a personal finance expert, developer and author of the popular blog “I Will Teach You To Be Rich,” has a strong personal style. His posts feel like a best friend’s confidential letter. He doesn’t even mind adding in a phrase or two that he would use if he was talking with his friends, he would use. Check out one of his blog posts with this excerpt: 

effective landing page copy

Try to get away from the notion that you write “copy,” and think more about it as a dialogue. You’ll write faster if you do that. You can sound human. Your conversion rates will almost definitely go up.

Use numbers and get specific.

The more specific you are, the more persuasive and compelling you’ll be.Which one of these arguments makes is more convincing? 

“Your conversion rates will go through the roof!” 

“In the last 60 days, our customer conversions have increased by an average of 64.3 percent .” 

The second is even more accurate, and therefore more reliable. Anyone can make blanket declarations of awesomeness, but facts and detailed metrics can’t just be quoted by anyone. 

Let’s take another example. Check out this landing page from TeamGantt. To advertise the advantages of their offering, they use a particular number: 

How successful would it be if they said they had planned “millions of tasks?” That amount makes all the difference. Customers want specific reports on the advantages that other customers see, and they want specific explanations of what they are going to get. Specificity is a good weapon

A/B test your copy.

A successful conversion-focused copywriter doesn’t just write – they have to keep testing, too. How else can you know what kind of writing converts higher or lower? 

On a landing page, there are all sorts of A/B tests you can do — photos, placement, movement, layout, etc. Typically however, the greatest benefits come from copy modifications. If you want to achieve better and higher sales rates, along with the other elements of your landing pages, you’ll need to test your copy. 

Do not expect to hit a homerun your first time. By deliberately, methodically, and purposely testing any deviation, you will excel. Here are several things that can be tested:

  • Headline variations
  • Subheadline variations
  • CTA copy
  • Lists of benefits

What You Need to Know About the B2B Marketing Funnel

There is a lot of talk about the B2B marketing funnel. Who owns it? Marketing or Sales? Is the funnel even still relevant to modern buying processes? 

The answer to those questions, in no particular order, are: yes, and both. 

Today we’ll be discussing the B2B marketing funnel, diving into some of the recent changes and the rising challenges for marketers. We’ll compare the uses of the funnel for B2C and B2B cases, and break down the marketing vs. sales ownership debate. We’ll also explore some nonlinear approaches to the funnel, and explore how it can be flipped to create more leads.

Before we get into that, let’s recap what we know about the B2B marketing funnel. 

WHAT IS THE B2B MARKETING FUNNEL?

In a nutshell, any marketing funnel is just a visualisation designed to help understand the process of converting leads into customers. The idea is simple: marketers bring in as many leads as possible, nurturing them through the decision-making process and whittling down the amount of leads in each stage of the funnel.

In a perfect world, the funnel would actually be a cylinder. Anybody who shows interest in your business would eventually become a customer. Unfortunately, that’s not the reality of today’s business world. Thus, it becomes part of a marketers job to convert as many leads as possible. The more cylindrical the funnel, the better.

Another important thing to note is that there is no universal funnel. The funnel varies, and can look very different between industries, and even between businesses. Some have many stages, others have only a few, and most of them will have different names for the stages, with different actions that need to be taken by both the consumer and the business for each. 

Below is an amalgamation of the most relevant and common B2B marketing funnel stages, actions and terms.

marketing funnel

B2B MARKETING FUNNEL STAGES

Let’s go through each of the funnel stages, just to recap how they work and what they mean.

Awareness

Awareness is the first stage of any marketing funnel. Consumer research and discovery, as well as marketing campaigns, will draw potential customers into the funnel by making them aware of your brand. This is where lead generation takes place. 

Through social media, PPC, media mentions, content marketing, webinars and other marketing, trust and thought-leadership are established. These efforts often result in information collection through forms and landing pages, and during this phase, all leads are pulled into the CRM system. From here, they can be nurtured, and hopefully moved further down the funnel.

Interest

Once a lead has been generated, the move from awareness to interest. During this stage, they learn more about the company, as well as the products or services. This provides an opportunity for brands to establish a relationship with their leads.

During this stage, marketers can nurture leads with email sequences and targeted, informative content – allowing them to position themselves.

Consideration

Once a lead moves into the consideration stage, they become marketing qualified. At this point in the funnel, they become prospective customers, rather than just leads. To move them further down the funnel, marketers can send them more information about offers through email sequences, and continue to nurture them with targeted content. This can include case studies, white papers, free trials and more.

