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Archive for the ‘b2b marketing’ tag

8 Tips for Successful Blogging to Drive Inbound Marketing

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According to HubSpot’s 2013 State of Inbound Marketing Report, 34percent of all sales leads last year were generated by inbound marketing sources, delivering 54percent more leads into the sales funnel that outbound marketing efforts through advertising, sales calls, etc. And more than 82percent of marketers who blog see real ROI from blogging for inbound marketing. Of those marketers surveyed, 43percent said they generated a customer from blogging during the year.

Overall, 79 percent of companies who maintain a blog reported positive ROI for inbound marketing compared to 20 percent without a blog. And 82 percent of marketers who blog daily said they acquired a customer as opposed to 57 percent who blog monthly.

Clearly blogging builds business, but successful business blogging has specific guidelines you need to follow:

  1. Know your audience – Before you start blogging, have a clear idea of who you are writing for. Create marketing personas to help you identify your target customer and audience, and identify their areas of interest and their problems. What information can you share in a blog that will make their lives easier?
  2. Deliver quality content – An informative and entertaining blog can be your best tool for inbound lead generation. The secret is to keep your audience engaged. You want the information you share to be different, interesting, and valuable.
  3. Mix up your format – Use different subjects and approaches to keep your blog fresh. Talk about common problems. Interview other experts. Cite interesting statistics. Use different techniques so your readers always get something fresh.
  4. Never sell – Most business bloggers make the mistake of making their blog all about them and their products. People don’t care about their products; they care about how those products improve their lives. Talk about the customers’ problems and challenges and provide information that is helpful. In fact, don’t even mention your products but just provide expertise. The soft sell is more effective in blogging.
  5. Remember, design matters – Appearance matters just as much as readability. Use a crisp, clean design that is easy to read, and break up the text with subheads, bullet lists, and graphics. Artwork is particularly important. Pictures give you blog life and make it more visible on social media – just make sure you don’t violate the copyright for any images you share.
  6. Include a call to action – Every online post should include some call to action, or rather a call to engage further. I can be a call for comments, or the offer of a white paper, case study, or more information. Ultimately, you want blog followers to contact you about becoming customers. Make it easy for them to reach you by email, with a simple form, or other means.
  7. Be prolific and be consistent – It’s proven that the more you blog, the higher your lead conversion rate. Commit to whatever frequency you can manage – daily, weekly, monthly – but remember the more you blog the better your chances for lead conversion. Try to post at the same time each day or week so your followers can look forward to hearing from you.
  8. Make your blog easy to share – Of course, you are pushing your own blog content out through social media. Make it easy for your blog followers to share as well with social media links. Getting your followers to share is the best way to attract more followers.

These are just eight ways to improve your blogging strategy. Whatever you do, don’t be boring and don’t plagiarize. But do start blogging and blog often. And if you need assistance with your blog, then by all means, call on us. We’re here to help.

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Written by Tom Woolf

February 21st, 2014 at 4:53 pm

Building a Case Study Campaign – Making the Most of Your Content

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To leverage a good story, you need cooperation from all the participants

One of the truths of successful content marketing is you never waste a good story. Some of your best stories will be customer case studies – nothing sells like a real-world application. However, case studies are only implicit testimonials. For most of our clients, their customers will not endorse a product or service, although they will explain, in detail, how they use that product or service to improve their own operations and promote their own brand. The trick when working with customers for case studies is making sure that everyone gets to shine and tell their story, but without detracting from the objectivity that gives the case story its value.

“What’s In It for me?”

When I interview case study candidates, I try to make sure they have a chance to shine and tell their own story in their own way. I look for ways to make sure that the interviewee gets to promote his company and its brand in an appropriate fashion.

Usually, the case study needs to show how the customer is outperforming the competition thanks to your product or service. The objective is to make them look smarter and a leader in their industry because they were wise enough to use your product. Sometimes, a middle manager is seeking to build his reputation, his personal brand, and by being featured as the expert in a case study his or she gets to strut their stuff.

However you approach any case study, everyone has to look like a winner.

How far will they go?

