Content marketing is standard operating procedure for the business-to-business sector. According to a report published by the Content Marketing Institute, 90% of B2B marketers published content for prospects and customers in 2011. The same report also revealed 60% of respondents plan to boost content marketing budgets in 2012 — up from 51% last year.
There’s much debate among marketers as to whether you should require web visitors to register their email (or other contact info) to access content like white papers. The main advantage of an opt-in page is you can keep track of who’s accessing your marketing material. Web visitors may be interested in your product, but aren’t yet ready to buy. With his email address in your database, your prospect is kept in your marketing loop until he reaches the purchase point in the sales cycle.
The disadvantage of an opt-in page is fewer leads — people are increasingly protective about their email address. Even high quality prospects may decline your content offer if they have to give up contact information.
My own perception of the content marketing trend is for companies not to require registration. But it doesn’t have to be exclusively one way or the other. Try these techniques for your content initiatives…
1) Mix it up: Provide some white papers, case studies and other content without requiring registration. See what results you get
2) Offer a powerful incentive: For non-registration content, include incentive text and a hyperlink to your opt-in page at the end of the marketing document. Tell the reader she can access other valuable content by registering at your site — such as a more detailed report on the same topic. Marketing Sherpa publishes a lot of marketing industry reports for a fee, but often provides a free Executive Summary pdf of each topic — offering web visitors a small taste of the full meal deal.
3) Test Response. Try rotating your content from non-registered to registered. Do you get a higher response for some topics versus others? Do templates, demo software, or online tools get a better response than case studies or white papers? Monitoring the results over time can deliver valuable marketing intelligence on the type of content that appeals to prospects.
4) Include text that encourages readers to send your content to their colleagues. Again, include an incentive for new readers to visit your site and register.
I’m currently looking for potential guests for my podcast The Multichannel Marketer. As the name suggests, the program covers a wide-variety of marketing channels — both online and offline.
Each episode is 20 to 30 minutes in length. My preference is for topics that appeal to the business-to-business sector, as this is my area of expertise. However, I won’t rule out guests who work in the business-to-consumer marketplace.
If you’re comfortable being interviewed and are an expert in a marketing channel or technology, please send me an email. Put “Podcast” in the subject line.
Yesterday, I interviewed designer and consultant Mike Klassen on how to jumpstart your brain for content ideas. While doing research on content marketing for my podcast, I came across some interesting stats from the Content Marketing Institute. According to a CMI report, 41% of B2B marketers find it difficult to develop content, especially that engages their prospects and customers.
The CMI also published a list of the most popular marketing channels the B2B industry uses to distribute content.
The top five most common channels in 2011 were ...
- Articles -79%
- Social Media Marketing (excluding blogs) – 74%
- Blogs – 65%
- eNewsletters – 63%
- Case Studies – 58%
I was surprised case studies weren’t closer to the top, but they did better than white papers, which lagged behind at number 9 (51%). CMI also noted that social media declined by 5% over the previous year.
If you struggle to find content ideas, listen to Episode 2 of The Multichannel Marketer.
In this podcast, I interview Marc Joffe and Ingrid Joffe of Mass Media Marketing, a company that specializes in developing social media marketing strategies for businesses. I talk to them about the top 5 mistakes companies make when implementing social media into their marketing mix.
Discussion points we talk about include…
- Search engines and social media
- Do you need to use every social media site?
- Authenticity and social media
I don’t often post articles or blog entries from others, but this topic of long copy vs.short copy never goes away. Veteran Copywriter and Consultant Bob Bly offers his response on the issue.
Recently JN, one of my readers, sent me an e-mail very similar in sentiment to dozens of other e-mails I have received over the years.
“Why do marketers like ETR and AWAI send me 16-page DM packages when the copywriter could have said the same thing in 1 to 2 pages?” JN writes.
“The prospect might even buy out of gratitude for not having to wade through those 16 pages and breathe a sigh of relief instead of snarl a nasty expletive.”
But JN is not through lambasting long-copy direct marketing yet. Her e-mail continues:
“My brother-in-law makes a hobby of going through those 16-page packages just for fun, red-penciling errors before he tosses them. He would never, under pain of death, buy from a DM
And it’s not just JN’s brother-in-law who thinks direct marketing copywriters are fools.
“My sister just drops those 16-page mailings in the recycling without even bothering to open them,” JN reports.
“Many of the people I know feel the same way. So why do copywriters persist in creating these massive multi-page mailings? Because they are paid by the page? Or because the client wants his pound of flesh from his writers?”
Finally, JN turns to the Internet as the harbinger of doom for long copy, asking, “Isn’t the Internet killing off traditional direct response copywriting?“
The answer to JN’s question is fairly simple….
The marketers she complains about use long copy not because they love writing it ... or paying their copywriters a fortune to write it for them … or because they enjoy spending more money on
printing and postage.
They use long copy for only one reason: it works.
Now, does long copy always out-pull short copy?
Of course not.
But long copy often out-pulls short copy when:
- You are marketing information products or other products that are sold by telling stories or conveying ideas.