Intent

A prospect will enter the intent stage of the funnel when they have demonstrated that they are interested in purchasing a product or service. Intent can be demonstrated in several ways, including adding an item to their shopping cart, asking certain questions to customer service, or signing up for a trial or demo.

During this stage, marketers should be making their case as to why their product or service is the better choice for the buyer.

Evaluation

During the evaluation stage, prospects will be making their final decision about whether or not to make a purchase. During this phase, sales and marketing will have to work together closely in order to nurture this process, convincing the buyer that their brand’s offering is the best choice. 

Purchase

The final stage of the funnel. At this point, the prospect has made the decision to buy, and is “closed won” – they become a customer. At this point, sales is taking care of all customer communication. 

By ensuring the customer has a positive experience, referrals can be gained which further fuel the marketing funnel. These new leads will enter the top of the funnel, and the process can begin again.

HOW DOES THE B2B MARKETING FUNNEL DIFFER FROM THE B2C MARKETING FUNNEL

Below is another amalgamated diagram, this time modified to reflect some of the differences between B2B marketing funnels and their B2C counterparts. The funnel below outlines some of the actions a prospective lead could take within each stage of the funnel. 

B2b marketing funnel

Some of the key differences between the types of funnels include:

  • B2C customers will usually go through the funnel alone. They may have a few trusted advisors, such as family or friends guiding them. Conversely, B2B buyers will often have a much larger buying group (averaging 5.4 people), usually including multiple departments. 
  • B2B customers are more likely to interact with a company representative than their B2C counterparts.

NONLINEAR FUNNELS

One of the first questions we mentioned when we started this blog is whether or not marketing funnels are even relevant anymore. The buying process isn’t as linear as it used to be, and not every lead joins the funnel at the same stage. Sometimes, a referral is so convincing that the prospect jumps right to intent. Through their research, they could come in at consideration. 

With the internet being what it is, users have access to almost limitless information. This means that they’re doing a lot of their own research, and they depend on content such as blog posts, infographics, case studies and whitepapers to tell them what they need to know about a brand’s products or services. According to CEB, B2B customers get through a whopping 57% of the funnel on their own, before ever engaging with a company representative.

Alternatives to the traditional B2B marketing funnel include McKinsey’s “consumer decision journey”. This model is circular, and demonstrates how the process actually fuels itself. 

customer journey

Not everyone agrees on this approach, though. According to Mark Bonchek and Cara France in their Harvard Business Review article, “Brands may put the decision at the center of the journey, but customers don’t.”

With no universally agreed upon model, both the funnel and the decision journey continue to be useful, and used. 

MARKETING VS. SALES: WHO OWNS THE B2B MARKETING FUNNEL

A tale as old as time – marketing vs. sales. 

Among the other things sales and marketing teams love to fight about, they also argue over who owns the funnel. On the one hand, consumers have begun to rely on content such as blog posts and case studies to help them make purchasing decisions. Surely this means that marketers should be responsible for the funnel. Afterall, it’s their content which nurtures prospects through the various stages. Below is a diagram which highlights how ownership of the funnel has changed in recent times.

B2b marketing funnel

Some seem to think that the funnel should be split down the middle, belonging fully to both marketing and sales. The argument for this is that salespeople are “increasingly becoming thought leaders to drive awareness by doing outbound outreach.

If this is the case, then it is the responsibility of both sales and marketing to nurture prospects through the funnel, each having an equal hand in getting leads from awareness to purchase

THE B2B MARKETING FUNNEL AND THE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE

Flipping the funnel – turning into a customer experience funnel – is becoming increasingly common. Rather than focussing on turning leads into customers, the experience funnel focuses on turning customers into advocates. This way, the experience funnels fuels the marketing funnel, by driving referrals. 

Below is a diagram from Track Maven of what the customer experience funnel could look like:  

customer experience funnel

THE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE FUNNEL

Repeat

The first step after a customer has made a purchase is to encourage them to make another. To do so requires implementing effective retention and nurturing strategies to nudge customers into making more purchases. Marketers should continue their bottom-of-the-funnel activities to encourage repeat purchases. 

Loyalty

The loyalty stage is the phase of the customer experience in which consumers develop a preference for a particular brand. At this point, engagement is key. At this point, consumers will begin to identify with a brand, and possibly personalise products. Through community development and outreach, marketers can help to nurture this connection.

