Fresh Marketing By Rachel Foster.+Add.Feed Info1000FOLLOWERS
Rachel Foster is toronto-based freelance copywriter who helps B2B technology marketers get more leads and sales. As a B2B copywriter who specializes in technology and software, Rachel helps clients attract high-quality leads, increase their conversions and clearly communicate complex messages
You don’t need to reinvent the wheel when you plan a new campaign. Here are 5 B2B marketing templates that your peers use to manage their content and measure their results …
As a B2B marketer, you have a lot on your plate.
Between meetings and putting out fires, you might not have the time to complete your top-priority tasks.
Wouldn’t it be great if you had done-for-you templates that help you better track every aspect of your marketing?
I recently received an invitation to Airtable Universe, a publishing platform where professionals share the exact templates and workflows that they use to run their businesses. Several B2B technology marketers have uploaded their essential tools, such as editorial calendars and campaign tracking sheets, to the site.
B2B Technology Marketers Share Their Secrets With You
I think that Airtable Universe is cool, as it gives you an insider look at how your peers are managing their marketing. The templates can also help you complete tasks faster, as you won’t need to reinvent the wheel when you want to improve your marketing systems or better track your campaigns.
Here are five B2B marketing templates that can help you stay organized and check more items off your “to-do” list:
The Marketing Campaign Tracking Sheet tells you, at-a-glance, how your ads are performing.
According to Airtable, this tracking sheet will help you, “Stop wasting time compiling spreadsheets to track your marketing campaigns, and spend more time doing what you love: coming up with new marketing ideas and generating new creative assets.”
The tracking sheet gives you a snapshot of your live, completed, and planned campaigns. Use the template to track the following:
Campaigns across all of your marketing channels
Ad spending and conversions
Your UTM codes
Campaigns that are specific to each stage of your sales cycle
Front’s email swipe file includes welcome messages, thank you messages, product feedback messages, and more.
I highly recommend saving examples of great copywriting to a swipe file.
Referring to a swipe file can inspire you when you’re staring at a blank page and wondering what to write.
For example, you might receive a cold email that motivates you to respond. Save it to your swipe file, so you can analyze it the next time you need to send out a sales email. Or you might get a welcome message that makes you feel special. How can you modify this message so it will appeal to your audience?
Don’t have a swipe file?
The team at Front has shared their email copy swipe file on Airtable.
The file contains samples of essential marketing emails – including welcome, thank you, nurture, product feedback, and apology messages.
Klipfolio’s content calendar contains both a spreadsheet and an author view.
An editorial calendar keeps your content marketing team on track.
It helps you plan and manage all of your content – from your blog posts to your ebooks. An editorial calendar also makes it easier to collaborate with your team, as everyone can work from a single, shared document.
But if you don’t have an editorial calendar, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel and create one from scratch.
Klipfolio has shared their content calendar on Airtable.
It contains a spreadsheet where you can track the following:
Keep all of your product messaging in a single, shared file.
One of the biggest challenges when creating content is keeping your messaging consistent.
You don’t want your marketing team to say one thing while your sales team says something else.
A shared messaging document can put everyone on the same page.
If you don’t have such a document, you can use Airtable’s Product Messaging Library template. The template contains a spreadsheet for managing your external-facing copy, as well as cards that help you organize your internal style guide.
If you manage your company’s content marketing, you need to keep a lot of balls in the air.
With so much going on, it can be challenging to stay on top of your projects and meet your deadlines.
Airtable’s Content Marketing Management Template simplifies your workflows. It lets you manage your editorial calendar, brainstorm ideas, align your content with your personas, track your results, and more – all from one location.
These are just a few of the handy templates that I found on Airtable.
What about you? What templates can’t you live without when you plan and measure your marketing? Share this post on Twitter or LinkedIn and let me know.
One of the biggest content marketing challenges is relevancy. If B2B buyers don’t relate to your content, they won’t read it.
That’s why you need a clear understanding of your audience, their pain points, and their goals. The more you know about your customers, the more likely they will view your content and respond to your offers.
Here are 21 ways to get to know your B2B customers, so you can create content that motivates them to take action:
1. Read your case studies.
You can learn a lot about your customers when you read their stories.
