The 3 Steps to Growing Revenue Through Marketing

The New Mandate for Marketers: Drive Revenue Growth

The digital era in marketing has arrived. To reach potential buyers online, marketers must implement a strong digital marketing strategy with the goal of driving revenue growth in mind. If this sounds difficult, don’t worry—below, we’ll list the three key steps to building a marketing strategy that increases sales and drives revenue growth.

Step 1: Grab Attention

On any given day, buyers receive upwards of thousands of marketing messages, all competing for their attention. As a marketer, your job is to cut through all of that noise—and advertising is the best way to accomplish this. In this section, we will weigh the positives and negatives of two different types of advertising: traditional and intention-based. 

Traditional advertising shows a pre-formatted ad to a target audience through some form of media. The idea is that through repeated exposure, potential buyers will gain familiarity with your brand. When the time comes to purchase, you will be at the top of their list. However, with this form of advertising, it’s not very likely that your ad will happen to catch them at the exact moment that they’re ready to purchase.

On the other hand, intention-based advertising does catch users in the exact moment that they’re searching for answers. This type of advertising is used on websites like Google and YouTube. As users research a solution to their problem, they come across an advertisement for your product. This method is highly effective at reaching motivated buyers.

Both of these ad types have their benefits and drawbacks. Traditional advertising is not as effective at reaching buyers in the moment, but you can target audiences more specifically. Intention-based advertising does not offer the same precision in terms of targeting audiences, but you’re more likely to catch buyers at the right moment. An effective advertising strategy uses both of these formats to grab potential buyers’ attention.

Step 2: Acquire

So, you have their attention. Your advertising did its job—your potential buyers have either clicked on your ad or remembered to search for your company when they were ready to seriously consider purchasing. Now what?

They’re taken to a landing page where they are prompted to fill out a contact information form in exchange for access to a useful piece of content. This form is what converts a user from a click to a lead. Once they’ve shared their information with you, they’ve shown their interest in your product and you now have direct access to their inboxes. 

However, just because a user clicks on your ad doesn’t mean they will fill out the contact information form. There are several reasons why clicks don’t always convert to leads. If your landing page is confusing and not optimized for mobile devices, users might get overwhelmed and leave. If the content they find is not what they’re looking for, they’ll leave. If the contact information form is too long, they’ll leave. The list goes on. These are examples of the things you should keep in mind when designing your landing page.

Your job is to focus on conversions, not clicks. As you can see, a high click rate doesn’t mean anything if those clicks are not converting to leads—which brings us to our next point.

Step 3: Convert

Once your leads start rolling in—after they’ve downloaded your content and shared their names and email addresses with you—you have to start separating the promising leads from the rest. This process enables you to focus on the leads that are more likely to convert to sales and minimize the time wasted on leads that are actively running away from sales.

To get the most out of your leads, we recommend separating them into the following three buckets:

Bucket 1These are exactly the right leads we want. Send them the next nurture email so they are on the content experience path we designed for them.
Bucket 2These are not the right leads—we know that. Let them download their white paper and…the workflow stops there.
Bucket 3We don’t know whether they should be in Bucket 1 or 2, because we don’t have definitive information.

Not all leads are willing to share their personal information to gain access to content. Some are worried about receiving a barrage of irrelevant marketing emails that will clog their inbox, so they use fake information to protect their true identities. These are the kinds of leads that go into Bucket 2. 

On the other hand, some leads might be vague about their information, writing just “VP” or “manager” to describe their role. This doesn’t provide us with enough information to market to them effectively—we need to know what department they serve. To get the most out of these Bucket 3 leads, you should automate strategies to encourage them to further self-identify.

Using this method, you ensure that you’re not wasting valuable time and resources on leads that are unlikely to convert. Instead, you can devote more of your energy to the leads in Buckets 1 and 3. This will increase your conversion rate. 

Content That Converts

The foundation of this entire strategy is your content. Your content is what your potential buyers want to see—ultimately, it’s what motivates them to share their contact information and start on the path toward purchasing. This means that your content must be valuable enough to potential buyers that it is worth sharing their personal information.

But creating this level of compelling content is expensive, especially if your goal is to target multiple buyer personas with in-depth content. At a minimum, you’ll need three full-time employees to accomplish this, which is a huge cost for most marketing budgets.

