How Engaging is Your Content Marketing? 5 KPIs to Measure Content Engagement

Do you know how many people genuinely enjoy your content? Sure, you might have a handful of comments and a few people emailing you to say they enjoyed your content. (Even if that’s followed with a guest post pitch.) But are you measuring that content engagement?

Engagement is a key goal for many marketers. It shows the reader is genuinely enjoying the content you’re sharing, and they’re giving their time to act on it—be that with a social share or a subscription to your email list.

The downside? Research has found that getting target customers to engage with a brand is the top challenge for B2B marketers.

You can make that easier by measuring content engagement with these five engagement metrics:

1. Social Shares

A social share means that someone has read your content and gone out of their way to share it with their own network, be that on Twitter, LinkedIn, or a niche forum.

Shelby Rogers of Solodev explains: “Having high levels of engagement shows that your content resonates with people. That means your messaging broke through the noise of infinite scrolling and posts, caught a user’s attention enough for them to like, and made an impact enough for them to comment on your content.”

Related Reading: Lake One’s Guide to LinkedIn Marketing

You can find how many people have shared your content using tools like Buzzsumo or Shared Count:

measure content engagement

Or, you can look for social shares on specific platforms by adding your URL into the search bar:

measure content engagement

(Research has found that written articles, videos, and images are the three most engaging types of content on social media. You might already be experiencing social shares if those three formats make the bulk of your content strategy.)

2. New Backlinks

The number of backlinks you’re collecting for your website is another important marketing metric to consider to measure content engagement, as Joe Robison of Green Flag Digital explains: “Backlinks drive both referral traffic and show Google your new content is trustworthy, contributing to your overall rankings.”

Find this using backlink profile tools like Ahrefs, Moz, or SEMrush:

measure content engagement

People only link to other URLs if the site is trustworthy. After all, the goal of SEO is to prove to Google that you’re trustworthy enough to rank well in their search results. 

Associating your site with another, high-value one proves that, but if other people are linking to you, they must think you’re authoritative enough to be associated with.

3. Organic Ranking Positions

You can’t get a good search presence if you don’t have a solid army of backlinks pointing to your content.

Once you start building those backlinks, you’ll need to move your attention to another metric to measure content engagement: Your organic ranking positions, which tell you the keywords each piece of content is ranking for (and in what position.)

It goes without saying that you want as many position #1 rankings as possible. But so long as you see the upward trend of more and more organic keywords you’re showing for, it can prove that your content is engaging enough for Google to rank it well. Click here for more on the Dos and Don’ts of B2B SEO.

This is also ideal if you’re using the topic and cluster model, as Stephen Jeske of MarketMuse explains: “Of course, a cluster of pages can’t rank, but you can look at the individual page rankings in the context of the cluster. That can reveal a lot about what is or is not working within that group.”

4. Brand Market Share

Stan Tan of Selby’s, “The end goal [of content marketing] is building a brand so you don’t have to rely on spending money on TV ads, Facebook ads or other forms of advertisements.”

Brand market share is a tactic you can use to measure this. It tells you the percentage of customers in your industry that purchase your products.

You can determine your brand market share with this formula: 

(Your total sales / The industry’s total sales) * 100

For example: If you make $100,000 per year in an industry that has collectively made $1 million in sales, your brand market share would be 10%.

Again, this metric is best-measured when you compare it over time. Pick a time frame to regularly check-in on how your content affects your brand market share—such as every quarter or once a year. How much market share did you grow by? 

5. Qualified Leads

There are two types of leads that marketing departments want to report on:

  • Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL): A person that fits the buyer persona and has similar qualities to their typical customer. 
  • Sales Qualified Lead (SQL): An MQL that’s been passed to sales reps, who’ve confirmed that they’re a potential customer. 

Related Reading: Best B2B Lead Gen Tools

You should keep an eye on these metrics—not by setting a figure amount to reach each month, but by monitoring how they change over time. This change can be another indication of content performance and engagement.

For example: Do you get more SQLs after publishing a long-form piece of content? Does the topic of your content influence how many SQLs you get that week? Which type of content has the best MQL to SQL conversion rate?

Summarizing, Casie Ost of Beacons Point adds: “You can bring new eyes to your website, but the only way to get ROI from your efforts is to turn them into paying customers. Therefore, if you focus on tracking metrics of your qualified leads, whether it be a MQL or SQL, those are the key metrics client’s will really want to see.”

New call-to-action

Final Thoughts

Content marketing is one of the most difficult marketing channels to track. And whilst everyone visiting your content might not hit the “purchase” button on their first visit, you can use these metrics to determine whether they’ll end up there.

But the benefits of engaging content go beyond that initial purchase. A report by Gallup found that B2B companies retain fully engaged customers more than others by 27%. (And we’ve all seen the statistics on how much cheaper it is to retain an existing customer than acquire a new one.)

Use these metrics to track and measure content engagement. Always use them as a benchmark when trying new tactics, and figure the perfect formula for a piece of content that encourages the reader to take action. 

