Warning: B2B tech marketers, don’t read this if your marketing funnel is bursting at the seams with hot leads
But read on if you want to convince buyers you can solve their business problems
Dear B2B marketer,
My name is Bhaskar Sarma and I am a copywriter and a content marketer.
Today I want to tell you a story that I read in Marketing Sherpa about how a B2B technology marketer in a very narrow niche delivered 40% increase in revenue and 2000% lift in traffic in the middle of the Great Recession…
…by creating persuasive and useful content that was valuable to her clients’ business operations.
And with your permission, I want to show you how this content marketing strategy she used can be applied to your own business to get similar results.
Marketing automation, reluctant prospects and felony charges
Deb McAlister-Holland is the director of marketing at a company that makes marketing automation software for banks, insurance and healthcare companies and casinos. Client-side sales and marketing uses this software to send out corporate approved marketing materials.
An overwhelming majority of her clients operated in a regulatory heavy environment and needed to deal with a bunch of laws that differed widely from state to state.
For example, one of them dealt with 13 federal agencies and 50 state agencies while marketing. Some clients could be booked on felony charges for doing something in Dallas, Texas while getting a free pass for doing the exact same thing 100 miles away in Oklahoma.
Even scarier, there was always the possibility of conviction or jail time for something as innocuous as giving a client testimonial.
So her prospects weren’t exactly a bunch of risk takers when it came to trying out new things . If their current marketing solution kept them on the right side of the law and out of jail it was good enough, high costs or lack of features be damned.
Therefore Deb was spending a lot of money and a lot of time convincing them to try out her company’s products.
And then, in 2007-08 the Great Recession struck
You probably know what it’s like- volume and frequency of orders drop precipitously, most sales calls are met by a stock “We can afford to invest in your solution right now” response and it’s doom and gloom all around.
However, the situation was worse for Deb. Her company worked with a small bunch of clients and some of them were the first to feel the pinch.
Suddenly too many hooks were chasing too few fish.
If Deb had continued with her traditional marketing tactics- stuff like cold calls and ads- she would have to invest a lot more to keep revenues and profits at the same level. But there was no money, because clients were tightening purse strings.
It was a classic Catch 22 situation.
However she changed gears and completely overhauled the way she did her marketing. It took time- around 12 months- to get results.
But those results exceeded expectations! 40% revenue growth, 2000% increase in traffic, and all without any major change in the marketing budget.
There was no magic, though. No black hat tactics, no gaming of systems. Nothing shady.
And best of all, those results could be replicated in any company in any niche by deploying the same basic principles.
It was simply Content Marketing in action
You: “Content what?”
In a nutshell content marketing is about connecting with your ideal customer… building a rapport with them by giving away valuable content that proves you are invested in their success…and using that connection to sell products and solutions that solves their problems.
“Whoa, whoa, whoa, hold on”, you might say. “Giving something away sounds stupid, especially when good content does not come cheap.”
True! Content marketing, while more cost effective than things like TV ads or cold calling still cost money and time.
But you are not actually losing anything. You are gaining attention of prospects and in the current environment, that’s the most valuable thing to have.
Let me tell you about the buying journey of your typical enterprise IT client:
- They have problems with some aspect of their business that needs fixing.
- Someone in the company is given the job of finding out solutions for the problems. A bigger company gets a search committee.
- They will use Internet research, word of mouth, referrals and other methods to draw up a shortlist of solution providers.
- The shortlisted companies will be contacted for a proposal.
- Depending on multiple criteria, one solution provider will be selected after the decision is vetted by multiple people on the client side.
The Internet, social media and mobile: a potent marketing combination
If you look at this process, one thing which has become unrecognizable in the last two decades is point #3- the research phase. A survey published by Google and Compete titled “Think B2B: Connecting with the Customer” in late 2011 among 1681 B2B executives found that
- 73% decision makers used search engines for purchase information.
- 51% checked out vendor websites.
- 42% consulted professional association websites.
And it’s not just on the desktop. Thanks to the smartphone and the tablet revolution, B2B executives including those on the C-suite access a lot of this information on mobile devices. Check out these stats for mobile usage for the C suite:
- 28% CXOs used mobiles to collect purchase information vs. 21% general B2B respondents.
- 21% CXOs used tablets vs. 12% of the general B2B respondents.
And what is the most influential purchase information for these decision makers? What makes content influential, and which channels carried the most weight?
Glad you asked.
From the “Eccolo Media 2011 B2B Technology Collateral Survey Report”
- 65% of the respondents said white papers were very to extremely influential.
