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Why you should read one more blog article on B2B content marketing

By Jennifer Esty  |  April 25, 2017

Enough I hear you say!

Enough about content marketing, and thought leadership, storytelling, brandscaping, big data; and while we’re at it, enough about tailored content, content consumption and low hanging fruit.

I promise not to use any of those buzzwords (again).

But there’s just one more thing we should discuss about your B2B content marketing strategy: Marketing Automation.

No, it’s not just another piece of technology that will sit unused in your virtual cupboard like the popcorn maker of marketing appliances.

Marketing Automation is quite possibly the one thing standing between your content marketing strategy and utter pointlessness.

Back in 2015, SirusDecisions published research that suggested anywhere from 60-80% of B2B content was wasted- as in never read and never nurturing or generating a single lead.

And it’s not getting better.

How Marketing Automation can help

The beauty of Marketing Automation is that it brings process and measurability to content marketing.

Process to what content is created when, for whom, with what messages, for which stage of the funnel.

Measurability to what content actual contributes to lead generation and lead nurturing—for the right kinds of leads.

It can make sure that your content strategy is the right strategy and that it’s being implemented effectively.

How does it do all that and make popcorn?

Well it doesn’t really make popcorn.

But by combining your content library, landing pages, email marketing, social marketing, SEO, website prospecting, lead scoring, testing, and analytics in a single platform, marketing automation helps you understand what content you should create and how it performs once you have.

Most MA tools offer so much functionality that I’d need a whitepaper rather than a blog article to discuss each one, but for the purposes of convincing you that content marketing without marketing automation is a waste of time, let’s briefly discuss one.

Lead Nurturing

Leading Marketing Automation provider Act-On defines lead nurturing as systematically contacting prospects over a set amount of time and providing relevant content that eases them through the buyer’s journey.

Sounds good, right? And the whole point of your content strategy is providing relevant content. Right?

But how do you know it’s relevant? For whom? At what stage of the buying journey? And how do you know when it does and doesn’t work?

Marketing automation provides the following functionality to answer these questions. Or test possible answers to these questions. In real time. In a single place.

  • Lead scoring: a points system to assign values based on pre-determined criteria, such as the person’s industry and job title, website visits, content downloads, event attendance, form completions, etc. This scoring helps define what content you should be creating for prospects at different points in the funnel.
  • Triggered emails: emails sent out automatically based on important or momentous events that are related to your prospects’ actions, ensuring content is relevant.
  • Automated email programmes: email programmes based on real-time behaviours, overall engagement, or a pre-set schedule to push engagement with content based on real knowledge of your prospects
  • Funnel reports: track prospects through key conversions and create models that help you better predict the buyer’s journey and evaluate which, how and when content is contributing
  • Analytics: for everything from your emails and downloads to landing pages and form submissions, helping you answer the question: does my content matter?

So, if you plan to do any content marketing in the next 12 months, please make Marketing Automation part of your strategy.

And if you need a popcorn maker, I have one in my cupboard for sale.

Making the Business Case for B2B Digital Transformation
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Making the business case for digital transformation

By Jennifer Esty  |  May 11, 2016

Are you a B2B marketer trying to make the business case for digital transformation or investment?

My colleague Rob Stevens, has some great- and by great I mean practical and effective- advice on how to get buy-in from key budget holders.

His short white paper focuses on a few key areas of digital marketing that can offer solid return on investment for B2B companies. It offers some practical tips and useful statistics for getting the budget you need to execute them.

The paper also covers strategies for marketers in B2B companies who have previously engaged in similar activities and found they did not yield results that justified their costs.

Download the paper here or get in touch with us directly.

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Preparing for the Easter holiday: quick tips for B2B marketers

By Jennifer Esty  |  March 24, 2016

Easter weekend is nearly here, and you’re probably  looking forward to a few days of hot cross buns and chocolate eggs, but who is looking after your marketing while you’re away?

If you have an agency helping you out, you might not be too worried. However if you’re looking after it on your own or with a small team, some of whom are also on holiday, there are a few things you can do to make sure all the hard work of the past few months isn’t compromised by a week away.

Using AdWords?

If you have Google AdWords campaigns running, download the Google AdWords app (not AdWords Express).

This handy app gives you top line campaign information including:

  • Stats
  • Bids and budgets
  • Real-time alerts and notifications
  • Call a Google expert
  • Act on suggestions to improve your campaigns

Schedule content

Not all of your potential customers will be on holiday, so don’t let your content go stale while you are away. You can schedule content for Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media platforms. There are loads of tools you can use, including HootSuite, Sprout Social and TweetDeck. Check out this article by Capterra, complete with a handy comparison chart for more information.