How Marketers Can Prepare Sellers to Keep Pace with Modern Buyers

Today’s buyers are in a class all their own: They’re independent, they do their research, and they demand detailed answers to their questions. Modern buyers don’t want to be sold at, they want to be talked to. They’re looking for content that’s pertinent to their situation, and they want to work with trusted advisors who are ready and willing to lead their prospects through every step of the purchasing process. 

Before marketers can arm their sales team with content worthy of these informed buyers, marketing and sales teams require immediate and convenient access to assets, tools, and training––all within a single source of truth. 

If you’re seeking answers for how to centralize your content and ensure your reps have everything they need to win deals, follow these steps.  

modern buyers

Strive to simplify.

As early as 2016, marketers reported that 47% of buyers were likely to review three to five pieces of marketing content before even speaking to a sales rep (and we can only assume that number has risen in the last four years). Given the multitude of moving parts within marketing and sales departments, it’s now more vital than ever to simplify content production processes and align on providing a cohesive customer experience.

Tips on how to simplify: 

First, develop a plan to consolidate your content across all departments. Identify all content storage locations, and then consider: 

  • Where can these materials be accessed and by who? 
  • Does your team have the means to establish a single, reliable repository for content and training?
  • What tools are in place for notifying sellers and marketers if content is updated? 

Depending on how you answer that second question, it may be useful to implement sales enablement best practices. A sales enablement solution provides a centralized platform for uploading, organizing, managing, and sharing content, including training materials. An advanced solution will also include interdepartmental communication capabilities and analytics — for example, data on content engagement and performance.

Prioritize alignment. 

Buyers expect unique and highly customized buying experiences. And regardless of the challenges, sales reps will have to keep up. Given the heightened competition, well-laid sales plans should keep seller preparedness front and center. 

These trends signal a need for tight sales and marketing alignment. Working in lockstep will save companies time and effort by keeping teams in sync when it comes to content creation, usage, and performance. Once the teams are properly aligned, companies can then implement an integrated strategy for managing, stockpiling, and disseminating all sales-related materials. As a result, marketers and sellers will be able to breathe easy knowing that the sales team will always be prepared for every customer conversation. 

Tips on how to stay aligned: 

When determining whether or not your sales reps have the knowledge and tools to make their next pitch, ask yourself: 

content mapping

Once you’ve answered these questions, make a point to re-examine marketing and sales processes with an eye to fixing any gaps you may have identified.

Keep content current. 

Sales reps are well aware of the expectations that fuel their results-driven fire. They likewise know that they need access to all content and training solutions necessary to provide their buyers with real value. Plus, reps need to find and deliver materials specifically curated for each individual buyer, making the job that much harder. 

When a buyer requests a certain asset, be it a case study or contract, a seller needs a seamless, expedited process for creating, distributing, and monitoring that material. Moreover, all company content (educational or otherwise) should feature the most up-to-date, relevant, brand-compliant information available. 

Tips on keeping content up-to-date: 

The key here is to implement systems for complete content evaluation, including plans for tracking buyer and seller engagement as well as for assessing content performance overall. 

Begin by considering:

  • Is sales content current?  Do you have a way to ensure that the assets that sales reps use have the latest messaging and design? 
  • How does your content change over time? What edits are your reps making to your assets once they get out in the field? 
  • How well does your content perform with buyers? How can you measure this performance in a quantifiable way? 

Sales enablement solutions can handle content management and offer comparative views of different versions of specific assets, demonstrating how a piece of content is modified over time. These tools can give marketers a fuller understanding of how their content is performing and can likewise alert marketers as to whether or not the alterations made to an asset remain acceptable and on-brand. Content engagement capabilities provide insight into how buyers interact with your marketing materials with a variety of valuable KPI metrics, from website scroll depth, to click activity, pitch views, asset downloads, and more. This raw data can be used to glean insights, which can, in turn, inform the creation of new content campaigns.

In this new age of the educated buyer, marketers can gain a real advantage if they deploy the tools and techniques that make it easy to partner with their sales team in driving business growth together. Innovative technology, such as sales enablement solutions, make it possible to meet the demands of modern buyers.  By integrating a holistic system for organizing, sharing, and analyzing all content, marketers will be better able to focus on creating content that sets their sales team up for success. 

Thanks to Highspot for this guest post.

New call-to-action

6 Must-Track B2B Email Marketing KPIs

Whether you’re a seasoned marketing pro or an email novice, check out the list of our top B2B email marketing KPIs we like to track. But before we dive into the metrics, we need to touch on one major email marketing necessity, goals. 

B2B Email Marketing KPIs

Email Marketing Goals 

You should know by now that random acts of marketing (executing marketing tactics that aren’t part of an overarching strategy) are a major don’t in our book and that definitely applies to emails. You might be thinking, “It’s just an email.” And in a sense, you’re right. However, all email communication whether it be a newsletter or a simple follow up email post-download needs to be part of a greater digital marketing strategy.

Learn all about Lake One’s Digital Strategy here.

Okay, so how do you go from the big picture down to your email campaigns? You break it down email by email.

HubSpot recommends doing a quick gut check before you send your next email by asking yourself these questions. What is the goal of my email marketing? Is it to grow my subscriber database? Generate more leads? To convert more existing leads into customers?

