Much has been written about content marketing from the delivery side. As advertising is increasingly looked upon with skepticism if not simply tuned out, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to buy your prospects’ attention; it has to be earned. Substituting thought-leadership content for ad copy—telling rather than selling—should benefit both buyers and sellers, by increasing the knowledge of buyers and shortening sales cycles (though this latter effect may be masked by current economic conditions).
For those whose job it is to generate leads and sales through content and social media, here are five excellent new resources to help increase your knowledge.
Though Facebook is generally more effective for b2c marketers than on the b2b side (as even this report notes), there are nevertheless b2b companies standing out from the crowd by getting results through Facebook. How are they doing it? This report highlights five tips, 15 examples of winning b2b Facebook pages, and eight additional resources on using Facebook for business.
Among the tips: build an active wall by encouraging “likes,” posting useful content on a regular basis, and monitoring and responding to wall comments. Take advantage of the medium using pictures and other media. Companies cited as role models include web conferencing provider Dimdim, HR software provider Taleo and telecom firm Unified360.
Don’t create a business Facebook page without checking out this report. And if your business already has a presence on Facebook, but it isn’t delivering the results you’d hope for, this report will likely give you ideas on how to improve your presence and interactivity.
Social Media Marketing GPS (91 pages)
Insights from more than three dozen social media marketing experts including Ann Handley, Marc Meyer, B.L. Ochman, Yvonne DiVita, Beth Harte, Scott Monty, Peter Kim, Liz Strauss and David Meerman Scott on topics ranging from social media research, ethics and strategy to branding and metrics—all in 140-character snippets. Yes, as Shel Israel writes in the foreword, “It had to happen—an entire book, one tweet a time, and yet it is a real book that will help you understand what SM is about.
SMGPS will tell you the why & how using social media, 1 tweet at a time. You’ll learn essentials in digestible little spoonfuls.
The book will explain why old-school broadcast practices are waning and new conversational methods are on the rise.
This is the way it should be. These days, companies cannot waste money. They need to cut costs.
And SM is MUCH more efficient.
Writing a book in tweets is like writing a very long #Haiku series.
Reading it should be both interesting and useful.”
10 Key Online Marketing Trends for 2010 (3 pages)
As online marketing continues to rapidly evolve, web analytics provider Unica surveyed 155 marketing pros about their technology usage and plans to develop this concise report. While some of the findings are hardly earth-shaking (e.g., budgets continue to shift from offline to online, and “[companies] will expand their social media participation and continue to nurture a wide variety of social media tactics”), others are more interesting.
For example, the report predicts that by the end of 2010, more than 3/4 of companies will use targeting and personalization on their websites. Two-thirds of marketers “complained about IT’s support for marketing’s technology needs,” a major factor driving adoption of on-demand or SaaS applications. And adoption of mobile marketing is expected to more than double this year, despite recent findings from groups such as Forrester that less than 5% of U.S. online users have ever used location-based applications on a mobile device, and only about 1% do so regularly.
2010 Lead Generation Marketing ROI Study (32 pages)
This report explores the state of current b2b lead generation efforts and, more importantly, provides recommendations for marketers on how to improve both the productivity of lead generation programs and the measurement of ROI. Nearly half of all b2b marketers said they can’t predict the impact on lead production from a 10% increase in budget.
But among marketers who do have the information to make such predictions, 6 in 10 indicated they could deliver more than a 10% increase in leads. Lead tracking metrics tend to favor last-click attribution and lead quantity over quality (which will hardly come as a shock to most b2b marketers). Yet marketers recognize that high-engagement tactics (such as webinars) drive higher quality leads than do “promotional” tactics such as incentives and limited-time discounts.
The report recommends using richer metrics to measure not only the last click leading to a conversion, but also the effect of other activities (e.g., social media, PR, advertising) that support that activity. This requires use of exposure and interaction metrics in addition to direct lead conversion measures.
As the introduction here notes, “It’s one thing to pick up a workbook that provides you with best practices. But, it’s an entirely different challenge to implement those best practices into the real world…MarketingSherpa know(s) this better than anyone. Sherpa’s reporters spend much of their time scouring the business world for marketing case studies. And not just any case studies—but the ones that offer marketers practical solutions for their companies.”
This report presents seven hand-picked case studies from MarketingSherpa’s vast library showing how companies can improve ROI while increasing leads, generate effective content, improve search engine rankings, nurture leads through the funnel and more.
Disclosure: As a RevResponse affiliate, I receive an obscenely modest spiff for each download of the Social Media Marketing GPS report. The others I just think are helpful and interesting.