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Posts Tagged ‘prospects’

Content Marketing 101: Tips on content strategy

April 14th, 2015
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By this point, I think most marketers understand the value and importance of the content marketing channel. It’s well known that prospects for both consumer and B2B marketers are now doing most research on their own — I’ve seen research reporting B2B prospects are now getting 80% down the pipeline before ever raising their hand and letting you know they might be a customer.

content marketing

 

A prospect 80% down the pipeline is likely going to be a more qualified prospect because they are nearing the end goal in terms of making a purchase — and because Marketing and Sales only have to get that last 20% to close the sale. At the same time, it means you can’t just push out marketing messages to names and leads in order to reach the entire marketplace.

The solution to this issue is to have a solid content marketing strategy in place, maybe even making content marketing the centerpiece of the overall marketing strategy.

Having spoken with hundreds of marketers about their content strategies over the years, I wanted to share tips on some of the basics of content marketing with the MarketingSherpa Blog reader.

 

It’s not about selling

One point about content marketing that can’t be emphasized enough is this: It’s not about selling your company, your products or your services. At its core, a content marketing strategy is targeting those prospects in the research phase that have yet to identify themselves as potential customers. You don’t know their names; you don’t have their email addresses in your database, and they might not even follow you on social media.

However, they are conducting research on your products, your services, your marketplace, your competitors and your company. If you can become a resource of basic information and instruction around the general marketplace of your business, you can become a trusted destination for those as-yet unknown prospects.

The two terms to keep in mind here are thought leadership and brand awareness. If you can provide valuable and relevant content to people conducting research on your marketplace, products and services, you can become a thought leader for information in that space.

As people visit, and revisit, your website and other digital outposts (such as a Facebook page or answer to a question on Quora) without being sold to, they will become aware of your brand. When they do decide to take a more definite step and raise their hand to be sold to, hopefully you will be top of mind.

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Lead Generation: A closer look at a B2B company’s cost-per-lead and prospect generation

July 14th, 2011
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Update: All MarketingSherpa newsletter articles are now permanently open access.

 

Several weeks ago I had the chance to speak with Jon Miller, Marketo‘s Vice President, Marketing, and co-founder of the company. Our talk was extensive and covered Marketo’s entire marketing process and philosophy, and the main result was a MarketingSherpa B2B newsletter case study (members library).

Even though the story was extremely in-depth and revealing in covering the marketing automation company’s practices — so much so that when my editor tweeted the story he wrote, “#B2B Marketing Strategy: Revenue-oriented approach leads to 700% two-year growth http://j.mp/lWT7PS @jonmiller2 opens up the kimono” — not everything Jon and I discussed made it into the case study.

One result of the extra material I have on hand was a popular MarketingExperiments blog post on testing form field length, and a second result is today’s SherpaBlog post going into more detail about Marketo’s cost-per-lead across its prospect generation efforts.

It’s a prospect, not a lead

Even though “lead generation” and “cost-per-lead” are something of industry terms of art, Jon explained to me that Marketo has a rigorous naming system for its eight-stage buying cycle, or what it calls a “revenue cycle:”

1. Awareness

2. Names

3. Engaged

4. Prospect

5. Lead

6. Sales lead

7. Opportunity

8. Customer

For someone to move from “engaged” to “prospect,” they must visit Marketo’s website and either fill out a form or download content. At this point they undergo demographic lead scoring. Using this scoring, Jon says a prospect is, “the right kind of person at the right company.”

Marketo defines a “lead” how most companies might identify a marketing-qualified lead, so at Marketo “prospects” are in effect its traditionally defined leads. Confused yet?

This chart takes a look at Marketo’s prospect generation metrics for the last two quarters of 2010. You will notice above the line are efforts Jon pays some marginal cost for and each includes its cost-per-lead. Below the line are Marketo’s non-marginal-cost inbound marketing efforts.

Click to enlarge

Virtual beats traditional in trade shows

Virtual trade shows stand out in this list because they create the most prospects at the lowest cost-per-lead. In fact, the figure on the far right of this chart, lead-to-opportunity index, is calibrated to the virtual trade show statistics.

“For us, virtual trade shows work great,” Jon says. “You get the database really cheap and they become leads, too.”

He adds that pay-per-click advertising has a fairly high cost-per-lead, but they also convert to opportunities at a high level at the highest velocity (in terms of least days), and they almost double the closest conversion-to-lead figure. It is worth it to Marketo to spend the extra cost-per-lead money on PPC ads.

The worst overall performing tactic on the chart is the traditional trade show. These events have the highest cost-per-lead by a long shot and don’t offer a strong conversion-to-lead number, and the strong lead-to-opportunity conversion ratio doesn’t offset the weaker stats.

Based on this information from last year, Jon told me he plans on cutting back on traditional trade shows this year and is spending that money on traveling to captive event road shows.

Inbound rising …

One very interesting aspect of Marketo’s prospect generation chart is the performance of its non-marginal cost inbound marketing tactics. Across the board they meet, and often greatly exceed, the baseline lead-to-opportunity index. Velocity and conversion-to-lead also compare very favorably for most tactics.

And the cost-per-lead for these inbound efforts? Effectively zero.

What lead generation tactics do you find successful? Do you track the success rate and bottom-line impact of your inbound efforts? Let us, and your peers, know what you think in the comments section.

Related resources

Lead Gen Overhaul: 4 Strategies to Boost Response Rates, Reduce Cost-per-Lead

Custom Landing Pages for PPC: 4 Steps to 88% More Leads, Lower Costs

Lead Generation: How to get funding to improve your lead gen

Social Media Marketing: You value (and earn ROI on) what you pay for

Lead Marketing: Cost-per-lead and lead nurturing ROI

Search Engine Marketing: Finding appeal for your PPC Ads

Social Media Marketing Research: Rolling up my sleeves and getting social