Tag Archives: engagement

What Makes Good Online Marketing Content?

What Makes Good Online Marketing Content?


What Makes Good Online Marketing Content?

I once worked with a broadcaster who hosted the morning drive show in Ottawa, Canada. We were having lunch one day and I asked him how he prepared for his show. He explained his secret show prep method to me and as I listened, my jaw slowly started to descend.

About twice a week he would board a random city bus in rush hour and ride along for an hour or two, listening to what people were talking about. Again randomly, he would choose a stop to get off at near some local breakfast diner and go in for a coffee. Once again, his objective was to be the “fly on the wall” and eavesdrop on what the talk of the day was.

According to him, about one trip a week provided more than enough show prep. Doing this allowed my colleague to discern what issues were relevant and resonating with people in his market. By being aware of what people were talking about, he was able to add his own voice to the discussion and feed the conversation further.

I was reminded of this when I read Mark Brownlow’s recent column at Email Marketing Reports. Mark skillfully tackles the why, what and how of quality content in email. Mark observes that all the technology tools we now have to reach out are wonderful, but are marketers giving people something worth talking about? It seems to me that if we were actually listening to what people want, we wouldn’t need to be reminded of the importance of relevancy so often.

What is quality content?

Here is how Mark defines it: “Consider quality content simply as any element in the message that provides standout value to the recipient (aside from the inherent ‘value’ of any offer).”

As Mark points out, good content is useful and/or entertaining and/or has emotional impact. I agree with him, but I think you could say that emotional impact is really the common factor here.

  • If your content is useful it provokes a positive emotional response.
  • If your content is entertaining it provokes a positive emotional response.

Mark states that the issue of emotional response is often overlooked and I agree. Perhaps it is overlooked because it is that underlying common denominator and not a separate factor. The question I’m asking here is: Can content in email or online marketing provoke any action without some kind of emotional response?

Add some positive emotion to my day. Make me laugh! Tell me a good story! Give me some information that excites me about what I can do with your product or service! Don’t just tell me what a product does. Tell me about what others are doing with it and make me so excited about trying that myself that I can’t wait to give it a go.

Business goals metrics and ROI

Measuring ROI on Content Marketing and Creation

Measuring ROI on content marketing is not straightforward; that is why most firms put measurement on the back burner. But measuring doesn’t have to be difficult and is an essential part of each content marketing strategy.

I asked a panel of B2B marketing experts “How can B2B marketers measure return on investment (leads generated, market awareness etc) for the money/effort spent on creating and marketing content? Share one example of ROI tool/strategy that has worked either for you or your client.”

Ardath Albee: “Depth of Engagement”

Ardath Albee is a B2B Marketing Strategist. Her company Marketing Interactions helps companies with complex sales and quantify marketing effectiveness by using interactive e-marketing strategies driven by compelling content. She empowers her clients to create customer-centric nurturing programs that leverage strategic story development to engage prospects until they are sales ready. Ardath’s book, eMarketing Strategies for the Complex Sale is now shipping!

Ardath’s ROI on Content Marketing Tip

Ardath Albee

Ardath Albee

B2B buying cycles are lengthening. This is due to expanded self-education via the vast amount of information online, more people involved in the buying process and the resulting increase in time it takes to gain consensus to get to complex purchase decisions.

This means that marketers must keep their prospects’ attention for longer periods of time as they traverse the steps of their internal buying process. And that requires a lot of relevant content mapped to each stage of that buying process.

Depth of engagement can be measured by activity levels – how much of your content prospects view and interact with across each buying stage. But the true measure of depth of engagement is in making the transition to conversations.  How willing are prospects to pick up the phone when an inside sales rep contacts them by phone to discuss their interests?

During a re-engagement nurturing program for an IT Services and Solutions firm, the client combined content touches with phone calls to validate prospect interest and qualify their level of sales readiness. The inside sales reps were also armed with follow-on content offers that related to the subject matter of the content the prospect had viewed.

