B2B Marketing

How to Hit a Home Run With Your Content


It’s every content marketer’s worst nightmare…

You pour all your resources into creating a major piece of content, such as a white paper or webinar. You think the topic will resonate with your audience. The production quality is excellent. Your message is clear and concise.

B2B content marketing

But then you press, “publish” and nothing happens. No downloads…no registrations…no rush of customers calling your sales reps.

So, what happened?

You might have picked a topic that doesn’t interest your target audience. Many B2B marketers have a disconnect between the content they publish and what their customers want. If your content doesn’t hit the mark, buyers won’t respond.

Here are five steps you can take to pick the right topics and hit a home run with your content:

1.  Look for trends.

One way to bring more people to your content is by writing about trending topics. And no, you don’t need to blog about what the Kardashians are up to this week. Here are three tools – other than Google Analytics – that will help you find trending topics and keywords:

  • Hashtagify.me helps you find trending hashtags. Simply enter a hashtag, and the service will tell you how popular it is. It will also recommend related hashtags that can help you reach a wider audience.
  • BuzzSumo gives you insight into top-performing content. When you enter your key phrase, BuzzSumo will display the most-shared content containing those words. This helps you see if your key phrase will attract readers.
  • Google Trends shows you how searches for a key phrase have increased or decreased over time. You can narrow your results by country or time period. For example, you can see how searches for “cloud computing” have changed over the past year or 90 days.

2. Get to know your target audience.

If you haven’t updated your buyer personas since the first season of Breaking Bad, it’s time for a refresh. Updating your personas will give you insights into your audience’s top challenges and goals, so you can create content that speaks directly to their needs. Here are some questions to ask about your buyers:

  • What are their roles?
  • What industries do they work in?
  • What is their typical day like?
  • What are their top challenges?
  • What are their biggest goals?
  • How have their goals, needs and challenges changed from the last time you updated your buyer personas?
  • What stage(s) of the sales cycle do they influence?
  • Where do they get information about your products or services?

3. Speak to each stage of the sales cycle.

In Demand Gen Report’s 2014 B2B Buyer Behavior Survey, 61% of respondents said they selected vendors who delivered a mix of content that was appropriate for each stage of their buying process. Reviewing your buyer personas will help you see what topics will engage them during each stage of the sales cycle. Provide them with the information that they need when they move through the following stages:

  • Awareness
  • Investigation
  • Evaluation
  • Decision
  • Loyalty/advocacy

4. Learn some new tricks.

Many B2B marketers create the same type of content all the time. For example, they might publish only sales materials or educational content. However, varying your topics will keep your audience more engaged. Mix it up by creating the following types of content:

  • Fun
  • Educational
  • Persuasive

5. Answer customer questions.

Your customer’s questions are a treasure trove of potential content. When you find a question, save it in a spreadsheet. Then, you can decide if you want to answer it in a new piece of content. What questions are customers asking in your forums? What are they emailing your sales and customer success reps about? What are they asking you on social media?

content strategy

When you go through these steps, you’ll find a lot of great topic ideas. Which of these topics will your audience find the most compelling? Which topics will help you get the biggest bang from your content investment? Add these topics to your editorial calendar.

Want to learn more about how to fill your content calendar with topics that engage your target audience? Register for my session, “How to Plan Your B2B Content Calendar,” part of the Digital All Stars Virtual Summit on May 13th.


How Content Marketing Has Become Marketing Content


It’s no secret that content marketing has been all of the rage the last couple of years. Adoption rates, as reported by the Content Marketing Institute (CMI), bear this out, too. That might lead many to believe that last year’s top digital marketing focus might have been content marketing.

That’s great, but there’s a little problem with that. CMI reports that only 37 percent of marketers believe their content is effective.

How Content Marketing Has Become Marketing Content by Chad Pollitt for OMI

Since so many brands in a variety of industries are cranking out content, many of these verticals have moved from content deficits to surpluses in the last few years. There’s much more competition for online content consumers’ attention today than at any other time in history.

Early adopter brands are the ones mostly reaping the content marketing rewards. They earned their audiences when they were one of the only content producing brands in their industry.

