Posts Tagged ‘Content Marketing’

Five keys to successful marketing automation content

Monday, August 19th, 2013

This is a guest post by Brian Hansford who is an account director with Heinz Marketing.  He maps the stages of a successful marketing automation initiative and this is the 4th installment of a four part series: Part 1 details building a successful process. The second part presents the importance of people. Part three looked at marketing automation vendor selection criteria.  In this last installment, Brian covers content.

Content helps prospects find an organization, learn and engage. Content even helps customers and non-customers alike become advocates! With a marketing automation initiative, content drives engagement and conversions which ultimately accelerates revenue!

Content often presents the biggest challenge for organizations that pursue a marketing automation initiative. Unfortunately content is often treated like a ‘Marketing 1.0’ task that a solo marketing communications writer should produce. I adopted a saying a few years ago that is “content is the fuel that launches the marketing automation rocket.” Without content, a marketing automation initiative will simply sit in limbo on the launch pad.

A well run marketing organization must have an annual campaign strategy and calendar, regardless of whether or not a marketing automation system is employed. Without a strategy, lead flow will be inconsistent, the content requirements will be unknown, campaigns will falter and the investment in marketing automation will be wasted.

Consider the content required to run each stage of a campaign in the buying cycle. Additional content will be required to support nurturing campaigns that help prevent leakage in the marketing funnel. Depending on which industry in B2B marketing, there will be different individuals at a target company that will require content suited to their roles and influence. Develop the right content for the right audience to be delivered at the right time using a marketing automation platform.

Great content helps organizations build credibility, awareness, and sets the standard that competitors must react to in order to keep up. That’s a position of strength!

Here are five considerations for developing and implementing a successful content strategy to support a marketing automation initiative.

1.  Audience: Who are the influencers and decision makers that will consume the content? Do you also have to reach partners, media, and analysts?

2.  Content Types to Steps in a Buyer’s Journey:Map the stages buyers take from pre-funnel, top of funnel, mid-funnel, final decision and beyond as existing customers? The buyer and customer journey has requirements for each phase. Here are some ideas to consider for different types:

  • Educational Content: Information designed to help prospective customers better understand the segment and solution. Well-developed content that educates also establishes credibility. Industry reports, webinars, keynote event presentations, blogs, social media user groups, and white papers are excellent formats for educational content.
  • Awareness Content: As prospective customers become more educated on the segment and solutions they will evaluate how vendors address their needs. In addition to the formats used with educational content, customer evidence through case studies is fantastic in this area. Also, content that focuses on “how-to” or “best-practices” is a perfect fit in this area.
  • Affirmation Content: As leads are nurtured into opportunities for sales follow up, they need information that helps lead them to a confident purchase decision. This is the area where vendors can define the terms of an evaluation that competitors must follow. Develop an RFP model or template. Provide more case studies and best practices. ROI models are also valuable and help develop a business case. The goal here is to build confidence that YOU are the right one to work with.
  • Advocacy Content:The sale has been won but now is not the time for complacency. Develop the content and delivery channels that help your hard-earned customers squeeze every drop of value from your solution. The more value you provide with strong communications and content, the stronger the relationship and the less chance of a defection.

3.  Content Sources and Contributors: Don’t treat content development and curation as a task for a single marketing communications writer.  Compelling, educational, informative, and entertaining content can be provided by multiple sources inside and outside of an organization.  High value content can be developed for little or no cost!  Executives in the C-suite, VP’s and directors should all understand this by now and even provide content themselves.  Customers, industry experts, channel partners, analysts, and independent bloggers are also great sources of content!

4.  Nurture Campaign Requirements: Understand content requirements when building campaign strategies and themes.

5.  Frequency and Channels: Content delivery methods are incredibly varied and many can be managed with a marketing automation platform. Proper planning helps identify whether enough content, or too much is planned for an audience.

Don’t let a marketing automation falter because of a lack of a content development plan. Content helps drive revenue when delivered with marketing automation platforms. The better the plan and implementation, the greater the return on the investment!

How are you implementing a content strategy with your marketing automation initiative?

