Courtney Eckerle

Trust Your Customers to Raise Their Hands: How to use non-gated content to more than double high-quality leads

January 20th, 2017
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Challenged to measure ROI on every program and hit a certain number of leads per month, some marketers make potential customers fill out forms to get access to gated content.

Instead of forcing form fills, Chris Keller, Vice President of Marketing, Health Catalyst, and his team set their content free in order to increase shareability and lead quality while more than doubling leads during a three-quarter period.

“We’re trying to be the non-marketing marketing group,” Chris said. “We’ve taken a controversial approach to educating the market.”

For Health Catalyst, a healthcare analytics company, aggressively educating customers was a key aspect of its strategy to deliver a high-growth pipeline of leads. However, in a crowded healthcare IT market, Health Catalyst wanted to establish leadership, not generate cold leads.

This led the team to take a different approach: as few lead forms as possible. Because they wanted a pipeline of sale-ready leads, they put their trust in prospects to raise their hands when they were ready.

“What we’ve learned is that content is king, and content consumption is more important than actually capturing the information about that lead,” he said.

Health Catalyst built a robust knowledge center for prospects and customers to learn about topics that mattered to them. The team realized this would be a big commitment and would require content to be the focus of the team.

The knowledge center housed content, including:

• Articles
• Customer success stories
• Documentaries
• Webinars

Prospects can access nearly all content without filling out a form. For webinars, an email is required to send the invite.

However, attending the webinar doesn’t automatically push a prospect to sales-ready status. Instead, the webinars spend just a minute or two of the entire 60 minutes asking a poll question of interest in a product demo. Only attendees who are “very interested” are followed up with by sales.

“It turns out that when we unlocked the content, we increased our credibility; we increased consumption; and our sales teams, who are very active in the process, have had really good engagement and really good feedback from prospects,” he said.

In creating content that exists for education first, he added, Health Catalyst is trusting consumers to raise they’re hand when they’re ready, instead of the traditional approach of “creating a really strong hook.”

“We’ve essentially switched the paradigm to say, ‘what do prospects care most about,’ first, and then, ‘what are our needs?’” he said.

This customer-first approach establishes the company as a leader in the market and builds trust with consumers.

With the rise of marketing automation and evolution of modern marketing tactics, Chris said, “there was a movement to lock things down and to always have a quid pro quo relationship with our prospects, where, if we give you value, then you give us information.”

The team does use some tracking, Web analytics and reverse IP lookup, to monitor both named and anonymous prospects. This allows them to have a better understanding of customers when they do raise their hands, and it also helps the sales team better serve customers by knowing what content they’ve looked at and engaged with.

“It’s been difficult at times, because we don’t always have all the measurements. I would say we probably have about 30% of the information about those customers, where we previously could have gotten 100%. But our numbers have increased,” he said.

By focusing first on the needs of customers, this effort decreased the sales cycle by 33%, saw a 300% increase in leads and a 550% increase in clients.

“As our numbers increase with content consumption, we fill the pipeline with people who are really interested, and in the process, trust us,” Chris said.

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Courtney Eckerle

About Courtney Eckerle

With a focus on aspirational, customer-first marketing, Courtney’s goal has been to produce clear, interesting and actionable external content for MarketingSherpa readers. This has included writing over 300 case studies, moderating live event interviews, and producing video content. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in English Literature, Mass Communications and Film Studies from Saint Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Ind., and was a correspondent for USA Today College prior to joining MECLABS Institute.

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