In his latest blog, “Getting meta,” Seth Godin shares his usual instant insight into the world of sales and marketing. This little gem describes the state of the Internet and how services that appear to be the information are really just tools to find the information.
His conclusion: “Right now, there’s way too much stuff and far too little information about that stuff. Sounds like an opportunity.”
That’s what I think about a lot of the B2B marketing content I see — “too much stuff and far too little information.”
It’s important that marketers make sure the content they are offering has real value to the prospect asking for it. To have value to the reader, content should include one or more of this type of useful information:
- A better understanding of the causes of a specific business problem.
- Some best practices for solving a specific business problem.
- What peers or experts are saying about the problem.
- Some kind of self-assessment of how the prospect’s company is handling a specific problem.
- Industry advances being made to make solving the problem easier.
Informational content should not sell the company’s product or service directly (there can be a sales story and secondary offer at the end of the content), but it should educate the reader and position the company offering it as a trusted resource.
So how does a marketer make sure the content they are offering has value? Here are four tips on how to do it:
- Provide content information that matches the specific needs of each pipeline lead.
Send a short survey to your pipeline asking them to identify their three biggest challenges. Then target the content you are offering them (white paper, checklist, guide, Webinar, self-assessment) to the issues they have identified.
- Create content that has how-to take-aways that can be implemented without buying your product or service.
For example, if your solution is collaboration software, include usable advice on how to improve collaboration without buying your product. That approach positions your company as a trusted “thought leader,” and shows that you truly care about helping them solve their problem — not just selling them software.
- Offer a mix of some content that is available without registration and some that is not.
By not requiring registration for content, your company instantly positions itself as a valuable resource. With no registration, B2B marketers can boost the number of downloads of their content to expose their brand to a larger audience of potentially qualified leads. However, a B2B marketer’s ultimate goal is generating qualified leads that can be nurtured and turned into sales. To do this, one must require registration for access to the more in-depth content or informational offers being made.
- Provide content that satisfies the focus of each decision-maker and influencer in prospect companies.
Need the approval of the CFO? Provide content that positions the financial benefits of the company’s product or service. Do the same for the CEO, user, department manager, HR manager or whatever titles have influence on — or decision-making power over — the purchase.
Content is not designed to directly sell products or services. It is designed to educate prospects on how their peers are handling similar challenges and subtly edge them along toward choosing the marketing company’s product or service.
Seth Godin got it right; we all have an opportunity. Let’s use it.