B2B Email KPIs

Once you have your goal(s) determined, you’re ready to figure out which metrics you need to track. Read on for our top 6 fav B2B Email Marketing KPIs.

Need help goal setting? Download our SMART Goals template.

#1. Bounce Rate

What is bounce rate? Bounce rate is the percentage of emails that could not be successfully delivered to the email recipient’s inbox. 

Why we track bounce rate: Emails can bounce for several reasons and fall into two categories, “hard” and “soft”. Soft bounces are temporary problems with delivery like issues with an email client’s server. Hard bounces are permanent problems such as a nonexistent email address and will never be delivered. 

Okay, so an email can’t be delivered, how does that affect you? Our friends at HubSpot say contact list cleanup is a must and we agree. All hard bounces should be removed from your list immediately because internet service providers (ISPs) use bounce rates as one of the key factors to determine an email sender’s reputation. Too many bounces = Spammer when it comes to ISPs. 

#2. Open Rate

What is open rate? Open rate is the percentage of recipients that open a given email.

Why we track open rate: Recipients can’t convert if they aren’t opening your emails, so the open rate can be a great place to start for optimization. We have to disclose though, not everyone is a fan of tracking open rate because it can be an unreliable metric. An email only counts as opened if the recipient also receives all embedded images within that email. Image blocking is an option via email clients- it’s definitely a possibility your number is off. 

So all of the above aside, we still like to keep open rate on our radar, especially when optimizing subject lines and using it comparatively. 

B2B Email Marketing open rate

#3. Click-Through-Rate 

What is Click-through-rate? CTR is the percentage of email recipients who clicked on one or more links in an email. We often refer to the links as the Call-to-Action (CTA) of the email.

Why we track CTR: CTR is a great indicator of how your email is performing and if your content is resonating with your personas. Are recipients actually clicking on the links that you want them to click on? According to Campaign Monitor, the average click-through rate for most campaigns is slightly over 4%. Here are some tips on how to optimize your followup email CTAs for a higher CTR.

#4. Conversion Rate

What is conversion rate? Conversion rate is the percentage of email recipients who clicked on an email CTA and completed the desired action. Think completing a form, signing up for a free trial, making a purchase, etc.

Why we track conversion rate: Conversion rate is the money maker! Both figuratively and quite literally in some instances. The first step in email marketing is getting the user to click on your link in the email and the second is getting them to convert. This is a major metric in determining if you are meeting your goals.

Lead to MQL/Customer Conversion Rate

Depending on your email campaign goals you can really drill down when it comes to conversion rate. It can also spin off into other metrics such as Lead to Marketing Qualified conversion rate and Lead to Customer conversion rates. 

#5. ROI

What is B2B Email Marketing ROI? ROI is the overall return on investment for your B2B email marketing campaign. 

Why we track ROI: ROI is a KPI staple. Just like any other initiative within your company, you need to track ROI. Are you making money? Are your marketing efforts helping the bottom line? ROI analysis can point out areas of opportunity and areas that are burning cash. 

While we’re talking about KPIs, are you tracking your sales and marketing team alignment? Here’s some more info.

#6. Unsubscribe Rate

What is Unsubscribe Rate? Unsubscribe rate is the rate at which email recipients are unsubscribing from receiving email communication from your company. 

Why we track unsubscribe rate: Unsubscribes alone shouldn’t be the only indicator you review for email performance; however, if your unsubscribes are high, check it out! Perhaps your email is too aggressive, your customers have outgrown you, or your persona messaging is off.

Whatever the reason, high unsubscribe rates are like a big flashing light saying, “Change needed here.” 

Smart Goals Worksheet Template

Words to the Wise

It’s easy to get lost in the numbers and become hyper-focused on the KPIs of B2B email, but here are few things to keep in mind.

  1. Keep it in perspective. Don’t rest solely on percentages. Make sure to look at how many recipients are contributing to the data before you go optimization crazy.
  2. Optimize. And then Optimize again. Perhaps it goes without saying, but if you see a number you don’t like, optimize! Emails are perfect candidates for testing. 
  3. Give it time. You want to give your email campaign time to do its thing. Rapid-fire changes aren’t helpful because it muddies the waters of what’s actually contributing to the change. 

Content Optimization: How to Optimize Existing Content

Wouldn’t it be nice if your content was set it and forget it? Technically, I guess it could be, but you’d be remiss not to optimize old content. Why? Because everything changes- SEO rankings and trends, competitors coming in and out and all up in your space, your own products and strategies… 

So, here is a step-by-step process on how to optimize existing content. Don’t go about this all willy-nilly. I promise that if you put a little thought and strategy into a plan, your optimization process will go much smoother with better results.

Optimize existing content

Start with Strategy

Before you begin, think about how (or if) your marketing strategy has changed. Have your personas changed or do you know more about them since you first published? Have you honed in on a specific niche or decided that your niche was actually too small? If you know your objectives well, this step will be easy. You may need to do a little research into your strategy docs, but you won’t otherwise need to do anything concrete here.

