Fresh Marketing: B2B Marketing Tips, Trends and Best Practices http://copywritertoronto.com Copywriter Toronto - B2B Technology and Software Copywriter Fri, 22 May 2015 01:05:58 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The B2B Blog Post Checklist: 9 Keys to Boosting Engagement, Shares and Conversions http://copywritertoronto.com/blog-post-checklist/ http://copywritertoronto.com/blog-post-checklist/#respond Wed, 13 May 2015 12:39:15 +0000 http://copywritertoronto.com/?p=5496 A blog can be one of your most valuable marketing assets, as it can bring targeted leads to your content and engage them throughout every stage of your sales cycle. Here’s what to include in all of your blog posts to boost your readership, shares and conversions …

Info sign at international airport representing the theme of launching results for your blog post with the blog post checklist

Woo-hoo!

You’re ready to publish your latest blog post and bring more targeted leads to your content. But before you queue it up, take a moment to review this checklist to make sure your post contains everything you need to engage leads, increase your social shares and drive conversions.

Here are nine things to check before you publish your next blog post:

1. Your topic

Is your topic something that will appeal to your target audience? Does it help them solve one of their key challenges? Avoid publishing blog posts that just talk about your products or your company. These usually aren’t helpful and won’t bring you many readers.   

Related Reading: Mind the Gap: The Missing Link to B2B Content Marketing Success

2. Your title

Your title is what motivates readers to check out your blog posts. This is why many top bloggers recommend that you spend as much time developing your title as you spend writing the rest of your blog post. Here are a few tips on titles:

  • Titles that include “How to” or numerals tend to perform well.
  • Keep your title under 65 characters and put your most important message at the beginning. This ensures that readers can get your message if they are viewing the title on a mobile device.
  • Include your main keyword or key phrase in your title.

3. Your summary

It’s a good idea to include a short summary (less than three sentences) directly beneath your blog post’s title. The summary should clearly state why people must read your blog post. A well-crafted summary can increase your readership and shares.

4. Your images and/or videos

Did you include an interesting feature image at the top of your blog post? Use your own images whenever possible, as they reflect your brand better than boring clip art. Break up long blog posts with additional images, videos and charts. Also be sure to optimize your images for SEO, as your images can have an impact on your Google rankings. 

5. Your keywords

Google is placing less importance on keywords and more importance on high-quality content. However, using keywords can still help you get found. Here are a few places to include your keywords:

  • Your page title and meta tags
  • Your blog post title
  • Your subheads
  • A few times in your body copy – don’t go crazy
  • Anchor text that links to other pages on your website
  • Your images
  • Your blog post tags and categories

6. Your blog post’s readability

Most people skim blog posts, rather than read them word for word. That’s why you must break up your text using subheads, bullet points, numbered lists and short paragraphs. You can also draw attention to key points with bold text and call-outs.

In addition, read through your post and ask if it sounds like a human wrote it or a robot wrote it. Cut the marketing fluff and corporate jargon.

7. Your links

Do all of your links work? Did you include links to other areas of your website to encourage readers to check out more of your content? Did you link back to anyone whom you quoted or any research that you cited?

8. Your call to action

Did you include a compelling call to action that relates directly to your blog post’s topic? For example, if you publish a blog post on cloud security, you can promote a webinar on the same topic. The more your opt-in offer relates to your blog post, the more you can build your list.

Related reading: How to Turbocharge Your List Building With Content Upgrades

9. Your author bio

People like to interact with people – not with companies. Including the author’s bio and contact information will make your company more human.

And finally, be sure to proofread your post to make sure it doesn’t go out with any glaring typos.

Here’s to your blogging success!

3 Ways to Apply This Information Now

  1. Download the B2B Blog Post Pre-Flight Checklist, so you can ensure each of your blog posts hits the mark with your readers.
  2. Watch my video on “How to Build a Blog that Attracts Leads and Increases Your Conversions”.
  3. Click to share this article on LinkedIn. Sharing quality content increases your visibility and credibility with your existing contacts, creating conversations and potentially new business.

 

content Get the B2B Blog Post Pre-Flight Checklist to help all of your blog posts take off.

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What IT Buyers Really Think About Your Marketing http://copywritertoronto.com/what-it-buyers-think/ http://copywritertoronto.com/what-it-buyers-think/#respond Wed, 06 May 2015 12:00:35 +0000 http://copywritertoronto.com/?p=5482 what-it-buyers-really-think

What if you could be a fly on the wall and watch as an IT buyer checked out your marketing?

Would you like how they react?

