Play 5. Optimisation:
Sweat the small stuff
An effective content marketing programme is the sum of multiple moving parts across strategy, content and marketing.
Your intelligence will tell you where to focus, but optimisation is where the hard work really lies.
But where to begin? There's always something to fix.
Focus on the elements that can have the greatest potential impact.
Point 1. Optimise your 'asks'
Forget your content for a moment and go back to your purpose - lead generation. Purposeful content leads prospects on a clearly defined journey to your offers. How you package and describe them can be critical to conversion.
- Soft offers: How do you ask for an opt-in for premium content?
- Hard offers: How do you ask for a sales conversation?
In the SaaS world it's easy to run some split tests on your hard offers; the length of your free trial, or the nuance of your descriptions - 'free demo' vs 'free tour with a product specialist' - for example.
But for more complex b2b propositions with a lengthier buying process it's a trickier task. Getting prospects to make the leap from consumer of content to sales lead requires greater thought.
Point 2. Optimise your 'thank you'
The thank you email you send to subscribers with the link to your content is your prime real estate. You will never get a higher open rate than this - your recipients are ready and waiting for you.
Use this precious moment wisely. Remember, if they've downloaded your content because they need a specific problem solving, they may be more interested in just getting the problem solved.
Explain who you are. Let them know you'll be sending them other content that you think they'll find useful.
Drop in a gentle conversation opener. Importantly, don't miss out on potential opportunities by failing to mention how you can help them.
Point 3. Optimise your 'nurture'
So much effort goes into traffic acquisition and content production that often, nurturing the resulting MQLs takes a back seat.
But as b2b marketers we know that conversion can be a lengthy process - so this continued conversation is as critical to your content programme as your acquisition strategy.
And that's the key. Conversation.
If you label this part of the process as marketing automation, you're treating it like a technical exercise. Call it conversational marketing and it becomes human.
Run some A/B tests with email nurture sequences following the same structure (if you need structure, we've got plenty).
Just try two things.
1. Test your company name vs a person's name in your 'from' field
2. Test two subject lines: 'A recent case study' vs 'A personal story'
See what happens.
The days of throwing up an ebook, spinning out a few blogs and crossing fingers are over.
Content marketing success lies in approaching optimisation as a continuous process across your entire programme.
Learning and fine tuning from the trail of clues your prospects leave behind as they discover, engage, consume and convert.
Could some fine tuning improve your content marketing performance?
Request your free 'Fine Tuning' Report*
- A custom report identifying eight quick wins within your current content marketing activity
- Eight small changes that could lead to a significant uplift in your lead generation performance