For example, you’ll learn about their challenges and the goals that they wanted to achieve before they started working with you.
You can also gain insights into your customers’ buying processes and why they chose you over your competitors. This knowledge can help you create content that speaks to your customers’ needs, so you stand out from the pack.
If you don’t collect case studies on a regular basis, you’re missing out on a goldmine of insights that can help you get more value from all of your content investments.
2. Review your competitors’ case studies.
Do you want to find out why B2B buyers chose your competitors over you?
Check out your competitors’ case studies. Researching how competitors engage their customers will help you better understand how to engage your own.
If you are in the technology space, you can find your competitors’ case studies on Featured Customers.com. Or you can visit each competitor’s website separately to review their case studies and testimonials.
3. Subscribe to publications that B2B buyers read.
Most industries have trade journals and professional magazines that address your customers’ top issues. Mining these publications will give you ideas for topics that resonate with your target audience.
Check out your industry association’s website to see if they have a blog or print publication. You can also find lists of industry publications at your local library or on Webwire.
4. Check out Amazon book reviews.
If you’re in the B2B space, you might not think of engaging with your customers on Amazon.
But Amazon’s book reviews can give you a wealth of information about your audience.
Find books that your target audience is reading and check out what they say in the reviews. Doing this will help you learn their thoughts on the subject matter. Reviews can also give you insights into your customers’ problems and the types of solutions that they want.
5. Sign up for Buzzsumo.
When you enter keywords in Buzzsumo, the site will show you the most popular content for each phrase. You’ll see the number of social shares and what sites link back to the content. Here’s an example of a Buzzsumo search for “content marketing:”
Using Buzzsumo is particularly helpful when you need ideas for blog post topics and headlines that will boost your shares.
6. Enter your keywords in Answer The Public.
Answer The Public leverages the power of Google’s autocomplete function and displays the results in easy-to-read graphics. Simply enter your keywords, and Answer the Public will show you the most-searched questions, prepositions, and alphabetical listings for each phrase:
Here are the results for questions about “content marketing:”
You can use these results to find out what your customers search for in Google. Then, you can create content that answers their questions and improves your SEO.
7. Use SEMRush for competitive research.
SemRush is a great tool for researching your competitors. Enter their domain, and you’ll see what keywords they rank for and who links back to their site. When you use the page report, you’ll see what content performs the best on their site. Then, you can create something even better for your own site.
8. Show your professional side on Facebook.
If you use your Facebook profile professionally, you can connect with trusted customers and interact with them in an informal setting.
Join the same groups that B2B buyers are active in. Follow their discussions and see what types of content they share.
If you post on a company page, use Facebook Insights to see data on your views, likes, and shares. This data will show you what works and what doesn’t work, so you can improve your content in the future.
9. Stay up-to-date on Twitter.
Connect with members of your target audience on Twitter and pay attention to their tweets. Be sure to segment your customers into lists, so you can keep up with their activity.
10. Invest in LinkedIn.
LinkedIn is the top social network for business professionals.
If you’re in B2B, most of your social media efforts should focus on LinkedIn. Your sales team may also want to consider a Sales Navigator subscription, as a paid plan makes it easier for reps to find and connect with potential customers.
11. Register for conferences that B2B buyers attend.
Attending a conference is a great way to get out of your office, learn what’s happening in your industry, and network with prospects.
Find out what the most popular sessions are and try to get a seat. Also be sure to stay through the Q&A, as you’ll learn what questions your customers are asking. Then, you can answer these questions later in your own content.
12. Join industry associations.
Industry associations are great places to interact with your target audience.
These groups have forums, social communities, and publications where your customers and peers discuss their top issues. They may even have live events, where you can meet potential customers in person.
13. Use Google Keyword Planner.
Google Keywords Planner allows you to enter keywords and find out which ones have the highest search volume. You can use the tool to get a general idea of what your customers search for.
14. Try UberSuggest.
UberSuggest is a tool that allows you to quickly find keywords that aren’t available in Google’s Keyword Planner. It shows you search volume, seasonal trends, and cost-per-click data.
The best part? It’s free.