Related Class: The Marketer's Secret to Content Marketing Success

In the time of content deficits, brands could mostly rely on organic social and search channels to deliver the audiences they sought. That dynamic has changed substantially in the last few years. Year over year growth in organic search queries is on the decline and Facebook’s organic visibility is quickly approaching zero.

Twitter announced last fall that it will be minimizing brands’ organic visibility, too. SEO isn’t what it used to be, either.

Today, it’s easier to earn a real audience that produces the signals Google and the other search engines use to determine relevance than it is to game their algorithms.

As a result, brands should focus on marketing their content using earned and paid channels, and not content marketing this year. Creating owned media, hitting the publish button, sharing it on social media and broadcasting to a small email list won’t cut it in 2015.

Marketers residing in the 63 percent that believe their content is ineffective are starting to figure this out. The ones that don’t will start to see company support for content marketing wane.

The Channels of Content Promotion


(Click to Enlarge)

It’s not a mystery why over the last several years a cornucopia of new and unique content promotion tools, networks and tactics have cropped up. The promise of search and social organically delivering game changing business results in a "build and they will come" strategy is a myth with today’s content surpluses.

That’s why a robust content promotion ecosystem that leverages both paid and earned media for a converged strategy exists.

Related Class: Creating Content that Converts for Lead Generation

Each earned and paid tactic represented in the channels above aren’t necessarily game changers by themselves. Leveraging a mix of tactics increases the likelihood of success.

For a more detailed and thorough explanation of the strategies, tactics and tools of content promotion download my latest ebook, The Content Promotion Manifesto for free, but only for a limited time.


How to Segment Your Mailing List for More Effective Email Marketing


Email marketing is one of the best tools in your digital marketing arsenal, and it should be used as a tool – carefully and with precise aim. Too many businesses still use email as a sort of spray-and-pray campaign, trusting in a big mailing list to bring in at least a few sales, even if the great majority of recipients trash the email immediately. After all, once you’ve put together an email campaign, it doesn’t cost you any more whether you send it to 20 or 2,000 people, right?

email marketing

Wrong. Unfocused content and untargeted marketing can irritate your subscribers, resulting in unsubscribes, abuse reports, negative brand image, and lost sales. And it dilutes the impact your email marketing could otherwise have – so when you do finally have a great bit of content or a huge offer, subscribers won’t bother reading. Your mailing list is chock full of qualified leads, and it deserves more than general batch and blast emails.

Divide and Conquer Your List

In a recent post, CEO Susan Baroncini-Moe discussed the importance of honing your digital marketing efforts to your target markets, no matter the medium. The good news is that email marketing is one of the easiest to segment and target, and at a low cost as well. As long as you’ve kept good records and know how to sort through them, you can segment your mailing list and target all your messages.

Related Class: How to Use Email for Demand Generation

Email marketing service provider MailChimp used results from 11,000 segmented campaigns, sent to over 9 million recipients, to research the benefits of segmenting your mailing list. Their results confirm what you’d generally expect – segmented campaigns had 19% higher open rates, and 22% higher click through rates, performing better across the board.

Experiment with Your Targets

If you’ve never segmented your mailing list before, start small and think carefully about divisions in your customer base. If, for example, your product sells well with grandparents and young parents, there are similarities there. But there are also differences that you can use to tailor your content and marketing pitch. Come up with a few strategies to test, and run a campaign based on these, keeping a careful eye on your analytics. Use data like CTRs, open rates, and sales to determine which approaches were successful and which performed poorly. Three ideas to get you started:

Time Triggered Emails

Run a list of every customer who purchased in the last month, 6 months, or year. They’re obviously interested in what you’re selling, or they wouldn’t be in this group – so hit them with helpful content to remind them what great services or products you offer, and, if you’re feeling generous, a discount voucher code to tempt them back to your sales funnel.

New Subscribers and Buyers

You wouldn’t want your sales team using the same pitch on first time perspective buyers that they use on loyal returning customers, would you? Hitting brand new subscribers to your mailing list with the same content you send everyone else isn’t the best way to nurture them into the fold.

Related Class: Email Campaign Fundamentals

Introduce yourself with thoughtful, quality content that really reflects your brand and voice, so that these new readers will get a sense of your business. Let them know how excited you are to have them on board, and ease them into the relevant sales messaging based on demographic data like age, gender, and location. These recipients haven’t seen your previous campaigns, so if you have older content or messaging that you’re particularly proud of, send it their way!

