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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.

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