Now you need to plan out what content you will be optimizing and how you will be optimizing it. What’s the goal of the content? Conversions? Traffic? Let’s look at CTAs, landing pages, and blogs specifically.

Turn your website into a lead machine. Get our free guide. 

Optimizing Existing CTAs

The goal of a CTA is a click. Therefore, look at your all-time click rates for all of your CTAs. According to Niel Patel, a good click-through rate of a CTA is about 3%. You can either optimize all of your CTAs below 3% or you can start with a chunk of the lower performing ones. How to proceed with your optimization plan will depend on the answers to the following questions:

Questions to Ask on CTA Performance:

  • Location:
    Where is the CTA located? Do I need to add it to more places? Is it getting exposure on those pages or is it buried in the noise of other content? Is it still relevant to those pages?
  • Design:
    How’s the creative? Is it similar to other CTAs? Are those CTAs performing?
  • Root Cause:
    Continuing off the previous bullet, do I think it’s the CTA design or is it what I’m offering that’s ineffective? Do I need to rephrase? Ie- Schedule Your Free Consult vs Contact Us & Start for free.
  • A/B Testing:
    Do I already have A/B testing setup? If so, consider replacing the lower performing of the two and leaving the other as is. If you don’t have A/B testing set up, decide whether you want to replace the CTA entirely or add an option B. (Hint: we think A/B testing is the bee’s knees!) Know that A/B testing will take longer to get meaningful results for smaller audiences.

Optimizing Existing Landing Page Content 

Traffic to your landing pages (LPs) will mostly be addressed in your CTA optimization with the exception of any LPs you have linked in your site’s navigation- like contact us. So, let’s focus on optimizing landing pages for conversion, as that is their main goal. Pull analytics on your landing page views, conversions, and conversion rates. According to WordSteam, the average landing page converts at around 2.35%, but your conversion targets should be 10% or higher. 

Optimizing your landing pages is going to focus on your content and the form + CTA. 

Questions to Ask When Optimizing Landing Page Content:

  • Copy:
    Are you clearly describing your offer? Try rephrasing and/or rewriting your headlines and bullet points. Don’t forget about keywords.
  • Relevance:
    Is your offer still relevant? Optimizing won’t fix the problem, but you might be able to get away with reframing the offer until you’re able to replace it.
  • Image:
    Do you have an image? Is it generic or does it depict what you’re offering? Check your alt tags while you’re at it.

Questions to Ask When Optimizing a Landing Page Form:

  • Form Length:
    Are you asking too much? The amount of requested information should be an equal ask to the value of your offer. A super valuable piece of content will have a higher tolerance for a longer form. Conversely, an overly long form will turn people away if your offer isn’t uber valuable.
  • Form Button:
    Does your button match the offer? Consider making buttons like ‘submit’ into something more specific.

Additionally, heat mapping can be a valuable tool for landing page optimization.  There are several free tools available on the market. With heat mapping, you can see how actual users are engaging with your landing pages. These can give you direct insights into what’s preventing conversion from occurring. Here are some more tips on building a landing page that converts.

Optimizing Existing Blog Content

For blog optimization, we’re going to look at a few different things in combination: internal links, keywords, traffic, and conversions. 

Blog Internal Link Optimization:

Pull out your handy-dandy content audit workbook for this section. The content audit is a document that lists the title, description, type, and URL for each piece of inbound content you have. Having this document will be an easy way to reference all of your blogs and offers in one place. If you don’t have one, pull up your blog listing page and CTA dashboard within your CRM. 

Read through your old blogs and add hyperlinks to your new content where relevant. Same with your CTAs.

Questions to Ask on Optimizing Blog Content:

  • Offers/CTAs:
    Do I have a new, more relevant offer to add to this blog? Before you replace an existing CTA, check if it’s working first. Is a smart CTA a good option where CTAs are working?
  • Blog Links:
    Do I have new, relevant blogs to hyperlink?
  • Bonus:
    Are my external links all working?

Blog Traffic and Conversion Optimization:

One of the main goals of blogging is to draw in organic traffic and the other is for your blogs to lead to engagement and conversion. Break out your analytics again to look at those stats. 

  1. Pull a list of the top converting blogs and plan to optimize for better traffic. 
  2. Take the top trafficked blogs and plan to optimize for conversion.

Questions to Ask When Optimizing Blog Traffic:

  • Quantity:
    How much traffic are my blogs getting? Where is it coming from? Has traffic increased over time? This is a sign that it’s starting to pick up steam with SEO. Give it a little push. Has traffic decreased over time? This might be a sign your content is outdated or that your persona’s keywords have shifted to other topics.
  • Keywords:
    How was this blog optimized for SEO initially? Could the keywords use a heavier hand? Sprinkle them in. But also consider if your keywords or phrases changed since this was published. If so, make the appropriate updates to match your new strategy. Here are some tips on finding keywords.

Questions to Ask When Optimizing Blog Conversions: 

  • Opportunities for Conversion:
    Where are your conversion opportunities placed within your blogs? Make sure you have one within the top ⅓ of the blog and then about every 300 words after.
  • Relevance:
    Are the CTAs in your blogs performing on other pages? Use this as an indication of relevance and placement. Switch CTAs out if indicated (reference your content audit workbook again!).