15. Find your customers’ questions on BloomBerry.
BloomBerry shows you the top questions that people ask online. It mines popular sites, such as Quora and Reddit, so you won’t need to look at them individually to find out what questions your customers are asking.
16. Speak with your sales team.
Having an open dialogue with your sales team is essential if you want to learn more about your customers.
Your reps can tell you what buyers are asking and what they think about your product. This information will help you address customer concerns in your marketing materials.
17. Survey and segment your customers.
Surveys can provide you with valuable data about your prospects and customers.
But it’s hard to get someone to complete a survey.
If your surveys fall flat, start by asking your audience to answer a single question. For example, when someone joins your list, send them an email that asks them to segment themselves.
If your list consists of IT professionals, you can say something like:
To send you the best and most relevant content, we need to know a little more about you. Please click the option that best describes you.
I’m a CIO who wants to lead my company’s digital transformation.
I am an IT security pro who wants to better protect my company’s data.
I’m a network engineer who wants to improve our network’s performance.
Segmenting your audience is critical for improving your open and response rates.
18. Host a webinar.
Webinars allow you to get face time with your customers. Make your webinars as interactive as possible, so you can chat with customers and answer their questions.
19. Check your Google analytics.
When you review your Google Analytics, you can see which keywords people use to find your web pages. You can also learn which pages get the most views.
However, a large number of views doesn’t necessarily translate into an engaged audience. Also look at how much time people spend on each page. You may need to use other analytics tools to determine how your audience interacts with your content. For example, what are your opt-in rates for your premium content?
20. Read your blog comments.
Your blog can give you insights into your target audience. Which posts get the most shares and comments? What questions do people ask in the comments section? Should you answer any of these questions in future blog posts?
21. Review your customer personas.
Are your customer personas up-to-date?
If not, you may need to research your buyers and revise your personas. Make sure that everyone on your content team has copies of your personas, so they can refer to them when they create content for you.
Customers Are All Around
This list covers just a fraction of the places where you can connect with customers.
As they might say in a marketing version of Love, Actually, “Customers are all around!”
The more you interact with customers, the more you can tailor your content to meet their needs. Ultimately, this will lead to increased sales and revenue.
Marketing directors constantly need to do more with less. With so many marketing options, how do you know where to direct your limited budget? Here are seven investments that will help you get the most bang for your buck …
As a marketing director, you juggle endless responsibilities.
You must devise and implement your company’s marketing strategy, ensure that your team creates engaging content, deliver leads to sales, and stay on top of ever-evolving industry standards.
And that’s not all …
You must also devise a budget that keeps your marketing machine running smoothly.
Your budget is the foundation for all of your marketing decisions. How can you ensure that you direct your limited resources to the areas that will bring you the most bang for your buck?
Here are seven tips that will help you maximize your marketing budget:
1. Arm sales with the content that they need to close.
Many marketing departments focus on creating new content … the shinier, the better.
While publishing new content is important, you also must ensure that your sales team will use it. According to the American Marketing Association, 90% of marketing deliverables are not used by sales.
If your sales team doesn’t see the value in your content, they won’t share it with leads. They may even create their own content, which could be off-brand. A lack of sales-ready content can lengthen your buying cycles and impact your revenue.
Create a process to equip reps with the materials that they need to close deals, so they spend less time searching for or creating content. For example, make sure that your brochures, case studies, and white papers are updated and on-brand.
Also, review your content to make sure that it is mobile-friendly. A CSO Insights survey revealed that only 12% of reps could bring up critical sales material up on their smartphones.
When you equip your reps with appropriate content for late-stage leads, you allow them to spend their time on what they do best – sell.
2. Repurpose your content to reach a wider audience.
Repurposing content is, without a doubt, one of the best ways to get more value from your marketing budget. It allows you to publish more often and reach a wider audience – without doubling your content efforts.
One way to repurpose your content is to invest in the creation of one major piece, such as an ebook or essential guide. This piece will act as your “sun,” and all of your other content will orbit around it.
While creating a major piece of content takes a bit of planning up front, you probably already have something that you can reuse and repurpose.
Once you have this content, you can easily repurpose it into other formats for your other channels – saving time in the long run. Oracle’s Content Pillar Approach shows you how you can get 269 pieces of content from a single ebook.
