Content Marketing: Fuel for Your Lead Generation Strategy


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  • Hi everyone! My name is Heidi Bullock and I am the Senior Director of Marketing here at Marketo. Today I am going to discuss Content Marketing – and how -- when done well – can really drive your lead generation efforts.
  • One important distinction before we get going is making sure we are thinking about lead generation in the right way. Many of us are excited by the combination of different tactics and new technologies we can use.
  • The tactics are very important – but they are only effective -- if you have the right content and message for your respective audience.So, try not to think about lead generation as abasket of tactics….
  • It is really more about your message and content –When done well, content will power your lead generation engine. Keep in mind tactics are just the vehicles that deliver your content and message. If you content is not optimized (i.e. right stage, offer, message) then regardless of what channel you use, you will not have as good of results.
  • Today, the right content is more important than ever before – and that is why we hear about it so much today as marketers.According to Forrester research, 2/3 of the buyers journey is complete before the buyer reaches out to a sales person. So you need to ask yourself are you equipping your company to be seen in the right way and providing the right information to buyers to effectively evaluate solutions?78% of consumers feel that organizations behind the content are interested in building good relationships- so having good content and promoting it helps you build relationships – which is critical not only for acquiring new customers but for keeping them.And lastly, 68% of consumers will spend time reading content from a brand they are interested in – so again, good content not only helps you bring in customers, it helps keep themSo, what steps do you need to take to have effective content offers for your lead gen programs?
  • Step one – know WHO you are selling toI have seen people go crazy on this exercise, but I recommend keeping it simple. While it’s ideal to have specific personas for every person involved in the buying process – it is fine to start with two or three key personas, and work through the process. For example, for if you are selling technical software - you will have the user, the influencer and the buyer. This is a really important step to go through is the exercise to really get to know your buyers.
  • Step 2: Map out what the journey of your buyer persona looks likeThis is a very important exercise and as you can see from this image, the process can be complex --- but boil it down to something manageable:AwarenessConsideration Purchase
  • Step 3: Once you have the stages for your personas –ask, what do they need at that stage?? Put yourself in their shoes and think about what information you would need.
  • Step 4: Map your content to the right buying stage.
  • I really like thinking of the dating analogy for this exercise. You would not ask someone to marry you on your first date. Think about what you are asking your buyers. The majority are probably not ready to sign up for an online trial if they are unfamiliar with your company.
  • Step 5– Lastly, - Understand what you ALREADY have. Perform a content audit. You may find you have a lot of great early stage content, but maybe you have less for late stage.Also, make sure to be honest – if an asset is very out dated – you may need to retire it.
  • >>At this point a lot of people freak out because it can feel like you need a lot of new assets for lead gen Many of us are faced with limited resources, time, etc. and the thought of developing a lot of great content is overwhelming.How do you plan what content you need for your programs?How should you think about content per channel?How do you optimize it?That’s where lean content creation comes in…..
  • Let’s go over a few tips!
  • First – let’s touch on the 5 golden rules for content – just a good reminder….It is not promotionalIt is relevantIt closes a gapIt is well-writtenIt is relevant to your company
  • Keep in mind, content is not just white papers or eBooks!Can be simple and short blog posts, 4 minute videos,infographics, etc.
  • Think about visual content!
  • Remember the 3 R’s
  • Every piece of content should have a limited shelf lifeAsk yourself:How is this content piece performing?Could we rewrite or redesign?Obvious content to retire:Reports that are datedAssets around an eventTopic is no longer relevant
  • Now that we have some good tips on content – let’s focus on where certain types of content perform for lead gen
  • It is really important to use the right content for a particular channel. For example – at the top of the funnel, social channels can work very well – so make sure your content is optimized for those channels.The example I am showing here is a valuable tip – facebook posts with images receive more likes.
  • Now we can move to some specific tactics for the top of funnel and how to best leverage content for these particular channels.
  • Before we start on tactics – this is just a reminder about form length. We have data that shows the shorter, the better conversions. A key top of funnel objective is bringing in new names, so make sure you think about your forms.
  • Now let’s start with a few tactics for top of the funnel.SlideShare as many of you know was acquired by LinkedIn in May 2012, and is the world's largest community for sharing presentations, like PowerPoint, videos and webinars. It boasts 60 million monthly visitors and 130 million page views, making it one of the most visited sites on the web today. Here are some SlideShare Tips:Make sure the content you select is in an area where you (or your company) has expertise. Make sure it looks good!!!Use both paid and earned media in your promotion strategy. Leverage the ability to present the viewer with a form (as you can see here on this slide)
  • Now let’s move to facebook. It is important to strike that critical balance of offering content that is relevant and adds value – with content that entertains. At Marketo, we like to ask two questions before every Facebook interaction we plan: Does this help our brand's likeability? Is this interesting, engaging, useful content? This slide shows a few examples of some of our promoted posts. We found the magic formula for promoted posts to be this: Clever messaging, with a fun visual, all tied back to a strong offer or piece of content. The timing is important as well. (We have found that posting on Tuesday mornings tend to have the best results.)
