Top 5 Secrets To Awesome B2B Content Marketing Strategy

We need to stop interrupting what people are interested in and be what people are interested in.” ~ Craig Davis, former Chief Creative Officer at J. Walter Thompson.

And my friend, this is what makes Content Marketing perhaps the only marketing left today. Not my words, it’s Seth Godin who said it. A fine man with a wealth of marketing knowledge, I admire him.

Yes, he is true.

According to the 2017 B2B Content Marketing Trends, 39% of companies are increasing investment in content marketing.

Do you know the most surprising thing though? If you are an entrepreneur, you need to pay attention now.

Most businesses do not even know how to utilize the power of content marketing. They are CLUELESS.

Want evidence?

Two of the leaders in B2B funnel benchmarking, Sirius Decisions and Forrester, will tell you that inquiry-to-closed-won conversion ratios are often below 2 percent in most industries, even for those who follow best practices.

Of course, if you go upstream of lead capture, the conversion rates of clicks or traffic to closed-won business are absolutely microscopic.

There are many reasons for these low conversion ratios. The most important of ‘em all is:

48% of small organizations have documented content marketing strategies(Source)

41% of large organizations have documented content marketing strategies(Source)

The competition is growing more intense every day, with avalanches of new content sliding into the market. And let’s face it, creating compelling content is hard.

(I consider myself to be an experience content marketer, and I spend over 2 hours in a single piece of article! Don’t be surprised; it’s the norm these days.)

In short, the market seems to believe that content creation, in and of itself, will win the day. It won’t. You really need the right content.

Well, I have listed 5 crucial steps to content marketing strategy that is geared to increase the quality and effectiveness of your content significantly.

STEP 1: DEFINE WHERE YOU CAN WIN - YOUR NICHE!

Media companies, marketing agencies, and our own egos often lure us into the crazy idea of expanding our target market. I must have heard this type of sentiment a thousand times from otherwise thoughtful, intelligent people.

We do so in the name of economies of scale or because we fear missing out on revenue opportunities. Don’t do it. Focus, focus, focus. Start with a rigorous exercise of looking at your current customers for the solution you are trying to sell. Begin with qualitative intelligence-gathering. Talk to the best sales people, the product team, the post-sales team, and the sales engineers:

  • Who are your most profitable accounts     and why?
  • Which accounts have the greatest longevity and why?
  • What do these accounts have in common?
  • What accounts are unprofitable and why?
  • How can we avoid them?

Then do quantitative analysis, ideally matching your customers to third party databases to add dimension to your profiles.

Share the findings with the most relevant stakeholders to get a consensus on the ideal customer profile. Define account characteristics. Break your market into two or three segments, based upon their potential value. If you can only afford to speak to one of the segments, talk to the most valuable one. (Often the market leaders, if you can win them over, will influence the rest of the market).

Please understand that your definition today will change tomorrow. So make this an annual exercise for every solution you sell. For new solution categories, you may need to have a running dialogue until you find the ideal customer profile, experimenting as you go. And of course, find different ways to test and optimize your messaging hypothesis.

For companies with multiple products and services, you’ll generally want to look for one of your solutions that can most readily open the door to your other products and services.

FIND FOOT IN THE DOOR SOLUTION FOR OTHER THINGS YOU SELL

Microsoft, for example, started with tools for programmers initially. These attracted the most technically savvy people, a group with enormous influence over the next wave of early adopters.

Next, Microsoft created an operating system (well, Microsoft bought one and licensed it to IBM, to be perfectly accurate). The operating system created a platform for selling desktop productivity products like Word and Excel and their relationship with developers let them encourage those developers to build other desktop software and utilities.

There was enough critical mass to gradually expand from the desktop to the network and the applications on the system. Initially, the enterprise applications were BackOffice-focused but gradually became customer facing, like CRM Dynamics, Bing, and now LinkedIn.

This sequencing idea is the essence of product strategy and a key to demand generation success.

STEP 2: UNDERSTAND YOUR TARGET “CONTENT” AUDIENCE

Once you are clear on the kinds of accounts, you want to attract and the value you offer, it’s time to understand the decision dynamics for your solution in those accounts. While you will want to look at the entire path to purchase, let’s focus our attention on the top of the funnel:

WHO IS MOST LIKELY TO CHAMPION THE IDEA?

