Email Is The Main Lead Nurturing Tool: Study

Email continues to play a major role in B2B content marketing, judging by B2B Content Marketing 2020, a study by the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs, sponsored by Sitecore.

For one thing, newsletters are the most effective vehicle for nurturing leads. Of the content marketers polled, 31% cite newsletters, 13% blog posts/short articles and 9% each for in-person events and case studies.

In addition, email response tops the list of performance metrics. Here are the ones measured in the last 12 months:

  • Email engagement (e.g., opens, clicks, downloads) — 90% 
  • Website traffic (e.g., page views, backlnks) — 88% 
  • Website engagement (e.g., time spent, bounce rate, form completions) — 86%
  • Social media analytics (e.g., shares, followers, views, likes) — 83%
  • Conversions (e.g., traffic to subscribers, leads to sales — 78) 
  • Email subscriber numbers (e.g., growth, unsubscribes) — 64%
  • Search rankings — 51%
  • Marketing qualified lead metrics (e.g., MQLs, SQLs) — 49%

Furthermore, 84% use paid distribution channels for content marketing. Those paid channels include:

  • Social media advertising/promotional posts — 72%
  • Sponsorships (e.g., booths, workshops, branding) — 66%
  • Search engine  marketing/pay-per-click — 61% 
  • Banner ads promoting content (e.g., eBook, webinar) — 46%
  • Partner emails promoting your content (e.g., eBook, webinar) — 32% 
  • Native advertising/sponsored content (not including social media platform — 31% 
  • Other — 14% 

Overall,  34% of the respondents expect to increase their 2020 content marketing budgets by 1% to 9%, and 12% by more than 9% YOY. 

Another 35% expect their budgets to remain the same and 4% expect them to decrease, while 15% are unsure.  

Despite email’s dominance in nurturing leads, the main vehicles for securing leads are in-person events (19%), webinars/online events (!6%) and eBooks/guides (13%). 

Building brand awareness is best done through blogs posts/short articles (33%), social media content, including tweets and stories (25%) and in-person events (8%).

And the most productive conversion tools are in-person events (25%), case studies (23%) and webinars/online events (11%). 

The report divides companies into three categories: the most and least successful and all respondents.

Of the most successful, 87% are likely to say their content marketing is sophisticated and mature versus 42% of all participants. Also, 69% of the top tier firms have a content marketing strategy, compared with 41% of everyone else. 

In addition, the leading brands are also most prone to: 

  • Have a centralized marketing group working throughout the organization — 44% 
  • Have KPIs to measure content initiatives — 83% 
  • Measure content marketing ROI — 67%
  • Rate ability to demonstrate as excellent/good — 84%

Effective content distribution requires that material be distributed when and where a person will see it — 71%agree, the study notes.

The research is based on input from 679 respondents.


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