Subscribers Who Have Never Purchased

Ah, the possibilities! Recipients on your mailing list who have never actually completed a purchase represent a lot of opportunity. Whether they once downloaded your eBook or abandoned a shopping cart, these folks are interested but not yet eager. Do they really know what you have to offer, or how you can solve a problem they have? Are they aware of your free shipping and easy return policy? Let them know why customers choose you, and be specific. I’m a big believer in freebies and samples to coax in customers that could be loyal for life – read my blog on the subject here.

email marketing

There are a million ways to segment your list, and you should try as many as are relevant to your marketing strategy and customer base – zip code, gender, age, interests, purchase history, cart history, etc. Track the data and determine which lists were most effective, and incorporate them into a strategic long-term plan. As long as your content is tailored to each list, and germane to their needs, you’ll find more success than with general eBlasts. Who on Earth wants to receive something called a blast?

Want to learn more about strategic email marketing? Watch this class, Demand Generation: Email Marketing Messaging Best Practices, to find out about segmentation, strategic testing, and other best practices from Kim Albee, one of OMI's Top 20 Digital Marketing Strategists for 2015.


7 Steps to Effective Lead Nurturing: Reactivate Your Email Lists in 2015


Do you struggle with email marketing? You’re not alone. B2B marketers often underestimate the efforts needed to remain in front of their hot leads. Their typically long sales cycles make it all too easy to deviate from the strategic and systematic follow-ups needed to push leads into the customer realm.

email marketing

According to Forrester, 50% of nurtured leads eventually turn into customers. So before you give up on what could represent some significant revenue, here’s how to start unclogging your sales funnel, and make 2015 a banner revenue year.

1.  Change your mindset

Lead nurturing is about relationship building. After all, you’re engaging with people, not their business. So rather than stress out about making a sale, shift your objective to providing meaningful interactions and useful and relevant content to your audience. Redirecting your focus on education and entertainment then makes lead nurturing fun, rather than a chore.

Related Class: Email Marketing Tactics

2.  Search and clean up

Ask recipients who haven’t opened an email in 12 to 18 months if they’re still interested in receiving them. Dormant recipients who aren’t ready to buy can remain silent for months, while some who have become uninterested over time may not be as forward as those who unsubscribed, especially if they only check their dedicated subscription address sporadically. You won’t know how big your list really is or if you’re even talking to the right people unless you ask.

3.  Ask them what they want

This step is crucial if you haven’t sent an email or company update in a long time. Why guess and waste time creating content or developing tools your audience doesn’t need? Free tools like Survey Monkey can help you poll subscribers and ask what they’re curious about and struggle with in their business.  The insight you gather will be invaluable in planning your marketing programs, content and offers.

4.  Revisit your buyer personas

What new observations can you add to your existing personas? Are you launching a new product line or service that will attract a new market segment? Unless you know whom you’re talking to and what they care about, you’ll have trouble addressing their needs, interests and challenges and pushing those hot buttons that keep them up at night.

Related Class: Using Social Data to Improve Email Marketing

5.  Segment your list

Although this will in part depend on the email platform you’re using, segmenting your list can help you zero in on specific users and create highly targeted campaigns for specific groups. Depending on your business and objectives,  your leads’ preferred languages, geolocations, signup source, title, gender, survey results, previous campaign activity – to name a few – can be sliced and diced to get better open and click through rates. Narrowing your focus with highly relevant messages can help generate better results. However, use with caution to avoid sending irrelevant or pesky duplicate emails to some recipients.

6.  Create a short-term calendar

This is where most B2B marketers fail. They quickly become overwhelmed as they attempt to plan far in advance to keep up with yearly business objectives. But the fact is that despite your best intentions, unforeseen changes, whether internal or external, will inevitably affect the best laid plans. By aligning your interactions and marketing content with quarterly goals, you become hyper focused and can remove the stress of unrealistic long-term planning.

