Marketers often espouse the need to fish where the fish are. The axiom is good and fine. When it comes to content marketing, however, it’s important to keep in mind that not only do marketers need to fish where the fish are; they also need to use the right kind of bait.
Allocating marketing resources and dollars toward channels and properties with a high concentration of target prospects is insufficient. B2B companies sometimes think that running a marketing campaign that directly targets the membership base of an industry trade association, for example, or a relevant LinkedIn Group is akin to shooting fish in a barrel. Of course, that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Remember: Nobody wants to be shot at. That explains the rapidly declining effectiveness of cold calls and email blasts, which nowadays tend to do more harm than good, especially within the realm of B2B. Today’s decision makers want to conduct their own online research, which means searching for relevant content, and they want to agree to being contacted by vendors.
Generally speaking, decision makers will provide their names and contact information, and even tell about their purchase intentions, to download content they deem valuable. Consider: Last month, we conducted an online survey with readers of our Smart Decision Guides, which are gated. 92% rated the content as either “valuable” or “extremely valuable.” 74% even said they shared it with a colleague in their organization. And 72% said that the follow-up calls they received from one or more vendors were “helpful” or “extremely helpful.”
The right kind of “bait” (yes, the metaphor is flawed) may be an eBook, a research report, a white paper or another type of content asset. The important point is that B2B companies need to refrain from marketing to everyone under the sun that happens to meet their target prospect criteria. Instead, they need to utilize high-value content, along with inbound marketing tactics, to make sure they “get found” by those decision makers who may actually be interested in becoming new customers.