Jason Patterson wrote an article on B2B content marketing titled Lead-Gen: The Holy Grail of Content Marketing.

Funnel

« Content marketing often tries to “fast forward” the journey down the funnel by trying to go directly from awareness (which talks about the problem your prospects face) to lead-gen, skipping over the consideration stage (which educates prospects about what you sell) entirely, shifting… those education duties from your marketing content to your sales people. »

Qualifying

« If that prospect had learned that dealbreaking fact while consuming a piece of consideration content instead, that salesperson’s time wouldn’t have been wasted … Even if that doesn’t happen… product education work still needs to be done and sales will often need content support »

« if you skip consideration [the education stage], you’re effectively detouring those prospects to another road »

Lead Quality

« One way marginal leads get generated is through gated content, because people will frequently lie, giving a false name and/or false email address in order to get the content.  »

« B2B content cycles [can be] five years long…  Which means that even if you get an email address, that person might have switched companies by the time their previous employer is ready to buy… So, again, leads aren’t all they’re cracked up to be.  »

Minimize Gated Content

« Gating decreases your reach, a lot… There’s data out there suggesting it could be in the 50-70% range. Many people just aren’t comfortable giving out contact details… A lead for Seymour Butts at seymour@butts.com is no lead at all, with that same survey suggesting that 25% of buyers will do something like this. »

« On the whole, I tend to think keeping your content ungated drives more leads over the long run than gating. Brandbuilding (i.e. mindshare) driven by freely available high-quality content will do what needs to be done »

« Publishing more consideration [education stage] content is bound to increase the quality of the leads that inevitably get through because whoever makes it will be better educated »

Compare

« If you sell numerous products… prospects can have a hard time determining the key difference between products by shuffling between different product pages. Nothing beats side-by-side. »

« If your product range is narrower, then you need to focus more on comparisons versus competitors, or versus doing nothing. »

Understand Your Audience

« Your content writers also need to be educated about your prospects… Because if content writers don’t know who they’re talking to, the content they produce tends to be vague »

« There are two good ways to educate content writers about prospects. One, arrange for direct dialog with sales. And two, start recording your sales conferences and let your content people watch the recordings.  »

Conclusion

« But if you ask for contact details at every interaction, every piece becomes lead-gen, which means you don’t have a marketing funnel anymore, you actually have a marketing straw, which makes yours brand seem used-car-salesy, thus undermining the brand building work that good content can do. »

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