7.  Deploy and mix it up

With a clean, segmented email list, laser focused buyer personas and short-term goals, it’s time to reconnect with your leads and deliver educational and entertaining content in digestible bites:

  • Short demonstrative videos or webinars that demonstrate your competitive advantage
  • A downloadable case study featuring a happy customer’s experience
  • An eBook repurposed into a series of blog posts that focus on a specific concept, product or service that you offer.
  • Webinars co-hosted by your affiliates and partners
  • Numbered white papers that demonstrate opinions, present controversial views or challenge the status quo
  • Infographics that capture industry data in visually captivating formats.
B2B email marketing


If you’ve struggled with consistent lead nurturing, Q4 is the perfect time to revisit your program and transform a stagnant sales funnel into a revenue generator. As you refocus on educating and entertaining your audience, you’ll gradually break through the barriers, overcome objections and turn your hard-earned leads into loyal customers.

Want to learn more? Dive into email marketing in-depth with this class, B2B Email Marketing Best Practices. Using case studies and examples of real campaigns, the class teaches strategies and quick fixes that can boost your email efficacy.


Guesswork to Science: How to Fix B2B Lead Generation With Intent Signals


Wasted marketing budgets fueled by spray-and-pray marketing tactics. Low marketing-to-sales lead conversions. Poor alignment between sales and marketing teams.

Do these scenarios sound familiar to you? I’d bet yes, because what I’ve described is all too familiar. The B2B lead generation process in its current state is broken.

shake hands

I’ve worked in the big data analytics space for over fourteen years. During that time I’ve heard from a diverse range of enterprise companies about their lead generation pain points. The three I’ve outlined above are among the most common, but it’s certainly not an exhaustive list. Whether it’s marketing or sales, the core of the issue for B2B lead generation is guesswork.

Consider the number of tactics in enterprise sales and marketing that are born out of a gut feeling: sales representatives often rely on instinct to determine which leads to pursue. Marketing guesses which nurture content will be best suited for a certain type of prospect.

Related Class: How to Create Content for B2B Marketing

What resources have been wasted on targeting the wrong buyers, who don’t have an immediate need to buy certain products? How many deals have been lost to competitors? And most importantly—how much more money would companies make (and save) if they replaced guesswork with data-fueled predictive intelligence about their next buyers?

b2b lead generation

Say hello to the Predictive Age. Today we have access to a huge amount of data about our businesses and customers–90 percent of which was created only in the last two years, according to ScienceDaily (a fact that was quoted in Marc Benioff’s Dreamforce keynote this year). Most B2B companies are increasingly investing in solutions that can help them interpret that data to make better choices and inform strategies. And increasingly, business leaders are starting to understand that there are subtle (yet critical) differences between the types of data used in predictive sales and marketing models.

Let’s revisit the first three pain points. Here’s how 6Sense is providing relief to its customers:

 1.     Wasted budgets fueled by spray-and-pray marketing tactics

Bombarding the masses with un-targeted ads and emails benefits no one—neither the individuals on the receiving end nor the organizations sending them. For corporations, every ad viewed by a non-potential buyer is a wasted dollar (and an annoyed potential future buyer). Tapping into prospects’ intent activity data allows marketers to know exactly where their prospects are in their buyer’s journey and when they will have a need. 6Sense’s customers use this data to target the top of the funnel, for example, and deliver relevant ads to accounts that are truly in the awareness stage doing research.

2.     Low marketing-to-sales qualified lead conversions

According to IDG Enterprise, one of the biggest challenges facing B2B marketers is generating and handing over high-quality leads to sales teams. In fact, 79 percent of MQLs never actually convert into actual sales (MarketingSherpa). Our approach goes beyond current lead scoring solutions and taps into activity intent data that indicate which prospects are actively researching solutions in the near term. A Fortune 500 customer of ours increased MQL-to-SQL conversions by 450x by knowing which prospects were close to a sale (and why), and effectively nurturing and closing those leads.

 3.     Inadequate alignment between sales and marketing teams

Sales believes that marketing doesn’t hand over enough high-quality leads. And marketing doesn’t get feedback on the leads that were delivered. The fact is corporations need their marketing and sales teams to be aligned; revenues depend on it. 6Sense goes a long way to get marketing and sales on the same page. Both teams benefit from a clear picture of where prospects are in the buying cycle; all net-new accounts; and the reasoning behind an account or contact’s score (which informs the cadence and type of communication).

It’s time we stop the guesswork in B2B lead generation and hold marketers accountable for revenues. The way to achieve this? Let data drive our businesses forward.

