Not that long ago Don Peppers and Martha Rogers built their groundbreaking 1:1 marketing approach on the principle that it’s much easier to educate than it is to sell.
Today, customers have gone online and marketing conversations have shifted from being company-led to customer-led as they search for information of value. Customers expect meaningful interactions that provide value, over traditional sales attempts, and the most competitive companies are proactively building their marketing programmes on this basis using inbound marketing and marketing automation technology.
Producing good content that interests, engages and educates prospects is a major challenge, but it is essential for effective lead nurturing campaigns.
In their recent report “B2B Marketers Must Better Prepare For Marketing Automation“, the Forrester research group outlined 3 important steps for how to become better content marketers:
1. Create content that educates while it sells
In a content led marketing approach, material that blatantly sells without offering anything of extra value won’t make the grade. Today, business customers expect something in return for their time. By producing content that offers insight and education on relevant topics, marketers can increase trust and reputation for their brand. A potential customer is more likely to engage with a company that has been sending them valuable insights rather than the one sending them a special offer mailer every 2 weeks for the last 6 months.
That doesn’t mean there should be no mention of your product whatsoever. But instead of obviously plugging it, subtly suggest it as a suitable solution to the problem in the industry you’ve educated them about.
2. Align content with buyer journeys
Another key issue to consider with a content marketing approach is making sure that the material you send buyers reflects what they are looking for at that particular time. Just as you wouldn’t try and sell a motorbike to somebody looking for a car, your content offering to a particular prospect should be based on the indications they have given you about what they are most interested in.
Marketing Automation solutions make this easy, using automation rules to allow businesses to set actions based on prospects behaviour. If you’re not familiar with this you can read more about automation rules and Marketing Automation here.
3. Enlist experts to contribute content
Content marketing relies on being able to deliver informative and useful information that is of value. In lot’s of instances marketers lack the deep understanding necessary to produce the content that potential buyers will find most useful.
That is when you need a subject matter expert. They can produce content with real substance. Not only do they have the knowledge to go in depth on topics important to your customers, but many of them maintain blogs and so also have an ability to write in an engaging manner.
A way to get great content can be to invite guest expert bloggers, or hire them to produce a flagship piece of content to use in your nurturing campaigns. Also, don’t hesitate to link to strong content from other sources.
The transition to content marketing is not an easy one, but shrew business marketers have realised that it is one of the best ways of ensuring success for their campaigns. To learn more about how to use great content to nurture prospects from first contact to sales ready, go here.