Monitor Your Content Optimization Strategy

After you’ve optimized your existing content, keep an eye on it. With any luck, your updates will pay off. However, it is possible they could have a reserve effect. If you set up A/B testing or smart CTAs anywhere, you’ll want to monitor those and potentially make additional optimizations based on your results.

inbound campaign checklist

Key Takeaways on Optimizing Existing Content

  • Make a plan before you start. Consider your keywords, persona, and goals for each content type.
  • Add new content into the old: find places in blogs to hyperlink to new content and replace old CTAs with more relevant offers if they exist.
  • Consider your keyword strategy and search rankings- add key terms into your content to generate more traffic. 

The 5-Step Blueprint to Building Conversion Paths

Conversion funnel by definition can mean a few different things depending on the source, but here at Lake One, when we talk about conversion funnel as it relates to an inbound marketing program, we’re talking about the call-to-action, landing page, thank you page, and follow-up email that supports our inbound efforts. 

Read on to learn more about the key components of a conversion funnel along with some insider tips for implementation.  

conversion funnel

Call-to-Actions

With content consumption at an all-time high among consumers, Call-to-Actions (CTAs) are uber important. 

In Marketing, a call-to-action (CTA) is an instruction to your target buyer designed to provoke an immediate response. Figuratively speaking, CTAs are a hand wave or an arrow saying, “Hey! Look over here. We have something you might like!” 

CTAs use action words to direct the user. For example, ‘download this white paper now’, ‘click here’ and ‘watch the video’. There are so many examples of CTAs, but a few elements stay consistent across the board.

  • Headline: Write a header that makes it clear and easy to see what it is you’re offering.
  • Sub Header: Explain the value to the user of what you’re offering, but keep it concise. Space is limited. 
  • Image: Include an image that relates to what you’re offering to catch the user’s eye and add additional context.
  • Action Words: Here’s where you actually say what action you want the user to take (download here) typically called out by a button or highlighted differently in some way.

Below is an example of a Lake One’s CTAs. Go ahead. Click on it 

LinkedIn Marketing Guide

Landing Page 

Although the majority of B2B businesses are using landing pages, not all landing pages are created equal. 

Landing pages are different than your other website pages for a few reasons and should contain at a minimum, the following elements.

No Page Navigation

Landing pages should be designed to be lean mean converting machines and the full navigation menu can distract users. We want them to submit the form and get down to business. 

Above the Fold

Keep the main gist of your offer (body copy, image, form, CTA, etc.) above the fold. If the CTA is below the fold and requires a scroll, conversion rates could suffer. You want to make it as easy as possible for the user to convert.

Landing Page Copy

The copy should have a header, a subheader, a few sentences that explain your offering in more detail, and then roughly 3 – 5 supporting bullets that talk about the user benefits of your offer and what the user can expect by submitting the form.

Image

Include an image on your landing page that depicts the offer. The image should be sized appropriately and placed in close proximity to the copy and the CTA making sure to add value and not distract the user from converting.

Here’s an example of the type of image we like to use. Click to see the full funnel in use.

conversion funnel

Form

Forms are an absolute must. They are the method you’ll use to capture the lead’s information in exchange for whatever your offering. Make sure that your ask matches the value of the offer. For example, if you have a form 10 questions deep for an infographic, you’ll likely scare away your user.

Insider Tip: My favorite form field is ‘Role’. Role is imperative because it essentially identifies the lead by persona. Role identification allows us to better tailor our workflows, and, not to mention, it gives us better insight into who is actually submitting our forms and engaging with our content. Oh and the bonus is, we’ve found that ‘Role’ is a light ask for the user as it doesn’t hold the same trepidation that company name or phone number can.

Needing help setting up your conversion funnels and forms might be a sign it’s time to hire a digital marketing agency. Learn about the other indicators here.

CTA 

All landing pages must have a CTA that’s clearly visible and intuitive to the user as to what they’re getting and what step to do next. 

Truthfully, the above just scratches the surface on the information available on landing pages and best practices. Here is an awesome infographic by Unbouncedescribing additional elements of a landing page if you want to learn more. 

Thank You Page

Some conversion funnel implementations don’t use a ‘Thank You Page’ (TYP), but we are big fans. In short, a TYP is just that- a page thanking the now lead for submitting their information via the form to obtain whatever it was you were offering. The TYP also hosts an actual link to the file, guide, case study, etc. 

If you’re peeking ahead and seeing that we deploy a follow-up email that also contains the asset link and thinking TYPs are pointless, they aren’t! TYPs have an important job and here are a few highlights on what they bring to your conversion funnel:

  • Trust: For some leads, submitting information via the form in hopes of obtaining an asset can feel a little uncomfortable. They are likely wondering if they’ll actually get the asset, will they start getting spammed and harassed, etc. TYPs are a chance to build trust with your lead by showing them you’ll give them what you promised and you’ll do it fast. 

Learn more about lead follow up strategies here.