Looking to learn more? Check out this class: Increase Lead Generation Quality, Conversion & Velocity. You’ll hear about capturing leads, and nurturing them through to a sale.


B2B Content Marketing Needs To Mature: Here’s How To Develop Yours


B2B marketers value content marketing – this tactic ranked third to in-person events and digital as the most popular line item in Forrester’s 2014 budget survey. On average, B2B marketers say they spend 12% of their budget on content marketing. (subscription required)

But popularity doesn’t necessarily correlate to effectiveness.

Upcoming Free Webinar: Four Ways To Improve Your Content Marketing Maturity

Earlier this year, Forrester teamed up with the Online Marketing Institute and the Business Marketing Association to determine whether content marketing practices are moving from traditional, product-focused to delivering customer value that builds lasting relationships. We found that B2B marketer confidence outpaces their actual capabilities.  Our survey of 113 B2B marketing professionals found:

  • Only 51% of respondents rate their content marketing practices as “very mature” when compared to peers. This number should be higher except 62% admit that much of their content gets produced primarily to support campaigns and 72% say less than half their staff plays an active role in content production.
  • As a result, most find creating content a challenge: 87% said they struggle to produce content that truly engages buyers.
  • Most have a hard time connecting content to results: only 14% gave their content practices high marks for delivering value back to the business.


The bottomline?  B2B content marketing maturity is low: just 4% of those surveyed scored sufficient points on our 27-criteria assessment to be considered “Content Masters”. The majority 52% lag behind. These Aspiring Editors are in the early stages of assembling a content strategy and executing against it. Their practices are often inconsistent or not fully embraced across the organization.

So, should it come as a surprise that 62% of business decision-makers agreed that the much of the content they see from suppliers is useless?  Unfortunately not.

Related Class: B2B Content Marketing Strategy

With this nascent state of content marketing practices revealed, the question marketing leaders need to ask is “what can we do to improve this?” Looking at what separates Content Masters from the rest, we found that top content marketers:

  • Distribute content responsibilities broadly among team members. Among firms where 25% of staff or more plays a primary role in content marketing, almost half rank in the upper two maturity levels.
  • Leverage technology to produce content effectively. In particular, they arm regional, field, or industry teams with tools to aid in the customization and multi-channel distribution of local content.
  • Consistently incorporate customer feedback into editorial processes. Top marketers produce content buyers want because they regularly solicit feedback on their ideas and messages.
  • Use editorial oversight and documented guidelines to help all producers stay on track. Their editorial boards include cross-functional representation and set content priorities based on what everyone sees as key market drivers and customer issues.
  • Measure how content drives ROI, sales processes, and business goals.  Content Masters are adept at applying action-based metrics to content marketing activity and determining the impact content has on business goals like pipeline growth, retention, and account expansion as well as reach and consideration.

If you’d like to hear more about the results of this benchmark study, please join Forrester VP and Principal Analyst, Laura Ramos, as she shares the results on the September 15th webinar,Four Ways To Improve Your Content Marketing Maturity, brought to you by the Online Marketing Institute.

For more on this study and other content marketing best practices, visit Laura’s blog at http://blogs.forrester.com/laura_ramos.



Predictive Intelligence: The Fuel for Successful B2B Marketing


Consider this scenario: A regional bank is evaluating providers to help it migrate its financial management applications to the cloud. The cross-functional decision-making team is spread across offices and communicates heavily over tools like Skype. In addition to the time team members spend evaluating the websites of you and your competitors, they also search, read blogs and publisher websites, tweet, share research, and meet to discuss in person.

Research from Google/Corporate Executive Board and SiriusDecisions suggests this buyer decision-making process is the new normal and that means your marketing team is challenged to not only have adequate visibility into these activities but to also effectively influence each prospect across as many channels as possible. Oh, and then there is the sales team hungry for new leads down the hall…

Today, a new category of predictive intelligence beyond lead scoring provides marketers with the data, insights, and recommendations they need to understand today’s disjointed buyer’s journey and drive measurably better sales results.

It’s Not Magic, It’s Math

Through a combination of data sources and modeling methods, predictive intelligence tells marketers which companies are in the market to buy, which products and services they need, and when they are likely to make a purchase. The accounts and contacts are then scored and that information is delivered directly into systems like marketing automation, CRM, CMS, and ad buying tools for companies to take immediate action.

