Content marketing continues to be a top priority across many businesses and markets. Budgets are increasing and content creation is at a record high. This is an especially relevant fact for technology marketing, which can require a significant transfer of knowledge. Generating the right kind of content for the right prospect at the right time can be challenging.
According to Forbes’ article, “The Top 7 Content Marketing Trends That Will Dominate 2015”, content marketing is bigger than ever. Here are three approaches we’ve seen clients embrace to improve prospect engagement.
1) Reach Buyers Earlier
Many companies do an excellent job reaching later-stage buyers. But sometimes those companies fall into the trap of tunnel vision and miss out on early-stage buyers, often neglecting to develop content for them.
You’re probably familiar with the buyer’s journey concept. It’s often discussed as a three-stage process in the marketing industry. Our buyer’s journey model looks like this:
The Awareness stage is gold. It’s when you can help shape the conversation of your prospects.
Let’s assume you’re a marketing professional working for a notebook manufacturer, and you’ve learned that Acme Corporation will be purchasing 500 notebooks for their field sales team later this year. Wouldn’t it be great if you could influence their decision criteria? You can.
For example, you could write an article on the best notebooks for a field sales team. In the article, weave in the importance of unique features your company’s notebook offers, or the specifications where your product excels, such as long battery life. Use search marketing to float the article into the awareness of Acme Corporation. Of course, this is an over-simplification, but you get the idea. By providing valuable content to buyers early, you can influence their “must-have” checklist before it’s even created.
How are you reaching buyers in the Awareness stage?
2) Implement Video at All Stages
We’ve already said that the Awareness stage is gold. But it’s not the only stage. A lot of marketers believe that video is only useful to attract prospects during the Awareness stage – but Google’s B2B marketing survey debunks that myth. Published in March 2015, the survey reveals 70% of B2B buyers and researchers watched videos during their entire path to a purchase, not just in the early stages.
70% of B2B buyers and researchers watched videos during their entire path to a purchase, not just in the early stages.
Video can be a powerful sales tool at every stage of your sales process. For example, a product demonstration or case study video can provide much-appreciated insight even during the final Decision stage.
Are you using video for every stage of the buyer’s journey?
3) Generate Compelling Content
White papers and case studies are mainstays of traditional content marketing (especially when marketing technology products) and are popular assets to “gate” in order to gather prospect information. Clever content marketers will improve reader engagement by infusing white papers and case studies with glanceable copy formats such as bullets and sidebars and choosing short, clear sentences over lengthy copy blocks.
Infographics have soared in popularity as a means to convey meaningful information through colorful and inventive visual treatments. Busy audiences have to do very little reading while still gaining useful data, ideal for sharing and posting via social media channels.
Video can be successfully leveraged at any point in the buyer’s journey, and provides an extremely effective means of getting and keeping your prospects’ attention, assuming you observe the number one rule: shorter is better.
To deliver a more engaging experience for prospects, consider using online assessments and ROI calculators. The audience doesn’t have to do much – usually enter a few numbers – but are rewarded with actionable information that they took part in preparing.
How do your content tactics score in terms of engagement?
B2B and B2C marketers are refining their strategies and developing more sophisticated approaches to content marketing. Thought leaders have shifted their mindset: instead of selling to customers, they’re delivering valuable information that enables customers to buy.