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This blog is written for business owners and marketers who want to learn how they can use inbound and content marketing, blogging, social media, SEO, email, video, and lead nurturing to deliver demonstrable ROI.
Can you hear that ghostly thumping? That's George Orwell turning in his grave. Indeed, the man whose Six Rules championed the values of clear, simple content above all else would be properly posthumously piqued by some of what passes for B2B content writing in this day and age.
In so many cases, simplicity and clarity have given way to jargon, euphemisms and mispunctuation. The hapless readers have become a secondary consideration. They struggle with impenetrable language and potentially catastrophic ambiguity. Let's face it, there's a big difference between “Let's eat, Grandma!” and “Let's eat Grandma!”.
(THIS IS THE VIDEO TRANSCRIPT) This is the fifth and final video in our series on inbound marketing. In the first video, we defined the term. In the second, we looked at how important it was to define your key persona and then map content to their interests, and profile.
In a third video, we looked at filling the top of the sales funnel, the tactics you use to get found by people who are looking for what you do. And then in the fourth video, we looked at how you nurture leads through the sales funnel using marketing automation and email.
(THIS IS THE VIDEO TRANSCRIPT) Jeremy Knight (JK): In the first video, we framed inbound marketing. In the second, we looked at the importance of defining your personas and mapping content to that personas interests and requirements. And in the third video, we looked at how you feed the top of the funnel, how you drive relevant traffic to your website, and the tactics you use to achieve that. And now, in this fourth video, we're going to look at how you draw people through the marketing and sales funnel, right?
Eric Swain (ES): Yeah. Lead nurturing is what we call it. I think the starting point for lead nurturing is back at video number two where we talked about buyer personas, and mapping content to the buyer process. And that's so important. That's essentially where we derive our stepped campaigns, as you might call them. We need to understand what our buyers need to know or would like to know at each stage. That's how we help them move through the funnel by developing these sorts of campaigns. So we can feed them relevant content at different stages as we move them down.
(THIS IS THE VIDEO TRANSCRIPT) Eric Swain (ES): We're back. Now, in our last video, we talked about creating buyer personas and about mapping our content to the buying process. And during that, we touched a little bit on the funnel.
Jeremy Knight (JK): Just a little bit.
ES: OK. Granted, yes. We flashed it up quite a bit. We didn't talk about it a lot. And we promised we would come back, and we would dwell on the funnel a little bit more. And so that's what we're going to do today. We're starting here so the next couple of videos will be on the funnel itself.
(THIS IS THE VIDEO TRANSCRIPT) So what is the most important part of setting up an inbound marketing program? If I told you need to start at the end, you might wonder what in the world I was talking about. But that's what you need to do. You need to start with the customer.
After all, if you don't understand their aspirations, their goals, their fears, and their challenges, how are you going to communicate effectively with them? And that's not all. You need to map content--content that's going to resonate with your persona at different stages of the buying cycle.
"To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often."
So said Sir Winston Churchill, master of the spoken word, purveyor of linguistic lyricism, whose rhetoric inspired a nation at its most vulnerable.
But how are the words uttered some 70 years ago by a British Prime Minister relevant to B2B content marketers in today's digital world?
We live in an age where technology is hurtling us forward at a dizzying pace. And yet, language, the way we express our thoughts and interact with that technology, is evolving far more gently - so that the words and liguistic form of yesterday can achieve just as much resonance with a contemporary audience.
Recently, we were invited to speak about inbound marketing at an event put on by the Inspired Group. Leading up to that event, there was a discussion on the Inspired Group's LinkedIn page about what inbound marketing means to everybody. What we learned from that discussion is there's a broad understanding of inbound marketing, and on the night of the event, that proved to hold true, where some people had a fairly accurate understanding of inbound marketing, and other people understood it to be spam, or very interruptive.
We’ve all seen it and we’re all moved to berate it: poor business writing, grammar and spelling. At best, it is a distraction, at worst, mistakes in your online content can cost you sales.
What doe the spelling ability and grammar knowledge demonstrated in your B2B blog say about your business? Oops, spot the deliberate mistake? It should read: what does the spelling ability and grammar knowledge demonstrated in your B2B blog say about your business? You know, you can’t trust your spell-checker when doing your online writing; for example, is it write, rite, or right that you need to write?
When it comes to the art of marketing persuasion, there are two fundamentally distinct approaches. The first is often called the “Bread Van” school. Big van, “BREAD” written on the side. Contents and required action utterly indisputable - the van is the verb.
The second approach is rather less binary. It majors on alternatives, not imperatives. It attempts to educate, to engage and to resonate with potential customers. This, of course, is Content Marketing - in our own words, “a sustained flow of valuable content that positions your company as the ‘go to guys’ in your field.” Or, to paraphrase Salman Rushdie, it is the type of communication that “increases the number of ways in which it is possible to think.” From thought comes action and interaction, and from there, an opportunity to nurture and convert prospective buyers.
So, if you’re anything like me you’ll have become very skilled at avoiding or ignoring the company that makes unsolicited calls to your workplace or home. Actually, I can’t think of a recent occasion where I felt that I was ready to spare 5-10 minutes of my time to listening to the singularly-focussed sales “patter” of an uninvited caller from a company, I am not familiar with.
Cold-calling is, of course, a sales and marketing technique that has been used for years, by many organisations, to reach and secure B2B customers. And previously, when done well by sales professionals, cold-calling was a successful way to generate B2B leads and win new business.
But, customers like me have significantly changed the way we make purchasing decisions these days: when we think about purchasing a new product or service, we research and compare potential providers, as to their reliability, authority, validity in the field; we source reviews from other customers; we converse with our social media communities, searching for the opinion and experience of our peers and colleagues; and we are in control of when we decided to interact with firms.
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