What might seem too good to be true is built on machine learning and data science. Predictive intelligence ties together data from sources like marketing automation, CRM, past bookings, buyer profiles, and web activity across your site and thousands of others. The blend of static data (e.g., company size, revenues) and behavioral data (e.g., prospects downloading white papers) not only identifies which companies are in market to buy now but also uncovers accounts previously unknown who are looking for what you sell. One SiriusDecisions ABM Campaign Of the Year award winner says these early insights on what prospects do before they reach a salesperson gives their company an “unfair advantage.”

Applying Predictive Intelligence Data to Marketing and Sales Channels

Let’s revisit our bank: Through email campaigns over the last several years you have obtained several contact records inside your marketing automation database. From what you can tell its interest is limited to a case study registration a quarter ago. And what you don’t know is that the bank’s IT team is moving closer to a vendor recommendation for the application migration. Team members attended multiple webinars in the last month, spent days researching across the web, and held a lengthy conversation on a tech forum. Is your typical quarterly investment in email, lead gen, and advertising enough to identify and create a sales opportunity with this company? Predictive intelligence can help ensure it is by tying together all the activity into one predictive score.

web analytics truths

Let’s look at some of the ways marketers can use predictive intelligence data to improve nurturing and create opportunities with companies like our example bank.

  • Call center: Create call scripts tailored to your prospect using company and category intelligence and improve lead qualification rates.
  • Marketing automation: Route prospects to the right campaign and ensure communications are properly personalized based on company size, industry, job role, and level of interest in your products.
  • Advertising: Only advertise to key companies and adjust messaging and landing pages based on purchase intent and company attributes.
  • Retargeting: Stay visible to your prospects after they reach your website. Tailor messaging according to the intent they show at your website and across the rest of the B2B web.
  • Social media: Only target ads to prospects at key companies when they are on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.
  • List acquisition and lead generation: Educate and nurture prospects from key companies while building your database with net new contacts.
  • Website personalization: Make each visit as useful as possible by integrating audience data from predictive intelligence scoring into your content management system, personalization and testing tools.
  • Sales calls and conversion: Help reps prioritize the right prospects and arm them with the intelligence to secure meetings, RFPs, and close deals.

The use cases are many and the impetus is here: savvy buyers warrant savvy marketers. Before launching another half-baked campaign where your prospects run you, consider how predictive intelligence can help you gain insight into your audience so you can blow away your benchmarks.

Data sources, modeling techniques, systems integration, marketing tactics: What areas would you like to learn about most? Let us know, and we’ll follow-up in future posts.

To learn more about today's advances in predictive analytics can give marketers competitive insight on which contacts and accounts to target; what the right cadence of touch-points is; and which channels should be used for maximum message delivery impact, join the Online Marketing Institute and 6Sense on Monday, August 18th at 2:00pm ET for a free webinar, “How To Increase Your Digital Marketing ROI Using Predictive Analytics”.  



A Very Short Guide on How-To Get Your Content Seen on Facebook


Demystifying Facebook reach and the EdgeRank process.

Many fellow entrepreneurs, small local business owners, and marketers get a little befuddled by Facebook. This can be especially true for B2B folk, but not exclusively (as evidenced by my local yoga studio). Consequently, I thought it could be useful to get a very simple understanding of how it works so your time and efforts don’t get wasted.

True: Getting your message seen on Facebook is getting harder and harder.

False: How to get seen on Facebook is a total mystery.

As my good friend and the smartest Facebook marketer I know, Emeric Ernoult tells us in classes like Facebook Marketing Myths and Tips that there are many ways to improve Facebook relevancy, and yes, it’s hard, but not a mystery. The basics are as follows:

Facebook is looking for related activity to your page, brand, or personal profile to determine what to show in the news feed of folks that are your friends or followers. It’s that simple. Has this person recently had any interaction, activity, and most importantly engagement with you, your content on Facebook, or your page? This is essentially how Facebook can tell if you are interested in this person or page and will serve you content related to that interest.

