Author Archives: The Running Start

About The Running Start

B2B Marketing Strategist and Corporate Storyteller

The Formula for Solid Gold Content

solid_gold

B2B customers absolutely want to know “why” they should buy your product…

And they need to understand all of the ways that your product is superior to your competitors.

But your “how” is just as important; if not more so.

After writing content for B2B SaaS companies for over ten years, I’ve learned that to convince prospects that you are their best option, you must explain all of the ways that your product will help them grow their business.

The best way to do this is to create content that is better and more informative than anything else they can find elsewhere. 

That’s where demonstrating your how, via best practices and use cases, comes into play.

While many B2B marketers will save that content for post-purchase customer journeys; demonstrating how versus why first helps to illustrate your mastery of the industry in which your prospective customers are trying to win. In turn, it shows just how useful your product will be to them.

The Solid Gold Content Equation

I’m going to let you in on my personal secret to writing content that converts for my customers.

Are you ready? Your how content should not simply consist of quick tips and tricks via short listicles; you must also show your readers all of the ways that businesses are thriving while using your product.

And I’m not just talking about generic case studies. You must start with a compelling story and introduction, add a dash of actionable steps (e.g., telling them exactly how to succeed versus just recommending a strategy), illustrate those tactics with client use cases or examples, then demonstrate the outcome of the use case with stellar metrics (where possible).

In my mind, the formula for quality content that converts looks something like this:

Solid Gold Stories = A Compelling Intro + Actionable Steps + Client Illustrations + Performance Metrics 

It’s not easy to do and it is more time consuming than the average blog post. But when well executed, the outcome is more leads and better customer engagement.

In the age of information overload, why would you waste your time and money producing average content? Your customers will most likely ignore it because they’ve seen something similar elsewhere.

It’s better to produce fewer, more meaningful posts that have a bigger impact. This post entitled The Messenger Is The Message explains exactly that.

The best piece of advice from that example is to let your customers be the heroes of your brand story and ensure that you include their voice in your narrative.

You can do so by weaving in quotes and content created by your clients that demonstrate how they get the most out of using your product, and why they are a loyal customer.

Remember: Strive for solid gold stories versus high volume and you’ll get better results.

Have a look at these two examples to see the formula at work (one of them is written by yours truly and has been extremely successful to date)…

 

This post by Sujan Patel also demonstrates the formula, even if the businesses on his list aren’t his clients.

Of course, you don’t always have to follow this formula every time you produce a blog post. There are many different reasons to create content – from announcing a new product to building brand awareness and more.

Still, if you keep these tactics in mind whenever you are writing, you’ll be sure to provide value to your customer – beyond what many of your competitors are offering to their readers. Take the time and make every story count.

 

 

Advertisements

B2B Video Marketing Best Practices: How to Say Happy Holidays Like a Pro

happy-holidays-3002092_640

Do you see what I see? It’s everywhere you go online. By now, your email inbox and social media streams are filled with B2B holiday greetings videos and messages from businesses and colleagues.

Not only is this time of year full of hope and cheer; it’s also a great time to remind everyone about how great it is to work with you and your company.

Want to strut your corporate stuff this holiday season? Have a look at these shareworthy B2B holiday greetings videos that caught my attention this week.

We all need IT

Can’t afford real celebrities to sing holiday jingles? Why not hire an impersonator. This “We are the World” inspired holiday music video from Sophos Labs is both entertaining and funny with the use of Pop-Up Video style blurbs about how celebrities use IT.

And for more IT-related music fun, check out the company’s 2016 video below entitled “The Sophos Christmas Album”

Holiday Gifting Gone Wrong

You wouldn’t ask a friend, colleague or family member for their email address before giving them a gift. No, that would be annoying. So why do marketers always ask for it when giving away free content? And is that strategy even effective?

LookBook_video

LookBookHQ explores this concept in a holiday video series (see screenshot above) that inspires marketers to share content like a holiday gift or greeting. Check out all of the tutorial/satire videos on the LookBookHQ blog here.

Mashable Holiday Beard DIY

Do you often feel festive on the inside, but just don’t know how to show it to the world? If you sport a long beard, Mashable has some suggestions for how to make it sparkle like a Christmas tree. These glittery, glistening beard creations stood out to me as I was scrolling through my Twitter newsfeed:

Warmest wishes with a charitable twist

Do some of your employees have hidden talents? Want to showcase just how creative your digital agency can be? This year, Klick Health created its first holiday single and music video showcasing all of its employees to wish its customers a happy holiday season while inspiring them to download the song in exchange for a donation to “operation warm to buy new winter coats for children across the U.S. and Canada.” Here’s the video:

The takeaway from these videos is to create something that is not only memorable, but catches a customer’s eye in their inbox or social media newsfeed. And if it strikes the right tone (or note in the case of Klick Health), your prospective customers will happily share it with their friends and colleagues.

Have you seen any other share-worthy business holiday greetings videos this year? Please send them to me and I’ll add them to the list. I hope you and your family have a very warm and happy holiday season! See you in 2018.

You’re in the Business of Happy

Happy

It doesn’t matter what business you’re in; your number one goal should be to make customers happy. Happiness brings customers back again and again. It makes business relationships easier and makes your work more meaningful. It gets people to talk about your product or service with others.

In turn, it means higher profits for you and satisfied customers who are grateful to you for making their jobs easier, more efficient, and profitable.

It sounds so simple and straight forward. But how do you know if you are doing a good job at making your customers happy?

For large corporations, you can measure happiness through customer satisfaction surveys, CSAT (customer satisfaction) scores and Net Promoter Scores (NPS). You can also monitor customer sentiment on social media, via your customer service team, or online user forums.

But for small businesses, especially if you are selling a service, these best practices can be costly and require resources that you just don’t have right now.

Instead, the fastest way to measure if you’re customers happy, other than repeat business, is through word of mouth.

As a freelancer, my business is 100% reliant on my clients being happy with my work for them. The best leads I get, no matter what other marketing initiatives I am working on, come from my happiest customers — simply passing my name along to a colleague.

Positive word of mouth is paramount. If you have to prioritize one marketing initiative above all else while you boot up your business, start there.

It costs a lot less than investing in social media and a beautiful website. Yes, you need a web presence but it doesn’t have to be perfect to start making money. And you can grow a lot faster as a small services business if you just make your existing customers happy.

So, if you are getting calls from your customers’ contacts, you know you’re doing something right. If not, it’s time to start asking yourself and your customers (an old school phone call or face to face meeting will do the trick) what’s up?

If they are happy but not passing your name along, you can be so bold as to ask them to do so. Just be sure to reward them in some way for their efforts. A Starbucks gift card, thank you note, or lunch will all do the trick. It doesn’t have to be fancy or cost a lot.

If they’re not happy, it’s time to rethink how you run your business. Can you scale down services to focus on what you do best? Can you do more to make your customers feel valued? Again, simple and scrappy solutions to determine how to fix them problem are fine in the beginning.

Nothing is perfect when you first launch a business. But you’ll be a lot happier, and less stressed, if you focus on what’s most important. After all, “happiness is a by-product of an effort to make someone else happy.” — Gretta Palmer