I attended Spiceworks Unplugged in Toronto, where a room of IT marketers heard the truth from a panel of straight-talking IT professionals. The IT pros represented a variety of industries – from software to education. And some of the things they said were surprising.

Here are some of the questions that the IT marketers asked, along with how the IT pros responded:

What is your biggest IT challenge?

Their top challenges included trying to do as much as possible with limited time, staff and resources. Another big challenge was modernizing dated IT infrastructure.

What do you expect from technology marketers?

IT professionals can spot BS a mile away. If you want to engage them, cut the marketing fluff and get real about your product. You should also explain your product from a technical standpoint, as IT pros want to know how to use and maintain your technology. It’s key to explain how your product will integrate with their existing systems.

What buzzwords should you avoid?

The most-hated list includes:

“Failproof”, as users will always find something that fails.

“ROI”. The only way an IT pro can prove your product’s ROI is by deploying it and seeing that it works. They think that ROI calculators are “noise”.

“Cloud”.  IT pros have a joke – “Don’t put it in the cloud. What happens when it rains?” They feel that marketers apply this word to everything. What does the “cloud” really mean when it comes to your product? How will your “cloud” make their lives better?

How long should a demo be?

Many 14-day demos aren’t long enough to evaluate a technology. One IT pro said, “You’re lucky if I finish reading your white paper in 14 days.”

What types of content do you look at when you’re evaluating a product?

The IT pros use white papers to learn about new technologies. Some of the panelists will save the white papers to their iPads and read them at home.

They also like webinars. However, the Spiceworks panelists dislike “live” demos where a salesperson runs the technology in a canned environment. They would prefer to see the technology in action in a real environment. If something goes wrong, they want to see how quickly your rep can resolve the problem.  

One of the IT pros said that he watches videos after he creates a shortlist.

Another one of the IT pros skips the marketing content and goes straight to user manuals. If he knows what he’s looking for in a product, the user manual will provide him with specs. 

What types of content do you hate?

Gated content.

The Spiceworks’ panelists dislike filling out forms just to learn about a product. Some of them have “special” email addresses just for these forms.

They feel like the gate is a “fish hook” to get them on the phone with a sales rep. One of the panelists said that he won’t answer his phone after completing a marketing form, as he’d rather avoid all his calls than speak with a sales rep. 

The IT pros would prefer it if you provided all your content in one place and gave them the power to decide if and when they want to speak with a sales rep.

They also suggested including a checkbox in your form that asks whether they want to be contacted. Yes, sometimes they’re waiting for your call.

Do you ever read purely educational content, such as blog posts?

IT pros love learning, so they enjoy reading educational blog posts. However, they may not share your posts with their social networks, as their corporate IT policies often prevent them from visiting social media sites.

3 Ways to Apply This Information Now

1. Download the slide presentation to refer to these insights later.

2. Read 10 Steps to an Effective B2B Content Marketing Strategy to learn how to get the best results from your content marketing.

3. Click to share this article on LinkedIn. Sharing quality content increases your visibility and credibility with your existing contacts, creating conversations and potentially new business.

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Mind the Gap: The Missing Link to B2B Content Marketing Success http://copywritertoronto.com/how-to-fill-content-gaps/ http://copywritertoronto.com/how-to-fill-content-gaps/#respond Wed, 22 Apr 2015 12:00:35 +0000 http://copywritertoronto.com/?p=5465 Many B2B marketers have a disconnect between the content they’re producing and the content their customers actually want. If your content doesn’t hit the mark, buyers won’t respond. Here’s how to identify and fill your content gaps so you can wow customers and get them to take action.

Mind the gap sign with speeding train in London underground

It’s every content marketer’s worst fear … 

You devote a lot of time and resources into producing a piece of content. You think the topic is interesting. The design is eye-catching. The writing is clear and concise.

But then you publish the content, and nothing happens. No likes … no shares … no rush of leads banging on your door wanting to buy your product …

So, what happened?

You likely missed the mark and put tons of effort into a topic that your audience doesn’t care about.

But there are steps to take to ensure this won’t happen again.

Take stock of your existing content and compare it against what your audience is talking about. You’ll likely find gaps between the content you’re creating and the content your audience wants. Then, create new content that fills these gaps.

Follow these seven steps to fill the gaps in your content: 

1. Conduct a content audit.

It’s hard to get to the finish line if you don’t know your starting point. Audit your existing content to see what you have on hand. For example, you can audit your: 

  • Web pages
  • Blog posts and articles (in your company’s publications and external publications)
  • Sales content such as brochures, sell sheets and data sheets
  • White papers, ebooks and research reports
  • Presentations (e.g. keynotes, webinars and SlideShare decks)
  • FAQs and emails where you answer customer questions
  • Social media updates and replies
  • Demos
  • User forums and support groups
  • Customer advocacy communities
  • Case studies and testimonials

When you audit your content, you’ll likely discover that you have much more content than you thought you had. You’re likely sitting on tons of material that you can turn into valuable content for prospects, leads and customers.