In reverse order, Facebook gives strong signals to its content publishing in the news feed to the big three actions you can take: “Like,” “Comment,” and “Share.” It’s indirectly the user’s way to indicate how interesting that content or page is to her. So think of it as a sliding scale, or in romantic terms.

1)   Likes: The low end of the totem pole but a good indicator of relevancy and shared interest. Getting a “Like” will make it more likely (pun intended) you will be seen on this person’s page. Additionally, you will get more likes overall on a given post and that popularity will help you rise to the top of news feeds everywhere.

It’s easy to like something, so the barrier is low for this action and Facebook knows this. We also like a lot of things in life, so it’s an endorsement but not a strong one. Think of it as someone saying:

“I like Aaron.”  

2)   Comments: A big jump up from a “Like.” It’s a super good indicator to Facebook that you have a strong interest in this page’s or person’s content. You took the time to write and share your feelings and that is a big bump up on the Richter scale in importance. As you know being a Facebook user, you can get 30, 40, or 100 likes, but for every 20 likes you might get one or two comments. So this is a big deal. Romantic analogy:

“I really dig Aaron and the great stories he shares about his world travels.”

3)   Shares: The coup de grâce of never-seen Facebook posts. Get some folks to share your stuff and end the suffering of three measly likes and zero comments. More poignantly, when someone shares your post, she is basically promoting it to the world. Not only does that kick in the fantastic viral butterfly effect of getting the word out to many new audiences, but it tells Facebook that this person feels strongly about the value and relevance of this content. This is the ultimate, albeit hard to get and even harder to ask for, triumph. It’s analogous to:

“Aaron, wow! Love that guy. Not only is he a successful entrepreneur but the whole spirituality aspect is amazing. Can’t get enough of him!”

So, the very simple and short recommendations for increasing your Facebook reach include:

a)    Posting content to evoke an emotion so many folks will “Like” it.

b)   Creating a compelling question or statement on that post to get folks naturally “Commenting.”

c)    Making your content so awesome (aka Great Content Marketing Tactics) that folks can’t help but want to be associated with this content and have all their friends benefit from it. 

Facebook Like

Easy enough, right? The hard part is actually spending the time consistently doing it. Good luck. And remember to share this post! :)




Survey Results Revealed: Are B2B Marketers As Mature As They Think?


When it comes to B2B Content Marketing, the bad news is a skills gap is emerging as most senior marketers are far behind in the effort to produce content that engages buyers. The good news is, we can only go up from here.

In a recent content marketing benchmark study, the Online Marketing Institute, teamed up with Forrester Research and the Business Marketing Association to understand how well B2B marketers gauge their content development skills and maturity.

113 senior marketer survey respondents provided insight on the following five dimensions. How do they:

1.) Understand customers' interests and needs;

2) Align content themes to buyer concerns and business objectives;

3) Develop content that engages buyers;

4) Distribute it to intersect with their purchase journey; and

5) Monitor how they interact with it.

Surprisingly, the results venture far from the age-old theory that “Content is King” and rather show us that from a B2B perspective, the role of content marketing is far behind showing its value when it comes to consistently delivering information with prospects and customers.

Here are some of the key findings show that most B2B Marketers:

  • Do not have Content marketing in their job description. A startling 72% of surveyed marketers say less than half of their marketing staff plays a primary role in content marketing today — leaving content to simply talk of products and features, rather than interesting insights buyers seek. It's no surprise, then, that 87% say they struggle to produce content that truly engages their buyers.

  • Are too focused on acquisition and less about the whole customer lifecycle . Sixty-two percent admit to producing content on a campaign-by-campaign basis while 47% said that they focus primarily on creating content for distribution channels like their company website, online advertising, email, and social media. Another 16% said they mainly develop sales collateral.
  • Fail to help & teach the customer how to be successful with their product. While 71% of surveyed marketers say their content features case studies or customer stories, only 3% admit this is a primary focus of their efforts.
  • Struggle to create long-term loyalty. While more than three-quarters of respondents say they frequently communicate to their customer base, only 5% make this a priority, proving that marketers are too focused on acquisition rather than creating long-term loyalty.


See here for full press release.

The Skills Gap

It’s hard to ignore the deficiencies the report suggests. And as long as this talent gap exists, CMO’s and Marketing Leaders will need to take a long & hard look at the skills, staff, and resources directed at content marketing development.

