Marketing automation platforms can boost leads, brand awareness, conversion rates, and more, and it’s an expense that most companies see as a valued necessity.
Content marketing, another marketing strategy that has been on the forefront of everyone’s minds since Content Marketing Institute’s B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Trends and Reports, is also a must for marketers today. However, don’t let your marketing automation get in the way of your content marketing, or vice versa. In fact, when pairing both content marketing with marketing automation, you can nurture accounts and pass more qualified leads to your sales development reps.
Companies that use marketing automation are three times more likely than companies without automation to track and attribute their content-marketing efforts to multiple touch points (36% to 11%), according to The Lenskold and Pedowitz Groups. Here are my three tips for maximizing your content marketing efforts using marketing automation.
1. Use buyer persona content to your advantage
As noted in most best practices for content marketing, each piece of content should be written for specific buyers with specific challenges, who are looking for tailored solutions. After publishing a handful of guides, eBooks, and case studies on your website… well, now what? Take a look at all the content you have for each buyer persona, and see how they map together. Think linearly: Should “Megan the Marketer” read your Ultimate Marketing Guide before reading a series of strategic email marketing templates, or after?
Once you can see the relationships between your content, start with each piece and ask yourself: If “Megan the Marketer” downloads this piece of content first, what secondary piece of content would be most helpful to her next? Then, as you map out a trajectory of your buyer persona’s path through your content, move to your marketing automation system. Set up an email to be sent to “Megan the Marketer” a certain amount of days after her initial download. In that email, summarize how the first piece of content relates to the secondary piece, and how it could personally help them given their specific responsibilities and challenges (here, use your buyer personas sheets to go more in-depth). Try to make these emails as specific as you can; focus on why your suggested content is helpful to them.
2. As marketing strategies progress, update your automation to reflect them
You published a stellar eBook last year, so you have a few programs geared towards your targeted audience suggesting them to download it; brilliant! However, within a year’s time, new strategies or updates have been published, and as a result content can become obsolete or outdated. Repurpose your content to illustrate these new strategies through follow-up guides or blog posts, and then send that additional content to your followers and prospects via marketing automation. This way, their interactions with your company are tailored to them and based on the principle that keeping your audience up to date with timely insights is a company priority.
For example, AG Salesworks has a great guide featuring prospecting strategies in our arsenal. However, that was published a few years ago now, and it was due for a facelift. Since then, we have updated the strategies and incorporated social selling. Now, after someone downloads the older version (which is still pulling in quite a few leads), they will be sent an email after a few days thanking them and offering them the updated version too, with an explanation of what’s new in the updated version. The old version may not be wrong by any means but you may have a more comprehensive report or guide that compliments the first piece. It’s nice when B2B companies continue to update their content in order to stay relevant and to keep their audience in the know.
3. Suggest content for your buyer persona’s teams
Buyer personas such as VP of Sales, Chief Marketing Officer, or other high-level positions usually head up a team or help a group of employees grow. Using your content, why not help your buyer personas help their teams and their overall performance? We’re currently in the fourth quarter, and sales execs are evaluating their team’s progress. If their reps aren’t on target for goal, they’re most likely trying to help their team with year-end strategies for closing those last few deals. Why not take a look at your specific buyers and ask: What content do we have that can help them with their team?
While working within your marketing automation program to generate emails and social engagements, offering your prospects further insightful information, don’t forget to use progressive-profiling or smart forms to garner additional information from your leads. With this additional information,you can gain deeper insight into your prospects and help further qualify them.
Dedicate an hour next week to analyze your content and find paths for conversions specific to your buyer personas. Your marketing automation efforts can help your content marketing efforts, and vice versa. In fact, B2B marketers cite the number one benefit of marketing automation as the ability to generate more and better leads, according to Pepper Global. What other strategies would you suggest?
Use Salesforce for tracking your marketing automation and content marketing efforts in the free RingLead and RingDNA ebook.