As you go through the other steps in this process, determine how much of your existing content should be refreshed, overhauled or repurposed. 

2. Map content to your buyer personas.

If you haven’t updated your buyer personas since Lost went off the air, it’s time for a refresh. The more your content appeals to each persona, the more successful your marketing will be. Here are some questions to ask when you update your buyer personas:

  • What are their job titles?
  • What types of companies do they work for?
  • What is a typical day like for them?
  • What are their biggest challenges?
  • What are their top goals?
  • How have their challenges and goals changed from the last time you worked on your buyer personas?
  • Where do they get their information?
  • What stage(s) of the sales cycle are they typically involved in?

3. Map content to each stage of the sales cycle.

In Demand Gen Report’s 2014 B2B Buyer Behavior Survey, 61% of respondents said they selected vendors who delivered a mix of content that was appropriate for each stage of their buying process. When you look at each buyer persona, determine if you have enough content to engage them during the following stages:

  1. Awareness
  2. Investigation
  3. Evaluation
  4. Decision
  5. Loyalty/advocacy

 4. Tune in to the right channels.

Are your customers hanging out somewhere without you? Don’t miss the party!

According to Oracle’s Cross-Channel Marketing Report, 67% of companies want to integrate their key marketing activities across channels. However, only 43% say they understand the customer journey and adapt their channel mix accordingly.  

Research how your customers are using different channels. For example, do they ask questions about your products on Quora while you’re investing more in Facebook? Will they respond better to a white paper or a webinar? How are they arriving at your website?

For more tips on boosting your cross-channel engagement read, “How to Tell a Consistent Story Across All of Your B2B Marketing Channels”.

5. Fill your promotional gaps.

Do you have a product launch coming up and not enough content to support it? Are you gearing up for a big trade show and need content that will lure buyers away from other booths? Add these upcoming launches and events to your editorial calendar.

6. Answer customer questions.

One of the best places to find content ideas is from questions your customers ask. What are they emailing you about? What are they posting on your social networks and in your support forums?

Are there any questions that appear over and over? Have you answered these questions in your key content assets? If not, add them to your editorial calendar.

7. Go beyond sales content.

Many B2B marketers create the same type of content all the time. For example, it might all be educational or sales focused. However, varying your content can keep you on your toes – and keep buyers engaged. Create content that does the following:

  • Entertains
  • Educates
  • Engages
  • Persuades

When you go through these steps, you’ll find quite a few gaps in your content. Decide which gaps you would like to fill right away. Which areas are the most critical? Where will you get the biggest bang for your content investment? Add this content to your editorial calendar.

3 Ways to Apply This Information Now

  1. Download the Editorial Calendar Template to take action and fill those content gaps.
  2. Read “5 Keys to Creating Content That Engages Different Verticals” to learn how to maintain a consistent voice when speaking with different audiences.
  3. Share this article on LinkedIn. Sharing quality content increases your visibility and credibility with your existing contacts, creating conversations and potentially new business. 


Download the Editorial Calendar Template to plan your content
and stay on track.

 

 

 

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Copywriters or Content Writers: Who Can Best Help You Achieve Your B2B Marketing Goals? http://copywritertoronto.com/b2b-copywriter-vs-content-writer/ http://copywritertoronto.com/b2b-copywriter-vs-content-writer/#respond Wed, 08 Apr 2015 11:00:00 +0000 http://copywritertoronto.com/?p=5451 Desk Writer

White papers … ghost blogging … sell sheets …

Different marketing tactics require different writing skills. If you have limited resources, will a copywriter or a content writer help you achieve the best results?

As a B2B marketer, you’re likely tasked with producing a ton of content.

According to the 2015 B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends report, B2B marketers now use an average of 13 content marketing tactics. These tactics include everything from blog posts to videos to ebooks.

And this doesn’t include the traditional sales and marketing collateral that B2B buyers need to make informed purchasing decisions – such as brochures, sell sheets and website copy.

Working with a freelance writer can help you produce more marketing collateral faster. However, different marketing tactics require different writing skills.

Will a copywriter or a content writer help you achieve the best results?

What Does a B2B Copywriter Do?

A copywriter persuades readers to take a specific action, such as opting in to a list, buying a product, signing up for a demo or calling a sales rep. Traditionally, B2B copywriters are responsible for things like product pages, brochures and sell sheets.