  • Conversion: TYPs have prime real estate for additional CTAs. Make sure the CTAs are relevant and helpful in aiding in the next step of the buyer’s journey. Also, insider tip: Make sure the CTAs are not interfering with the user clicking on the asset to download it. It can go from helpful to intrusive quickly.
  • Brand & Site Exploration: Unlike landing pages, TYPs have a full navigation menu and can incorporate links to the company’s social media pages as well. It’s a chance for the lead to explore more on their own.
  • Tracking: Without getting too technical for the sake of this post, the TYP is a perfect place to fire your conversion pixel for tracking. Why? Because in order for the TYP to render, the form submission must be completed. You get the lead’s info, they get the asset. Bam. Conversion.

Follow-Up Email

Follow-up emails consist of a direct link to the piece of content (or whatever the CTA promised) and then an additional CTA to interact with your brand an additional way like a newsletter sign up or to check out your blog.

The emails are pretty simple, but we send them for a few reasons. 

  • User Experience: For example, if your offer is a download of a white paper, how convenient for the lead is it to have the white paper sent to their inbox vs needing to download it and save it right away? 
  • Conversion: It opens the door of communication with the lead via email and provides them with more ways to convert and interact with your brand right from their inbox. 
  • Lead Nurturing: Simple follow up emails can be a great segway into lead nurturing as the lead will have already received their first email from you. It seems more natural after sending the high-value first email to continue a cadence.

Key Takeaways

In summary, now that you know about the elements of a conversion funnel, here are a few reminders to take with you if you put the elements above into practice.

SEO. SEO. SEO.

All conversion funnel elements must be optimized for SEO. Think images, landing pages, meta descriptions, URLs, etc. All of it. 

Optimize. Rinse. Repeat.

Nothing in marketing is set it and forget it, including conversion funnels. Let the numbers be your optimization compass. They’ll point you to where you need to focus your attention first.

Marketing is for Humans.

When in doubt, always remember you’re content was created for humans and so were your conversion funnels. Where is your eye naturally drawn? Can you understand what you’re offering quickly and easily? A little humanity gut check can go a long way.

B2B Sales Enablement: What it is and the Role Marketing Plays in Making it Happen

We often discuss the age-old battle that can go down between sales and marketing. The tale of two disparate teams. Well in case you didn’t know, now it’s all about alignment. And… enablement.

Sales enablement according to HubSpot, is the technology, processes, and content that empowers sales teams to sell efficiently at a higher velocity. And brace yourself for this one: marketing plays, or should play, a key role in the sales enablement process for B2B companies.

Whether the above sentence has you ready to fall out of your chair or stand up and clap, read on. We’ll cover why sales enablement should matter to marketers and their role in B2B sales enablement execution.

B2B Sales Enablement

Why Sales Enablement Should Matter to Marketers

Today’s modern buyers are different from buyers of old. The sales process is heavily led by the buyers and dictated by the market. Who specializes in the buyer’s journey and converting leads to customers alongside sales? Marketing.

A Seismic article quoted Matt Heinz, President of Heinz Marketing, as saying the following on an episode of the Sales Enablement Shift podcast, “If you’re in B2B marketing today and you’re not thinking every day about sales, what the pipeline looks like, or how close the organization is to hitting the number, then you’re not nearly as integrated in strategy – let alone tactics or activities – as you should be.” Yaaaasss. 💯

We created a guide to make sales and marketing alignment easier. Click here to get it.

This quote really says it all. If the company isn’t making money, more than just the sales team will be in hot water. The above just drives home the fact that strategy, goals, alignment, and yes sales, should be driving teams company-wide.

Successful sales are everybody’s business, but marketing has the skill set to enable sales to be successful and propel growth.

Marketing’s Role in Sales Enablement

Sales enablement is really less about sales and more about serving the buyer through the buyer’s journey. It results in an empowered sales team that sells at a higher velocity which ultimately equals happier customers.

B2B Sales Enablement

With that being said, there are several ways marketing can move the needle and enable sales.

Lead Qualification

Reporting needs vary from company to company, but one constant is the need to qualify leads. Every B2B company has to have some type of lead qualification process. Marketing’s role falls under the Sales and Marketing SLA, but more specifically, the Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) process. [Read more about SLAs here.]

At a high level, MQLs are leads that are ready to be qualified by the sales team. Once the criteria are set and agreed upon, marketing can help with the implementation and qualification process. When marketing does some of the qualification and heavy lifting up front (digitally of course) it ensures sales are talking to leads that are ready to be talked to. It’s a win for everybody including the buyer.

Lead Scoring is a way to put your qualification process into action. Download our guide to learn more.

Content

A major component of sales enablement is arming the sales team with information they can use when selling. Don’t let your brain pigeonhole you into a sales deck. Information can range from internal best practices to customer-facing sales sheets. According to the TOPO blog, regardless of the form the information takes, it needs to be easy to consume and reusable across the sales organization.

Content Audit

Speaking of easy to use, have we mentioned content audits? Content audits at Lake One are a living breathing workbook that houses all of the client’s content (both internal and external facing). The workbook also notes what part of the buyer’s journey that piece of content serves, the location of the document, the persona, if it is a fit for a workflow, etc.