Source: Oracle, “How to Produce 269 (or more) Content Assets From a Single eBook”
Starting with a large piece of content and breaking it down makes it easy for you to fill your editorial calendar and reach customers across a variety of channels.
3. Invest in marketing automation to nurture leads.
While marketing automation has been around for a long time, only 7% of B2B companies are optimizing it.
Since B2B buying cycles can last more than a year, investing in marketing automation will help you nurture customers and get long-term value from your budget. Here are three ways marketing teams can benefit from automation:
Allow customers to self-serve.
Gartner predicts that by 2020, customers will manage 85% of their relationships with enterprises without interacting with a human. Since customers aren’t speaking with your sales team, you must give them the content that they need to make a smart purchasing decision on their own.
Increase qualified leads.
Successful automation sequences guide prospects through a personalized buying process. When you effectively nurture prospects, you can increase your qualified leads by 451%.
Personalize your content for each audience.
B2B companies have an average of four different audiences. Marketing automation allows you to segment these audiences and give them content that is relevant at each stage of the buying cycle.
4. Create content that turns prospects into customers.
The B2B buying journey is not always straightforward. Some buyers may stumble upon a product or service before they even know that they want it, while others may begin their search knowing exactly what they want.
To get more value from your limited budget, invest in evergreen content that will remain relevant for a long time and appeal to buyers across each stage of your buying cycle. That way, you won’t constantly need to update your content. You’ll also have something for everyone – whether they are an early-stage lead who is researching their problem or a late-stage lead who is ready to buy.
Demand Gen Report found that 61% of B2B buyers select vendors who deliver a mix of content that is appropriate for each stage of their buying process.
If you have significant gaps, you may need a larger upfront investment to create content for every stage of your sales cycle. However, this investment will help you attract leads and nurture them until they become customers.
5. Use post-sales marketing to drive upsells, cross-sells, and referrals.
Post-sales marketing is one of the most underused customer engagement strategies.
Many marketers believe that once they sell their product or service, their job is done. But in reality, it’s just beginning.
By investing in post-sales marketing, B2B companies can create long-lasting relationships with customers, drive referrals, and boost sales. We all know that it’s much easier to sell to an existing customer than it is to find a new one.
6. Use the right content to engage the right customers.
A study by the Content Marketing Institute found that more than 85% of top-performing marketers use content as an integral part of their marketing strategy—and with good reason!
Content marketing boosts customer engagement and increases sales. According to a 2016 report by Demand Gen, 50% of B2B buyers view up to five pieces of content before they make a purchase. The quality – and availability – of your content can make or break your sales.
But it’s challenging to know what types of content to use when. The average B2B marketer uses 13 types of content, ranging from blogging to webinars.
The LinkedIn Technology Marketing Group surveyed more than 600 tech marketers and found that the top B2B content marketing tactic is case studies. Forty-four percent of respondents said that case studies help them achieve their lead generation goals.
The complete list of effective content is as follows:
7. Show your human side with compelling stories.
Stories are an ideal way for brands to engage customers.
Investing in storytelling lets you connect with customers on an emotional level. When you use stories to share your values and benefits, you can create a tighter bond with customers that translates into business.
Here are three things to consider when you add stories to your marketing mix:
Focus on stories about your customers’ key pains and opportunities – not on your products or services.
Combine words and visuals to paint a picture. Use strong visuals to illustrate the emotion.
Address your weaknesses to make your brand more human. Instead of hiding your product’s flaws, put them out in the open. Customers will appreciate your honesty and be more likely to trust you.
Hiring professional writers who can add storytelling to your content will make your marketing more compelling and effective.
Ensure that you spend your budget on content that truly speaks to your customers. Click the image below to download The Ultimate B2B Brand Voice Guide: 7 Steps to Finding an Authentic Voice That Resonates With Buyers.
Do you need compelling copy that gets your audience to take action and maximizes your marketing investments? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 647-342-4921 to discuss your marketing goals.
Creating a major piece of content – such as an ebook, guide, or white paper – can be a daunting task.
Although these in-depth resources are ideal for educating leads, they are also time-intensive. Many B2B marketing teams are overworked and don’t have the capacity to get these projects off the ground.
