With no tried and true formula for success, that work for one company might flop for the next. So how can we learn from our peers and competitors when it comes to the email marketing experience? Well, the findings of others serve as the perfect launch pad for testing.
In this post, we’re rounding up our top findings and everything we’ve learned along the way in the wild world of email marketing.
Don’t make assumptions.
If there’s anything to take away from this post it’s to never make assumptions. When it comes to crafting email marketing campaigns we can have a gut feeling, a hunch, an educated guess — but nothing holds merit until it’s been tested. Email marketing is all about continually improving your message, how? With bonafide AB tests — where two (or more) variants are tested against each other, sent out to recipients at random to determine the most successful subject line, messaging, send time, you name it. Luckily, the most popular ESPs (email service providers) like Constant Contact or MailChimp have AB testing baked right into the platform.
Use a large enough sample size.
To get an accurate result in an AB test, you need a big enough pool. We recommend a ballpark of at least 1,000 email contacts, allowing you to test each variant against 500 people. Not sure how big your sample size should officially be? You can always use a calculator to dissuade any uncertainty before sending emails and gathering data.
Think outside the box.
With the average person receiving over 120 emails a day, it pays to stand out. We found that witty approaches to subject lines work wonders. Our unorthodox subject line — “Does your engagement suck?” — performed a whopping 10% higher than its competing (slightly less salacious) variant. To pull off this colloquial, catchy, and off the cuff subject line, you need empathetic email copy‚ something along the lines of “don’t sweat it, you’ve got options” or “it’s not your fault.” After catching their attention, follow up with great email messaging that positions you as an ally, an expert in the field, and a resource.
Segment from the get-go.
You’ve likely heard it before — when you try to appeal to everyone, you appeal to no one. For this reason, segmentation is key. If you can’t email everyone on your list individually, segmentation is the next best step. At the end of the day, email is a tool for communication, sending out a mass email to your list is not effective for striking up meaningful conversations. Plus, segmentation can help you personalize your email messages.
Personalized emails really work.
Personalized emails perform better. We found that including the readers first name in the subject line increased the open rate by 9%. Including your recipient’s job title, company name, alma mater, and pretty much any additional information you can collect will make your message more human. It reminds the reader there’s someone on the other side of their inbox.
Nail the opt-in.
At the end of the day, we’re all recipients of email. We know first-hand how frustrating spam can be, which is why you need a true opt-in. A healthy list is not only the right thing to do, it’s better for engagement, deliverability, and your sanity. If your reader isn’t expecting your email in the first place, there’s a low chance they’ll open and a high chance they’ll flag you as good old spam. Nervous about deliverability? Take time in your email to remind your readers why you’re reaching out to them, how you have their email in the first place, and always give them a chance to unsubscribe and opt-out.
Be honest, friendly, and genuine.
In the B2B space, there’s no time to beat around the bush, your emails need to quickly offer your reader something refreshing — value. Identify what it is you’re offering in your email and why your recipient should care. Sometimes the hardest part is communicating what you bring to the table. When it comes to reviewing copy, remove any repetitive sentences or ones that don’t offer value. Keep it short, simple, and sweet.
Don’t forget to test the email send time.
Your email send time matters. We found the highest open rate across all emails on Tuesday between 7:00 am and 8:00 am, and the highest response rate Fridays between 11:00 am and 12:00 pm. Emails sent at off-numbered times (like 7:21 am or 7:48) outperformed emails sent or scheduled at the five, ten, and fifteen-minute mark (like 7:30 or 7:45). Sending on off-numbered times makes your message feel less automated and robotic (even if it is scheduled) and you stand out from every other sender delivering messages at that 15-minute increment.
Other proven successful send times include 10:00 am when folks are catching up on late morning emails, 8:00 pm when people are checking their inboxes before bed, and 2:00 pm when people are likely back from lunch trolling their inboxes for a distraction.
Test, review results, repeat.
Once your test comes to a close and you’ve identified your winning variable, your work isn’t quite done. Email marketing is a continuous game of optimization. With an endless combination of messaging, subject lines, recipients, and send times — the testing possibilities are endless. That being said, not every test will be successful. A low performing email is a great way to figure out what doesn’t work.
Now go forth and optimize.
At the end of the day, email is a vehicle for conversations. We’re all here trying to send the right email, to the right people, at the right time. Finding what works best for you and your audience requires consistent testing (and a sprinkle, ok a heaping spoonful, of optimism). What works for one company, might not work for you but we can all learn a little something from the experience. Our competitor’s findings serve as the perfect starting point for our own testing endeavors. So go forth, get testing, and start sparking conversations that build real relationships.
