Your buyers are being bombarded by content. Every day, they receive an influx of emails promoting new white papers and E-books, and their peers and influencers are recommending podcasts, webinars, infographics and other assets. As a result, the likelihood of your content turning into white noise is greater than ever.
To truly stand out, your brand needs to take a closer look at buyers’ content preferences and consumption habits, and refine its strategies accordingly. Here are some of the findings from our 2016 Content Preferences Survey to give you a clearer understanding of what your buyers want:
- 88% of buyers prefer shorter formats
- 84% of buyers want more interactive and visual content
- 82% prefer mobile-optimized content that they can access on their smartphone or tablet
- 73% prefer audio/video content that they can access on-demand
Tapping into all of these insights to refine your content strategy may seem like a tall order — especially because your team is most likely dealing with a multitude of deadlines and managing a laundry list of tasks and obligations.
However, I can guarantee that if you take the time to think creatively and discover new ways to create and promote your content, it will pay dividends in the long run. Here are five ways you can get started:
Experiment with new content formats.
Because buyers are gravitating to more snackable and interactive content formats, now’s the time for you to test them out and see how your audience responds. Of course, you need to start by understanding your target audience and their unique content preferences. If interactive content aligns with your target buyers’ wants and needs, start small by experimenting with one or two projects, such as an interactive infographic or motion graphic video. Track total shares, downloads and other key metrics, and then make adjustments and scale.
Content4Demand wanted to see how interactive played into our overall content strategy, so we tested it out by creating an interactive infographic. Rather than dedicating too much time to researching stats, we used our 2015 Content Preferences Survey as the baseline for the piece.
Add interactive elements to existing assets.
Buyers still find value in traditional content formats, such as case studies (72%), white papers (62%) and E-books (52%). At the same time, they’re using assets like infographics (66%), videos and motion graphics (47%), ROI calculators (27%) and assessments (25%) to make purchase decisions.
You can embrace the best of both worlds by adding interactive elements and supplementary content assets to more traditional pieces. Social sharing functionality, such as click-to-tweet callouts, for example, are a powerful way to keep your buyers engaged and boost word of mouth. You can also embed relevant videos and audio podcasts into E-books or case studies to tell a more detailed story.
Need some inspiration? Content4Demand created an interactive E-book using Uberflip to embed relevant content assets focused on repurposing and modularization. You can download the full piece here, but here’s a sneak peek:
Use fun themes to make your webinars more compelling and relatable.
Despite the constant evolution of the B2B buyer, webinars remain a mainstay in their content consumption mix. In fact, 78% of B2B buyers say they’ve turned to these digital presentations to make a buying decision over the past 12 months, as noted by our Content Preferences Survey. So don’t think you need to forgo traditional content for more interactive and cutting-edge formats. Instead, consider how you can revamp or revitalize webinars to keep your buyers engaged.
For a recent webinar, we took the buyer’s journey quite literally and aligned our storyline with National Lampoon’s “Vacation.” We added snapshots and quotes from the film to put a fun spin on highly tactical and educational content.
Rethink the role of landing pages.
Our Chief Innovation Officer Andrew Gaffney wrote a whole blog post on this topic, but I definitely think it’s worth bringing up again: It’s time to rethink how you design your landing pages and, most importantly, your forms. Your buyers want faster and easier access to content: 93% recommend that brands make forms shorter.
It’s tempting to create forms that have 10 different fields so you can get a lot of valuable insight about your buyers. But your buyers are less likely to fill out forms for certain formats — specifically, for more visual and interactive formats such as ROI calculators (31%), infographics (37%) and videos/motion graphics (23%).
If you want to entice your buyers into sharing more information, consider sweetening the deal a bit. Content toolkits are an effective way to do this. The Content4Demand team promotes content toolkits to new subscribers throughout the year that focus on specific topics and trends. Here’s one we released focused on modular content and repurposing:
Put a new spin on nurture emails.
As marketers, we tend to follow a standard flow for promotional emails: a high-level, trend-based introduction; a hard-hitting statistic to draw the reader in; connection to our product or content; and a call-to-action and link to the asset or landing page.
But 52% of B2B brands plan to execute nurture programs more consistently throughout the year, according to our Content Budgeting and Measurement Survey. That means your buyers will receive more emails over the next 12 months. To stand out in their email inbox and boost engagement, you need to put a new spin on the standard promotional email. There is no silver-bullet solution, but here are a few tips and recommendations:
- Personalize subject lines and opening graphs by including recipient names, company names and context around their role or industry.
- Find or create GIFs to make headers more memorable.
- Experiment with different colors and/or customized call-to-action buttons. (For example, changing a download button from “Learn More” to “Download The White Paper” or “Get Your Copy” can significantly impact clicks and downloads.)
- Less is always more. Make sure your copy is compelling, actionable and gets to the point.
Here’s an email Content4Demand created to drive responses to our Content Budgeting and Measurement Survey. We wanted to communicate that if recipients took a few minutes to complete the survey, they would receive a Starbucks gift card. So we included the Starbucks branding and a steaming cup of coffee to capture more eyes. Needless to say, it was a huge success: We generated nearly 300 responses in less than a month!
B2B doesn’t have to mean “be too boring.” There are so many new tools and platforms available to help you ramp up your content assets, emails and landing pages. You just need to put a new spin on your messaging, planning and execution.
To learn more about the latest content preferences and consumption trends, download the 2016 Content Preferences Survey. We’ll also discuss how you can add interactivity to your content marketing mix during Demand Gen Report’s Campaign Optimization Series. You can reserve your spot here!
As VP of Client Strategy at Content4Demand, Dana Harder helps B2B marketers turn their marketing organizations into demand gen rock stars! That means helping Content4Demand clients build and refine their content strategy, all corresponding content and even their demand gen efforts. And when content assets and campaigns don’t quite pan out, she helps clients go back to the drawing board, identify what went wrong and how to get back on track. When she’s not helping her clients build a consistent and scalable content strategy, she’s doing yoga, meditating, dyeing her hair an awesome shade of pink or cheering her son on at the hockey rink.