B2B Universities: The Key to Converting More Leads in 2016
The verdict is in. As of 2016, B2B companies’ focus on customer experience will reign over their drive for conversions. Why? Because we have learned that when a company delivers value to its customers, conversions will follow.
In the past, marketers have sweated beads in their pursuits to optimize campaigns, get attention via social media, and make their brand impression visible on every possible network. Yet many fail to attract the high quality leads they are looking for. So if the old way isn’t working, what’s the new best way to capture qualified leads and shorten the sales process at the same time?
Unfortunately, there is no magic answer to that question. However, data suggestively points again and again to video, and marketers are taking the hint.
Large social networks like Facebook and Instagram have certainly noticed and have already carved out valuable space for video advertising. It’s time for you as a B2B marketer to focus your time, energy and budget on delivering delightful customer experiences…via video.
Turning Up the University
Creating such “delightful experiences” starts with honing your sales process until it is virtually seamless. Most likely, you will be focusing on creating content that drives your customers from point A to Z in the sales process.
As a B2B marketer, you already know that quality content is king in the coming year (and always). By properly using content to educate your customers, you will convert them faster. If they are offered a crystal clear understanding of what you do and how to go about receiving the value you have to offer, they can then take that knowledge and enter the decision phase of the process much earlier than they would have if they had been hung up on investigating you and your offer. This is what it means to accelerate the sales process.
Essentially, you are purposefully designing a flawless system like a maze in which the person entering has only one road to follow, and that road leads directly to the “aha moment.” It takes multiple resources and people to develop the perfect path leading your customers to this magic moment. But your customers don’t know that. All they know is how easy it was.
In 2016 you can accomplish this goal by building an education system, a university, around your content program. Your “University” can be a simple program with less than three hours of video or it can be a complex program with more than 40 hours. Your custom teaching tool will give your leads the opportunity to become experts of your product, thus converting the into your most loyal customers.
Here’s a simple plan to get started today:
Step 1: Identify your customers’ biggest challenges and how your content will address these pain points.
Step 2: Using the knowledge you gained in step one, develop three to six relevant topics that will appeal to your target industry.
Step 3: Break down each topic in-depth. These will be the sections or classes that make up your university.
Step 4: Create a resources section for each topic. This is the time to reflect on your content and your customers’ biggest pain points. Spoon feed them the information they need in order to expedite the decision-making process.
Step 5: Write a quiz for every topic to ensure that your target audience is following along and understanding the material.
Step 6: Prepare a study guide, final exam and the award of a badge and certification if they pass.
Here is an example of 2 class breakdowns in a module from an FCI class plan.
Pro Tip: In order to measure content effectiveness, I use Full Circle Insights. It shows me exactly how different target audiences are reacting to the content and other assets I get out there. They make it easy for me to navigate the middle of the funnel activities and decide what types of content I should actually add to my resource section before the audience gets certified. Pro B2B marketers know that first-click attribution and last-click attribution are ineffective ways to track the middle of the funnel activities.
With Full Circle Insights I can measure each and every campaign and asset at every level. This helps me develop a personalized customer experience without using any spreadsheets at all.
Develop a Resources Section
The resources section is used to provide your target audience with extra resources that go into detail about the topic at hand. Typically, I like to take content off of my buyer persona map and re-purpose it in the university. By doing so, I save myself the work of continuously create new content.
I then test the content in the buyer persona map through an organic and paid advertising strategy. Once I test it I will use it to attract MCLs (marketing captured leads) and convert them to MQLs (marketing qualified leads) by sending them to the university.
For example, in the past I have created six to ten funnels at a time. I tested the different assets within the funnel to see which ones captured the most leads. Based on the popularity of the asset, I would take that asset and add it to the resource section of the university.
Pro Tip: Templates, whitepapers and webinars tend to convert the best. It is great to test all your content and its viewership to see what types of content really brings that extra dose of value to your leads and customers. Check outContentMarketer.io to promote your content and get it out there.
Create an Addicting Nurture Program
When you reach out to a group of influencers in your industry take a poll and share the results. Next, interview your influencers and give them spotlight treatment. The more you share content from your influencers the higher your social currency will be. When you plan to create content focus on crowdsourcing ideas and give credit where it is due. Allow your influencers to help you decide what will receive prime attention on your website.
Here are a few nurture ideas you can start implementing now:
- Sound like a real person. When you create a sense of personalization you will be more effective.
- Loss Aversion. In order to activate your customers, show them what they will miss out on if they don’t “sign-in” again.
- Snack bite emails. Instead of focusing on sending everything in one go, focus on snack size emails that will accomplish each goal. One email per goal is just not enough. It takes a little more to convert them.
Pro Tip: The best emails start with a welcome email that gives a simple introduction about yourself. Let them know who you are and why you are doing what you do. Then mention what they will receive from you as they progress the email journey.
Proving Your Superiority Through Value
One way to raise the customer experience value is by proving what you do through real facts. This can be in the form of case studies, magazine publications, testimonials, video interviews, speaking engagements and any TV appearances as well.
Pro Tip: If you have ever been featured in any well known publications or magazines, create a print out of the publication and direct mail it to your customer base. This will help you position yourself as the expert in your field.
Tools I Couldn’t Live Without in 2016
Here is the short list of tools I have identified as essential to the success of my content strategy and sales process this year.
- Full Circle Insights — Allows you to measure attribution at every level so you know what activities are bringing in the highest ROI.
- Click Funnels — An easy and fast way to build funnels without any coding at all.
- LeadPages — This is an easy way to build landing page without any code. Plus they have been validated by other marketers.
- contentmarketer.io -The best tool for promoting your content and building authority in your industry.
- Buzzsumo.com — Ultimately the best tool for creating content and curating content. Find the best performing articles on the web.
I would argue that teaching is the single most effective way to establish your company and/or yourself as a respected expert in your industry. Creating a video content strategy can literally transform you from an unknown entity to a trusted confidante in the minds of your target audience.
That’s why creating your own university and educating your future clients/customers is worth every bit of time and energy you will put into it in 2016. You now know that their experience with you in this process can make all the difference in whether you convert them — now it’s time to go for it!
Have a Happy New Year and let us know what new content you think will rule 2016 in the comments below.