Over the past decade, we’ve seen massive gains in the ways we measure and track marketing campaigns. And nowhere is this more true than for B2B – where we’ve got more tools, processes and expectations from the higher-ups to deliver a measurable ROI on the day-to-day marketing strategy we’re pursuing. We’re a long way from the age when marketers could simply cast a wide net and hope to reel in as many customer accounts as possible.
Today, there is an increased demand for marketing strategies that are efficient, tactical and measurable. And Account-Based Marketing, ABM, is proving itself as the smart play for the smartest B2B marketers.
While ABM (or key account marketing as it’s also known) isn’t new in the business world, recent technological advancements have made it much more attractive. We’re better able to track the marketing efforts and touch points that high value accounts engage with. Having this level of insight, paired with an improved ability to fine tune our inbound marketing efforts – well, it’s no surprise that ABM is considered a valuable strategy for most B2B companies.
Why are so many sales and marketing teams sold on ABM? Because they’re able to close on bigger deals, focus on only the most valuable accounts, and get the most use out of limited resources (like time and budget).
How to Get Started with an ABM Strategy
As you ramp up to kicking off ABM campaigns of your own, keep these tips in mind:
Create a targeted account list
Your first step in a great ABM campaign is identifying target accounts – the prospects that would be most valuable for you to win. You don’t want to just consider the revenue potential for these individual accounts, though obviously that’s an important consideration, but if they’re a good fit for your product or service too. Assess how your offering will benefit their business more than what your competitors may be offering.
Scoring your ABM target accounts
Not all accounts are equal. Some will be a higher value win than others – and you’ll want to spend additional time and resources to win over those prospects. Before moving forward with your lead generation efforts, ensure that you’ve got a well-curated and scored list. (Learn more about ABM list building and scoring with AI here.)
Understanding your target audiences
Account-based marketing requires an in-depth knowledge of your target accounts. For your highest priority accounts, you’ll want to create personalized messaging that addresses their specific pain points so it’s important to do your research. You’ve likely already got a head start on this with your existing buyer personas, so there’s no need to reinvent the wheel.
Study the specific circumstances for each target account – including industry trends, competitors, business history, and employees (especially the ones you’ll likely be in contact with). The more information you have on a target account, the more successful you’ll be at creating a personalized marketing effort.
Develop personalized messaging
Now that you’ve got your scored list of prospects, and have a solid understanding of their business needs, build a behavior-based campaign. You want to build marketing campaigns that accurately address the common pain points of your prospects, and expertly guide them into your marketing funnel.
Create campaigns that include content and messaging for each stage of the funnel, illustrating your unique insight into their industry, and knowledge of their business model and competitive landscape.
Align sales and marketing teams
For ABM to really work, your sales and marketing teams need to have the same nuanced understand of each account on your target list. You’ll want them to be on the same wavelength, so brief each team on the action plan for each specific account, and encourage them to stay in communication.
Aligning your teams will streamline the prospect’s experience and prevent any communication hiccups, so matter who they talk to, they’ll get the info they need that proves to them that you’re the right business to work with.
Measure & review your ABM campaign results
Measuring your campaign results is a key component to building a consistently effective ABM strategy. No matter how large, or small, your campaign, make sure to always measure and review your results. (Here is a list of the most common ABM campaign mistakes to help you dial in on what might not be working.)
Understanding the effectiveness of each stage of your campaign will help you to adjust your content, messaging and delivery timetables. You might find you need to make adjustments to lists and segments once you’ve analyzed your results. These discoveries will be invaluable as you run successive campaigns.
ABM & Staying Customer-Focused
Account-based marketing makes the difference between gaining high-value, good-fit clients or wasting time and resources targeting everyone. It also provides a reliable structure for your overall marketing campaign so you can focus on the tactics that work the best for your business – and gets the attention of your prospects.
Why does ABM work so well and what really makes an ABM campaign successful? Fancy marketing verbiage aside, it’s really about focusing on the right customers so you can learn what they need. The more you know about them, the better you’ll be able to provide the service or product that will help grow their business.
Have you tried an ABM strategy? If so, let us know how it’s working for you and what things you’ve done to make it successful.
Have you ever found yourself in the rabbit hole they call YouTube searching one tutorial after another?