The best part of the document, though, is the collaboration tab where sales can add content ideas. Think repeat buyer questions, a need for a case study, and more. Marketing can pull directly from the tab to help fill the content calendar.

Email Templates & Automated Sequences

Marketing teams should be pros at nurture sequences (if they’re not, contact us) and pros at moving buyers through the buyer’s journey from a lead to an MQL.

That precise expertise applies to the email template and automated sequences of sales enablement.

How do those differ from marketing based workflows? The email templates and automated sequences can be used pre-marketing qualified lead state or even as a way to qualify MQLs to a sales qualified lead.

Despite the differences, the same basics of sending personalized tailored emails to the buyer still apply. Marketing can leverage their knowledge of lead engagement and automation to enable the sales team.

New call-to-action

Key Takeaways

  • A successful sales team should be everyone’s business
  • Sales enablement is really less about sales and more about serving the buyer through the buyer’s journey which leads to an empowered sales team selling at a higher velocity.
  • Marketing contributes to sales enablement in the following ways:
    • The definition and implementation of marketing qualified leads.
    • The creation of content that supports sales and in turn, the buyers.
    • The creation and implementation of email templates and sequences.

B2B Smarketing Check: How aligned are your sales and marketing teams?

“Growth is never by mere chance; it is the result of forces working together.”

— James Cash Penney, founder, JC Penney

Sales and marketing misalignment can lead to a domino effect of problems such as internal tension, inability to achieve goals, and even revenue loss. Yikes.

But in order to grow and move forward, it’s crucial to assess and understand where you’re at currently with your smarketing efforts. How aligned are your sales and marketing teams?

B2B Smarketing

Here are 8 must-ask questions to understanding your company’s B2B smarketing state of the state.

Interested in some mind-blowing sales and marketing alignment stats? Check out this post.

B2B Smarketing Question #1: Are Teams Speaking the Same Language?

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that one of the first areas for assessment is verbiage and definitions. Communication is key but can be extremely difficult if teams aren’t speaking the same language or starting from some place of commonality.

Questions to ask:

  • Do your teams have a common definition and understanding for the following terms?
    • Marketing Qualified Lead
    • Sales Qualified Lead
    • Disqualified Leads
    • Lead Status
    • Contact Lifecycle Stages
    • Deal Stages
    • Traffic Sources (direct, referral, search, etc..)

The above is by no means an exhaustive list of all of the sales and marketing alignment terms, but it’s a start. At a minimum, it should get you analyzing the common ground (or lack thereof) between the two teams when it comes to defining the sales and marketing process.

B2B Smarketing Question #2: Are Teams Targeting the Same Buyers?

We have stressed time and time again the importance of buyer personas. Buyer personas (in conjunction with research) should drive your strategy and be another common denominator among your sales and marketing teams and really, the company as a whole.

Questions to ask:

  • Are buyer personas defined?
  • Did both teams have influence in their creation?
  • Are the personas still relevant or do they need to be updated?

B2B Smarketing Question #3: Are Teams Working Towards the Same Goals?

Sales and marketing can be impactful independently, but joined together and working towards the same goal? Teams will achieve much more.

Nothing sets you on the fast-track to success like SMART goals.

Questions to ask:

  • Do the teams separately have SMART goals?
  • Are the goals well-known among the two teams and agreed upon?
  • Are the goals measured and tracked?

In need of a SMART goal refresh? Then this worksheet is for you.

B2B Smarketing Question #4: Are Teams Promoting the Same Products/Services?

Not all products and services are created equal. Through defining your buyer personas or crafting your smart goals, you likely surfaced key areas of focus whether it be new product offerings, key industries, revenue generation, etc.

For example, if demos have been unsuccessful but consults are effective, marketing likely shouldn’t be pushing demos as their bottom of the funnel offer in the nurture sequences.

Questions to ask:

  • Is sales aware of the products/services that marketing is promoting and vice versa?
  • Are both teams in agreement on the best direction?

B2B Smarketing Question #5: Are Teams Creating Content Together?

Although content creation doesn’t necessarily fall under the job descriptions of the sales team, sales should have an influence in content topic selection. Why? Because they are the front lines and literally the voice of the customer inside the company. Pairing sales’ insight with marketing’s keyword research skills is a great start to creating valuable content for your buyers.

Insider tip: We like to take it one step further and create what we call a content audit. It’s a living document that houses links to all of the content created and breaks it down by buyer persona and stage of the buyer’s journey. There’s also a tab for content requests that’s a direct line into marketing’s content topic queue. Here are some additional smarketing best practices to help.

Questions to ask:

  • What processes currently drive content topic selection?
  • Does sales approve?
  • Is there a way for sales to communicate content requests to marketing?
  • Does marketing have an audit document or something like it?

B2B Smarketing Question #6: What is Marketing’s Lead Handoff Procedure?

Marketing curates leads through inbound or paid media and then at some agreed upon point, the leads need to be passed to sales to be contacted and qualified. There are a few ways to accomplish the handoff. Our favorite is using marketing automation software (HubSpot) to do the heavy lifting. However, software aside, aligned smarketing teams should be able to answer the questions below.