Within a 3-month period of execution for the program, the combination enabled the company to reactivate dormant leads and add $4.5M to their pipeline. That’s a solid return on investment and tied directly to revenue performance related to content investment.

Maria Pergolino: “Simple Content Creates Quality Leads!”

Maria Pergolino is Director of Marketing at Marketo, leading their efforts in adoption of social media channels for brand awareness and demand generation. She has worked in marketing for over ten years, and specifically in online marketing including social media, search marketing, and lead generation and nurturing for the past six. Maria has a Marketing Degree and MBA from the School of Business at Rutgers University, is a Salesforce Certified Administrator, and a speaker at numerous marketing events. She has also written for many marketing blogs, and is a frequent contributor to Marketo’s popular blog, Modern B2B Marketing.

Maria’s ROI on Content Marketing Tip

Maria Pergolino

Maria Pergolino

One of the top challenges for any marketer is measuring marketing ROI. A study from Marketing Outlook states over half of CMOs say their top challenge is quantifying and measuring the value of marketing programs and their investments.  Statements like this show how measuring the impact of marketing on business metrics is vital to justify and earn marketing additional funding and resources for marketing campaigns.

To efficiently measure marketing ROI, it’s important to focus on the whole revenue cycle and how marketing contributes to boosting the bottom line. To truly measure this activity, a revenue performance management solution is essential to take into account every factor including time and how it impacts marketing’s ability to generate predictable revenue.

The first step to measuring marketing’s contribution to the business is by analyzing the common revenue analytics stages:

Common Revenue Analytics Stages

  • Inventory – This stage holds leads and accounts until they are ready to move to another stage in the cycle. This stage is an optimal holding area, as it doesn’t have a time limit.
  • Gate – Serving as a qualification check, the gate stage has no time dimension. If the lead meets a certain criteria such as revenue, the lead moves to the next stage. If the lead doesn’t meet the criteria, it moves to the disqualified stage.
  • SLA – This stage is active when a defined maximum time is reached in which leads become evaluated before moving forward or out of the process. This would work with leads that may become stale after a given amount of days and would require additional nurturing.

After defining the stages of the revenue cycle, marketers are in a position to measure the quality of marketing programs from any point in time. By gathering data on the number of leads that enter each stage in each time period, marketers are also able to determine which sources generate the leads that convert faster and easier down the funnel.

With these areas defined and addressing areas where time impacts marketing ROI, such as no payoffs for longer time frames or how past marketing campaigns affect current period results, marketers can create find and provide accurate marketing investment reports and projections. With total revenue performance management solution, marketing can easily measure and optimize the revenue cycle and accelerate predictable revenue generation.

marketing lessons

Ten Lessons Social Media Marketers Can Learn from Email Marketers

A while ago I posted an article on The eMail Guide, as the name says a site about email marketing and run by a few extremely nice people.

As I write a lot about social media marketing and email marketing I wrote a post called “Why email marketers understand social media best (even if they don’t know it)”. But there was some irony in it. Since I talked about “good” email marketers, hoping to convince email marketers to embrace social media.

At the same time, it is true that people who specialize in social media marketing can learn a lot from email marketers. In fact, all kinds of marketers could learn a lot from each other and from sales people as well. So I decided to put the post here because I feel that it can provide some insights about social media, email and integration. If you disagree, please say so.

A lot of email marketers are still hesitant about integrating social media. It’s often said that this is because email marketers have a broadcasting mentality and don’t know what ‘conversations’ and ‘customer relationships’ are.

I don’t agree with that. On the contrary: I believe that email marketers could be the best social media marketers. Do I hear some protest among social media marketers? Let me explain before you declare me nuts.

First of all, an email marketer is not a broadcaster. Because someone that broadcasts bulk messages is not an email marketer (maybe an extremely bad one).

That still doesn’t explain my bold statement that email marketers could be the best social media and inbound marketers, does it? Don’t worry, I’m coming to the point.