I’ve been there too, and you discover that, you name it, it’s been shared and seen on YouTube. Indeed, YouTube is used as a tool to promote pretty much everything. With tutorials spanning from makeup-how-tos to quick and efficient oil changes, it’s easy to see how a person can learn at home with the extensive catalog of teaching videos that exist in the YouTube universe. But how can B2B marketers use this craving-for-knowledge to their advantage?
Within this over-saturated world of potential teachers, appears the elusive learning-based ninja – the Webinar. It exists like a B2B Case Study, to prove credibility, engage your audience and teach a valuable lesson. Interesting enough, as you offer your viewer expert insight on a subject matter they didn’t really know much about before, you gain admittance into their work-life as a trusted advisor.
So let me humbly be your advisor in this scenario, and let’s breakdown this not-so-often-thought-about, but important way of sharing your content. I invite you to B2B Webinar Best Practices.
What is a Webinar?
We know video is the way of the future, but how does a Webinar differ or become more informative than a popular how-to video? It’s simple – a webinar educates a viewer on something they either needed more information about or didn’t know anything about before. We search for these videos out of necessity, to be taught a lesson, and ultimately, to seek an answer to a question. Oftentimes, video can be the most valuable kind of content marketing – you have the ability to catch a viewer’s attention because they instantly make a personal connection with you.
Popular Question: Do I need to use a dedicated webinar platform like GoToWebinar, WebEx or WebinarJam?
If you already have access to one of these services – a lot of enterprise clients already use these or similar communications tools – then go ahead, and give their webinar tool a try. They often provide helpful features like call recording, Q&A chat, and audience metrics. That said, it’s not a requirement – particularly if you’re just getting into running webinars. Try using Facebook Live or Google Hangouts for your first few webinars to work out any bugs before investing in a dedicated software.
Offering a Free Webinar
Like writing a masterpiece or weaving pictures together, your webinar becomes a powerful product for your business. When you offer this for free, your potential clients will feel like they are getting an exclusive lesson. You’re able to answer what they need with a video that will get your company known, and your brand out there. People relate to video, and they feel connected as colleagues, or even better, as friends. It’s important to keep this in mind when making this video – you are building unique relationships with a number of people based on a video you are creating.
Think about your past – I’m sure you’ll remember those instructors or teachers or mentors who had the greatest impact on your life, and you can carefully craft your video to have your business put on that proverbial pedestal and be remembered as something inspiring and memorable.
Popular Question: What if speaking at a live event makes me nervous?
One of the great benefits of hosting a webinar is that it doesn’t require tremendous public speaking skills. Talk to your webinar audience like you would to a colleague or friend. They’re attending to learn something of value from you – something you’re already an expert on – so take some deep breaths and have fun with it.
Use Your Webinar to Provide Viewers with Expert Education
There’s multiple training resources you can find on YouTube – to make yours stand out, offer it on LinkedIn. In a world where we can Skype or Zoom Call our clients, video makes things intimate and personal. We are able to email, call, or text, but video will put a face to your name and help people remember who you are. Fostering this relationship early on with an educational training will help answer questions while having your viewers get to know you.
Instead of a quick call or a PowerPoint slide deck your prospect sees often, they are able to get a real you, often in real-time, right in front of them. (Though, if you’re looking to scale and reach thousands of people with a limited time investment on your part, you can offer ‘live’ webinars that are actually just replays.) And even more appealing, you can write a kick-ass script, and prepare for your webinar giving the best information in the most relevant and eloquent way.
“think about the staying power you’d like for your content. If your goal is to develop content with a long shelf life, you’re going to want to include foundational information, focus on broad industry trends or offer a unique or unconventional point of view.”
Indeed, no matter what industry you’re in, you’ll want a topic that pertains to most of your audience while retaining its staying power. In addition, I know we’ve all been subjected to those boring educational videos that have us nodding off, so get dramatic – no need to pull out your Superman costume, but some compelling scenarios or illustrations can do the trick. However, if you really want to get dressed-up, here’s a tip: try something like the B2B Wizard, or the LeadGen Wonder Woman. Or just wear a really unique hat (which is also a great conversation starter at your next B2B conference.)
Popular Question: There are already plenty of webinars in my industry, what can I do to provide information they won’t find from one of my competitors?
Use what you got – namely, the good folks already following you on your social media channels – and ask poll questions to see what topics they’d be most interested in learning about. You’ll have a chance to engage with them, get their real-time feedback on the topics they’re curious about – and by seeing who responded to your poll, you’ll have a list of people ready-made to when it comes time to promote your webinar.
