Savvy B2B marketers know that a successful content marketing strategy can generate demand, drive relevant traffic, and establish your brand as a thought leader. Lately it’s been established that content creation is integral to successful SEO.
But content can do more than generate demand; the right content can also be invaluable to a successful lead nurturing campaign. High-value content that speaks to your audience’s needs provides opportunities for sustained engagement, helping to build trust, establish a relationship, and ultimately increase conversions. Relevant content can take marketing automation process to the next level, and it can also help sales and account managers build better relationships with prospects and customers.
Creating Content for Prospects and Customers
When you’re creating content with lead nurturing in mind, focus on delivering the most value to active leads. What are prospects’ biggest pain points? What are they confused about? Leverage insight from your sales and customer service teams to gain insight about frequently asked questions, common concerns, and points of confusion. These teams have the best window into the minds of your current and prospective customers; use their insight to inspire your content.
It can also be effective to take inspiration from newsworthy events or hot topics within your industry. Are your customers curious about how an event, law, or other development affects their business? Develop a piece of content around it. For example, this May, ReTargeter put together a white paper about how to comply with the EU ePrivacy Directive. After hearing concerns from several clients regarding the European legislation, we decided a white paper would be valuable. Another great example comes from a KoMarketing blog. Late last year, Google announced they would no longer provide keyword data for site visitors who were logged in to Google. This topic was newsworthy, a cause for concern, and highly relevant. Content like this can be easily leveraged to increase engagement with your CRM.
It’s important to strike a balance between content that’s evergreen and content that’s highly relevant at one point but may become obsolete in the future. You want your time and resources to yield as much as possible, but you also want to be able to jump into hot conversations with your audience members.
Content and Marketing Automation
If you have an automated lead nurturing process, or if you’re considering implementing one, content newsletters can be an integral part of the process. Valuable content can keep users from hitting unsubscribe, and repetitive meeting requests that don’t offer any value-add are almost certain to alienate recipients.
A strong automation process should encompass different types of emails, including both longer and shorter form content, evergreen content that’s always relevant to your industry, and newsworthy or topical content that’s relevant right now. You’ll also benefit from progressive segmentation. Learn about your leads from your open and click-through rates, and modify the emails you send based on what’s been working.
Lead Building the Old Fashioned Way
If your sales team has existing relationships with some of their prospects, particularly if those prospects are fairly deep in the sales process, it may not make sense for those prospects to be enrolled in an automated nurture campaign. Periodic follow-up may be sufficient (or perhaps preferable). Under these circumstances, content-focused emails from sales may even be more engaging and effective.
Building on the aforementioned EU privacy example, we sent our white paper to prospects and current customers whom we thought might be interested, in addition to people who had previously inquired about the law. The response we received from both prospects and customers was overwhelmingly positive. This piece of content helped solidify our expertise in our field and establish or maintain trust.
To make the process easier for sales and account managers, build a canned response or an email template describing the content and be sure to include a link. This makes the process simpler for client-facing teams and helps ensure that the content you’ve spent so much time creating is getting disseminated. Make sure you build value-add emails into a part of the sales and customer relationship processes.
Content marketing can be very powerful. Don’t limit your efforts to demand generation; get the most out of your content strategy by leveraging content for lead nurturing and retention.
About Caroline Watts
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