What Does a B2B Content Writer Do?

A content writer educates a specific audience about one of their key challenges and how to solve it. Important skills for content writers include telling stories and writing in a journalistic style. They typically write things like blog posts, video scripts and ebooks.

You Can’t Have One Without the Other

Writing copy and content are two different skills. However, they depend on each other.

For example, you might publish an amazing blog post that gives readers your best tips. However, you’ll need persuasive copy at the end of the post that motivates readers to take the next step (such as downloading an ebook or registering for a webinar). This will align your content with your marketing goals, helping you attract leads and turn them into customers.

On the other hand, you can’t just publish sales-focused copy. Buyers don’t want to hear about how great your product is when they’re just starting to research their problem. You need entertaining or educational content to earn their trust.

Plus, many B2B marketing tactics require a mix of content and copy. For example, a white paper both educates readers about their problems and highlights the key benefits of your product.

When you work with someone who writes both copy and content, you can: 

  • Engage readers – from the headline to the call to action
  • Guide buyers through your sales cycle
  • Speak to your customers’ challenges and needs
  • Show customers how you can help them achieve their goals
  • Differentiate yourself from your competitors
  • Increase your conversions, leads and sales

3 Ways to Apply This Information Now

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Only 34% of B2B Technology Marketers Are Effective at Content Marketing [Study] http://copywritertoronto.com/cmi-2015-b2b-technology-content-marketing-findings/ http://copywritertoronto.com/cmi-2015-b2b-technology-content-marketing-findings/#respond Wed, 25 Mar 2015 12:00:26 +0000 http://copywritertoronto.com/?p=5445 Frustrated b2b content marketer tearing out her hair

New research reveals that most B2B technology marketers are missing a major key to content marketing success. Here’s what it takes to be effective…

The Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs just released the B2B Technology Content Marketing: 2015 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends – North America report. According to the report, 93% of B2B technology marketers use content marketing to attract and retain customers. However, only 34% believe they are effective.

Why do we have such a large gap?

One possibility is that only 33% of B2B technology marketers have a documented content marketing strategy. According to the report, “Technology marketers who have a documented content marketing strategy are less challenged with content marketing when compared with their peers who have a verbal-only strategy or no strategy at all.” In fact, 59% of the B2B technology marketers who have a documented content marketing strategy feel they are effective.

In addition to documenting your content marketing strategy, you also must act upon it. The study found that the most successful technology marketers follow their strategies very closely.

Other key findings from the study include: 

  • 48% of B2B technology companies have a dedicated content marketing group. The companies with dedicated groups are more likely to excel at content marketing.
  • 74% of B2B technology marketers are creating more content than they did one year ago.
  • The three most effective content marketing tactics are in-person events, webinars and research reports. Case studies, white papers and videos tied for fourth place.
  • The top social platform for B2B technology marketers is LinkedIn, with 64% of respondents citing it as effective. LinkedIn is followed by Twitter at 58% and YouTube at 48%.
  • B2B technology marketers are working on an average of 14 content marketing initiatives. The top three initiatives are creating more engaging/higher-quality content, converting more website visitors and gaining a better understanding of their audience.

The findings from this study mirrored the results from the latest B2B content marketing report, which included responses from a wider range of B2B marketers. Both studies found that the most successful marketers not only document their content marketing strategies but also put these strategies into action. 

3 Ways You Can Apply This Information Now

  1. Check out the complete B2B Technology Content Marketing: 2015 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends – North America
  2. Read 10 Steps to an Effective B2B Content Marketing Strategy to learn how to get the best results from your content marketing.
  3. Click to share this article on LinkedIn. Sharing quality content increases your visibility and credibility with your existing contacts, creating conversations and potentially new business.
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7 Keys to Creating B2B Product Pages That Convert Leads Into Customers http://copywritertoronto.com/b2b-product-pages-that-convert/ http://copywritertoronto.com/b2b-product-pages-that-convert/#respond Wed, 18 Mar 2015 12:00:28 +0000 http://copywritertoronto.com/?p=5431 Man drawing a product page wireframe on a glass window

B2B buyers are conducting research online and waiting longer to speak with sales reps. Think of your product pages as a virtual sales team that educates buyers and answers their key questions.

Here’s how to improve your product pages to engage leads and boost your sales.

As a B2B marketer, you’re likely creating a ton of content … such as blog posts, social updates, videos and white papers. This content is great for educating early-stage leads and raising brand awareness.

Eventually you want to move leads from your blog and social channels to your website, where they can check out your products.

But what do your leads find when they land on your product pages?