Instead of hiring in-house, use a subscription-based service for content creation, like SOMAmetrics’ Creative Content River.™ A subscription provides you with high-quality content while saving you time and money, so you can focus on building your competitive marketing strategy instead. In today’s world of rapid digital transformation, it’s more important than ever to 

To read more about creating content that converts, download this white paper

How to Create Content That Converts

It Starts With Research

As a marketer, you want to create content that converts casual readers into motivated buyers who are ready to speak to a sales representative. You know that this is the key to driving revenue growth through marketing. But creating content that guarantees high conversion rates is not as easy as it sounds. 

The first step is to understand your target audience. But we don’t mean a surface-level knowledge of what they do, what their titles are, and what industry they’re in—we are talking about in-depth knowledge of your specific buyer personas

You should seek to understand your buyer personas on a deeper level, almost like a close friend. You should know the answers to these crucial questions and more:

  • What motivates them to succeed?
  • What goals do they aspire to achieve? For example, are they seeking a certain lifestyle, role in their company, salary, or something else?
  • What are their typical buying habits? Do they prefer to spend or save their money?

It’s not just about understanding the pain points of their industry in general—that is merely foundational knowledge. To create content that truly reaches buyers and resonates with them on a deeper level, you have to understand them as individuals. This is something B2C marketers are familiar with, but B2B buyers are still catching up.

Storytelling From the Point of View of the Audience

Now that you’ve done your research and developed an in-depth understanding of your customers, you can start the process of content creation from a well-informed place. Using your understanding of how your customers communicate and what they want to achieve, you can design a story that appeals to them individually.

Remember that your goal is to spark interest in your product. You want customers to research your company further, read more of your content, and eventually start a conversation with sales. That process starts with a compelling story.

You should start by drawing readers’ attention with an eye-catching headline and introduction to your story. There are plenty of articles out there discussing the most compelling headlines and the keywords that will get the most clicks—but the truth is, what will make your content stand out is your in-depth knowledge of your target market. Use your understanding of your customers’ needs to speak directly to them. 

Continue with this approach through the rest of your content. Consistently deliver well-researched and readable information that is both informative and valuable to your target market. By the end of the piece, readers should have learned something useful, which will elevate potential buyers’ opinions of your company and increase your chance of making it to the shortlist of vendors they will contact. 

Design as Visual Storytelling

At this point, you’ve written your copy—it’s insightful, useful, and ready to spark buyers’ interest. Now you have to think about the visual impact of your content. The next step of the content creation process is to package your information in a way that illustrates the point you’re trying to make.

Through your design choices, you have the chance to tell your story visually. It’s not just about creating something that looks nice—it’s more important to make thoughtful design choices with the goals you want to achieve in mind.

For example, you should consider your choices in terms of font, text size, and balance between white space and text, all of which will impact readability. You should also be thoughtful when choosing the more obvious visual elements, like pictures, graphics, and videos. Think about it from your reader’s point of view—what kinds of visual elements will be most compelling to them? Most shareable? Most informative? With this thoughtful approach to design, you can maximize the impact of your content on your potential buyers. 

Add it All Up—It’s Expensive

To summarize, we have introduced three key elements of creating content that converts: research, writing, and design. To create content in-house, your company must satisfy each of these steps, which requires a team of employees that can cost $35,000 to $50,000 in payroll alone—each month. This is more than the typical marketing budget can handle.

However, in today’s increasingly digital world, content is crucial to a successful marketing strategy. Potential buyers probably won’t pick up the phone when your sales reps call, preferring to read about your product before they start a conversation with sales. On average, buyers are over 70% of the way through the purchasing process before they contact sales—which means that they’re making crucial decisions based primarily on your content. So, how do you create content that converts prospects to sales without burning through an excessive amount of money? 

Creating content as a subscription is the answer to all of these worries. With a subscription, you can save time and money while still generating all the compelling content you need to fuel your marketing campaigns. Take SOMAmetrics’ Creative Content River™, for example. Our subscription-based content creation service delivers compelling content for 55% to 58% of what it would cost to accomplish in-house. This will transform your marketing department into a center of revenue generation and maximize your company’s growth rate—all with one monthly subscription.

