A whole lot happened this past year at the full service marketing barn and, as we look back, three tactics stand out as being the most effective: marketing automation, infographics and video.
Marketing can be a tough nut to crack, so I’m excited to share the benefit of our experience below so that you too can be a marketing superhero who increases sales.
Marketing Automation Drives Prospects Down the Sales Funnel
Automated marketing campaigns can help you get the right piece of content to the right reader at the right time. Whether you want to increase website traffic, increase sales or encourage your current clients to be repeat buyers or enthusiastic promoters – marketing automation can help.
To attract new leads...
- Set up a targeted Google Adwords campaign based on your target audience and good SEO keyword research. (Research is a critical foundation to understanding your audience and what they would likely be searching for online.)
- Work with subject matter experts to create useful and appealing thought-leadership content for your audience – such as ebooks, infographics, or product demonstrations.
- Create unique web landing pages where visitors can learn about each piece of content and choose to download it in exchange for basic contact information.
Where it gets particularly interesting is that by leveraging marketing automation, the action of filling out a short form (usually three fields or less) triggers automatic follow-ups. Beginning with a thank you email, each subsequent communication offers links to additional content targeted directly at the interests the prospect initially revealed to you.
Sample Marketing Automation Campaign
Download the free PDF for an example of a simple marketing automation campaign. In this case, brand new leads from a paid ad are emailed relevant content and, depending on their actions, are funneled towards scheduling a product demo.See Campaign Example
Each time the prospect visits, views or downloads more content that they find useful, the further down the buyer’s journey they go and the closer you get to a sale.
Consider this: according to Hubspot, 47% of B2B buyers consume between 3-5 pieces of content before engaging with a salesperson. An ongoing conversation like this is essential in today’s marketing, because most prospects won’t make a purchase until you’ve taken the time to thoroughly convince them of your brand’s value and its place in their personal success.
To avoid annoying prospects, design your emails with care and always offer something useful. Include shorter forms on your landing pages that don’t scare them away. Adding progressive profiling allows you to gradually uncover additional information about the prospect each time they fill out a form, because the automated form knows to pre-fill prospects’ names and instead ask one to three new questions with each subsequent visit.
For one of our clients this past year, marketing automation helped inject over 600K into their sales pipeline within six-months. All of this potential new business started out as cold leads that opted in from the original Google Adwords campaign and received successive emails promoting relevant content.
We usually manage these campaigns with automation tools like Pardot, Marketo or Eloqua, and feed prospect data into a CRM tool like Salesforce. Don’t have those tools in the budget for 2018? That’s not a deal breaker. We can also build out and manage content marketing campaigns manually, though not as efficiently or as precisely as we can when using proper automation tools.
Infographics Tell a Story in a Highly Sharable Format
Infographics – illustrations that tell an often-complex business concept in a fun and relatable way – were consistently among our best-performing content in 2017 campaigns.
This may sound counterintuitive, especially in light of the fact that some of these infographics were produced for rather serious B2B companies. But the fact is, everyone loves a good story, and no one wants to think harder than they have to. Infographics are simple, visual and a quick read, making them ideal fodder for your email and social media campaigns.
One trick we’ve been using to come up with content for infographics is repurposing clients’ existing whitepapers and data sheets, transforming them from time-consuming reads to bite-sized visual treats. Someone at the top of the sales funnel might not be ready to commit their time towards reading an entire whitepaper, but if they first read an infographic on the same topic they may be inclined to take the next step to learn more (especially if they receive an automated email a week later promoting that whitepaper).
It’s Video’s Time to Shine
Since everyone loves a good story, and I’m guessing you’d love it if your prospects loved your brand’s story, 2018 is the time to give video a try. Like infographics, videos are a great way to communicate your brand’s story to prospects without making them work too hard.
Video has become such a core part of how we consume digital content, that’s it’s almost becoming an expectation. In fact, according to SocialMediaExaminer’s Social Media Marketing Industry Report, 60% of marketers were using video content in their marketing back in 2016. In 2018, we expect that number to increase significantly.
Whether a fun animated pitch, a heartfelt corporate video or a product demo, video gets noticed and often shared. For ideas, check out some of our recent videos...
We animated an illustrated everyman to bring some fun to this explainer-style video for Brother.
A mix of custom footage, footage shot locally around the world and stock clips were used to create this award-winning video.
These three marketing tactics – automation, infographics and video – are where it’s at in 2018. Brands that don’t utilize them will be left behind, but smart marketers who use them to their advantage are sure to become marketing superheroes. Every superhero needs their Alfred the butler (nerdy Batman reference) supporting them, so send us an email if you’d like to hear how we can put these techniques to work for you.