Do these pages contain compelling information that motivates them to learn more about your products? Or are your product pages unclear, boring and driving leads away?

Here are seven keys to developing B2B product pages that bring you leads and sales: 

1. Don’t cram too much info on the page.

Many product pages try to do too much at once. They attempt to describe all of a product’s features in long, dense paragraphs. However, this makes it hard for leads to read and understand your message.

You don’t need to say everything about your product on a single web page. Instead, focus on a few key messages. From there, leads can download a brochure or check out another piece of content to learn more.

Also, try not to list all of your products on one page. You’ll improve your SEO and make it easier for leads to find you if you have a separate landing page for each product. 

2. Include social proof.

Today’s buyers are wary of marketing. Instead, they want to know what their peers think of your products. Include case studies, testimonials and peer reviews in your product descriptions to help boost your credibility.

3. Show the benefits.

Many B2B product pages include long lists of features and technical specifications. However, you must show readers the benefits to pique their interest and motivate them to learn more about your product. How will your product help them overcome some of the big challenges that they’re facing? How will it make their jobs easier? How will it improve their business results?  

4. Consider your call to action.

Whenever I ask B2B marketers what call to action they want me to include in their copy, they almost always say, “Contact us to buy our product.” Unfortunately, it’s not that easy. Most of the leads who view your product page won’t be ready to speak with a sales rep.

While you should provide your contact info on your product pages, you may also want to consider softer calls to action for leads who need to do more research before they speak with you. Some options include:

  • Download a brochure or data sheet.
  • Read a case study.
  • Sign up for a webinar.

5. Use video and images.

Not all of your buyers will want to read about your product. Post a short video (less than two minutes long) that outlines the challenges your customers face and how your product will help them solve these challenges. You can also include screenshots of your product, so readers can see it in action.

6. Optimize your product pages for mobile.

According to the State of B2B Procurement study, 44% of B2B buyers use mobile devices when they research products. Optimize your product pages so buyers can easily view them on their mobile devices. Place your most important information and your call to action at the top of the page so mobile users won’t need to scroll far to take action.  

7. Split test.

Split test various elements on your product pages to see what delivers the best results. For example, you can experiment with:

  • Headers
  • Images
  • Videos
  • Page layouts
  • Call to action text and buttons
  • The type of call to action that works best (e.g. download a white paper, contact a sales rep, check out a brochure)
  • The number of calls to action per page
  • Whether your site’s navigation or design elements are distracting visitors and harming your conversions

Studies have found that B2B buyers are completing more research on their own before they speak with sales reps. Think of your product pages as virtual sales reps that educate buyers and answer all of their initial questions.

3 Ways to Apply This Information Now

  1. Review your product pages. Are there any changes that you would like to make? Is anything holding you back from converting more leads into customers?
  2. Read “How B2B Buyers Are Engaging With Your Content” to find out what your customers want from your content.
  3. Click to share this article on LinkedIn. Sharing quality content increases your visibility and credibility with your existing contacts, creating conversations and potentially new business.
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What to Look for in a B2B Copywriter http://copywritertoronto.com/what-to-look-for-in-a-b2b-copywriter/ http://copywritertoronto.com/what-to-look-for-in-a-b2b-copywriter/#respond Wed, 04 Mar 2015 13:00:41 +0000 http://copywritertoronto.com/?p=5427 Serious copywriter smoking a pipe in front of a typewriter

Outsourcing your B2B copywriting to a freelancer can be a daunting task. Choosing the wrong copywriter can cause project delays, increase your workload and cost you more in the long run. However, choosing the right copywriter can make your life easier, improve your marketing results and help you produce more content – faster.

Many B2B marketers try several copywriters before they find the best fit. Make your search easier by looking for the following traits: 

1. Experience in Your Industry

Some copywriters are generalists, which means they write about everything from health supplements to electronics. Generalists can be a good choice for agencies that work with both B2B and B2C clients and need a writer who can adapt to anything. However, a generalist may not be the best option for B2B companies with technical or complex offers.

If your product or service has a steep learning curve, look for a writer who has prior experience in your industry. I’ve had several clients come to me after working with generalists who didn’t understand their industry. This caused delays as the copywriters turned in copy that couldn’t be used.

Working with someone who has experience in your industry can decrease the amount of time you spend briefing the writer and managing revisions. This helps your project run smoothly and can bring you better results.

When you look for someone who has prior experience in your industry, you may find a copywriter who has worked for or is working with one of your competitors. The B2B world is small. Discuss any competitive concerns upfront and ask your copywriter to sign a nondisclosure agreement.