Not all champions get to vote.

You are really looking for one of those rare people inside an organization who can influence others.

Many try.

Few succeed.

Think about the functional role, the attitudes, the personality type, the credentials, the likely beliefs, and so on. This persona is who you are speaking to.

Even when your message reaches others in the company, as it probably will, they will often find this person for you.

Let them know who to look for.

WHAT EVENTS TRIGGER INTEREST?

Trigger events can be positive or negative (although, generally, people are far more motivated by pain-avoidance than by gain-attainment). These events can happen within a company or externally. They can happen on a day or over a long period of time.

The point is that those events often trigger companies into consideration for your solution. In many cases, these are problems your company can help address. You’ll want to understand what those trigger events are, like layoffs, leadership changes, new regulations, rapid growth, competitive encroachment, a round of VC funding, or employee turnover or customer churn.

You can then reference or otherwise leverage one or more such trigger events to help connect what your champion cares about to the possibility your solution might make a material difference. You can also research the prevalence of these trigger events in your target market to gauge the possible volume of demand that might exist.

Describing these trigger events clearly helps build for your prospect a bridge from what he or she understands to what he or she hasn’t considered.

WHAT UNCONSIDERED NEEDS CAN YOUR SOLUTION ADDRESS?

Generally, for people to change, they must feel the status quo is unsafe. And to do that, you must help them see what they do not see.

Jill Konrath in her excellent book, SNAP Selling, talks about “crazy busy” buyers. These are people who get so close to the day to day whirlwind of their jobs, they lose perspective. You want to help them see their situation with new eyes. This is the heart of the story you must tell.

To tell this story well, you really must understand the implications of these unmet needs.

Who is impacted by the status quo?

What does doing nothing cost, both short term and over time?

If you can quantify the benefit financially, you will empower your champion with the universal language of money, a language that everyone understands.

TO TELL OTHERS IN THE ORGANIZATION ABOUT YOUR SOLUTION, WHAT KEY BELIEFS WILL THE CHAMPION NEED TO HAVE?

You are not trying to get a champion to buy your solution at this point. You need your champion to begin to share your story enthusiastically with others.

To do so, she will need to believe a few things. She’ll have to believe your solution could make a big enough difference to warrant prioritizing your solution over any number of other things. Such an overarching belief often has some stepping-stone beliefs.

For example, I was just looking at a very cool software program (Conversica) that can apparently understand written email responses, including their tone and sentiment. So one stepping stone belief is that the AI engine can actually understand the nuances of the written language. Another is that my prospects won’t know they are not emailing a computer. A third might be that the program won’t inadvertently annoy my prospects.

WHAT EVIDENCE CAN YOU PRESENT?

Again, you are not trying to win the sale here. You are only trying to earn enough commitment to move the prospect from their status quo to interest in having a conversation with your company.

Still, you must present sufficient evidence to make the promise you are making credible enough to warrant taking the time to take a deeper look at your solution. To do so, you will need to marshal sufficient evidence to address the key beliefs your champion must have, both about your solution and the viability of your company.

Ideally, you are getting most of this information through direct interviews and/or focus groups, augmented with simple surveys. Usually, 5-10 interviews will give you what you need. If the information you are hearing gets redundant, you’ll know you have talked to a sufficient number of people. One tip: talk to these individuals during the purchase process or shortly after that while the experience is top of mind.

STEP 3: CLEARLY ARTICULATE YOUR TRUE VALUE PROPOSITION FOR YOUR PROSPECTS

Duh! Right?

And yet how often do you see words like “leading,” “exceptional,” “largest,” “greatest,” and other unbelievable, vague, vacuous claims?

One reason social media has become so popular is because people want another source of information they can trust: information from their friends or really anyone but the vendor and their media conspirators.

Part of the problem is that there is a LOT of things you can say about your solution and your company. But verbosity is confusing and boring. And if you really research your market, you’ll have a far more to share than you will need at the top of the funnel.