Referral

Once a customer is loyal to a brand, they are more likely to provide business referrals and recommend brand products.

Advocacy

Turning your customers into advocates is the ultimate evolution for nurturing current customers. Evangelism in the form of writing product reviews, posting about products on social media, and more can help drive more new leads for your marketing funnel. Having an external recommendation not connected to a brand can strongly influence prospects. Marketers can work to develop their communities to better support advocates, ask them to participate in case studies, or engage them around consumer-generated content on social media.

FINAL THOUGHTS

The ultimate goals are to increase the number and size of purchases and to drive more awareness and referrals to fuel the marketing funnel.

How to Develop a Solid B2B Content Marketing Strategy

Content marketing is a vital part of any B2B marketing strategy. Not only is it effective for generating new leads – it is also useful for nurturing warm leads into sales-readiness. It also contributes to the entire sales and marketing pipeline. The stats back this up. The average B2B customer consumes between three and five pieces of content before they engage with a sales rep. 96% of those buyers choose to do business with organisations who have provided them with relevant content throughout the buyer’s journey. So it’s clear that an effective content marketing strategy can have a dramatic impact on both lead generation and lead quality. 

There are two parts to creating an effective content marketing strategy – the content and the distribution. Whether your content is created in-house, or it’s outsourced, you need to be tactical about your content marketing strategy. Leads nurtured by content spend up to 47% more, so you want to make sure your content marketing is done right.

FIRST THINGS FIRST

Content marketing differs in outlook from other B2B marketing strategies, because it hinges on giving something back to your prospects. Channels like email marketing and digital marketing push adverts and messages out, asking people who have an interest to express it. In the short run, they may gain a free demonstration or trial, and in the long run, they’ll gain a product or solution.

With content marketing, however, you’re offering something of value in exchange for the expression of interest. These objects of value come in the form of an insightful or informative medium; most commonly, this is a blog or downloadable asset like an eBook or whitepaper. It could also be something a little more varied, such as a video, podcast or infographic. This content is created with a double intention: to raise interest in your product or solution, but also to share knowledge and entice discussion in your field.

This means prospects are further inclined to inquire, as they’re thankful for the content and now thinking about their business needs, but it also works to nurture those who may not be ready to buy just yet. After reading a few blogs and watching a couple of videos, the prospect may then realize you can help them, and come to you for a solution.

So how is this done? How can you create an effective content marketing strategy that generates both hot and warm business leads, doesn’t repeat itself and is consistent in its results? 

HOW TO CREATE AN EFFECTIVE CONTENT MARKETING STRATEGY

Perfect your Buyer Personas

If you’re not already using buyer personas, you should be. And if you are, make sure they’re perfect. 

In a nutshell, a buyer persona is a representation of your ideal buyer. The more information you can attribute to it, the better. Make sure you’re covering both bigger picture factors and more detailed, micro preferences. For example:

  • What industry are they in?
  • What facilities do they need for your product/solution to work?
  • Who is their clientele?
  • What’s their annual turnover?
  • What’s their business size?
  • Where are they based? These are often similar to the questions used in turning a normal business lead into a qualified lead. Then look to more specific detail:
  • What’s their job title?
  • What’s their seniority?
  • Can they make a decision alone?
  • What’s their time scale for purchasing?
  • What’s their budget?
  • What are their needs?
  • Which hours of the day are they in the office?
  • What are they already aware of and what do they need to know?

Other Details

Pad your buyer persona out with these details. Some organizations have two or three different personas, where they have several use cases and market to varying industries. So why are buyer personas important? Once you’re in the head of your ideal buyer, you’ll know what language will get them excited and intrigued, you’ll know what they’re looking for in research, you’ll have insight into the movements and advancements of their industry. This all feeds into making the most successful content for your specific audience that meets the business needs of your desired buyers. Last year, 71% of the organizations who exceeded revenue and lead generation goals were actively using buyer personas. This is because a buyer persona allows you to appear less “sales-y” in your B2B marketing; 81% of those using buyer personas were able to improve their business proposition and product value within their content marketing, so they saw more leads generated! Don’t forget – buyer personas change, just like every aspect of marketing, so ensure you update them at least every six months. Even if there is little or no change, this will help ensure all your marketing channels are tapping into the correct buyer mind-sets.

Make an Informed Decisions About Mediums and Platforms

Now you’ve got those buyer personas nailed, let’s use them to make informed decisions and create an effective content marketing strategy.