According to a study by Ascend2, the biggest content marketing challenge is the lack of internal resources to get it done.
If you invest in a major content project, you don’t want to waste all of your effort on something that falls flat.
Before you commit to your next ebook, guide, or white paper, you’ll want to be sure that it will help you achieve your marketing goals.
To do this, you must start by picking a topic that resonates with your audience.
Here are four keys to ensuring that your next ebook, guide, or white paper topic will attract leads:
Test before you invest
If you’re not sure if your audience is interested in a particular topic, you can run a test.
For example, write a blog post about your topic and see how it performs. Are your ideal readers commenting on the post and sharing it on social media? How is it performing, compared to other posts on your blog?
Find the top-performing content for your keywords
One of my favourite content marketing tools is BuzzSumo. After you enter your keywords, the tool will show you the most-shared content for those phrases. Using BuzzSumo helps you learn which topics are trending and which headlines draw in the most readers.
Here’s a screenshot of a search that I did for “content marketing”:
It shows you shares across the top social channels. If you upgrade, you can also see the number of links for each post.
According to BuzzSumo, one of the most popular types of B2B content is in-vogue and trending topics. For example, content about artificial intelligence is currently getting a lot of shares.
An ebook about a trending topic can help you increase your opt-ins. However, trending content won’t have as long of a lifespan as your evergreen content. You may need to update it or replace it with something new when its information grows old.
Stick with what works
An easy way to find your next ebook topic is to mine your current content for ideas.
Review your metrics to determine which pieces of content perform the best. Check your blog, webinars, case studies, and social content. Which pieces of content get the most views, shares, and downloads from your target audience? Do you have any topics that you can expand into a longer ebook, guide, or white paper?
Once you identify a potential topic, locate all of your related content. How much of this content can you repurpose in your ebook?
Mind the gap
Another way to pick a topic is to find the gaps in your current marketing.
For example, are you about to launch a new product but don’t have content to support it? Are your competitors talking about things that you also should address?
Also look at the questions that your customers ask. Do any of these questions fall into a common theme that you can turn into an ebook? For example, are customers in the early or middle stages of your sales funnel asking questions that you haven’t yet answered in your content? What are their most pressing challenges that you need to address?
Here are five keys to publishing a steady stream of customer success content – even if you don’t have the time:
1. Work with the right customers
Finding a customer who will to agree to a case study – and then getting their story approved – can take a long time.
If you’re in a hurry to fill your content calendar, you must reach out to the right customers. Look for someone who is already raving about you on social media, in online reviews, or via email. Chances are, this customer will be more than happy to help you.
Ask your customers to share their stories on camera. A short interview will require minimal editing and allow you to quickly publish new content.
3. Send your customer interviews out for transcription
Most marketers record their customer interviews. Recordings are helpful, as they give you something to refer to when you write a case study and need to insert compelling quotes.
But it takes a long time to listen to a recording and find an ideal sound bite – especially if you spent an hour on the phone with your customer. When you transcribe your interviews, you can quickly search them for key phrases. Then, you can copy and paste your customer’s exact words into your case study. You may still need to do some editing, but working from a transcription will save you a lot of time.
4. Develop a case study formula
Creating great content is 50 percent about your writing abilities and 50 percent about your process.
When you have a proven, repeatable process, you can quickly produce case studies. You’ll also deal with fewer revisions and get approvals faster.
I recommend that you create a list of questions that you will ask all of your customers during case study interviews. That way, you won’t need to spend a lot of time preparing for an interview.
Also develop a template for your case studies. What information would you like to include? Strong case studies usually contain the following sections:
The customer: Include a sentence or two about the company. I often pull this information from the boilerplate at the end of a customer’s press release.
The challenge: What challenges did your customer try to solve before they started to use your products or services? How were these challenges negatively impacting their business?
The discovery: How did your customer find out about you? Why did they choose you over your competitors?
The implementation: How did they implement your product or service? Did you help them overcome any challenges during this phase of the project? If so, how?
The results: What ROI did your customer achieve? Insert as many numbers related to their success as possible.
Be sure to include these sections, or some variation on them, in your case study template.