Making a List, Checking it Twice
Just like a poignant documentary, a Webinar will take extra development and planning to fill this B2B void – it takes combining answers with a unique filming angle and a sense of wonder. So complete this checklist below, and you’ll have yourself a Webinar that makes waves:
A compelling topic – answer those niche industry questions that nobody has a solution for, or throw a new spin on an existing topic that needs a little dusting-off or resuscitation.
An amazing speaker – think of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” or FDR’s “A Date Which Will Live in Infamy” speech. Both were extremely powerful and left a lasting impact. Whether it’s yourself, or a colleague, have someone that has a speaking power that truly resonates.
Consider the Format – whether it’s a Q&A, guest-driven, or it’s just you, knowing what your audience will be most receptive to is crucial in this process.
Webinar Promotions Tips (And What to Do Post Event)
To make this a truly effective marketing channel, make the most of your effort. Post event details one week out on all your social platforms to start generating webinar registrations. If possible, create a custom landing page for your webinar that shares all the specifics so it’s easy for attendees to share with their own networks. (And while you’ve got their attention, double down by sharing a few of your existing content marketing resources they can enjoy before the event.)
24 hours out, send reminder emails to your registered guests with a short ‘teaser’ text on some of the key takeaways they’ll learn by attending.
Post-event, send follow-up emails to say thank you for attending, while also offering any additional tips you didn’t cover, or a link to the webinar slides or video transcript so they’ll get use out of your presentation for months to come.
Now that you have these best practices for B2B webinars, start working on that award-winning script, or watch some how-to videos to start generating your own creative ideas. Remember, being a teacher isn’t easy, but it will leave a lasting impact, and your viewers will trust in what you’re selling and be eager to build a lasting, professional relationship.
We’ve been inundated with process improvements, strategies, and marketing automation tools – there’s literally no shortage of things we can be doing. But what should we be doing?
Which proven demand generation tactics actually work to increase the metrics that matter to your organization?
Ask a dozen marketers and you’ll get a dozen different responses. Which isn’t helpful when you’re under pressure to deliver a winning demand generation strategy for the next quarter.
So we did what a data-driven company should do – we partnered with content marketing firm Ascend2 to survey the most influential B2B marketers working today. The result? An unvarnished view of what demand generation tactics and priorities deliver an ROI. We learned some things that are slap-your-forehead-say-d’oh obvious, and more than a few things that aren’t so intuitive.
View the full report or continue reading for highlights you’ll need to know for your next meeting with the C-Suite.
Top Lead Generation Priorities
Improve strategy effectiveness
What’s Obvious: Lead quality and quantity are top priorities. Not at all surprising to marketers currently running campaigns – but it’s refreshing to see the acknowledgement that lead quality wins out over lead quantity. We’ve become addicted to volume, rather than value. And it’s not serving us. B2B offerings aren’t a hamburger, they’re Wagyu beef at the nicest steakhouse in town. Smaller potential customer base, far more valuable.
What’s Not: Improving strategy effectiveness. As they say on Twitter, this is ‘saying the quiet part out loud’. As marketers, we know we can be more efficient, more streamlined with our campaigns. It’s reassuring that almost 4 out of every 10 marketers feels there are improvements that can be made. And that despite the wealth of new processes, tools and tactics that have bubbled up in B2B, there are still fundamentals – [like smarter targeting] – that we know can be performing better than they currently are.
Top Lead Generation Tactics
Content, Video Marketing
What’s Obvious: All of the above lead gen tactics are ones that can be performed successfully at scale. Which isn’t to say that it’s easy to get these tactics right on the first try. Testing and iterating messaging is the best way to see what’s really resonating with potential customers. And even this process can be streamlined – use your SEO campaign to see which keywords generate quality organic search traffic and then incorporate those learnings back into your other strategies.
What’s Not: Email marketing is still a valuable and effective top of the funnel play. Indeed, it’s viewed as the most effective lead gen tactic by a majority of surveyed marketers. That this works so well – despite the volume of messages we receive in our in-boxes daily – is remarkable. Be mindful though. You don’t have limited runway. Keep messaging and [content syndication] efforts focused on how your product or service uniquely addresses your prospects’ pain points. And above all, provide value.
Top Lead Nurturing Priorities
Increase Sales Opportunities
Increase Customer Conversions
Increase Brand Awareness
What’s Obvious: Increasing opportunities and conversions are two metrics that showcase the quality of your lead nurturing campaigns. Proving ROI on your marketing spend is a tricky pickle. If you can correlate your efforts with increases in sales ops and conversions – and ultimately revenue, you’ll have done the heavy work towards winning over your CFO.