Start by asking, what information do our ideal buyers want to know/consume? Think of broad topics that apply to your product/solution, like “B2B sales” and then delve deeper into niche topics and subjects, such as “sales analytics”, “sales call techniques” or “sales pipeline”. Pick two or three of these broad, big starting points, and draw five-to-ten detailed areas from each one. Relate these back to the needs attached to your buyer persona, also to their industry, job title and clientele.

Mediums

Then you need to ask, how do our ideal buyers want to receive this information? Do they want to read it, or watch it, or listen to it? It’s good to offer a variety, as we all have different preferences, but here you can rule things out you know won’t appeal. If you’re marketing to a persona that enjoys detail and information, then a 60-second video is unlikely to spark their interest more than a blog, asset or 15-minute podcast. Draw up a list of mediums you’ll definitely use, a list of ones you’ll test and try, and a list of those you don’t think will work with your buyer persona.

Platforms

Now the final question- where would our ideal buyers like to find/interact with our content? This is where the strategy deepens and you look to the practical use of the content you’ll make. Of course uploading content to your website is a must, to grow a community and boost SEO, but think about how you’ll announce and share that content, via email, social media, direct mail even? Look at all the options through the eyes of your ideal buyer. Also, contemplate how often they would want to receive content- B2B organizations who publish 11+ blogs per month generate an average of 4x as many business leads!

Answer all these questions in detail, and you’ll be ready for the next step.

Create a Content Calendar

A content calendar takes time to create but is the key to implementing and maintaining an effective content marketing strategy. You should be planning out every week: what content you’ll publish, when and where.

Start on a large scale; apply a broad topic to a month or choose a campaign to run the length of a quarter, then go deeper. Spread those niche, more detailed topics across the assets, blog posts, infographics and podcasts for that month, so you’ll cohesively cover that topic on both a surface level detail and a more in-depth, adept level of detail in the mediums you deem preferable to your ideal buyer.

Plot titles for each piece on the calendar in the week you want them published, and describe where they’ll be published, promoted and shared. Then you need to expand the calendar from a practicality perspective- when do you need to start constructing the content to publish on a certain day? What input will you need from your internal or external copywriter and/or graphic designer to complete the content? How many checks and amendment processes will you undergo?

This content calendar will be what gives your content marketing that ability to nurture leads through a journey, along with the ability to run a content market strategy with the power to bring constant results and reliable lead quality.

Be a Thought Leader

96% of B2B buyers want more input from thought leaders in the content they read. To become one! Conduct the appropriate research and position yourself as a thought leader in your field. Whether you choose to relate closely to modern influencers in your ideal buyer’s industry, or you aim to carve your own path of learning and expertise, make sure you’re working with reliable resources. Find statistics from surveys or academic studies, and look to different schools of thought within your industry, to create content with superior knowledge. Set up your own surveys and use the results to make benchmark reports. Aim to be teachers- your prospects should come to you to learn about their industry and find research for their own strategies.

This does wonders for many factors outside of lead generation. Namely, credibility. The name of your brand, when positioned as a thought leader, becomes associated with expertise, knowledge and trust. This helps all of your B2B marketing channels by legitimizing their message and increasing their standing in the market. This also helps your sales team; when leads come their way, they already believe you’re a brilliant organization and the best in your field, so closing that sale comes far quicker and easier.

Track the Right KPIs

With any marketing strategy, the reporting and analysis are as crucial as the build-up in its success. This is especially true of content marketing, where you’re running a constant campaign and nurturing journey. So make sure you not only have a good reporting system in place, but you’re recording the best metrics to improve your strategy.

There are no right or wrong key performance indicators to measure; as every content marketing strategy will differ due to its buyer persona. Its KPIs will of course, also vary. We would recommend, however, ensuring you have a good website analytics software, that will enable you to see the number of views or downloads your content has achieved. This is a great starting place to track the reception of your content and its conversion rate. 

Remember, content takes time to work. It’s not as instant as some channels as it focuses more on the nurture of a lead. When you launch a new content marketing strategy, make sure you allow a few weeks for it to take effect.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Content marketing offers that softer approach that many buyers not only appreciate but also feel a benefit from. So it balances out your B2B marketing department where other channels focus on getting that instant “yes!”. Though it seems there’s loads to do to get started, the contribution of an effective content marketing strategy to sales and retention is as valuable as its B2B lead generation capabilities, so you’ll not only obtain more customers, you’ll keep them too.