5. Get someone else to write your case studies for you
If you are swamped, you might benefit from hiring a freelance copywriter to write your case studies. They can handle everything from interviewing your customer to the final edits. The only thing you’ll need to do is get approvals.
Try some of these techniques when you need to create customer success content but are short on time.
After you complete a case study, be sure to share it across a number of channels. Don’t just bury it on your website and hope leads will find it. When you take your message beyond your website, you increase your chances of connecting with customers as they are getting ready to buy and want proof that your products deliver results.
Email is a major part of a savvy marketers’ strategy.
According to McKinsey, email is 40 times more effective for acquiring new customers than Facebook or Twitter. Forrester also found that email marketing is the most effective tactic for lead nurturing among top B2B marketers.
The folks over at websitebuilder.org have put together a great infographic with 119 email marketing statistics that offer insight into what works and what doesn’t.
But only between 24%-54% of marketers see value from their investment.
If you use paid advertising, then you know how much effort goes into selecting advertisers, writing copy, and testing your ads.
How can you improve your ads’ performance and get more of your ideal customers to view your content?
I recently analyzed the copy from 135 white paper paid ads and compared the top and low performers to discover what works and what fails.
Here are my findings:
1. Know your audience
One of the biggest factors impacting your ads’ success is how well your audience relates to your content. If your audience feels that you understand their needs and can help them, they will be more likely to respond to your calls to action. If your content isn’t relevant, they will tune your messages out.
Top performing ads had headlines that appeal to your publication’s audience. While this may seem like a no-brainer, you would be surprised by the number of ads that weren’t relevant to the target audience.
You don’t need to mention your audience by name in your ad’s headline, but you must make it clear that your content will help them solve one of their top challenges. Ads that directly mentioned the audience in the body copy tended to get more clicks.
Some of the lowest-performing white paper ads also called out the audience directly. However, their subjects appeared either too broad or too niche for the readership.
You must get clear on your audience so that you can pick the right lists or platforms for your ads. Here are some questions you can ask:
Who is your target audience? What are their roles within their companies?
What are their key challenges?
How do these challenges affect their typical workday?
Do these challenges impact their personal lives? If so, how?
How will your white paper help them solve these challenges?
2. Have one clear offer
The strength of your calls to action directly impacts your conversions.
However, many B2B marketers treat the call to action like an afterthought. They may devote hours – or even days – to developing a piece of content only to spend a few minutes writing its call to action.
The lowest performing ads that I analyzed had confusing calls to action. Many contained too much information yet failed to tie the benefits of clicking to the audience’s roles.
Top-performing ads clearly described what the reader would get when they clicked the link. They contained a big promise that related to a challenge that the publication’s readers desperately want to overcome.
Understand your audience’s challenges and desires before you write a white paper and create an ad for it.
3. Avoid industry jargon and acronyms
The ads that included jargon and acronyms performed poorly and didn’t resonate with readers.
Communicating with jargon is understandable. Since you are immersed in your field on a daily basis, it may only seem natural that others should speak your language.
However, using jargon in your paid ads can make readers’ eyes glaze over. If your message gets lost under layers of complex technical talk, your prospects will look elsewhere for answers to their problems.
Use jargon only if you are 100% confident that the publication’s audience knows your subject and will understand the terms.
When in doubt, leave the jargon out.
4. Avoid the term “white paper”
A well-written white paper can create a powerful argument for your product or service.
But the term “white paper” is often associated with sales and can be seen as boring.
Terms such as “research,” “guide,” “template,” “checklist,” and “report,” got more clicks than “white paper.” People respond to resources that they can use to take immediate action and are more likely to trade their email addresses for them.
5. Use attention-grabbing copy
A few small changes to your ad copy can lead to big increases in your conversions.
Used power words to elicit emotion
Included adjectives to make the copy punchy
Name dropped well-known companies or influencers to give social proof
Bottom performing ads:
Used the word “free” as the core benefit
Included dull, boring language
Had typos and grammar mistakes
Used metaphors that didn’t land with the audience
Asked too many questions instead of making strong statements
6. Beware of typos and grammar mistakes
I found typos and grammar errors in many low-performing ads. Mistakes can cause confusion and erode reader trust.