Looking for more information about creating content that converts? Download this white paper for an in-depth discussion of the content creation process and what the Creative Content River™ can do for you. 

Digital Marketing: The New B2B Sales Strategy

The Digital Transformation

Many marketing experts have discussed the current digital transformation in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic—by now, we all know that while in-person events are suspended, it’s necessary to use digital marketing to reach potential buyers. But a deeper understanding of this transformation reveals that this trend has been accelerating for years and that it will probably continue to shape marketing strategies for the foreseeable future. 

Technologies that were once used as simple cost-cutting devices are now becoming more central to revenue growth. In the past, technological transformation would have been spearheaded by CIOs or CTOs. Now, CEOs and executive committees are playing a more active role after recognizing technology as a key revenue driver. 

With this in mind, expanding technological capabilities is a matter of necessity for today’s marketers to deliver revenue growth for their company—which brings us to our next point.

The Growth Mandate

In the past, marketers might have been tempted to measure the impact of their strategies using metrics like clicks and email open rates. It can be difficult to measure the return on investment (ROI) of marketing strategies using these metrics, leading to a disconnect between marketing and the value of the business overall. 

On the surface, metrics like clicks and open rates might seem important—these are valuable tools to measure your company’s visibility online. However, these metrics are not directly correlated with revenue growth. Even if a million people click on your ads and open your emails, what matters most is how many people take it a step further than that.

This is further compounded by false positives, where anti-virus software clicks on every link you placed in your email to ensure there are no malicious links, thereby creating clicks that were originated by software, not your intended recipient.

This is at the heart of marketers’ new mandate—to drive revenue growth. As a marketer, you must target the people who are more likely to be interested in your company, research it further, and eventually start a conversation with sales. By taking full responsibility for delivering these Conversation Ready Leads (CRLs) to the sales department, marketers can decrease their cost per conversion. By focusing more narrowly on the target market, growth marketers can streamline the sales process as a whole and deliver on their mandate to increase revenue growth. 

How to Reach Buyers Online

Let’s consider the facts. First, we know that 77% of B2B buyers reported spending more time researching products online in 2020 before purchasing. We also know that 67% of buyers report relying more on content in 2020 to inform purchasing decisions than they did in the past. Finally, we know that today’s buyers are over 70% of the way through the decision-making process before contacting a sales representative, on average. 

Taken together, these statistics illustrate the increasing importance of content in the buyer’s journey. For the majority of their journey, buyers rely entirely on your content to help them determine whether your product is right for their company or not.

This begs the question: what do buyers want to see in your content as they are researching solutions online? One key element buyers look for is a strong understanding of their individual industry—76% of today’s buyers expect more personalized attention from providers based on their specific needs. They want to know that vendors understand what they need and can deliver specialized solutions.

Storytelling is another crucial element of content creation. You want your content to draw readers in, intrigue them, and make them want to know more about your product by the end of it. This is why well-written and well-designed content is key to increasing conversion rates. But it takes a significant amount of skill and experience to create this level of high-quality content—which comes at a high price.

The Cost of Compelling Content

Experienced marketers are well-aware of the costs of generating content in-house. To create the amount of content you need to feed your marketing campaigns, you have to hire three full-time employees. This includes a senior writer, a junior writer, and a designer—and that’s the bare minimum. 

Marketing budgets are already stretched thin as marketers try to deliver revenue growth in the era of the digital buyer. Wouldn’t it be great if you could focus your in-house team’s efforts on generating demand and delivering CRLs to sales while still receiving all the content you need to reach buyers online?

Fortunately, this isn’t a hypothetical scenario—with a subscription-based service to take care of creative content production, marketers can focus more of their efforts on more strategic functions. This is exactly what the Creative Content River™ does.

SOMAmetrics’ Creative Content River™ delivers all the creative content you need while saving you 55% to 58% of the cost of full-time employees. With content creation increasing in both importance and cost in the era of the digital buyer, the Creative Content River™ can increase your conversion rate and help you maximize your company’s growth. 