- 68% said the same about case studies.
- 62% considered videos to fulfill that role.
- Content that came with a Share This button was seen as much more influential or somewhat more influential vis-a-vis content without share buttons.
- Embedding audio or video in written collateral like white papers or case studies dramatically increased their influence. The figures are 83% for audio and 92% for video respectively.
- The corporate website is one of the most important stops for decision makers. 63% considered white papers downloaded from the website to be influential. The figures for sales reps and social media were 46% and 30% respectively.
I can give you data from five other marketing reports which asks the same questions but the conclusion will be the same.
Enterprise technology buyers consume a large amount of marketing content in various formats and in different phases of the sales process before taking a decision.
BUT…and this is a biggie…
Because so much content is available, prospects will read content only if it talks about their problems and provides solutions. For example,a lot of content Deb created for her content marketing campaign was about complying with regulations…
…which was one of the biggest problems her clients had to wrestle with everyday.
No wonder they lapped it all up.
So if you are a vendor in the B2B technology space, are you producing the kind of content that solves the problems of your ideal clients?
Is your content share worthy?
If yes, congratulations. You are probably reaping rich rewards and reporting impressive numbers, much like Deb did after a year.
If not, I can help you with that.
Here’s how I can help you convert more prospects, increase sales and revenue
In short, these are the 3 things I can do for you:
- Write search engine optimized copy for your site so that you get ranked higher for your desired keywords.
- Create persuasive and benefits heavy lead gen and thought leadership content like white papers, case studies, blogs, newsletters, landing pages and articles that can tilt buying decisions in your favor.
- Design a content marketing strategy so that your content registers on the radar of most of your prospects.
And this is what will happen:
- The time you spend per sale will drastically come down because your leads will be more or less pre-sold.
- The number of leads in your funnel will increase because of increased exposure online.
- You will stand out from your competition and will not be a vendor but a trusted solution provider and therefore, increased profits.
Like what you read so far? If you want me to get cracking on your marketing content and transform your website into a lean, mean and efficient lead gen machine, let’s talk
Who am I to be making such claims?
If you want to sell your technology solutions to clients, you can’t just pick a copywriter off the street. You need someone who knows how the enterprise technology industry works.
Before I was a marketing copywriter I was an information security consultant contracting with stock exchanges. Before that, I was a tech journalist with India’s largest personal technology magazine and before that, I graduated as a computer engineer.
This varied background ensures that…
…I quickly grasp the nuts and bolts of your offering, and
…I can translate the technical features into business benefits that would resonate with decision makers.
But I am not going to beat my own drum. This is what a client has to say about me
“Bhaskar is a great copywriter, very attentive to any special details of a task, perfectly punctual and reliable. It’s a pleasure to cooperate with him”- Lidiya Ivchenko, Head of Content at StarWind Software Inc.
In the words of a second client
“Bhaskar showed a high level of cognitive understanding and adaptability to an industry for which he had not written before. What attracted me to his writing was his down-to-earth, contemporary style – well suited to today’s attention deficient audiences. He was quick, responsive and got the work done on time”- Jeremiah Desmarias, VP Marketing at Applied Systems Inc.
And a third
“Though I have worked with Bhaskar only once, he has shown himself to be considerate and honest.Having agreed the scope of the work required, we established a time frame and budget. Bhaskar completed the work on time, and within budget”- Kinjal Vora, Director, Marketing at Deltecs InfoTech
But please read this before hiring me
I will be upfront : don’t hire me if you expect immediate results, or a bump in your search engine rankings after a month. Ain’t gonna happen- all these things take time.
I generally don’t work with companies outside of the B2B technology niche, so I am not the copywriter for you if you manufacture components for drilling rigs.
We probably won’t click if you believe that gray hairs are the only criteria for a smart marketer.
And lastly, while I aim to work so that my clients get a healthy return on investment, I am not going to type out a whitepaper for $100.
Of course, if you are selling an unethical product I am not the guy for you.
But if you like to work with a marketer who is in a constant learning mode, knows more than a thing or two about his job, is not averse to trying out new things in this rapidly changing environment and believes that your success makes him successful…
Let’s talk, and let’s make you some money
PS: After I am done, and depending on the project you hired me for, your clients will
- read your website content and blogs.
- share your content on social media networks.
- see your videos.
- download your white papers or case studies, or.
- sign up for your newsletter.
PPS: When I am done with the project, you won’t have tire kickers wasting your time. You will have eager prospects who will be ready to hear your pitch and do business with you.
It will take time, but then again, everything that was good took time.