What’s Not: Brand awareness. It says a great deal about how competitive the B2B market is that brand awareness is still a top priority of a lead nurturing strategy. Even if your prospects have moved slightly further down the funnel, into a nurturing cadence, you still need to include content that builds trust – don’t assume you’ve already established it.
Top Lead Nurturing Tactics
Content, video marketing
What’s Obvious: Email and [content marketing strategies] are right at home in a lead nurture cadence. Pay special attention to the frequent questions fielded by your Sales and Customer Success teams. They’re good indicators of what information you should be providing in these types of [middle of the funnel] sequences to have the biggest impact.
What’s Not: Event/demo registrations might seem too resource-heavy to be successful at scale, given that they frequently require one-to-one interactions. (If this is the case for your team, consider tactics like biweekly or monthly webinars. They’re less taxing on your team’s time, while still providing opportunities to have Q&A sessions that help move prospects further down the funnel.) That this is a high-priority tactic for leading B2B marketers is a key indicator that the extra time and resources it requires is worth the effort.
Unlike B2C, B2B sales are vastly more complex, almost all of the time. Buyers today are educating themselves online. B2B has the extra onus of buyers needing to please more people/meet specific goals. i.e. if they don’t understand and believe in the utility your product or service is offering, it’s not going to get bubbled up to key decision-makers. No one wants to be responsible for pushing a budget line item that doesn’t deliver as promised.
Before kicking off your next demand generation campaign, get to ‘Yes’ on the following questions:
Does it provide lead quality at scale?
Can you prove a measurable ROI?
Are you answering the right questions as prospects move through the funnel?
Beyond the funnel content and client retention go hand in hand.
Congratulations! You’ve made it through the marketing funnel from the first date (top of the funnel), to tying the knot (bottom of the funnel), and now you find yourself beyond the funnel. At this stage, you’ve successfully wooed your prospect to commit, now it’s up to you to deliver on promises made in the courting stage. Beyond the funnel, your partnership is just getting started — so is your content. Once the honeymoon is over, it’s time to use beyond the funnel content (BeFu) to strengthen relationships and keep customers happy for the long haul.
Why you should care about keeping existing customers happy
You’ve likely heard it before, maintaining an existing customer is easier (and cheaper) than winning a new one. Your beyond the funnel content is your best marketing for keeping customers onboard, transforming one-time buyers into repeat customers, and preventing subscription customers from canceling (hello, booming ROI). Bottom line, beyond the funnel content is all about client retention.
You’ve worked hard to lead your prospects to this point in the relationship, don’t give them a reason to walk away just yet. A smooth onboarding and implementation process will start your relationship on a good note and set expectations from the get-go. Create startup checklists, tasks, timelines, and onboarding videos to ensure your client has everything in place to ramp up successfully.
Think of your onboarding process as the compass to set your newly won prospects on the right path. At the end of the day, you want your customer to derive the most value from your product or service (so they stick around) and that starts with a solid foundation. Crafting effective onboarding tools will make the adoption process easy for everyone at the company, not just your point of contact.
If your onboarding docs are the compass, support articles are the map. Much like onboarding, support articles are designed to help your reader navigate (and get the most use out of) your product or service. Product guides, how-to articles, feature glossaries, and knowledge bases serve as valuable beyond the funnel support content that shows your audience you’re invested in their success.
Support articles provide a quick self-service option for your clients, ensuring they have the right intel at their fingertips (at any hour of the day). Product guides and support articles can even serve as the script to be transformed into tutorial videos and training webinars.
The trusty webinar, a familiar tool that provides value at nearly every stage of the buyer’s journey. Beyond the funnel, webinars can help you retain customers and build trust. At this point, you can hold live webinar trainings to offer product certification (aka an expert in your product), help customers level up their industry skills, or simply have their day to day questions answered.
Keep your relationship top of mind with bi-weekly, monthly, or quarterly newsletters. You can use this opportunity to share new features, best practices, company updates, or relevant industry news. Newsletters establish a cadence of conversation that continues to engage and nurture relationships without doing too much (like drowning them in sales content).
As a training resource, you can use this channel to promote new webinars and links to existing support articles. Newsletters also serve as the perfect vehicle to sprinkle referral benefits — here you can offer discounted pricing, referral rewards, or even free support for bringing on new clientele.
Through the funnel and beyond
Beyond the funnel, your content shouldn’t stop. Fostering existing customer relationships is just as important — if not more important — than starting up new ones. You need beyond the funnel content to build trust, set your customer up for success, and deliver on promises made in the courting stage (ToFu, MoFu, and BoFu). The good news is, beyond the funnel content can directly sweeten client retention, helping you keep customers coming back year after year.