As part of the case study qualification process, you need to assess how far the customer will go in talking about your product or service. Some customers will only speak as anonymous vendors, while others are willing to talk to analysts, editors, prospects, and even stand up at trade shows and brag about how they use your product.

You need to ascertain how enthusiastic your customer contact is about the vendor relationship and the product, and more importantly, how much authority they have to speak for their organization. More than one case study has been quashed by legal, the PR department, or somebody in the C suite.

Once you find the right spokesperson – someone in authority who is an enthusiastic evangelist, the sky’s the limit! You can use that contact for sales referrals, interviews, and other strategic opportunities. However, be judicious about bringing out your best customer advocates. You don’t want to go to the same well too often; it will run dry.

Rinse and repeat

Once you have the case study approved and in the can, and your customer spokesperson primed and ready, what’s your next step? How do you get the most value from a case study?

1. The web site – Of course, you want to make sure that online visitors can read your latest tale of triumph. Consider using a teaser approach, so visitors get part of the story but they have to get the payoff after becoming a Facebook follower or subscribing to your newsletter.

2. Campaigns – If it’s a good story, use it for a direct marketing campaign. Build your mailing list by providing a PDF of the complete case study in exchange for an email address.

3. Article placements – No good story should be wasted, so why not place it in a trade magazine? Editors are always looking for good user stories, if you are willing to remain objective and tell the story without flourishes or hyping your product. (Don’t worry, the readers will know it’s your product.)

4. Videos – If your customer is willing to tell his or her story in front of a crowd, make a video. Video content is very powerful and can be used and reused for a variety of marketing programs.

5. Webinars – Better than a printed story is a demonstration. Webinars featuring case studies are a great way to promote your products.

6. References – Industry analysts, editors, and even sales prospects want to talk to customers. They need reassurance that your value proposition and product claims aren’t just empty promises. Having a catalog off referencable customers you can rely on for references can be invaluable. Just be sure to keep them informed before you drop their name, and be sure they stay happy.

Happy customers with an interesting application story can be gold for any marketing program. Be sure to spend them wisely.

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Written by Tom Woolf

February 14th, 2013 at 3:03 pm

Why Content Matters

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Good content drives meaningful conversation with customers

Good content is crucial in a web-driven market. You need to participate in the conversation of the Web to engage with your customers. Good marketing is a product of good storytelling. You need to connect with customer in a way that resonates and creates a compelling reason to do business with you (or at least give you a second look) as opposed to the other guy. That’s why good content means more business.

Having a meaningful conversation with your customers means you have to have a story to tell. That’s content. Conversation with customers is the result of superior content delivered through the right channels to promote interest. You use content to generate web traffic, and then you use content to convert traffic into leads, leads into prospects, and ultimately prospects into customer. At each step of the sales cycle, it’s the content that tells your story and keeps visitors coming back for more.

And it doesn’t matter if you are targeting consumers of business customers. According to the latest research from the Content Marketing Institute, use of strategic marketing content is on the rise across the board – 54% of B2B marketers are increasing their content marketing spending and 55% of B2C marketers are increasing their content budget. Tactical spending will vary between B2B and B2C programs (as shown in the bar chart), but all marketers agree that social media, blogs, and in-depth articles are where they need to focus their content marketing efforts.

The same studies show that both B2B and B2C content marketers are facing the same challenges:

· Lack of budget (59% of B2C versus 39%of B2B marketers);

· Producing enough content to meet the need; and

· Producing content that engages customers and executive decision-makers.

That’s why many companies are outsourcing content creation – according to the Content Marketing Institute that’s 46% of B2C marketers and 44% of B2B marketers.

That’s why content matters, and that’s why we are providing a new resource to support content marketing programs. We understand storytelling, and how to engage customers and prospects with messages that speak to their needs and concerns. And we can usually create expert content faster, and more cost-effectively than in-house resources.

The ongoing challenge with any marketing program is creating fresh content to keep the program going. That’s why more organizations turn to experts like Write On Content for fresh material to feed their programs.

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Written by Tom Woolf

January 22nd, 2013 at 7:29 pm