Over the last decade, we’ve witnessed a drastic and permanent transformation in buyer behavior. The abundance of information available on the Internet and ease of which social media allows us to share that information as well as our own experiences has created a revolution for consumers and business decision makers alike. The scales have been tipped in their favor. Gone are the days of relying solely on the word of advertisers and sales reps. Today’s savvy business buyers pursue multiple information-gathering avenues before making purchases that affect their business.
Thus, the major turn toward demand generation through content marketing over the last 12-24 months. Because business decision makers are no longer taking their sales rep’s advice at face value, the relationship between sales and marketing has changed. It’s no longer good enough for marketing to generate leads. In fact, the goal is to have the prospect “demanding” your product or service before the sales team even engages with them. That’s why the most competitive companies are turning to content marketing specialists who work in conjunction with automated programs like Eloqua and Marketo to manage, nurture, and score their leads.
Let’s say you have the C-Level buy in you need to get your company started with content marketing and demand generation. Now what? First, zero in on a project and determine what you’d like to accomplish and over what timeline. Next, take a look at your lead database. Is it clean? How old is it? How warm is it? Can it be segmented? How many prospects can you reach? If you need to freshen up your leads, carry out a lead generation program while you’re working on creating content.
I recently attended the B2B Content2Conversion webcast live from The Times Center in New York City. Many of the speakers had some great tips on how to construct good content, one of them being to create buyer personas in order to better understand your audience. Focus on what relates to them as businesspeople. What are their objectives? How would they describe your product or service? Are they change agents, or adverse to risk? What level of authority do they have? What are their obstacles? In addition to using Linkedin as an information source, the speakers recommended gathering 5-7 sales people and/or subject matter experts who can provide this kind of insight.
Once you have a better idea of who your buyers are and what kind of information they’re seeking, you can begin to craft your content. According to a Content Preferences Survey of 120 C–level business executives conducted by DemandGen Report, 75% of respondents want marketers to curb sales messages. They also prefer content that is shorter, has less focus on product specs, and more on value.
What mediums to choose
The survey shows that videos and infographics are among the most popular forms of content right now, as they quickly provide information that is easy to digest and easy to share. But beware; business executives expect access to this content without providing their contact information. Also be prepared to provide them with articles and blogs for “free.” However, executives are happy to swap their info in exchange for a good white paper or to attend a webinar, both of which are major crowd pleasers. Enewsletters, case studies, and in-person events are other good ways to dispense information while growing your database.
You gotta see this!
While content marketing and demand generation are topics we’ll continue to explore in future blog posts, for now I’ll leave you with another great tip I picked up at the B2B Content2Conversion conference: make sure your content, and your videos in particular, pass the “you gotta see this” test. Make it your goal to always create something you’d want to share in your own social networks. Following that rule will help to ensure that your audiences will be interested in sharing it in theirs.
Twitter is social networking and microblogging service. From a business and marketing perspective, Twitter helps you develop and promote your brand, interact with your customers and prospects, track what people are saying about your company and develop direct relationships with bloggers, journalists and industry leaders.
How is it useful?
Twitter is an easy way to discover the latest news related to subjects you care about. 140-Character messages from users you choose to follow will show up on your home page for you to read. It’s like being delivered a newspaper whose headlines you’ll always find interesting. You can discover news as it happens, learn more about topics that are important to you, and get the inside scoop in real time.
Getting Started with Twitter
1. Build a following
It’s best to begin your journey by finding and following other interesting Twitter accounts. Look for businesses you love, public service accounts, people you know, celebrities, or news sources you read. One great way to find more interesting accounts is see who those you know or admire are following.
2. Listen to the conversation already happening
Messages from others you follow will show up in a readable stream on your Tweets timeline. Once you’ve followed a few people, you’ll have a new page of information to read each time you log in. Click links in others’ tweets to view: images and videos they have posted, the profiles of users mentioned in their message, or tweets related to a hashtag (#keyword) they used.
3. Build a voice – send out relevant “tweets” on a consistent basis
Offer fresh, fascinating content. You’ll gain followers by giving them something they want or need: information, amusement, a sense of connection and belonging. The 80/20 formula says that 20% of your tweets are about you, while 80% of them are about someone else. Use tags and keywords. If you find an interesting tweet, re-tweet it and you can add your comment to it. Link your tweets to your other social networks such as Linkedin and Facebook.
4. Go mobile
One of the best things about Twitter is that it’s portable. Connect your account to your mobile phone or download a Twitter application to begin reading tweets on the go. Now you can get updates about traffic problems in the middle of your commute, find out what the players are saying while you’re at the game, or catch up on the buzz about an event you’re about to attend. The possibilities are endless!
Many of the B2B marketers we speak with aren’t sure social media is right for them. To them, we say: Get out from underneath that rock! Facebook currently has over 750 million active users. Nearly half of those users are between the ages of 26 and 54. And 50 percent of Facebook’s active users log onto the site in any given day. There are more than 200 million registered Twitter users, and the majority of them are aged 30-49. You don’t need a degree in statistics to figure out that many of your customers and business prospects are spending time on social networks. It’s pure logic; you must be where they are! read more »