To find your value, you need to look at your solution through an honest, competitive lens and through the eyes of your customer. When doing so, you are looking for something your ideal customer wants badly that your competition doesn’t have. If your customers don’t want it, it doesn’t matter. If your customers want it and your competitors can also provide it, you’ll be in a low margin commodity business. Instead, you are looking for your only-factors, the ones your customers care deeply about and that only your company can make.

If your customers don’t want it, it doesn’t matter. If your customers want it and your competitors can also provide it, you’ll be in a low margin commodity business. Instead, you are looking for your only-factors, the ones your customers care deeply about and that only your company can make.

This is another case of getting your key stakeholders in a room to really grapple with this problem and come to a consensus. Look for three areas where you stand out and then build your messaging and story around these three value positions.

STEP 4: DEFINE YOUR MARKETING OBJECTIVE…OR SIMPLY, THE CALL TO ACTION

It’s important before you start to create content to consider your objective. It’s not to build your brand. That can certainly be something that happens as a by-product of your efforts, but it’s not the goal. The role of content at the top of the funnel is also not to generate clicks, traffic, inbound calls, or even leads, either. It’s also not to sell your product or service. That may be the endgame, but it’s not the objective at the top of the funnel.

I like to think of the objective as going to a party. Yes, you might secretly be hoping to meet the man or woman of your dreams, but you don’t go around asking someone who appeals to you to get married.

Rather, you’re just trying to spark a conversation, typically by being observant and interested in the other person. That’s the goal with demand generation. Show enough insight and interest to spark a conversation. Within the demand generation framework, each element must support that objective. If not, trim the fat, using your objective as a knife.

STEP 5: AND OH YES, DO LOVE YOUR PROSPECTIVE CUSTOMERS

This one may seem obvious, but there is a reason why sales and marketing often have bad reputations in the public square. Loving your customers starts by being respectful and empathetic toward them. And that means being authentic and honest, even if your tone needs to be playful. Treat them the way you would want to be treated. To the best of your ability, you want to climb behind the eyes of your would-be champion and experience the world the way she does. The more deeply you connect with them, the more effective the story you will tell.

This connection to your audience will generally help you find the right tone and voice, just as it does with people in your personal life.

Of course, with these five steps, you still need to create the content and adapt the content to the most appropriate method(s) of contact.

You’ll also need to make sure that the content and messaging at the top of the funnel is congruent with what comes later on.

But you’ll have a sound basis for breaking through the noise in the ever changing market because what you will offer will be rare, honest and true.

Now, if you are thinking to yourself, “Why take all these pains after all?”

Hmm…you can, after reading the statistics below.

Businesses that use content marketing get 6x more conversions than businesses that don’t (Source)

Content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing (Source)

Content marketing generates 3x more leads than traditional marketing(Source)

82% of marketers who regularly blog see positive ROI from inbound marketing in general (Source)

Do you wish to be left behind?

I guess, no.

Until some other day…

To your marketing success,

Ron C.
CEO and Chief Copywriter, Copy-e-Writing

Secret Technique: Increase The Email Opening Rate Of A COLD List by 300%!

“Is it feasible to warm up an email list that is cold? And what is the best way to do this?”

I got an email asking this question to me. And here’s my answer:

“Yes. Admitting the error and recharging the list with contents of value. It uses a technique called the owner’s email. ”

If I remember correctly, it was Érico Rocha, from Launching Formula, who cited this technique in some of its contents.

Every time I applied it, it worked out really well. Let me explain it to you. It can be a perfect way for you to reactivate/start communication with your clients.

Let’s take a real-life example: Ricardo Gui, who I know personally.

He owns Cactus do Brasil, a company that has been selling jewellery equipment for more than 15 years.

He gathered all the customer emails he had. More than 7000.

Cold list.

The first re-entry email is below:

Title: E-mail of the owner of Cactus do Brasil

Hello, this is Ricardo Gui, founder of Cactus do Brasil, all right?

Although we have been supplying machines and tools in the jewelry business since 1999, you are not accustomed to receiving my emails …

… but this will change from TODAY!

I realized that I was not helping you the way I can, after all I have a lot of experience and valuable information to share with you, all with a great goal:

Make your work MORE EASY PRODUCTIVE AND PROFIT!

From now on I will share all this with you, who have already bought products from Cactus or at least already talked to us.