History has given us many experiments and studies; often learning the hard way, colleges publish scientific papers regularly to prove or disprove hypotheses and theories – even Barack Obama wrote and published the most popular scientific paper of 2016. Within this type of content emerges real-life evidence of what worked, what didn’t, and what falls in this gray area that needs further definition.
Within those scientific journals, a Case Study demonstrates the evidence behind the science. Essentially, it convinces a truth or new-found fact to the world. But here you are, reading this, wondering how scientific journals, Frankenstein, and Obama fall into your business scope. The answer to that question is this: a B2B Case Study can be just what your business needs to prove credibility, convince your prospect why your company is the best, and how it got there.
Indeed, people are more willing to believe what your business is selling if there’s evidence behind it. After all, we are a knowledge-based society, and knowledge, my friend, is power.
Here are your B2B Case Study Best Practices, and how you can use this type of middle of the funnel content to put yourself on a pedestal and showcase your own success as a business.
But wait… What is a Case Study?
The BMJ Journal explains it as, “…a research methodology, typically seen in social and life sciences. There is no one definition of case study research. However, very simply… ‘a case study can be defined as an intensive study about a person, a group of people or a unit, which is aimed to generalize over several units,’” but let’s dive deeper into that concept, because writing a case study may come with a lot of questions, and this might be your company’s first approach to research. A case study is an analysis of a real result your company achieved.
Some specific case study examples:
A case study interview; interview an existing client on how your product helped them achieve higher revenue
If you use a CRM, show findings and percentages on how your market grew or how you succeeded in implementing new tactics that helped that client succeed
Q&A on how you run your marketing or strategy operations
Case study control – have a group of people who didn’t use your product and compare them to the ones who did. Leverage the great results to incentivize your prospect into needing your services to be better than the others.
These are just some of the case study ideas – get creative or leverage the brands you’ve used that have achieved a desired result thanks to your product or service.
Case Study Guidelines
Remember Frankenstein? How intriguing and exciting was it when the mad scientist finally created his ‘monster’? As the audience watching the movie, or the reader turning the page, you felt a surge of energy and waited on the edge of your seat for what was going to happen next. Just like that, you want your Case Study to ‘come alive,’ and to not bore your reader.
Your potential customer reads dozens of emails a day. Give them a compelling reason to read what you’ve written, and the evidence to support your hypothesis. If you make it easy to digest, and simple to read, you’ve got a win. Save their time, and make it just long enough to be suspenseful, but also short and sweet. You can’t go wrong with this marketing strategy.
Other Case Study Strategies: Problem – Action – Result
The advantages of a case study establish your leadership and expertise in your industry. It proves that you know what you’re talking about, and gives your audience a reason to listen to what you’re saying without brushing you off. As discussed in our B2B Whitepaper Best Practices blog post, creating a video of your Case Study is the way of the future.
Telling your story using this medium, and then sharing it on YouTube, lures your audience into watching something instead of spending time reading it. You can have your morning coffee while watching a 2-3 minute quip on a Case Study will deliver much better results than reading a long-format case study. Those scientific articles can be daunting, and not many of us have the time or energy to dissect a long piece of literature when trying to find a reputable service. Because video is the way of the future, it transcends the written Case Study, and resonates in your consumer’s mind much longer. The results speak for themselves!
Fake News: Don’t Lie to Your Prospects (They Can Tell)
To have customer success, it takes trust. A business B2B case study helps your prospect decipher what’s real and what’s not. You know how unreliable those deceptive weight loss ads are – your case study needs to help your prospect navigate what’s real. They help your reader or viewer process the information, and it not only makes you more credible but it makes you more likable.
In a society that prides itself on emotional warfare, create that sense of safety and security in your reader – this can only be done if you offer them a solution that has worked. A recent Think With Google article, “From Promotion to Emotion: Connecting B2B Customers to Brands,” asserts that B2B buyers are even more emotional than B2C buyers because they have much more at stake. They’re aiming to please many people, some of them in positions of power, and often, B2B purchases can represent millions of dollars in expense. Earning their trust can benefit your brand, and make them more likely to buy.
Before You Start Writing a Case Study
Creating a case study that demonstrates your company’s results can make other businesses want to use your services. By making it lengthy enough to cover the study and show your actionable results, while keeping it short, you are able to convey what you offer, build credibility, and create an emotional dynamic between you and your reader.