2. The Ability to Write “Content” and “Copy”

Writing sales-focused “copy” and writing educational “content” are two different skills. However, since the two are so closely interwoven, it’s best to find a freelancer who can write both.

Look for someone who can tell stories and write journalistic, educational content. Your copywriter should also write compelling calls to action that motivate leads to take the next step after reading your content.

You’ll also see better results if your copywriter brings a touch of “content” into your sales materials. For example, your copywriter should speak to your customers’ needs and challenges – even when writing sales materials such as data sheets and product pages.

3. A Proven Process

You’ll have fewer headaches if your copywriter has a process for completing projects successfully. This process can include providing you with a creative brief, submitting outlines and keeping in touch throughout the project.

Your copywriter should also have a system for handling revisions, as this can greatly impact your timelines. For example, how many rounds of revisions do you think you’ll need? Be sure to account for revisions when planning your timelines.

4. Reliability

American Writers & Artists once revealed that 75% of copywriters miss their deadlines. Yikes!

One way to determine whether you’ll get your copy on time is by asking your copywriter for references or testimonials. Including a timeline in your copywriting contracts can also help you meet your deadlines.

Help your copywriter meet your deadlines by sending them all your background info and quickly responding to any questions. If you don’t give them the info they need until the day before the project is due, your copywriter may not be able to meet your deadlines.

Ease into a relationship with a new copywriter by testing them on a small project. If it goes well, you can feel confident moving forward. 

3 Ways to Apply This Information Now

  1. Get answers to more questions about what it’s like to work with a B2B copywriter.
  2. Read 3 Ways to Make Your Technology Marketing More Human for more tips on how to create compelling content.
  3. Click to share this article on LinkedIn. Sharing quality content increases your visibility and credibility with your existing contacts, creating conversations and potentially new business.
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5 Ways Small B2B Marketing Teams Can Win at Content Marketing http://copywritertoronto.com/5-ways-small-b2b-marketing-teams-can-win-at-content-marketing/ http://copywritertoronto.com/5-ways-small-b2b-marketing-teams-can-win-at-content-marketing/#respond Wed, 25 Feb 2015 13:00:45 +0000 http://copywritertoronto.com/?p=5408 Woman wearing red glasses with 2 thumbs up to symbolize how teams can win at content marketing

Ask any B2B marketer about their top content marketing challenges, and they’ll likely say, “finding the time and resources to get it done”.

This problem can be even harder if you have a small, in-house marketing team – or if you’re a marketing department of one.

But even though you have a small team, you’re likely under pressure to produce more and more content. According to the 2015 B2B Content Marketing: Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends – North Americas report, 70% of B2B marketers are creating more content than they were last year – with 42% publishing daily or multiple times per week.

 

A big reason for this increase is buyer demand. Research has shown that B2B buyers review multiple pieces of content before making a purchase. Meanwhile, a Demand Gen Report survey found that 61% of B2B buyers select vendors who deliver the right mix of content at the right time. This means that you need content that aligns with your buyers’ needs throughout every stage of the sales cycle.

But how can you possibly keep up?

Here are five things that will help your small team win at content marketing:

1. Develop a content marketing strategy.

If you’re doing the bulk of your company’s marketing, your time is precious. You can’t waste time on campaigns that won’t lead to business.

Creating a content marketing strategy is a lot of work up front, but it will save you loads of time, money and headaches down the road. A strategy is vital if you want to align your content with your customers’ needs and your business goals. Research from the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs found that marketers who document their content marketing strategies are more effective than those who don’t have a documented strategy.

 

2. Create an editorial calendar.

When you work with an editorial calendar, you won’t need to sit in front of your computer late at night wondering what to post on your blog tomorrow. An editorial calendar keeps you on track by outlining all the content you will create in the next month or quarter. It also makes it easier to manage your workflow and collaborate with your team.

 

3. Repurpose your content.

Repurposing your content is a great way to get your message in front of a wider audience, attract leads from different channels and improve your SEO. It also allows you to publish new content quickly – which is a plus if you’re strapped for time and resources.

However, repurposing content doesn’t mean copying and pasting your latest blog post into other channels. If you do this, Google might tag it as duplicate content. Plus, your audience may not find it relevant. For example, if you repost a tweet on LinkedIn, your connections might not understand your hashtags. 

You must refresh your content to make it relevant for each channel. For example, here are 21 ways to share and repurpose your case studies.

4. Measure your results.

Research has shown that 80% of your results come from 20% of your efforts. Analyzing your content will show you which efforts are bringing you the biggest results.