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Slides from Today’s Webinar: How to Find, Influence, and Convert More Prospects Into Customers

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

Thank you to everyone who joined us today. Great questions and feedback for Matt Heinz of Heinz Marketing. As promised, here are the slides from today’s event and you can sign up for a free marketing brainstorm with Matt by clicking here.

Why choose LoopFuse for your marketing automation needs?

Friday, January 6th, 2012

Ask Bob Scheier and he’ll tell you.  In fact, he wrote up a great post on his decision, the other products he reviewed, and why he chose us in his Lone Ranger Content Marketing post.  Here is our favorite part:

Of the two, LoopFuse won me over because their customer list included VMware, ET ETC. – just the type of clients that are a good fit for my more than 20 years experience covering IT vendors and customers. Their plug-ins for WordPress (my current CMS) were a big draw, (no need to rehost my Web site with them, as with HubSpot) and their integration with social media platforms. Besides, they offered a free trial for up to 500 prospects, which gives me the time to do a proof of concept without any financial pressure. While 500 names might be too small for some companies, it fits my high-quality list of PR and marketing pros who have opted in to receive my email newsletter (click here to subscribe).

The on-line tutorials seemed exceptionally well thought-through, and my first support experience was impressive indeed: A phone call 30 minutes after I had Tweeted a question about how to port existing contacts and content from Constant Contact (my incumbent email platform) to LoopFuse. LoopFuse tech support seems to be hanging out on Twitter a lot, and the quality of support for a free version bodes well for their commitment to customers.

Thanks Bob!

Marketing automation services are the rocket, but content is the fuel

Wednesday, January 4th, 2012

This is a guest post by Russell Sparkman, CEO of FusionSpark Media, Inc., and Founder/Director of the Langley Center for New Media. Russell is a presenter at the 2nd Annual Content Marketing Retreat happening January 26 & 27 in Langley, WA (just outside Seattle).

One of many things on my mind for the coming year is the relationship between content marketing and marketing automation, as well as other platforms and services.

Increasingly, the “what is content marketing?” question is being replaced with the “how do we do it efficiently and effectively to raise awareness, generate leads and convert more sales?” question. One answer is marketing automation. (more…)

3 Tips for Content Marketing Success

Thursday, November 3rd, 2011

Now more than ever content plays a dominant role in your marketing plan.  They key is not the quantity of content you produce but the quality and value to your target audience.  No, I don’t mean hire a copywriter to churn out 500 word blog posts on search term optimized topics. I mean make your content strategy central to your company and focus on both the creation and distribution of it.

Here a 3 tips for content marketing success that will get you pointed in the right direction: (more…)

4Cs of B2B Marketing: Campaign, Customer, Channel, Content

Monday, November 1st, 2010

When I originally had the idea to write this post,  I decided to focus on our new marketing automation platform release and how the menu system had changed. I soon realized that the real story was not product-specific, but the underlying reason for the change; To align a menu system with how business-leaders today think about online marketing and sales.

the 4Cs of B2B marketing

So how is it that today’s B2B Marketing professionals think? Enter the 4Cs:


Know Thy Customer

Tuesday, September 14th, 2010

For a while now we’ve all heard plenty about how the emerging trend in marketing is moving towards “content marketing” or the creation of custom pieces aimed at generating a relevant engagement at a specific point of time.

What I’ve found lacking in the discourse, however, is a real pragmatic approach to leveraging this for marketing purposes.  Part of the explanation for this is certainly that it’s not an easy thing to do.  It is, however, possible to apply a methodology for content creation that will consistently outperform traditional approaches.

Over the coming weeks I will begin to breakdown the evolving approach I’ve seen work for a number of clients.  As a starting point, I’ll focus on getting to know the customer.  This is the key starting point for any content strategy.  If you don’t understand what makes them tick you can’t consistently generate interesting perspectives.  There are a lot of very tactical, very actionable steps you can take.  In fact… there are at least 15 of them!  Some of these will certainly be familiar, but on the whole hope you will take away some nuggets and a plan on how to string them all together to greatest effect.