What are the typical characteristics of social media marketing?

  1. It is based on relationships
    Social media marketing is based upon the way you move from connections to relationships by being a valuable partner, offering relevant content (including promotions) and engaging and respecting people. Email marketing is about relationships as well. When someone signs up for a newsletter he says “I want your stuff in my inbox, here I am, add me to your list”. A good email marketer understands that. Just as he or she knows that you should respect your subscribers by taking their needs into account.
  2. It is about the value and content you provide
    In order to receive value, you have to provide it. Smart marketers know how important it is to offer good content and other valuable items to their subscribers. Content, value and relevance are key in email marketing. They are key in social media marketing as well.
  3. It’s the people, stupid
    Brands are people, customers are people, the whole social web is about people. Chatting, tweeting, liking, blogging, commenting, caring and sharing. Every good email marketer knows that there are real people behind the email addresses that sit in his databases and that they should be treated as such.
  4. It’s about sharing
    One of the most popular activities on social networks is sharing. Thoughts, posts, video’s, images, coupons, you name it. Social media marketing thrives on sharing, buzz, viral effects, etc. Email marketer have known that since ages. Who invented “send-to-a-friend”? Who understands that email has a strong viral potential if the message is relevant and share-worthy?
  5. It is based on listening
    Social media marketers know how important it is to listen to what people are saying about their brands, their competitors, market trends, etc. and to act upon it. That’s why they use all these social media management tools. But what’s new? All email marketing professionals listen to their recipients: they ask them what they want, run satisfaction surveys, they even ask people who unsubscribe why they do so and provide them an alternative, so they listen and act as well!
  6. It’s integrated and cross channel
    Social media marketing is part of an overall marketing strategy. It’s about having a cross channel and holistic view. Email marketers are experts in cross channel strategies. They know that email marketing has an important role in the overall marketing strategy, including providing customer service, improving customer loyalty, acquiring and nurturing leads, CRM and much more.
  7. It’s about content
    What do people share most on social media? Content. What do people tweet about often? Content. What’s the reason why a blog post get’s shared, tweeted, liked or socially bookmarked? Content. Social media marketing and inbound marketing are about being found and noticed by good content. This content becomes a story that leads to word-of-mouth. Good social media marketers also highlight the content and stories of other people. Email marketers know all about good and relevant content. They know that content is what makes your email opened and clicked. They even test their content and look at what converts best and thus is most appreciated!
  8. It’s about context and personalization
    Social media marketers understand the importance of context. They know how to track the digital footprints of people, segment, choose channels and act upon “digital signals” by providing personalized content via appropriate channels or engaging in contextual dialogues. Email marketers are the kings of personalization, offering choice, segmentation and swiftly acting upon the digital signals of their recipients.
  9. It’s about trust and respect
    Brands and businesses that use social media know that they have to be authentic, real, transparent, participative and respectful. They know they are joining a global and continuing stream of conversations, and that they have to gain the trust of people by listening, answering, providing value and having a personal approach in times where people increasingly control communication and lose trust in businesses. Email marketers know that as well, from long before social media even existed. They understand you have to listen and talk to your recipients and they most of all understand that an email relationship is based upon trust, reliability and permission, starting from the subscription form.
  10. It’s about engagement
    Social media marketing is not only about listening and talking. It’s about acting, engaging people, sharing passions, involving “crowds” and communities and inviting people to participate in what you, as a business, do. All good email marketers know that they need to engage recipients and emotionally appeal to them. They also know that people act, buy, forward and click for sentimental reasons, more than for anything else.

You see: when looking at just ten typical aspects of what social media marketing really is about, you notice that there is not much difference between email marketing and social media marketing.

So why not combine and integrate them to have a better reach, offer people more choice and provide them relevant content and value in function of their needs? Because, ultimately that’s what both email marketing and social media marketing are about: customer-centricity and of course just…marketing.

Good email marketers know this. As do social media marketers. Right?