- You are generating a direct sale … via mail order … rather than just generating a lead or inquiry.
- The reader is unfamiliar with your product and its benefits.
- You are demanding payment with order. The prospect has to pay up front with a check or credit card. He cannot order the product on credit and get an invoice he can choose to pay – or not pay – later.
- The product is complex and therefore requires a lot of explanation.
- The product is something people want rather than something they need – it is a discretionary purchase.
- The product is expensive, representing an expenditure the prospect is likely to consider carefully before ordering.
As for JN’s theory that the Internet is making traditional long-copy direct marketing obsolete, it’s quite the opposite: a product that requires long copy to sell offline usually requires long copy to sell online as well.
For instance, take a look at my Web site www.myveryfirstebook.com.
So … what does this long copy vs. short copy debate have to do with “the worst way to make marketing decisions”?
Simply that it illustrates that the worst way to make marketing decisions – which is what JN and her family are doing — is through subjective judgment.
Copywriter Peter Beutchel advises marketers: “Don’t let personal preferences get in the way.”
What’s important is not what you think, like, believe, or prefer … it’s what your prospects think, like, believe, and prefer.
The poor general advertisers! They are largely stuck having to make subjective judgments about marketing campaigns.
Reason: most general advertisers cannot precisely measure the ROMD (return on marketing dollars) for their ads and commercials.
But direct marketers don’t have to rely solely on subjective judgment. We don’t have to let our personal likes and dislikes cloud our judgment, like JN’s brother-in-law.
That’s because direct marketers can put almost any proposition – e.g., headline “A” vs. headline “B,” or long copy vs. short copy – to a direct test with an A/B split.
So, JN, it doesn’t matter what your sister or brother-in-law do … or that they don’t like long copy.
What matters is that in a statistically valid split test, the long copy generated more orders than the short copy.
I close with this quote from advertising legend Claude Hopkins: “Advertising arguments should only be settled by testing, not arguments around a conference table.”
(This article appears courtesy of Bob Bly’s Direct Response Letter,” www.bly.com.)
Marketing communications is an area that’s rapidly affected by advances in technology — not only in the way companies create marketing material but also how they distribute it.
Like email did in the late 1990s, social media has exploded in popularity among marketers. Online video grows by leaps and bounds. And mobile marketing is escalating so quickly that companies are scrambling to ensure their marcom is mobile friendly.
Marketing communications can be sliced into two segments:
- Pull marketing (also called inbound marketing). Potential customers find your product or service at their choosing. Communication channels for this type of marketing include: search engines, online forums, blogs and social media.
- Push marketing (outbound marketing). You directly contact potential customers at the time of your choosing to promote — or push — your product or service to their attention. Communication channels include: email bulletins, sales letters and catalogs.
But how do you know which of these marketing channels to focus on? There are a variety of factors that influence this decision, including demographics, firmographics, purchase history and customer lifecycle. All of these aspects will come into play at some point, depending on the markets you serve. But one dynamic that doesn’t get as much attention as it should is the lifecycle of your company?
In the startup stage, getting customers is an urgent activity. You can’t pay your bills and your employees for long without sufficient customers. Because of its expediency, push marketing is often a focal point at this stage because you may not be able to get enough customers with pull marketing to sustain your business in the short term.
This doesn’t mean you ignore implementing pull marketing during this phase, but you clearly have a need to acquire customers relatively quickly. SEO may take awhile before traffic increases. And direct selling is frowned upon in social media, as the emphasis in this arena is relationship building and customer engagement.
Here are three tips on startup stage marketing:
- Don’t wait until after your company opens its door to start marketing. Make sure you have your website, marketing collateral and advertising finalized and ready to go so you can hit the ground running.
- Ask yourself “Can I generate enough customers in the short term by using pull marketing alone?” If not, what push channels would be most appropriate for your target audience?
- What methods have you implemented to measure the success of your marketing communications? If you can’t measure the response, how will you know if you’re getting the most out of your marketing dollars?
The American Marketing Association produces its own TV show, with tips, news and current trends in the world of marketing. This six minute episode includes …
- 3 Keys to Engage with Social Media & Mobile Marketing
- The Power of Intuition
- Millennials Yearn for the Good Old Days
- Networking: Asking for Career Assistance
- Researchers: How to Become a Strategic Partner
Content marketing has been widely embraced by the B2B marketing communications sector. This free e-book was written by a vice-president of content marketing for a B2B company. Some of this issues covered include …
- An explanation of what content marketing is — and why your company needs to care
- Fundamental tactics used by content marketers
- An explanation of why content marketing is so important in B2B
- 10 reasons why a content marketing program may not be working with suggestions on how to overcome each
- 5 reasons you shouldn’t be a content marketer
- How to measure content marketing
- A bunch of additional content marketing resources
Visit here http://bit.ly/ebookB2BContentMarketing
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I’ve been using it for about three months, and it inspired to me complete some projects
I had been putting off for months. The Pomodoro Technique e-book is FREE. Give it a try.