To get perspective on how a content marketing campaign can help generate more (and better) B2B leads, Chief Marketer recently talked with Jane Buck, director of customer acquisition for Dyn, a provider of traffic management, email delivery, domain registration and related services.
“’Content’ is a really dry term for the information needed to answer questions, teach good business strategy and invigorate the conversation with examples,” says Buck, who will be a featured speaker at B2B LeadsCon in New York, Aug. 14-15. “Content marketing has always existed in some form or another, whether it was printed brochures, an educational video or even an editorial. The big difference is that we’re now classifying it as ‘content marketing’ instead of just ‘marketing.’”
CHIEF MARKETER: What would you say to a B2B company that isn’t convinced about content marketing?
BUCK: If you are not conscientiously using content to drive leads, you are missing the boat. Buyers are looking for content, and much more so than they have in the past. Studies tell us that buyers are researching extensively online before they even fill out a lead form or pick up the phone. Small business and startups can feel overwhelmed by not having content or knowing where to use it, but they’ve already created content—they just need to find and repurpose it. A few examples of quick wins: start and keep active on a company blog, do case studies with clients, publish answers to often-asked support questions, contribute to social media, etc. The blueprint is out there—people just need to follow, learn and act.
CM: Is content marketing relevant to all steps of the B2B buying process, or is it more pertinent at certain stages?
BUCK: From the marketing side, all steps and all stages. Think of white papers, case studies, infographics, blogs and more as casting baited lines out into the water. If what you’re sharing is the right kind of content, you’ll get plenty of interest and hopefully reel fish of all sizes onto the boat. Our content strategy targets the needs and issues that IT departments and others face every day. We also have content strategy to serve the VP and C-level personnel, who need to be thinking long-term at their company’s online presence. We’re really sinking our teeth into lead nurturing and content marketing now. With our sales team, we’re trying to figure out what will help and where.
CM: What types of content work well for B2B content marketing campaigns?
BUCK: Currently, we rely on white papers, e-books and case studies to do the heavy lifting for us. We have charted a course for a robust video library to be built throughout the year with infographics charted out next. A significant volume of customers is interfacing with us as both clients and prospects regarding mobile apps.
CM: Is there a role for sales teams in crafting content marketing content and strategies?
BUCK: We rely on the feedback of sales to craft and target our message. We meet with the entire sales team to brainstorm and crowdsource discuss upcoming content ideas. The collaborative conversation always yields nuances that we would never hear in our marketing bubble. We also rely on sales to distribute and promote our content. They can pick up and retweet or share content socially and are always emailing clients and prospects with content attached. To make this work effectively, we have the content available in Salesforce, distribute via email for those who like libraries on their desktop, display printed materials and have built landing pages to serve industry verticals. We try to make everything easy to find and easy to share.
CM: Besides LinkedIn, what other channels should B2B companies use to share and promote their content?
BUCK: Never forget the channels right in front of you, like your main email marketing list. That group craves content delivered right in front of them (assuming you’re following sending best practices), which helps boost the likelihood that they share content. Newsletters, introductions to new assets and product launches are always a great way to push content. On our home page, we use a rotating banner of content assets. You can use basic comparative metrics to measure the real estate usage and adjust your asset. Sometimes a quick title tweak will improve requests. Teach your company to use social media channels like Twitter often.
CM: What should B2B companies know about tracking the ROI or value of their content marketing efforts?
BUCK: First of all, content doesn’t have to be an expensive proposition. Of course, you need to put a value on the asset (that’s what we do as marketers), but you can amortize cost over a 12- to 18-month period. It’s a pretty low return-on-investment threshold. From there, make sure you use basic comparative data to review your content in totality and then in isolation. What five pieces generated the most visits and, subsequently, the most or best form submits? Why do you think those pieces surpassed the others? Can you tweak the others and improve their performance? What five pieces performed the worst? Where was the miss?
CM: What are the key takeaways for B2B marketers?
BUCK: It can be daunting, but the key is to just start, and stop hemming and hawing about where to start. Start with what you have, build a promotional calendar to use your assets in the channels you have established and build an analysis schedule to force yourself to stick to the plan. If you’re using marketing automation or have a large sales team that can absorb volume, shoot for more leads first and improve quality as you go. The first campaigns are the hardest, as they set the mark for you to be able to compare and improve upon.