A Call to In-Action
With all the hype around content marketing and with the development of great new tools like marketing automation, many companies have lost track of some of the basics that drive revenue growth. Probably the one I see most in many content marketing campaigns is a lack of call to action, or such a weak call to action that it does a better job of causing in-action.
In many B2B demand generation campaigns, I see one of two major mistakes: 1) either the call to action jumps to the close while the prospect is still trying to determine if they even have a need or 2) no call to action whatsoever. Both of these cases can kill an otherwise good campaign. The component that each of these calls to action are missing is the part about understanding where the prospect is in their buying process.
Matching Your Offer to Your Customer’s Buying Process
The offer can be an incentive with personal benefit to the recipient or it can be related to solving a business problem. Whatever the incentive, the offer is critical in moving the prospect into action. In order to garner the greatest response, you need to map your offer to the stage your prospect would be at in their buying process. If a customer needs to see a demo of the product before he or she will buy, then offer a free demonstration. Conversely don’t offer a price discount to a person who is still does not really even know if they have a need for your solution. See table below for some examples on how to match your offer to the buying process stage.
Content is Still King
According to The Direct Marketing Association (DMA), hands down the most effective offer in B-to-B marketing is free information about how to do the job better, how to solve a business problem, how to save time and money, and so on, all of which drives the best results for lead generation.
Why does it work so well? Well, it addresses both motivators of the buyer: it can provide information that gives immediate assistance on the job, as well as how to accomplish business objectives. When a campaign is prepared properly, only business people who actually have that need are likely to respond, and hence help qualify your prospect for you. (Compare that attractiveness of an offer for “The Executives Guide to Building a Lead Generation Engine” vs. a free iPad)
An offer of information combines the three magic ingredients:
- Strong appeal with high perceived value
- An innate ability to qualify the prospect
- Relatively low cost and risk
An effective offer of information not only attracts, qualifies and nurtures prospects, it doesn’t break the bank. The best thing about this kind of offer in this electronic age is the cost: next to nothing. You have to pay to acquire the piece or have it written, but when converted to a PDF downloadable from your website, the incremental cost per piece is close to nil.
Depending on the industry or target audience you are trying to attract, you may need to combine a couple of the mentioned elements. For example, if you are targeting an IT executive or professional we have found having a two-part offer works best. One part reward (gift) for the recipient and the other part that helps them solve their business problem (free consultation/audit, demonstration, or estimate are examples), we call this soft and hard offers. Soft offers obtain higher metrics while hard offers achieve more qualified leads. Therefore, you could offer a giveaway in conjunction with a free assessment. That way you satisfy both sides of their split personality.
The Bottom Line
While content marketing is great and can greatly improve your demand generation campaigns, you still need to remember the basics: with each touch, always add a call to action that helps prospects take the next step in their buying process. However, be very careful to not jump steps, as that can lead to undesirable in-action.
Want to learn more about how to build a lead generation engine that is built around how B2B buyers buy? Check out this free guide.
The Executives' Guide to Building a Lead Generation Engine
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