Here are some key metrics to measure:

  • Email open and click-through rates
  • Number of high-quality website visitors
  • Time on site and page views
  • Social shares
  • Conversion rates (resource downloads, webinar registrations, blog subscribers, etc.)
  • How many leads turned into customers

5. Outsource your content development.

You can work 24/7 and still not get everything done. Plus, with so many daily interruptions, it’s hard to block out time to write a white paper. Outsourcing your content development will save your sanity, free up your weekends and allow you to focus on the big marketing picture.

Outsourcing your content development can also bring you better results – especially if you outsource to acquire a skill that’s not available in-house. For example, your product team may have amazing technical knowledge, but can they write blog posts that engage your target audience? You might benefit from working with a freelance copywriter who can translate their technical knowledge into compelling content.

You don’t need a huge marketing team to succeed with content marketing.

When you apply these tips, you can get your message in front of a wider audience, attract more leads and win more customers.

3 Ways to Apply This Information Now


Content Repurposing Worksheet LeadBoxDownload the Content Repurposing Worksheet now to plan how you will share your content across different channels, reach a wider audience and attract more leads. 

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How B2B Buyers Are Engaging With Your Content [Data] http://copywritertoronto.com/how-b2b-buyers-use-content-data/ http://copywritertoronto.com/how-b2b-buyers-use-content-data/#respond Thu, 19 Feb 2015 10:50:34 +0000 http://copywritertoronto.com/?p=5391 How B2B buyers are engaging with your content

Let’s face it …  

Your content marketing efforts don’t mean anything unless your ideal customers engage with your content and take action.  

To help you get the most out of your content investments, I’ve compiled some recent statistics on how B2B buyers are using content throughout the sales cycle.

Drumroll, please!

The B2B Buyer Journey

B2B buying is a team sport.

According to TechTarget, the majority of B2B buying teams have between two and seven members. A significant number of these teams have 10 or more members.

Google matters.

When business buyers are ready to research a purchase, the first thing they do is conduct a web search. According to the Demand Gen Report 2014 B2B Buyer Behavior Survey, 46% of business buyers start their research with a web search. Meanwhile 18% of buyers start by visiting a vendor’s website and 17% seek a peer recommendation.

B2B buyers require multiple pieces of content.

Eccolo Media found that 48% of B2B buyers consume two to five pieces of content before making a purchase decision.  

Meanwhile, TechTarget found that 65% of IT buyers require at least four pieces of content to make a vendor shortlist.  

The vendor with the best content wins.

In Demand Gen Report’s 2014 B2B Buyer Behavior Survey, 61% of respondents said they selected vendors who delivered a mix of content that was appropriate for each stage of their buying process.

The Most Influential B2B Content

White papers still rule.

The three types of content that B2B technology buyers are most likely to consume are:  

  1. White papers
  2. Product brochures/data sheets
  3. Case studies/success stories tied with detailed technology guides/implementation scenarios

 TechTarget’s findings were similar. The following chart shows the types of content that IT buyers prefer during different stages of the sales cycle:

 

Source: 2014 TechTarget Media Consumption Research Brief

B2B buyers rely on case studies.

A hawkeye study found that case studies and testimonials are important throughout the B2B buying process. Seventy-one percent of B2B buyers in the awareness stage and 77% in the evaluation stage cited that testimonials and case studies are the most influential types of content.  

Peer recommendations are becoming more important.

The Demand Gen Report 2014 B2B Buyer Behavior Survey found that more business buyers (53%) are relying on peer recommendations when they make a purchase. This number has increased from 19% in 2012.

Marketers aren’t giving technology buyers the right content.

According to Spiceworks, there’s a huge gap between the information that technology buyers want and what information marketers are providing. For example, 92% of IT pros use targeted forums and communities to research products, although only 61% of technology marketers invest in these channels. Meanwhile, 95% of technology marketers invest in social media, while only 23% of IT buyers use it to engage with brands.    

Source: Spiceworks, How to Win Friends and Influence IT Professionals

How B2B Buyers Use Social Media When Making a Purchase

Yes, your buyers use social media to research you.

According to IDG, 86% of IT buyers use social networks and content in their purchase decisions. They are most likely to use social media in the general education stage of their buying process.

LinkedIn is the top B2B social network.

Demand Gen Report found that LinkedIn is the No. 1 network for senior executives who want to connect via social media, whereas blogs are the top social medium for non-executives.  

Recommendations from peers rule on social.

According to hawkeye, the most influential type of social content is relevant posts from peers and colleagues, followed by information about new products and solutions.  

Screen Shot 2015-02-16 at 7.11.33 PM

Source: hawkeye, “3 keys to B2B success”

How B2B Buyers Use Mobile

B2B buyers consume all types of content on mobile devices.