The BBC reported on an e-commerce company that doubled its online revenue after fixing a typo on its website. According to the story, typos may cost companies millions of dollars a year, as customers will question your credibility if they find errors in your copy.
7. Use numbers in your headline
Eye tracking studies have shown that the eye is drawn to numbers. Use an odd number or a multiple of 10 in your headline, as they get more clicks than even numbers.
Many top-performing ads included the year in the title. Showing that your content is current will help you engage people who need to keep up with best practices and stay ahead of their competitors.
Although case studies are effective, you may struggle to get them produced. Many B2B marketers have a hard time finding customers who are willing to share their stories.
Why Customers Say “No” to Success Stories
You’ve probably heard many reasons why customers won’t participate in a case study.
One of the most common reasons is that it’s against their company policies. They may need to adhere to regulations that make it impossible for them to discuss their challenges and successes publicly. Or their legal teams might say veto all case study requests, as they don’t like to disclose their third-party vendors.
Some companies say “no” to success stories because they want to keep their internal processes, technologies, and best practices private. They fear that their competitors will read about what they are doing and then steal their ideas.
Other customers may believe that they are too busy to take part in a case study. They often think that the process is long, complicated, and too much work.
In some of these instances, your customers might agree to a case study if you don’t name their company. But a case study without names and direct quotes can appear phony. It’s better to put your “nameless” customers on hold and find others who are happy to share their experiences.
How to Find Happy Customers Who Will Say “Yes” to Case Studies
You don’t need to go far to find your most satisfied customers. Here are five places to look:
Ask your sales and customer service reps for the names of the people who are the most excited to work with you.
Find out who is raving about you on social media.
Search your email for messages from customers who love your software.
Check third-party review sites to see who gives you the highest ratings.
Make a list of customers who give you referrals and references.
The ideal time to ask a customer for a success story, case study, or testimonial is right after they recommend you. If they are sharing the love in public forums, such as on social media or third-party review sites, they will be more likely to say, “yes” to a feature story.
3 Keys to Getting Your Customers Excited About Sharing Their Successes
Many B2B marketers approach case studies from a “what’s in it for me” perspective. They want great content that will fill their editorial calendars and drive sales.
But you also must consider what’s in it for your customers.
Here are three secrets to getting customers to say “yes” to your case studies:
1. Show them the benefits of helping you.
Let your customers know that you will do everything you can to make them look good. For example, you can help them:
Display their thought leadership. A case study can highlight a customer’s expertise. They can share it on their blog and on social media to show how they have successfully overcome common challenges in their industry.
Gain recognition within their companies. They can show their boss the case study as proof of the great things they are doing for the business.
Build their personal brands. They can post the case study to their LinkedIn profile and receive recognition from their peers and future employers.
2. Address their concerns.
Your customers will want to know how you will use their success stories. Be sure to send them a release form that describes all of the details. Also, send them samples of your other case studies so that they can visualize their final story.
3. Make it easy for customers to take part.
Let your customers know that they won’t need to devote tons of time to your case study. Aim to keep their interview around 45 minutes. Also let them know that your copywriter will create a draft, so they won’t need to do any time-consuming writing. After the interview, the only thing your customer will need to do is review the story and get final approval.
Be sure to send them their interview questions in advance. Some customers are comfortable speaking off-the-cuff but others will want to prepare answers.
Also, let your customers know that you will ask for numbers related to their return on investment during the interview. That way, they can look up the data in advance and won’t need to dig around for additional information after the interview. This will also help you complete your case studies faster, as you won’t need to wait for vital ROI statistics.
Finding customers for your case studies doesn’t have to be a headache. Start with your most vocal advocates and make it easy for them to take part.
It won’t be long before you have a catalogue of case studies that helps you turn leads into customers.
Between attending meetings, planning campaigns, and publishing endless content, you might have trouble keeping up. You barely have time to analyze your own activities – let alone find out what other marketers are doing to succeed.
In the day-to-day rush, you may miss out on chances to engage leads and turn them into customers. Here are seven big opportunities that many B2B marketers overlook:
1. Arming Your Sales Team With The Content They Need To Close Deals
A recent Seismic and MarketingProfs survey found that only 18% of B2B content marketers provide their sales teams with content in an effective manner, as well as ensure that their materials remain updated and on-brand.
