Content is king and eighty percent of companies will be fully engaging content marketing. 51 percent of marketers see it as having a significant impact on demand gen and their lead generation activities have increased with increased content marketing efforts and thought leadership content.
Content is king and eighty percent of companies by the end of 2015 will be fully engaging content marketing. You already see people engaged with blogging and social media and all of those sorts of things but really content is coming of age and understanding how to create good content is really important. Interestingly enough for those that are engaged in content marketing today, only 36 percent of them report that their content marketing is actually effective.
I want to share a process showing how to build the content that we will call “nurture pathways” and also explain why it appears to be missing in most marketing programs. Nurture pathways is leverage to move forward in your marketing, online marketing efforts both from a demand gen perspective and from a nurturing perspective because demand nurturing really does require good content. But not just content and let’s see why.
Once the Awareness Stage is Complete in the Nurture Pathway – What’s Next?
Content is what most people say is viewed as having the most significant impact on demand gen. 51 percent of marketers see it as really a significant impact on demand gen and their lead gen activities have increased with their content marketing efforts and their thought leadership content and things like that. While only 29 percent saw content as having a significant impact on sales results.
So there’s a disconnect somewhere. So if you look at demand gen effectiveness at the top at the funnel, marketers are focusing on creating and generating content, syndicating that content, getting it out to their target audience and it is generating more leads. It’s working but you’ve got to ask yourself once you have a lead, what do you do then?
Now over half of the marketers who engage in demand gen have no lead nurturing process to follow up with leads. So if we look at the top of the funnel you get them in at the top with your great educational content and your information and that sort of thing but leads have no one guiding their way through their buying journey. There’s no progression it’s just a bunch of content. There’s no purpose to that leads engagement with you. They consume your educational and helpful content and they could spin and consume that for a long time.
I hear this problem from most of you all the time where leads go nowhere in their buying process. So leads may continue to consume your content but without any guidance for any purpose to that engagement. They just spin and rotate at the top of the funnel and every now and then you get lucky with somebody who says, hey can I have a conversation with you or they take some action that they’ve decided you know that they’re ready to take and “fast track” to MQL to be picked up (hopefully) in a conversation by inside Sales.
Enter Nurture Pathways
First, we need to layer this into a nurturing sequence. Come up with one pain for every one benefit. You could come up with many different benefits that your customers enjoy. Maybe you come up with 5 to 7 benefits maybe it’s 3 to 5 benefits. the core benefits and around that there might be several different pain points and as you come up with these pathways you can take the beginning part you know what is it that starts that conversation that becomes the content for the sequence.
Let’s start by looking at your content generation. Over time you’re just doing batch and blast email. You follow up on a new lead, maybe put them in a telemarketing or Inside Sales queue to generate an appointment. And then a few weeks later, they get on your newsletter blast. So forty percent of marketers report poor database accuracy followed by lack of adequate technology as roadblocks to generate ineffective lead nurturing.
See you have to ask yourself, what is the kind of information that you’re asking of leads when you do capture their information? Are you asking for way too much and you’re getting a bunch a bad data? Are you asking for way too little? Are you know and no way to grow that over time what you know about them? We’ll cover more of this in a data hygiene series but a good part of this starts with the initial form and the initial intake, so think about how many (if that many) fields you need when you capture your first interactions with the prospect.
You know with marketing automation you can ask for what’s appropriate. When you walk in to a party and you shake someone’s hand and you tell them your name. Hi I’m Kim and then as you talk with them you reveal little bit more about yourself but you don’t just go in and say, hi I’m Kim. I live in Minneapolis and here’s my address and I have three kids and two dogs. You just don’t go through that process up front! It’s something that takes time and an appropriate nurture pathway.
In many cases when I talk to companies, they say well we need to get all this information and they want address and phone number and everything else right up front. First contact with a lead. First lead gen opportunity and so you end up wondering why you have bad data because people they’re not going to tell you the truth but they want your content. They’ll just lie.
The Friendly Start to Nurture Pathways
In the early stages of nurture you’ll set up messages to encourage them to engage with you from where they are. When you then capture those leads and you just blast them your newsletters, then what you’re doing is over time all you can do is you can send generic messages out to them. You can send high-level messages but you can’t really ever get deep and as leads go through the buying process. At the top of the funnel maybe they want more general information that really does identify some problems or some opportunities.
But as leads progress with you, they get more specific in the questions that they have in the kinds of things they want and so you’ve got to understand how that lead progresses and guide them along that path. You want to go beyond click level metrics and better use analytics within your marketing automation tools. You have the full ability to track everything a lead does when they engage with you including the full activity stream. You’ll be able to spot trends with that particular lead in terms of, how many page views, how many and what type of emails, click throughs, visited other pages beyond that click, and engaged with your social media posts or banner or remarketing display ads. This is what they actually did. And this is key to understanding how to build the best Nurture Pathways.
So that no matter where you are with deciding how you’re going to do lead nurturing, you don’t have to necessarily think it through up front but if you have a really good metrics that show you depth of engagement and interest you can start to design content that’s going to hit because you know what people are ultimately looking at what they’re interested in. You can see the trends of what typical avatars do on the site (this might require some business intelligence software to spot the trends if not included in your marketing automation stack).
Example of Building A Nurture Pathway for Success
This is an actual example of what I received from one vendor between June 14th through July 3rd when I responded to a “how to do better business blogging” report offer. All over a 20-day period that followed, I received messages such as “how to get the most email subscribers” and these are the headlines of the emails; the subject lines “How to get the most out of your business blog”, “The science of lead generation”, “Learn the science of analytics”, “Website maximization for maximum lead flow”, “Learning SEO from the experts”, “Mobile Marketing Done Right”, “Your guide to video marketing”, “Turn prospects into evangelists with social media”.
These emails came in drips and it didn’t matter if I was interested in getting the most out of my business blog (aha, some thinking to do there 🙂 ) and I clicked through. I didn’t get more information about business blogging, instead I received an email with the subject line “Learn the science of Analytics” next. In a 20-day period I was drinking from a fire hose of emails from this vendor. However, as a marketer, I know these emails are just a little off topic and not as targeted as they could be. The vendor was dispatching blast emails with high level content which is fine but there’s no clear “pathway” for me to further engage at this organization.
So I can consume any of these but I don’t I don’t get more on a particular subject I’m interested in. They don’t say, wow this person’s really interested in business blogging. Let’s take a look at our content repository and think of all the things or emails or assets that you should know about blogging, to have your blog be successful.
So you could really go into depth there in ways that are bite sized and spoon feed that and achieve an outcome and guide people. The content doesn’t guide leads and that’s our next road block. You’re not taking people into their buying process than they scatter in your funnel. There’s no clear nurture pathway – is it more clear now? Next up, we’ll begin to clear the path to further your nurture pathway to success – read about it here.
Originally posted 2015-11-01 01:57:21.