B2b content engagement (continued)
This is the second part of a 2 part blog on B2B content engagement. You can find part 1 here.
3. Make your prospect the hero
If the story you are telling in your marketing content features you as the main protagonist, you’re doing yourself a disservice. Building on the point above, stories enable people to imagine themselves in other scenarios and internalize new ideas or beliefs as their own.
By creating a story that allows your prospect to imagine himself as a hero (e.g. saving the day and earning the boss’s praise for finding the perfect solution for X), you create a major incentive to transact, so he can become that hero he imagined.
- Set up an emotional experience
We’ve written previously on why emotional connection matters more in B2B than in does in B2C. One aspect is that with higher risk sales, people need emotional assurance that things will go well in order to ease their anxieties.
Additionally, “behavioral psychologists have long argued that only 30% of human decisions are actually driven by rational considerations. This means more than 70% of customer loyalty and spending decisions are based on emotional factors.” Because we are so emotionally motivated, anything you can do to create an emotional experience for your readers will keep them more engaged. There are many ways you can facilitate an emotional response in your marketing content—humor, building action to create excitement, ending with a ‘hook’ to keep people coming back for more, etc.
5. Get it out there. Fast.
One of the biggest mistakes B2b companies make in their initial content marketing efforts is thinking that all you have to do to get prospects to engage with you is post content on their website. In terms on engagement, publishing content—like a blog—should merely be the first step in getting the content to your target audience.
Additionally, founder of Moz Rand Fishkin recently wrote that in terms of SEO, “One of the harsh truths of blog-focused SEO is that a few hours after a post is published, 90% of the ranking ability is spent. . . It’s that first burst of activity – of social sharing and people emailing it around and links coming in – that set the stage for ranking success in the search engines.” This means that the quicker you can get your content out and shared on a variety of platforms, the wider the reach your content will have and consequently, the more engagement.
For more tips on creating engaging marketing content, you can read 5 Ways Your B2B Content Marketing Program Can Fail. Feel free to contact us with any questions.
Many B2B companies try so hard to generate more leads that they do not come up with a clear strategy for how to do so most efficiently and effectively. What these companies do not understand is that a successful campaign requires clearly defined goals and a well-articulated strategy.
This blog is meant to educate those with less experience in B2B sales and marketing about the fundamentals of lead generation. Specifically, we will address the difference between soft vs. hard lead generation for B2B sales and when each is most appropriate to use.
(If you would like information with a little more depth, please visit our knowledge center focused on B2B Demand Generation.)
The first step in creating a strategy for B2B lead generation is to formulate your overall goals. You should ask the following questions:
• Who are you trying to target?
• What is the number of leads you want to generate?
• What do you want to achieve in terms of sales?
• Are you willing to pay for a lead? How much?
• Where do you want your leads to be in the sales cycle?
The answers to these questions become essential in determining which lead generation technique will be most effective for your business. Depending on what your goals are, you will usually choose either a soft or a hard lead generation strategy. Hard techniques usually generate a higher quality lead, while soft strategies tend to produce large numbers.
The soft offer:
Using an incentive with an apparently low risk factor, soft strategies will give you huge numbers of leads. For example, if you offer free tickets to the World Series, you are likely to get a massive number of responses. The downside of the soft lead, however, is that most of these respondents are more excited about baseball than learning about your business. So, while the soft lead may give you the numbers you want, most leads generated in this way do not progress any further in the sales cycle.
However, in our experience as an outsourced sales and marketing company, we have found that offering an iPad or a gift card can be quite effective, especially in terms of generating a quick opt-in database. We have also seen that the soft lead generation strategy is most effective for businesses trying to target leads early in their sales cycle. This method will take much more time because of having to sift through large numbers and so should be used primarily when attempting to generate activity or jump-start your sales.
The hard offer:
In a hard lead generation strategy, you offer something that is relatively higher risk than free tickets or an iPad. When you make this type of offer, which may require some type of commitment from your prospect, the leads you generate are usually going to be much further along in their sales cycle. Some things you can use as hard offer incentives are free consultations, preliminary audits, invites to webinars, etc.
When engaging with these types of leads, you should be aware they have a much greater chance of becoming closed deals. We have found that a hard lead generation method is most effective for businesses that have little time to weed through huge numbers of leads and are therefore looking to talk to leads much closer to making a purchase.
If you are still having trouble deciding between soft vs. hard lead generation for B2B sales, a good place to start is deciding who you are trying to target. If your goal is to reach marketing teams, a soft offer may be the most appropriate. On the other hand, if you are looking to speak to buying executives, you may want to go with the hard offer. Once you decide the kind of lead you desire and determine what will be of value to them, you will be able to come up with a successful strategy for generating leads.
Gabriel Sales has over 12 years of experience as an outsourced B2B lead generation company. For more sales basics, please feel free to visit our Blogs on Sales and Content Basics.