I met Martin Bredl last year, at one of the events organized by Take Off PR, the first HubSpot certified agency in Austria. I still remember that it was a Skype presentation followed by Q&A session, during which a former pool guy and the founder of The Sales Lion, Marcus Sheridan, shared his content marketing tips with the Austrian audience.
2 years ago Take Off PR decided to specialize on content marketing. Now they have 10 long-term clients and T-Mobile, NTS and Softcom are among them.
Today Martin Bredl explains the role of content marketing in lead generation:
Let me start by saying that when we discuss lead generation in most cases we talk about B2B marketing. In the past many companies practiced outbound marketing to generate leads using, for instance, classic advertising and cold calls. Their approach was much more pushy than the one we practice today. However, a lot of companies realized that these old methods do not work like they did before.
The behaviour of customers in getting information has dramatically changed: even B2B buyer thoroughly informs herself before she talks with the sales person. Some studies even show that buying decisions are already 70% made before a buyer talks with a seller. This means that the buyer spends a lot of time searching in the Internet before he contacts somebody to make a purchase. And the consequence is that we also have to change our marketing. If the search in Internet is so important, we have to provide all the necessary information, to do everything to get found by our potential customers, and to become a part of this 70% decision-making process before someone talks with us. And this is exactly where the content marketing and inbound marketing in general comes in. Companies changed their approach to marketing by starting to produce and distribute helpful information.
In B2B we are doing content marketing because we want to generate leads. Here is the basic process:
Businesses use content that attracts the right people, in order to bring the right traffic to their websites.
On the websites they make everything possible for conversions to happen. Premium content (e-books, whitepapers, etc.) is available on download, so a visitor can get it only by sharing her name and email address. So this is how companies basically generate leads. I believe, that in order to produce more leads you have to produce more content.
Not all the leads you generate through content will fit your objectives or will be sales qualified, and therefore, we have to qualify these leads. Such process is also called “lead nurturing”. Companies use automated workflows* and from time to time send their leads additional information. Progressive profiling* helps you to find out whether the leads are marketing or sales qualified and if there is an opportunity. And in case they are sales qualified, the sales team will overtake these leads and contact them trying to sell the product/service.
That is the process of attracting, converting, and nurturing leads. So this is basically how we use content marketing in order to generate and nurture leads.
All people visiting our websites have a potential. If a student downloads an e-book, it’s a future potential. There are people, let’s say, university professors, which are using our content but they will never buy our product. Yet, they might become the best promoters of our content. As far as I can tell, there are no bad leads. It’s all about the fit: some of these leads have a good fit because they are interested in our product. Even the competitors checking our website can spread the news. The most important thing here is that you have a good content strategy, so you’re reaching out to the ones you want to reach.
Every company can and must do content marketing. It only means that we are producing the content that solves problems of our existing and future clients. And there is no company that doesn’t solve a problem.
Development of a content strategy:
- The first step is to know your audience, the people for whom you produce the content. There are different methods. We are using the method of developing buyer personas*. It’s important to visualize your segment, the people you’re selling to. We have to answer certain questions to find out necessary information about this person. The most important question here is “what is the pain point of this person?” and how we can help him to overcome this problem with our content.
- We have to know the key-phrases used by our core audience, and therefore, the next step is to make a keyword research.
- And then of course you need to know our company well, the values, the positioning, the image.
And this is how we generate the content ideas.
Remarks from Jana Felber
A workflow is series of automated actions that you can trigger to happen based on a person’s contact information or behaviour. Workflows enable you to do a better segmentation and closely target your emails and your lead nurturing process to their specific needs. With workflows, you can, for instance, move more qualified leads to an “opportunity” stage, and then send out a personalized call-to-action.
Customer profile data can create immediate impact if used correctly and progressive profiling is one of the easiest ways to collect it. This method helps you to gain information about a customer‘s interests through their email behaviour.
There are two approaches to progressive profiling:
- Direct profiling: you ask a question within the email and making it possible for the reader to click on their desired answer. Then you add the obtained information to the subscriber’s profile.
- Indirect profiling: you create a link category for each link within the email and use click category information to indicate interest. Its objective is to boost conversion by using subscriber’s click behaviour in a previous email campaign to determine eligibility to receive specific follow up campaigns, which eventually allows the marketing team to identify what product category, brand, or other information a subscriber is “in-market” for.
Buyer personas are fictional, generalized representations of your ideal customers. They help you better understand your existing and potential clients, and make it easier to tailor content to the specific interests, needs, and concerns of different segments of your audience.