While we experiment with new content marketing tools we shouldn’t forget those good old ones that always work and are a nice change of pace to our content flow. Here I selected those especially suitable for B2B marketing.
#1 Challenge your leads
This is a great tool for collecting leads, activating the existing ones, and reaching out to the clients. We all face challenges, why not to help your audience achieve these. Challenge them to collect 1,000 leads in a month, build up their social presence, set up a motivation strategy or make sure they have a safe IT environment (obviously something you can help them achieve). Sark eMedia has a blogging challenge for 30 days with a closed Facebook group and special offers for members, a very engaged audience.
You send a task to complete every day until the challenge runs, and your audience can improve step by step. In your emails, you can add the link to blog posts and videos you created earlier and it will give you a continuous traffic on your earlier content.
Apparently, most people will not be able to meet the challenge every day, so make sure you include catch-up days, motivate and reward them. But all in all the main point is that you can show your expertise, engage clients and it gives space to several touch points with them. You can contact those who are struggling, to offer your help.
#2 Carry out an ‘audit’
We all want to know where we stand in the industry and versus competitors. So why not to offer an audit to your audience, asking them to fill in a questionnaire so that you can show them where they are compared to the other companies you have on file. This requires some previous data you have from other companies which you can get via a survey and you should have full disclosure about the procedure (i.e it is not an in-depth audit.).
I used this when I recruited guesthouse owners to a booking database. These guys are faced with an unbelievable mass of insult from various companies to advertise with them. So even an awesome offer wouldn’t have been enough to catch their attention. But offering them to show where they stand in the industry opened the door.
I also found this tool dramatically efficient to find out the biggest pain my lead has and then tailor the offer accordingly. Makes it easier to push that red button.
Interviews always make a nice change of pace in your content flow as the dialogue form helps you get through messages easier, but in the B2B communication, it is especially effective. Interview the industry-leading companies what they think about certain issues you all face, how they solve these, what their plans are.
Alternatively, ask authorities about hot new or upcoming legislation in your industry. In your interview, you can help interpret these regulations so that it is clear for your audience. If you can be the first one with this, you can get a very high quotation and referral rate in the press. (Sometimes you even get the interviewee distribute the interview.)
Testimonials can also turn to great interviews if you ask your existing clients how they use and benefit from your service or product. If you can present a well-known client, even better, like in this interview by Campaignmonitor where they asked their client Virgin Experience Days to talk about their success, and then advertised this piece. (Sadly this interview lacks the real facts case studies require, I assume Virgin ED and Co didn’t agree to go into more details.)
It is good to have a network for interviews but you shouldn’t think it is so impossible to get through to the big players. It requires some investigation, following and commenting their activity – which you probably do anyway – and being bold to contact them with a well-written proposal. It is also an opportunity for them to expose their thoughts to an other audience, and many of them are passionate to talk about their profession. (I asked the then CEO of Booking.com for an interview on LinkedIn and the next day he said yes :-)).
It is crucial to have good questions, though, simply ask the real questions your audience is interested in, and be careful not to end up with a nicely polished PR piece for the partner.
Interviews give credibility to your message, you can refer back to them later as a reference, and you will be the source of essential information for your leads. Who wants more?
If there are success stories why couldn’t be failure stories? Because most companies are reluctant to reveal their failures. And exactly this is why it is a good idea to do it because you stand out. Showing what we screwed up earns the attention and also the admiration of the audience for being brave enough. At the same time, we can show how we stood up after the failure, what we learnt from it, and how we can help them come out of similar issues.
It is a great argument that we already spent the money on failures so that the client doesn’t have to. You can also present case studies of pitfalls of other clients – if they agree.
#5 Combine all the above
Feel free to combine the above tools. You can start a challenge and interview the members, present success and failures based on their challenge. You can offer an audit for them as a reward. Then prepare a study with infographics on the data you collected and distribute it.
If you send your leads a mail with an invitation to any of the above, it will attract their attention much more than a neutral ppt about your offer.