Questions to ask:

  • At what point in the process does marketing handoff a lead to sales? What triggers it?
  • How is sales notified of the lead?
  • What is the follow-up expectation from sales? (i.e. how many days do they have before they make contact, how are they contacting the lead, etc.)

B2B Smarketing Question #7: How Does Sales Provide Feedback on Lead Quality?

In order for marketing to continue to deliver the sales team quality leads, there needs to be a feedback loop. Sales needs to communicate through lead status- the quality of the lead. This ties back all the way up to the first question about definitions.

Questions to ask:

  • How does sales communicate a rejected lead? (marketing automation software or otherwise?)
  • Does sales have a way to communicate why leads were rejected? (Poor timing, bad contact information, no budget, etc.)
  • What does marketing do with the rejected leads? Where are the leads at now?

B2B Smarketing Question #8: Do Teams Have Regular Meetings?

Actually meeting in person, having conversations, and building rapport are critical to sales and marketing alignment success. It’s so much easier to work as a team when you have a strong foundation to work from.

So how do you build rapport? Meetings. But let’s be clear, quality of meetings should be prioritized over quantity. Nothing disengages teams like pointless meetings.

Questions to ask:

  • Do teams have monthly and/or quarterly meetings?
  • Do teams have a way to easily communicate outside of meetings? (Like Slack or Skype)

The trick to these meetings are to make them engaging, yet structured. Here’s an article with some great tips for doing just that.

B2B Sales & Marketing Alignment

B2B Smarketing Key Takeaway: Communication is a Must

Do the questions above have your head spinning or wondering where to even start to begin to achieving sales and marketing harmony?

Start with communication. If there is one commonality that leads to the improvement of sales and marketing alignment, it’s communication. It fuels defining the terminology, the buyer personas, content creation, and the entire smarketing process. Whether facilitated through technology or happening in regular scheduled meetings, it’s critical.

Need a little help with your sales and marketing alignment? You’re in luck because that’s our specialty. Contact us here.  

Four 2019 Marketing Trends You Can Count On

If you’ve been paying attention, the most likely 2019 marketing trends will come as no surprise. With an over-arching theme to connect to consumers personally, we expect 2019 to be filled with content intended to engage and meet consumers where they are rather than getting in their face. Here are the four trends we’d like to call attention to for the upcoming year.

Continue reading “Four 2019 Marketing Trends You Can Count On”

3 Tools to Help Your Credit Union Clear Content Marketing Hurdles

Happy New Year, here’s to a stand out 2014.

One of my resolutions for the new year is to not get hung up on the same hurdles in 2014 that slowed me down in 2013. I hate hurdles. The only thing I like about them is that after I’ve cleared them, I learned something. It’s great to learn . . . ‘cuz Knowledge is power!

I’m still feeling a lot of the holiday spirit so I’m going to share with you some of the things I’ve learned over the past few years. 2014, in many ways could be called the year of content marketing, so these tips and tools will hopefully help you overcome some hurdles when it comes to content marketing.

hurdle-jumper

Seriously though, repeating the same thing over and over again expecting different results, as Einstein says, is just insane.

Three of the biggest challenges for content marketing come from planning/coordinating, monitoring/curating and ideation. For the first two, I’ll share two of my favorite tools I use and for the last one I’ll share a resource or two that I’ve found helpful. Consider this a late stocking stuffer from me to you!

Plan and coordinate with style and flair, and a little help from co-schedule.

I found co-schedule late in 2013 and fell in love instantly. I used them on my personal blog and we also use them here on the corporate, result150 blog. CoSchedule provides an easy to use, drag and drop calendar system for WordPress that lets you schedule content, and social messages that link and post based on the content you’re publishing. You can work cross-functionally across multiple locations easily which makes collaboration on multiple pieces of content  a breeze.

Monitor trends and stock pile ideas for later with Instapaper.

Okay, so some time in 2013 a search party had to come find me, they found me lost in a mound of Google Alerts. I found that using them to monitor topics I wanted to read wasn’t working. Enter Instapaper. What does work however during the day, is to peruse a lot of headlines and make quick assessments  on whether something fits my interest areas or an area for content. If it does, I use Instapaper to snag the article for reading later so that I can digest it and possibly expand on it, curate it or build off it and cite it in a future piece of content. Works great on all of my devices too. I’ll usually have a few articles to read every night before bed.

When your stuck stuck and need a prompt to get over a blank page.

I remember my first time experiencing the symptoms of blank-page-itis. The cold sweat. The trembling of the fingers. It’s scary. Overcoming writers block should be an Olympic event. Just like content marketing hurdle jumping.

Heidi Cohen has a great list of ways to generate ideas for your content marketing needs. I’ve also found that some of the generators can be just enough of a push to get the juices flowing. Some of the generators I’ve found have been through here and here (you have to have an open mind with that one).

Ready? Set? Run!

I hope these tools help you and I’d love to hear of any tools you use, I’m always looking to add to my toolbelt.

Look at you, you hurdle jumper you! Happy New Year!

What about you? What tools have you found that help make content marketing flow a little smoother?

bank and credit union marketing swot analysis