To learn more about generating creative content as a subscription, download this white paper

Reaching Key Decision Makers—B2B Email Marketing vs. Social Media Advertising

reach b2b decision makers

Despite concerns in the media over the death of email marketing, B2B email marketing continues to be the most effective strategy for reaching key decision-makers, year after year.

How Effective is B2B Email Marketing?

B2B marketing is all about reaching key decision-makers—and email marketing is the best way to do that. The goal of B2B email marketing is to provide senior executives with useful and highly relevant information, directly in their inboxes. This is a well-known and effective strategy for establishing credibility with key decision-makers.

However, each year, new media reports emerge calling for the death of email marketing. Whether the reasoning is new privacy regulations or increased use of social media, the media continues to predict the end of email marketing in the near future.

Statistically, these reports are wrong. Even with the explosion of marketing technology and tools in recent years, when it comes to reaching executives, email marketing is still the most effective strategy. In fact, according to HubSpot Research’s Global Survey, November – December 2019, 78% of marketers have seen an increase in email engagement over the previous 12 months. With the ROI of email marketing increasing as well, it is clear that email marketing continues to be highly effective.

In addition, marketers themselves vouch for the effectiveness of B2B email marketing. 45% of B2B marketers agree that email marketing is the most effective digital marketing tool. Plus, in 2019, 49.5% of marketers said they planned to increase their email marketing budget. Despite what the media predicts, these statistics demonstrate that email marketing is still one of the most effective marketing tools out there.

How Effective is Social Media Advertising as an Alternative to B2B Email Marketing?

As we discussed briefly, some might consider social media advertising to be an alternative to B2B email marketing. The appeal of advertising online, in general, is understandable—it seems like a cost-effective way to reach a large number of individuals on the websites they frequently visit. However, it’s becoming clear that indiscriminately advertising on a large number of websites is an ineffective marketing strategy.

For example, in 2017, JPMorgan Chase narrowed down its advertising reach from 400,000 websites to 5,000 pre-approved websites—and saw no decrease in performance. This example demonstrates the ineffectiveness of online advertising for the sake of reaching a broad audience—this strategy doesn’t necessarily lead to increased sales. Plus, it is time-consuming to hand-select websites that are best suited for advertising.

On the other hand, many seasoned marketers emphasize the importance of social media advertising as these platforms grow in popularity—but not as an alternative to email marketing. Instead, some argue that email marketing and social media advertising should work together for the best results.

All of this is to say that social media and online advertising may be important elements of successful marketing, but they can’t replace email marketing in a business’s B2B digital marketing strategy.

Email vs. Social Media

On a number of direct comparisons, B2B email marketing comes out ahead of social media advertising in terms of effectiveness.

First, on the most basic level, more people use email than any given social media platform. Even Facebook, the most used social media platform in the world with 2.6 billion monthly active users, falls short of the world’s 3.9 billion email users. More email users mean more potential eyes on your marketing messages.

Additionally, the informality of social media is counterproductive to the relationships and credibility marketers must establish to succeed in B2B marketing. Social media platforms are simply not ideal venues for business discussions. Amongst the personal posts that dominate the most popular social media platform, Facebook, business discussions are out of place. Plus, there is a high chance that social media users will simply scroll past an unsolicited advertisement in their newsfeed—whereas email marketing targets users who have engaged with a company in the past, making them more likely to be responsive to marketing messages.

Finally, email marketing has proven its worth in terms of ROI. For every $1 spent on email marketing, businesses make $42 in return, according to the latest reports. This is a substantial ROI, especially compared to the $10.51 businesses make for every $1 spent on mobile marketing. This disparity speaks for itself—email marketing is worth the investment. 

To sum it all up, regardless of the media’s warnings about its impending doom, B2B email marketing is still the most effective strategy for reaching key decision-makers. With its high ROI, large user base, and popularity among marketers, B2B email marketing isn’t going away anytime soon.

Next Steps

SOMAmetrics designs and executes its proven 4-step high-quality lead generation programs to deliver more leads that close faster and at a higher rate for 20% of what it costs clients to produce in-house.

As a next step, download this white paper that describes the most effective way for B2B companies to generate high quality leads for their sales organization.

Then, let’s schedule a quick call to discuss how we may be able to help you build your high-quality lead generation programs.

