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Earlier this week, Jeff explained that content marketing was a big focus at DemandCon; particularly, because companies are trying to leverage it more than ever to drive more sales leads. Well, content marketing has struck again! Except this time, it's making major waves in the SEO world.
A historic post went out earlier today that finally raised the question SEOers have been afraid to utter out loud: Is content marketing the new SEO? This post by Duncan Parry does a fabulous job of answering it:
But before your SEO team has a heart attack, and your content department jumps on their cubicles in celebration, read further...
Parry merely explains that although content marketing isn't a replacement for SEO, it is impossible (practically dangerous) to be without; this is especially true now that so many businesses are affected each time a new Google Panda or Penguin update rolls through.
I thought I'd share some key takeaways:
State of B2B Demand Generation
Jay Gaines from SiriusDecisions keynoted the conference with some interesting thoughts about the state of demand generation. Over the past few years, demand generation techniques have improved vastly - it's now a well-oiled machine, but the training wheels are still on.
- Tools and technology are on the rise, and marketers are doubling their investment in business intelligence and marketing automation/CRM software. But less than 25% of businesses are leveraging these tools to their fullest (especially marketing automation).
- And though marketers have many more tools at their disposal -- allowing for targeting, segmenting, lead scoring, nurturing and the like, many are still resorting to the tried and true tactics of "spray and pray" -- sending generic email blasts hoping to drive leads.
- The balance of inbound lead channels versus outbound lead channels is still skewing towards inbound. Inbound leads are always a good thing (especially when factoring in cost), but you still need a balance of the two, which we talk about at length in our recent whitepaper.
- As we all know, not all leads will close. According to Jay, 80% of Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs) don't close. Thus, there is an immense amount of "lead waste" if you aren't prepared to turn those "wasted" leads into future opportunities with lead nurturing. The key is to manage the waste with smart but not overly complex lead nurturing campaigns. Campaigns that address the reason for non-closure, for instance, and not just a one-size-fits-all maze of emails that are unlikely to turn a prospect back into your pipeline.
Watch the video (it's just under 50 minutes) and learn for yourself how these simple, yet vital steps can ensure success for your lead generation campaigns:
And if you missed the whitepaper, you can download a free copy here.
Do you have tips for success for online lead generation? Share them in the comments below!
We've compiled whitepapers, an infographic and quick guides that cover important topics in the world of online lead generation. And we're not done yet -- more content and tools will continue to be added.
So head over to our Resource Center and check out topics like:
- The State of B2B Lead Generation: our 2012 report
- Marketing and Sales alignment
- SEO for Lead Generation
- And more...
One way almost anyone can get started is through content curation, the act of seeking out great information from other sources on the web, assembling it, adding your comments and expertise, and presenting it as an easy-to-digest package. As the flood of mediocre content available online continues to dilute truly valuable information, content curation is becoming a mainstream part of many companies' marketing plans.
Good content curation isn't just a shortcut, though. Think of yourself like a curator in a museum. Your job isn't to just scrape up anything and everything and slap it up on the walls: you need to review quite a bit more information than you're actually going to use, and only pick out the very best items to share.
You also need to add your own commentary and opinion: just presenting a list of links to articles, white papers, or other resources isn't going to get you any points among prospects. Describe why the content you promote is worth extra attention, how it relates to other pieces, and what the connection is to your business.
Content curation isn't a one-and-done effort, either: you can take different approaches, including real-time curation or blog curation, but you can't just do it once and move on. If you want to demonstrate your expertise and value to customers, you'll need to commit to spending time on it over the long haul.
There's a variety of sharing options, as well. You can curate content through your company blog, through Twitter, Pinterest, and other more specialized services. This introduction to curation includes links to several different tools you can use to help with content creation.
Photo courtesy Albert Skibinksi.
- In his keynote address, Michael Norton, a professor at Harvard Business School, talked at length about the concept of labor illusion - meaning it's important to be transparent with what is happening after you ask a potential customer to do something. The classic example is the lame progress bar, which while telling you the percentage completed (or something similar), offers zero value in terms of communicating what's happening behind the scenes. Instead of offering very little, Norton suggests that showing the customer what's actually happening is a powerful way to demonstrate the labor you're performing - thus inherently making that person more vested in the outcome. One example of a successful application is a flight search engine that shows what's happening after you enter in your criteria, but before a flight matrix is displayed. Why not tell the user the list of airlines being checked, flight combinations, class of service requested, etc?
- In the annual state of the industry chat, the CEO's of Quinstreet and Bankrate spoke about where they see the future of lead generation going. Content will continue to be king as well as a key differentiator for those without it, regulations (especially in education) will be a disruption, social media as a lead generation tool remains unproven in the B2B space, and the growth of mobile continues. Our thoughts echo many of these observations, as BuyerZone too is focused on producing more great content, cracking the social media code and mobilizing our sites for, well, mobile.
- Lead quality and the ever present balance of quantity with quality remains a key focus. Those lead generators who work with lead buyers directly understand the importance of quality, while lead aggregators, resellers and affiliates are often to blame for unseemly practices which, at times, give the industry a bad name.
- Tim Ash, CEO of Site Tuners, spoke of 5 tips for great landing pages, most of which are fairly standard, but one -- keep your promises -- stuck with me. Throughout the entire lead generation process, marketers need to make sure what we state we'll do actually happens.
- In the click-to-call space, we know that timely follow-up is critical, but one stat really shocked me: re-contract rate drops to less than 1% after 30 minutes. That is mind-boggling to me, and just underscores how sales processes need to be not only relevant, but super timely.
Overall, another great show. Did you attend? Add your key takeaways in the comments section below.
- According to the Custom Content Council, custom content creation is already a $41 billion business.
- Marketers are spending $67 billion annually on their websites, the primary home for content marketing, according to research firm Outsell Inc.
If you're not yet on the content marketing bandwagon, be sure to read these recent posts:
- The basics on building your content strategy.
- Infographics are a great way to visually represent data, here's some examples of recent infographics from BuyerZone.
- Using content as a lead generation tool.
First off, you need to know why you are driving traffic - your goal. Why do you want to generate traffic (hint, it's usually to convert leads and make money) and what incentive for the user is there to convert through your form? Is it a whitepaper download, event registration, product purchase, or inquiry? You need to have an appropriate call to action to pull in the right type of lead. Even if you are just using your PPC campaigns to gauge general visibility or interest in a new product, you want to make sure that you are setting the stage appropriately. And that starts with keywords and adcopy.
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