Adding to Sales’ frustrations, a CSO Insights survey revealed that only 12% of reps can bring up critical sales material up on their smartphones.
If you don’t have a process to provide reps with the content they need to close deals, your sales cycles will grow longer. The more time reps spend searching for and creating content, the less time they will have to do what they do best – sell.
Equip your reps with content that supports buyers who are in the later stages of the sales process. For example, they may need case studies that provide proof that your products or services deliver results. They may also want content that contains detailed information on your offerings, such as brochures or competitive comparisons.
Publishing without a strategy is like taking a road trip without a map. You’re likely to take wrong turns along the way.
In addition to a map, you’ll also need a GPS that warns you of upcoming roadblocks and detours. This is because the most successful B2B marketers quickly adjust their content marketing strategy – and get on a better route – when things change.
3. Personalizing Your Existing Content
Gone are the days of one-size-fits-all content. Customers won’t respond unless your content speaks directly to their needs, challenges, and goals.
The demand for personalized content stemmed from the consumer world, where buyers can do everything from view customized Amazon recommendations to pick the exact produce in their organic delivery box.
Eccolo Media found that 48% of B2B buyers consume two-to-five pieces of content before they make a purchasing decision. Meanwhile, TechTarget found that 65% of IT buyers require at least four pieces of content to make a vendor shortlist.
In the B2B space, content personalization can include giving customers relevant white papers, case studies, and email content. And you don’t necessarily need to recreate the wheel to personalize all of your content.
For example, you can take one of your white papers and change parts of it – such as the case studies and introduction – to speak to a different audience.
Then, you can give leads the option to select their role, industry, or biggest challenge when they download a white paper. This gets them more involved in the process. If they know that they are downloading a piece of custom content, they will be more likely to read it. They will also get more value from your content, as it speaks directly to their needs.
4. Cooking Once And Eating All Week By Repurposing Your Content
The more content you produce, the more customers you will attract. However, you may not have the time or resources to create a large volume of original content.
Repurposing your content is a great way to do more with less, so you can:
Get your message in front of a wider audience (such as different personas or leads who are in different stages of the sales cycle)
Attract more leads from different channels
Improve your SEO
Get more value from your content investments
Publish new content quickly
5. Showing Your Company’s Human Side
Customers buy from people. They want honesty. They want stories.
Stories help you connect with customers on an emotional level so that you can show your value and stand out from the competition.
The most effective content marketers apply elements of journalism and storytelling to their content. Here are three keys to creating compelling stories:
Address your weaknesses to make your brand more human. Instead of hiding your product’s flaws, put them out in the open. Customers will appreciate your honesty and be more likely to trust you.
When you bring these key elements into your content, you’ll connect with members of your audience and motivate them to take action.
6. Engaging Leads With Case Studies
The B2B Technology Marketing Group surveyed more than 600 tech marketers to find out the latest content trends and best practices. The results revealed that the most effective B2B content marketing tactic is case studies, with 44% of respondents saying that it helps them achieve their lead generation goals.
Here is the rest of the survey’s top 10 list:
7. Using More Than Words
Multimedia can make your content more engaging and help you connect with auditory and visual learners. For example:
Here are some ways you can use media to connect with customers and motivate them to take action:
Add photos and charts to punch up your content
Film video case studies and use them throughout your marketing
Turn your content into SlideShare presentations and upload them to LinkedIn
Interview your customers about their successes in your webinars and podcasts
Create fun and informative infographics
Can you take advantage of any of these opportunities?
Check for holes in your content strategy. For example, did you launch a new product but don’t have case studies to support it? Can you make your blog posts more shareable by adding images and videos to them?
More than 85% of marketers use content marketing – and for good reason!
Content marketing is a proven way to boost customer engagement and increase sales. Studies have shown that the average buyer now interacts with 11.4 pieces of content before making a purchasing decision. It’s not surprising that every year, businesses dedicate more of their marketing budget to content creation.
This week, I wanted to share an infographic put together by Skilled.co that outlines 55 ways to help your business with content marketing. It clearly illustrates which types of content attract the most customers, the best ways to promote your content, and actionable tips to drive more traffic.