Chief Marketer recently wrote about the types of content that are the most effective for moving prospects through the sales funnel. What they had to say caught my attention, since supporting our clients in finding and landing new customers is a specialty of ours at OMI, especially through the use of email. It got me thinking about how email fits into the content picture, fuels sales and revenue growth, and continues to drive stronger ROI than any other channel.
Check out the top five content types below – ranked by their effectiveness – along with my email marketing takeaways.
- Articles and blog posts: Taking a helpful, consultative approach to engaging with your B2B prospects is the key to earning their trust, which ultimately leads to earning their interest. To successfully execute this approach, you can write and submit thought leadership and “how to” articles to industry trade publications and develop blog posts on your own website that discuss market challenges and solutions. This type of content allows your in-house authorities to showcase their expertise in a high-value way to your prospects. Where does email fit in? Your email campaigns can then link to these published pages to further highlight that expertise and cast a wider net with the message.
- Customer reviews and testimonials: These days, customer feedback can be found almost everywhere in the B2C realm (think Yelp, Tripadvisor, YouTube, Amazon, social media etc.), and that movement has made its way into B2B markets. The power of user-generated content is proven – it validates and reinforces your claims and messages and is trusted by potential customers. That’s why you and your company should get ahead of the game and actively encourage customers to give reviews or provide testimonials for use on your website or in case studies. You can then link to these positive online mentions in your email campaigns. When you do, you’ll see click-through rates soar.
- Whitepapers: Sometimes a business challenge needs to be described in more depth and detail than an article or review can provide. A whitepaper is the perfect solution. It can be used to frame the challenge, provide potential approaches to solutions, and state a business case for why a particular solution (such as yours) is best. Whitepapers are great when addressing more complex or technical challenges, especially when your prospects are engineers or technical or detail-oriented professionals who want to see the data behind your claims. Email offers an excellent vehicle for promoting this content, but be sure not to make your white papers too long – remember the end goal is to encourage the prospect to contact you again for more information.
- Videos: Videos provide a way to show off your solution’s capabilities, especially when they are impressive or simple to use, or if you’re trying to reach short-attention-spanned audiences. Anyone can make videos these days – you don’t need to hire professionals or spend a lot of money to do so. In fact, it’s probably more preferable if you don’t: today’s Millennials grew up with YouTube and prefer honest and direct videos, as opposed to the slick or salesy videos of decades past. Again, email marketing can be useful in pointing an audience toward your video assets via links, ensuring that the powerful messages you have created reach the right people in your target market at the right point in their journey with you.
- Webinars: Webinars are a popular B2B marketing medium. You can use them to invite your prospects to learn from one of your experts in a pressure-free environment in which they can get their questions answered. I recommend positioning your webinars as educational and instructive, not promotional or salesy. Be sure to include polling questions during the online event to keep people engaged and, more importantly, further qualify them during their time with you. End your webinar with a special offer or invitation for an in-depth consultation to learn more. You can use email marketing to share the webinar recording with both attendees as well as those who couldn’t make the live session, and to others who you think could benefit from the message. You can also use email to promote the webinar in advance.
Surprisingly, another favorite content type of mine was not included in the Chief Marketer top five – e-newsletters. They typically combine several different content types into a single message and offer readers the opportunity to click to learn more or even initiate a purchase.
How would you rate the five content types above? I’d love to hear from you.
Outward Media’s proven data cleansing services and targeted, accurate email data can enable you to achieve better email marketing ROI and, ultimately, convert more prospects into customers. Take a look at our case studies to find out more.