Got Content? Get It To Your Prospects With Email
Content marketing is the new black dress -- a versatile strategy that makes your company stand out in your industry. Companies today are producing more and more valuable content to enhance their presence online and attract new prospects into their sales funnel.
The key word in content marketing is “value.” Whatever type of content you are creating, be it blogs, slide shows, podcasts, webinars, white papers, or videos, the core concept is to provide valuable information to prospects and customers that increases their knowledge and bolsters your company’s reputation. Usually this type of content is produced internally by subject matter experts, who can offer a perspective pertinent to your industry. However, you can also buy a license to distribute industry reports that would normally cost your targets significant dollars to obtain.
Offering exclusive content is a great way to acquire qualified prospects. But how to get their attention? Email is a fantastic channel for targeting the right people, especially for B2B marketers. In an acquisition endeavor, you want to adhere to the highest possible standards. Offer your most exclusive and valuable content, using the best quality list broker, targeted to the most likely prospects.
To source a reputable list broker, check with the DMA, or ask your digital agency or ESP for assistance. It’s crucial to rent lists with solid CAN-SPAM compliance to avoid tarnishing your reputation.
An excellent list broker will be able to offer you pinpoint targeting. To reach key prospects, you can narrow the list in several ways, such as:
- Recipients by title or role, for example: CFO, COO, VP, Manager, Purchasing, IT, etc.
- Company name -- this is ideal if you have already identified your top prospects.
- Size and classification of business.
- Geographic area -- local, regional, national, global.
- People who have expressed interest in particular types of content about your industry.
Your email will go out under the cover of the list broker (in other words, it will be their “from” name on the email). Make sure your branding stands out and that the value of your content offer is clear. Be very specific about these elements in the subject line and pre-header as well as the body of the email.
Most likely, you not only want to achieve engagement with your content, but to acquire new subscribers for your own opt-in list. To this end, do not provide a direct link to the content in your email. Let readers click through to a simple landing page requiring their contact information in order to access the proffered content. The more valuable your content, the less likely this step is to be a stumbling block. Nonetheless, include a promise to provide exclusive, useful and valuable information in exchange for their contact details, and keep the sign-up requirements fairly minimal. Be sure to include an opt-in check box for your email program. After you have acquired the opt-in, you can follow up with a triggered welcome email and a link to your subscriber profile or preference center to find out more about them. You can also assign each contact to a sales rep for follow-up.
Your content is equally valuable for retention of existing customers and for moving the prospects who have already opted in to your email program further along the sales process. You can email to these lists directly. If you have short content to share, such as a blog post or infographic, you have the option of including the content in the email itself. However short or long your offering may be, you would still do better to offer just a taste of the content in the email, and direct readers to the full online source. From there, they can share the content through social media or by email to their colleagues, gaining you additional reach.
If you have an e-newsletter, content marketing is your editor’s best friend. In addition to product news, editorials, event calendars and the like, be sure to include snippets from (and links to) your blogs or website, as well as promotions for your white papers, case studies, webinars and other content.
Although content marketing is considered a B2B strategy primarily, it can also enrich B2C engagements. Leverage your email program to send out helpful tips, problem-solving ideas, how-to articles, slice-of-life success stories and customer testimonials. This approach will lift your email out of the morass of pure self-promotion and make your brand message more engaging and shareable.