With these B2B Case Study Best Practices, instead of a monster, as the mad scientist so eloquently put, you will have created, “a masterpiece” worthy of your time and your audience’s attention.
At the bottom of the content marketing funnel, things are getting serious.
You’re in the final stretch of the buyer’s journey and you’re ready to pop the question. But, before you can ride off into the sunset sales agreement in hand, you have one last grand gesture left. Your prospect is ready to settle down and commit to a product or service, your last job is to make sure they’re ready to choose you when they make their purchase decision.
The good news is, any leads remaining in the marketing funnel are invested. Thanks to some carefully curated top of funnel (ToFu) and mid-funnel (MoFu) content, your prospect is open to commitment. Your job is to communicate what sets you apart from your competitors and convey your product or service as the obvious choice. At this point, it’s time to lay it all out on the line with clear, concise, and to-the-point bottom of the funnel content.
What is bottom of the funnel content?
Bottom of the funnel content is straightforward. Your end of the road content should paint an honest picture of what you bring to the table and why you’re the clear front-runner in the market. At this point, your prospects are looking for something that sets you apart from the masses. BoFu content creation should revolve around identifying your unique value and outlining exactly what it’s like to be your customer.
What are the goals of bottom of the funnel content?
Bottom line, your BoFu marketing content is crafted to convert. Along with flaunting your unique value, BoFu content should stress immediacy. Convincing your prospect you’re the clear front runner is only half the battle, as you near the finish line, you need to convince your reader it’s time to pull the trigger.
What are some bottom of the funnel content examples?
When it comes to bottom of the funnel best practices, you want to craft content that answers your customer’s final questions. As prospects make their way down the funnel, they’re thinking through the logistics — what is like to be your customer, how much would it cost, and what would it take to implement your product or service? Your BoFu content should tie up any loose ends in one easy-to-read package. So what are some clear and consolidated bottom of the funnel content ideas? Let’s break it down.
When it comes to BoFu content, customer reviews are crucial. Reviews are worth their weight in gold when it comes to building customer trust. Hearing honest consumer commentary helps prospects put themselves in your existing customer’s shoes. It gives them a sneak peek into what being your customer will feel like and what your long term relationships will look like.
Customer reviews also play into the “influencer” buying behavior, if your product is well endorsed, you have a significant advantage. 93% of consumers report they look to customer reviews to guide their buying decisions, making your current customers one of your company’s most valuable marketers assets.
In order to capture rave reviews from your customers, it’s important to create incentives, ask open-ended questions, and meet them where they are. Make it easy on your existing customers by giving them a few different channels to leave feedback. You can reach out to them directly with questions over email, over the phone, or direct them to a 3rd party review site like G2 Crowd, Capterra, and Glassdoor. You can even go the extra mile by giving your customers a glowing review before asking for one in return.
Testimonials allow you to take your reviews one step further with a visual representation of your customer experience. Customer testimonials give your prospects valuable information without drowning them in sales pitches. Including stand out quotes, photos, videos, and copy written through the eyes of your customer makes for a valuable trust-building BoFu content piece.
To nail a top testimonial, it’s important to ask a client after a recent win. A specific successful event will result in a fresh, genuine, and valuable testimonial. This shows prospects how your product or services shines in a real-world scenario. In addition, you can repurpose your customer testimonials into case studies and infographics directly addressing pain points of the market. Remember to make the process friction-free for your client, ask them which format works best for them — email, phone, or face to face — and meet them there.
Comparison tables allow you to clearly outline what sets you apart from your competitors. By lining up your product or services next to your fellow adversaries, your reader can quickly size up the competition and pinpoint your unique value. Your table can highlight specific product features, capabilities, or benefits (such as a live support team) that is provided by your company and not your competitors.
By giving prospects a taste of your product or service with an expiring time window, free trials create urgency. Today, many shoppers prefer to test out tools first hand, rather than meet with a salesperson. A trial helps potential customers get familiar with your product or service and customer experience, all while creating immediacy.
Wrapping it all up
BoFu content is the sales pitch of content marketing. Your top, middle, and bottom-of-the-funnel content should always convey your unique value, but your BoFu content should stress urgency. At this point, your job is to convince potential customers that it’s time to lock down a solution and you’re the best choice on the market. Armed with engaging, motivating, and honest bottom of the funnel content, you’ll convert prospective customers and win them for the long haul (cue wedding bells).
In our next post, we’re breaking down the beyond the funnel content you need to keep customers happy for life.