According to Eccolo Media, 71% of B2B technology buyers check out vendor content on mobile devices. They’re using mobile devices to consume at least 16 different types of marketing content.  

Optimizing your website for mobile is a must.

IDG found that the top three things that business buyers do when researching products on their mobile devices are:  

  1. Visit vendor websites for product information.
  2. Compare prices and products.
  3. Read feature articles about trends and strategies.

3 Ways to Apply This Information Now

  1. Download a PDF of these statistics, so you can refer to them later.
  2. Read “10 Steps to an Effective Content Marketing Strategy” to help plan your content. Research has shown that B2B marketers who document their content strategies get better results than those who don’t.
  3. Click to share this article on LinkedIn. Sharing quality content increases your visibility and credibility with your existing contacts, creating conversations and potentially new business.
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How to Increase Your B2B Email Open and Response Rates http://copywritertoronto.com/increase-b2b-email-open-response-rates/ http://copywritertoronto.com/increase-b2b-email-open-response-rates/#respond Wed, 11 Feb 2015 12:00:16 +0000 http://copywritertoronto.com/?p=5365 woman flexing linking about email

I read that one of the top fitness trends of 2015 is body weight exercise. Apparently, lots of people have been injured attempting epic feats of fitness and now want to get back to basics.

In the spirit of “back to basics”, I thought I’d discuss how to get B2B buyers to respond to your emails.

According to the 2014 B2B Demand Generation Benchmark report, email is one of the top tactics for attracting a high number of quality leads. 

 

The study also found that in-house email marketing yields one of the lowest cost-per-lead.

email leads statistics 2014 B2B Demand Generation Benchmark Report

Trade shows, referral marketing and in-house email marketing generate the highest number of quality leads. Source – 2014 B2B Demand Generation Benchmark Report

 

“With so many competing channels and technologies vying for our attention, and the digital marketing landscape shifting so fast, it’s difficult for marketers to know how to best allocate their resources,” said Jay Ivey, market research associate at Software Advice (a marketing software resource) “ … Marketers most commonly cited trade show management, email marketing and referral marketing as channels that produce high quantities of good-to-excellent leads. As such, applications or integrations in these areas are particularly well positioned to help marketers execute demand generation programs.”

Here are five ways to get B2B buyers to open, read and respond to your emails:

1. Segment your audience.

According to the 2015 B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends – North America report, the average B2B company markets to four audiences. This makes segmenting your list critical. Make sure your emails are relevant to each audience’s needs, vertical and stage in the sales cycle. If it’s not relevant, you won’t get a response.

2. Have one clear message and call to action per email.

Many B2B marketing and sales emails ask the reader to do too much. “Click here!” “Download this white paper!” “Call a sales rep!” However, your messages will perform better if you have one clear message and call to action. For example, one email can ask readers to download a white paper. After they download it, a follow-up email can ask them to speak with a sales rep.

An exception to this rule would be an email newsletter or digest that includes multiple links to your blog. In this case, the primary goal is to get subscribers to check out your latest blog posts. Including teasers for multiple articles in your emails can help you determine which topics your subscribers are the most interested in, so you can produce similar content in the future.

3. Finesse your subject line.

Your subject line can make or break your email. Here are some tips on how to improve your subject lines to increase your open rates:

  • Keep your subject line under 50 characters and put the most important words at the front. This will ensure that subscribers see your key points even if their email platform or mobile device truncates the message.
  • Experiment with personalization by putting the subscriber’s name in the subject line. However, be sure to have a fallback in case a subscriber didn’t enter their name when they opted in.
  • Make it urgent. Tell readers why they must open the email now.
  • Show the benefits subscribers will get when they open the email.

4. Optimize for mobile.

Before you send your next email, test it in various mobile devices and browsers. Keep your subject line short, so subscribers can read it on their mobile device. Also include your call to action at the top of the email, in case your subscribers can’t scroll to see the full message on their mobile device. 

5. Test your send times.

There’s a lot of debate over the best time to send your emails. A Pardot study found that B2B marketers get the highest open rates on Tuesdays. Pure360 broke down open rates by vertical and found that the best time to email technology professionals is between noon and 3pm, while you should email the financial sector between 7am and 10am. Play around with your send times to see when you get the highest open and click-through rates.

Think of these tips as a “back-to-basics” routine that will help you get your emails in shape. 

Now drop and give me 20!

3 Ways to Apply This Information Now

Would you like more email marketing best practices that will help you increase your open and click-through rates?
Download the Email Marketing Pre-Launch Checklist now.

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