Using Facebook?

With Facebook Pages Manager you can view and respond to comments and private messages from your phone (as well as see Page Insights) and the Facebook Adverts Manager allows you to edit your ads and budgets, get notifications of when ads are finishing and keep an eye on your spending.

Still send emails

Most email platforms will allow you to send emails scheduled for a specific time. Marketing automation platforms also allow you set up automatic email sends based on user behaviour. So you don’t need to stop your lead nurturing over the holidays or let potential leads go cold while you figure out what to do with all that leftover lamb (incidentally, the BBC do a nice list of recipes).

Think about your website

As with email most content management systems have an option to schedule content, so you don’t have to leave your Happy Easter message on your website until the 11th of April. Nothing screams ‘I’ve gone on holiday and don’t care about you right now’ like outdated seasonal content. If your website CMS doesn’t have a schedule function, consider putting your best performing content on the homepage while you’re away, or at least don’t leave up information about an out of date event (or a picture of an Easter egg) during your break.

Check with your Sales team

Finally, just before you leave, make sure there is a plan in place to deal with inbound leads. If you have a small sales team who are also on holiday, make sure someone will be monitoring the group email address and you have an answer service in place so the phone doesn’t go unanswered.

Happy Easter!

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Reacting to Facebook Reactions

By Jennifer Esty  |  February 26, 2016

By now everyone has seen, and maybe even ‘Liked’ the new Facebook Reactions, giving us five new ways to respond to newsfeed content.

Although users have clamoured for a ‘Dislike’ button since the beginning of Facebook, and many of them still are, Facebook Reactions have a richer and arguably more positive range of emotions: Like, Love, Haha, Wow, Sad, and Angry.

So richer than just a ‘Like’ and a more positive selection than the widely accepted six basic human emotions, as Fear and Disgust make way for Love and Haha.

But enough about the Facebook Reactions themselves, what do they mean for marketers?

First, all Reactions are created equal.

At least until Facebook can create an algorithm that accurately gives weightings to different emotions.

Which means if a user expresses Anger at a post, Facebook will consider that engagement equal to a Like or a Love.

Second, we won’t just know if someone Likes something, we’ll know if they Love it, or if it makes them laugh, or cry.

There will be more opportunity to gain deeper and more meaningful insight from customers, resulting (hopefully) in more sophisticated audience targeting and content development—and therefore more cost effective engagement.

But more choice for users also means that marketers have to be more sophisticated in, and take more time with, their content development.

After all, what does sad or angry actually mean for a piece of content and for the brand that publishes it?

In addition to demographic targeting, brands now need to consider what kind of Reaction they are looking for, cultivating, monitoring and adapting at a pace fast enough to keep up with their audience.

Brands will not only need to ensure engagement, but the right sort of engagement by the right sort of people.

Facebook Reactions will probably make us all better marketers in the long term, delivering better content to people who are genuinely interested in engaging with our brands.

But it’s not enough to count Likes and shares, Facebook marketing will now require even more analysis and monitoring—and a more sophisticated understanding of the desired audience and their engagement with a brand.

Digital Transformation Event Talk
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Digital Transformation Events for B2B Companies

By Jennifer Esty  |  February 14, 2016

We still have places available for our free digital transformation event in Reading on June 9.

Join us for an evening with industry experts from Google, Act-On, and Sharp Ahead to:

  • Understand the digital transformation opportunities available for your business
  • See how paid search can quickly enhance your digital presence
  • Explore the impact marketing automation software has on efficiency
  • Hear first-hand how Oxford Innovation digitally transformed their organisation

(Not to mention networking, nibbles and drinks.)

Designed for marketing and sales decision makers, this digital transformation event will take place in Reading on June 9.

The event will begin at 6pm.

More about the digital transformation events speakers:

Google Logo

Hear directly from the experts at Google how digital marketing can quickly and effectively drive awareness, influence purchase consideration and increase sales.

Act-On Logo

Marketing Automation experts Act-On will take you through the new buyer’s journey, focusing on the stages of modern marketing and how to turn your customers into advocates for your products and brand. He will provide top tips for content marketing, email marketing, lead nurturing, marketing automation and more.

Oxford Innovation Logo

Find out how Oxford Innovation achieved a 90% reduction in client acquisition costs, a 400% increase in qualified sales leads and are 110% ahead of target for sales.

We surveyed the digital presence of over 500 UK B2B companies. Based on this we think most B2B digital marketing in the UK is broken – that is, poorly done and hurting sales. Dr John Woods will present the survey findings along with quick fixes that B2B digital marketers need to know.

Contact us to book your place or read the 2016 Broken Report.