Considering the unrelenting chatter of our modern 24-hour news cycle, that this news didn’t make a louder splash isn’t that surprising. Partnerships and acquisitions happen all the time in the tech industry. What would make this one so important, so worthy of paying attention to?
Not to be all Chicken Little about it, but for digital marketers, creative agency owners, and SEOs, this news will significantly impact the way we do what we do – and how successful we are at doing it.
So, what did we miss? And how can we adapt to what happens next?
Before we can get into what’s coming, and how to adjust for it, let’s look at what has already happened.
Here are the key elements.
The 2018 AdWords Rebranding
Since its release in October 2000, Google’s AdWords online advertising platform has ballooned into the company’s leading source of revenue – roughly 85% of their total revenues. With such a popular product, it’s curious that they’d feel the need to rebrand to Google Ads. Not only did they drop the ‘Words’ – taking an emphasis off of keyword searches, and giving them room to offer image and video ad placements – they also released ‘Smart Campaigns’ that specifically target small businesses that can’t afford to run a large-scale digital ad campaign.
This rebranding could be viewed as simply a long-needed polish to an aging platform – which would make sense if the platform wasn’t performing. But it is performing, and quite well, so scratch that theory. I think it’s more likely an indication that they’re aiming to be more small-business friendly, and to encourage those who aren’t comfortable with SEO or digital marketing to start running their own paid campaigns.
It’s Not You, SEO Is Getting Harder
As a discipline, SEO is always changing. Which is both good and bad. It’s good if you like taking on new challenges and learning new skills. It’s great when you’re able to gain a high ranking position for an oft-searched keyword, or see a steady increase in qualified traffic that results in revenue. All good things.
But it’s not all gravy. Google is constantly updating their algorithm. Most of the time, these are micro-changes, released on a near-daily basis to address existing issues and improve the user experience.
But sometimes, these are ‘broad core search algorithm updates’. These are changes to the main search algorithm itself, which has anywhere from 200 to 500 different ranking factors. (No one outside of Google really knows exactly how many factors are included, and what the weight is for each.)
Core algorithm updates are the bad part about SEO. They’re a fast train to Panic Station. You might be checking off every box on the SEO best practices checklist, and still get hit with a core update that reduces every effort, every hard-won Page 1 ranking you’ve gained, to rubble.
But these updates aren’t the only thing making SEOs nervous.
What Page Design Tells Us About the Future of Search
Google has been changing their layout – and it’s a huge indicator of what’s coming.
A recent post by Neil Patel illustrates this evolution very clearly. In 2013, Google’s paid ads typically appeared above and below the organic search results, were differentiated from these organic results through the use of design elements, and were clearly labeled ‘Ads related to’. The #1 organic position appeared, on average, 330 pixels down – above the fold. The fold being the point at which we need to start scrolling to view the entirety of the page.
Image from neilpatel.com
Fast forward to today, and the #1 organic position is now 650 pixels down. On, or just below, the fold. Today’s prime SERP ‘above the fold’ real estate is now the domain of paid ads, stylized to resemble organic results, and ‘Featured Snippets’ and a ‘People also ask’ box with related queries. All before you see a single organic result.
These formatting changes indicate a few important things:
Google wants to increase their ad revenues.
Google is responding to their users’ desire to have the information they’re looking for as quickly as possible.
Google is still testing. They’re still trying to determine which sites best meet a particular query. The algorithm will continue to adjust for this.
For digital marketers to survive these changes, they’ll also need to adjust. And here’s how:
Paid advertising campaigns are not a luxury. They are a necessary business expenditure.
Focus on quality content, and an excellent user experience. Give site visitors the information they want quickly and make it engaging so you can build reliable return visits.
Be nimble. SEO is still a valuable part of an online marketing campaign – but future changes are inevitable. Marketing teams have to start adopting a smart, omnichannel approach.
So, What’s Next?
Let’s peel back the layer on that news tidbit we led off with. The Google-Marin Software revenue-sharing partnership is the first of its kind for Google. And when the world’s most visited website does anything for the first time, all marketers should be paying attention. Yes, they’re likely looking to increase their ad revenues, that’s a gimme. But they’re also looking for data – data they don’t already have. And that’s really interesting. It indicates that great data is going to be the deciding factor in winning or losing market share.
Paid campaigns are king. But high-quality data will rule the entire (marketing) world.
But don’t worry. If these changes have you breaking out in a fever sweat, take a few deep breaths. We’re not done yet. In our next post, we’ll discuss the 8 things you need to do to become the MacGyver of programmatic ads – so you can win, not just survive, on this new playing field.