Best Practices in B2B Email Marketing

By implementing best practices in B2B email marketing, marketers can establish trust with senior executives and increase email engagement.

What Do Senior Executives Look For in B2B Marketing Emails?

The main goal of B2B email marketing is to reach senior executives and establish credibility with them—but this is easier said than done. When it comes to email marketing, there are several different approaches marketers can take—and some approaches are better than others. Below, we will discuss the best practices in B2B email marketing.

To fully understand why some approaches are better than others, we have to first understand how senior executives read emails.

One key thing to remember about senior executives is that they have a vested interest in staying on top of trends in their given field. They need to know what their competitors are doing, what trends are emerging, and how these factors impact the status quo in a given industry. When it comes time to make important decisions, the most successful executives will draw on a wide range of sources to substantiate their decisions.

Crucially, executives report that they are willing to consider information provided by external sources, especially if it’s information that their team is not providing internally. Plus, according to a 2018 Quartz survey of executives, 78% of respondents are willing to read brand content, if it provides useful and relevant information. 

In addition, executives receive a lot of emails, and they have to stay on top of their inboxes to ensure nothing falls through the cracks. For this reason, most CEOs read every email they receive. Different executives may have different approaches to inbox management. According to Brad Smith, CEO of Intuit, his approach is to read every email and choose to either “read, act, file, or delete”. This means that a B2B marketing email is likely to reach a CEO—but it must be relevant and informative to be of any use to an executive.

In sum, B2B email marketing can be an effective way to reach senior executives—especially considering the increasing engagement with emails in the past year—but it has to be done right in order to stand out amongst the deluge of emails executives receive every day. For this reason, marketers should stay up-to-date on the best practices in B2B email marketing. 

What Are the Best Practices in B2B Email Marketing?

Having established the potential for email marketing to be highly effective in reaching executives, the next step is to implement best practices in B2B email marketing to ensure that these emails will be read and considered useful.

One of the most important practices in B2B email marketing is establishing credibility. As we discussed briefly, the business hoping to establish a relationship with C-suite executives must show that they are a knowledgeable source. One method of establishing credibility is to create and publish practical primary research. Executives and other decision-makers will return to a source if they believe it will address gaps in their knowledge and bring them fresh information.

Plus, trust has become more important than ever in B2B marketing. According to IBM’s 2018 study of 13,000 C-suite executives worldwide, there has been an “ongoing and widespread erosion of customer trust, including B2B buyers… Where data alone was once an organization’s unparalleled asset, it must now factor in trust.” The top 9% of companies identified by this IBM study are able to maintain customer trust, which demonstrates its increasing importance in the best practices in B2B email marketing.

To establish trust, B2B marketers must provide concise, engaging, and highly-relevant information in their emails to executives. Senior executives are busy people—while they want to stay informed, they simply don’t have time to wade through a lengthy newsletter, especially if it’s crowded with irrelevant information. The most effective B2B emails are specific to the executive in question and pack a lot of information into a short email, with a clean and easy-to-read layout.

Beyond content, the timing of B2B email marketing also matters. At different times of day, executives prefer to consume different types of content. The best time to send an email is in the morning: according to a Quartz survey, 50% of executives read an email newsletter upon waking up. This trend is increasing over time—in 2014, only 42% of respondents to Quartz’s executive survey named email newsletters as their primary form of morning news, while in 2018 this increased to 50%.

In addition, best practices in B2B email marketing should also include a well-thought-out approach to the way emails are sent. Marketers should regularly clean out unresponsive emails from their lists in order to avoid being blacklisted as spam. Using a permission pass email is a highly effective way to do this. By sending an email asking the user to confirm whether or not they’d like to continue receiving emails, click rate and open rate will rise and marketers can confirm they are only marketing to engaged users.

Altogether, by implementing these best practices in B2B email marketing, marketers can increase their email engagement and reach senior executives more effectively than ever before.

Next Steps

SOMAmetrics designs and executes its proven 4-step high-quality lead generation programs to deliver more leads that close faster and at a higher rate for 20% of what it costs clients to produce in-house.

As a next step, download this white paper that describes the most effective way for B2B companies to generate high quality leads for their sales organization.

Then, let’s schedule a quick call to discuss how we may be able to help you build your high-quality lead generation programs.