At least once a week I will send you an email with useful information for the entire jeweler industry, and my newest PASSION: 3D PRINTING.

Hugs and see you soon,

Ricardo Gui
099 9 9999-99 (WhatsApp)
cactusdobrasil.com

PS: At the end of each message you always have the option to unsubscribe if you think my tips are not being valuable.

PPS: While the next message does not arrive … answer this email or send me whatsapp telling you the questions. I’ll be happy to answer you.

This was in August / September 2016. He kept sending new emails with text and video content.

And then he reheated this content and created the blog voce.cactusdobrasil.com.br that was initiated with several posts, exactly the same that he had sent by email.

Take out their notepad and note down that it did not start with a blog or YouTube channel. It began by re-establishing a communication with the customer via email.

No offers for about 2 months, and still, it made some good sales.

Did you like the technique “the owner’s email”?

Conquering a new customer costs 5 or 6 times more than maintaining an existing customer.

I see a lot of people sweating and spending INSANE amount of money to get new clients. But heck! They do not do any systematic tracking of old clients.

LET’S SEE ANOTHER EXAMPLE?

3 friends of mine created a course company, called Saggio Cursos, to offer engineering courses for students at our University.

Some courses went well and others did not. Well, as it would happen, they called me to take the Marketing part of the Saggio Courses.

To begin with, it’s my personal experience that we should focus on the relationship with the list. I realized that they were using the list anyway, pushing products, without even trying to create a relationship with this audience.

They used a new list, and it was a fiasco. Even E-goi blocked the account after sending these emails.

A mere 11% opening rate!

And then I thought about how I could use these same lists but with another footprint and generating value for the subscribers.

I took that Owner’s Email pattern used by Ricardo da Cactus do Brasil and I re-modelled it for my purpose. I used their partner company to send the emails.

The result: since 2014, people had been registering in events, lectures, courses and workshops the partner company as well as subscribing for Saggio Courses. I thought of sweepstakes of 2 exchanges to generate value for the staff and start to have a closer relationship. (The name is the email needed to be someone else, of course.)

The following is the text sent to subscribers:

Subject: You deserve a gift!

Hello, here is XYZ president of XYZ Consulting, all right?

Although we have been promoting entrepreneurship in Fumec since 2014 and training students for the job market, you are not accustomed to receiving my e-mails …

… but this will change from TODAY!

I realized that I was not helping you the way I can, after all I have experience and valuable information to share with you, all with a great goal:

Make your academic life more productive!

From now on I will share all this with you, who have already participated in some of our events and projects.

At least once a week I will send you an email with useful information about entrepreneurship, junior company movement, technological area, innovations, engineering in brazil and abroad, training courses …

To start WELL this our relationship, I have a novelty for you!

XYZ has partnered with Saggio Cursos and has got 2 scholarships to be presented.

1 bag for Excel Course – Analysis, Display and Data Manipulation

1 bag for the Oratory Course – Mastering the Art of Speaking in Public

We will raffle those 2 scholarships for you that have always been part of our activities.

To participate in the draw, just click on this link -> [blank]

Hugs and see you soon,

XYZ

(99) 9.9999-9999 (WhatsApp)

https://www.facebook.com/xyz

PS: At the end of each message you always have the option to unsubscribe if you think my tips are not being valuable.

PPS: While the next message does not arrive … answer this email or send me whatsapp telling you the questions. I’ll be happy to answer you.

PPPS: If you can not access the link above, click here you will be redirected >>>

Here is the result of the campaign, after 2 days:

With the same list, I increased from 11% to 40% opening rate, an increase of a whopping 300 PERCENT!

This email redirected people to the draw link, so I was able to put a tag on who actually participated in the draw and had an interest in the courses, letting me pre-optimize for the upcoming courses.

Here’s a little stat for you:

Of the 95 people who clicked on the link, 86 registered for the draw. Not bad, right ?!

Ahh, In addition to having a great opening rate, I started getting messages in our email about the initiative to share information with students. Lovely interaction!

Just an experience and a cool handy technique in case of need.

And hey! If you decide to use the “owner’s email,” then post your comment below by telling us what the result was.

And if you have other strategies for maintaining the relationship with your customers and continuing to sell to them, share with us!

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