“The gap between content marketing awareness and good content marketing execution is not surprising.  It's something we run into every day at the Institute - what we call the digital skills gap,” said Online Marketing Institute Founder & CEO, Aaron Kahlow. “There simply aren't enough trained content marketers to do the leg work.  But the imperative for education is here and seen across the board, from entry level to CMO.”

With only 4% of those we surveyed are true “masters” of content marketing, the rest of the content marketers out there have a lot of catching up to do. Some companies leading the charge – Computer Sciences Corp, Deltek, Kapost, Sungard Availability Services, and Verizon – have shared their best practices with us, all of which can be found in the full survey report and with plenty of real life examples to learn from.

So, B2B marketers, if you are reading this, you may be asking, “What can I do to improve & raise the maturity of my content marketing strategy?”

In the spirit of our digital marketing education mission, we encourage you to invest in the advancement of your career, overall success of your team and business as a whole by educating yourself on the latest fundamentals, strategy, and tactics in content marketing. To get started, we recommend checking out OMI's current Content Marketing Classes and Content Marketing Certification.

In a subsequent post, we will talk in more detail about how you can help to fix this skills gap problem and execute smarter.

And for those BMA and OMI members, as well as qualified marketers who are interested, you can access a complimentary copy of the research report on the BMA website here.



How To Use Predictive Intelligence to Target the Right Buyers and Close More Deals


With 60 to 90 percent of buyers making their purchase decisions before they hit an organization’s sales funnel, marketing and sales are turning to predictive intelligence to capture unknown prospects and target the right leads. As I have been working with enterprise companies on their lead generation pain points for over 14 years, there are several questions about predictive intelligence solutions that I’m regularly asked on the front-lines.

On July 9th, Matt Heinz, president of Heinz Marketing, and I will be leading a discussion on how you can use predictive intelligence to target the right buyers and close more deals. Here’s a sneak peek of what you can expect to learn as we address these questions during the webinar. 

How do you know you’re not just applying the tip of the predictive analytics iceberg?

Image source: Econsultancy  

Which types of data uncover the most business-growing insights?

In an interview with CMO Eric Siegel, founder of Predictive Analytics World and author of Predictive Analytics: The Power to Predict Who Will Click, Buy, Lie, or Die, he commented: “It’s the holy grail of marketing—to proactively pounce on every individual customer opportunity.” By leveraging the sheer amount and variety of data accessible today, marketers and sales can not only “pounce,” but can accurately “pounce” on data-backed leads—a significant change from traditional lead scoring, which uses only a fraction of the data of predictive intelligence. So, what types of data lead to the most accurate prediction of buyers? Heinz and I will discuss the differences between external vs. internal data; behavioral vs. attribute data; and known vs. anonymous data to help you make an informed decision.

What kind of results can you expect to see from predictive intelligence?

Early adopters of predictive intelligence, like Cisco, have already seen promising results from their initiatives. Beyond sales and marketing efficiency gains, predictive intelligence has the potential to improve your business across a number of KPIs—from conversions, to time-to-close, to revenues. I’ll be discussing what results you can and should expect from predictive intelligence, including:

-        Improvements in accurate sales forecasting

-        Growth of deal sizes

-        Closing more accounts

-        Personalization of marketing outreach

-        Maximization of budgets

What are the differences among predictive intelligence solutions?

It’s critical to evaluate predictive intelligence solutions by how they align to your specific business objectives. Different needs—for example, prioritizing existing leads vs. finding net-new leads—warrant different approaches. Here are a few guiding questions to help you gauge what sort of solution will work for your company. Prepare your answers to these questions ahead of the webinar to find out what solution fits your needs.

  1. Are you having trouble locating net-new leads? How important are they to achieving your sales pipeline this quarter or year?
  2. Are you satisfied with current lead scoring processes? What would you like to see improved?
  3. Are you struggling with low marketing-to-sales qualified lead conversions?
  4. How much return are you getting from your content marketing? Are you satisfied, for example, with your ad click-through rates?
If you work in demand generation, marketing, or sales and you’re not sure how to apply predictive intelligence to what you do, register for the webinar today to learn all about it. Have specific questions you want addressed during our webinar? Tweet them to us early at: @6SenseInc