  • A Twitter strategy we have used with great success is Promoted Tweets in timelines. These are targeted to followers and users who were similar to our followers. Our Promoted Tweets contain timely and engaging content (like I am showing above – this is our recent Definitive Guide to Marketing Automation).Every promoted Tweet that we run goes to a gated resource page. It is important to do some testing and see what works for you. We often see significant spikes in relevant Tweets during industry events.  
  • Lead Gen Cards are a visual and compelling tool to engage users on Twitter. I like thinking of them as tiny bite size landing pages within your tweets. With the right content/offer, lead gen cards can increase conversion rates by capturing in-app form-fills from your followers. To specifically create a card, sign up for Twitter ads. There is a simple drop down menu and you can simply add your copy and image. I recommend starting small. Work with an offer you have already tested and know does well. The top considerations for lead gen cards are 1) keep your copy concise and exciting. These are like mini landing pages with much less space! 2) make sure your imagery is visually appealing. 3) Lastly, it is very important to have a clear call to action (ex: see above - download Definitive Guide to Engaging Email). I also strongly recommend synching leads to your marketing automation platform. That way you can measure the full impact of all your social marketing efforts.
  • Relevant and vetted offer for the audience Test!A/B split – offer one and offer two
  • Think about your blog. Do you have a good methodology for collecting names? By adding the sign up for email updates we saw a nice lift.
  • From average 14 a week to 145/week - 10X growth!
  • Demand Generation Engagement with databaseKeep Marketo top of mindSpecifically – content:Strategies and tips from thought leaders, partners, and industry veteransExposure to new marketing paradigms and practicesInteractive networking with similar companies in the marketing community14,000 registered!
  • Lastly, I will touch on content syndication. Content syndication is another popular channel used to generate leads online. Content syndication is a method by which pieces of content, they can be articles, white papers,ebooks, are shared with permission from the writer.Here are some tips for consideration:1. Use mid-stage content – this way you are selecting leads that are further along in the buying cycle.2. Gate content – using forms3. Have system integration. I set up all Content Syndication programs this way to names instantly are updated in Marketo – versus waiting for a vendor to send you and Excel doc.4. Get credit. What I mean by this, is just make sure your content is branded so there is no confusion about who it is coming from.5. Double check your names to make sure they are new. You do not want to pay for names you already have.6. And lastly, check in with your vendors to see how often they get fresh prospects so your content is not circling the drain with the same folks.
  • What needs to be different?Dance analogy:Broad top of funnel – use social and paid to get as many people to dance as possibleBut then do you just stand around waiting for someone to dance? No. Better to flirt a little (nurture). And look at their body language to see when they might be read to dance (scoring).
  • Take inventoryMatch offer to buyer profilesHold a meetingStart to think out your campaignsWhat are you missing?
  • For every 4 entertaining or educational emails, send 1 soft promotion and 1 hard promotion
  • 18 triggers11 batches19 campaigns to manage the whole thing
  • Engagement Score enables marketers to quickly judge how effectively each piece of content is engaging prospects and customers over time. This proprietary metric takes many factors into consideration, and outputs a single number that gives marketers a fast, apples-to-apples method of measuring content performance…See trend over time, how updates to program improve engagement.
  • Content kind of a big deal
  • Here we see what works for Marketo over the last 12 months to generate prospects. (great place to start – need to then dive in further and understand where content is performing or underperforming)-------------------------Explain columns…Website+Blog = 38% of all oppsBut I’d be a bad stock picker if I put all my money in one stock, and I’d be a bad marketer if I bet all my prospect generation on one source. The reality is you need a portfolio of prospects and channels to achieve the best results. In fact, Marketo runs an average of 40 different Prospect generating programs each and every month across all these sources.
  • This is an analysis with all the same vendor. Which offer performed better? Important to keep data on WHICH offers perform more effectively for a particular vendor, or even channel.
  • I think marketers struggle to measure contentROI for two reasons. One is because they might not think about measurement upfront and then fail to create the right structure/framework to measure results. Two, there is not alignment on what metrics matter. For example, if you have to show ROI from a white paper to a CMO, you should probably avoid vanity metrics like downloads, opens, likes, etc. – it is better to show the # of opportunities or pipeline that was created. It is very important to agree on what will be measured and have goals around the content piece.First you need to clearly understand and define the goal for the content. (ex: Is the content being used to build brand awareness or drive leads?) Establish goals and ROI estimates upfront – or you will not know if the results met the respective expectations.2. Make sure you think about HOW you will measure results. Are you measuring reach, engagement, time on your website, likes, shares, or leads and revenue? 3. Make sure everyone agrees on the criteria. You can measure early stage metrics (ex: sharing) and more late stage like leads/revenue but if stakeholders are not on the same page on what the ROI metric is no one will be happy.
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