According to recent research from IDC, lead generation is a top B2B marketing priority, and in the next four years Sirius Decisions predicts 75% of all registrations will be captured online. (Sirius Decisions actually labels this as inbound marketing, however I use a more limited definition of inbound marketing.)
One of the primary ways B2B marketers capture leads online is asking prospects to register for content. Doing it effectively requires creating content prospects want in a format that is easy to engage with while capturing the information you need.
However, based on recent research from DemandGen Report, marketers are turning away prospects by focusing on the wrong content far too often.
Does Your Content Create A Barrier?
In the past year, 88% of people report using white papers for business research, followed by 73% for webinars. Ebooks, blogs and podcasts all follow and have been used by more than 50%.
Digging deeper, buyers show a significantly stronger preference for whitepapers.
- White papers are rated “most valuable” more frequently than any other format (56% of those that rated white papers).
- White papers have the largest spread between very valuable and little value. Respondents are 5x more likely to say they are the most valuable (30%) than to say they are the least valuable (6%). In contrast, the spread for ebooks, webcasts and podcasts is less than 3x.
- Nearly half (47%) prefer text or narrative content formats while only 33% prefer more visual content formats.
- White papers are by far the most likely format to be shared (70%), followed by case studies. Only 40% share webcasts.
Giving your prospects multiple options is important, and the research definitely supports providing both visual and textual content formats. However, marketers would be well served to continue giving the lowly white paper a prominent place in their lead generation plans.
Include in-depth text-based formats in your content mix.
Informing Is Not Selling
Your content should solve your prospects problems, not deliver a sales pitch. Fully 75% of respondents, when asked how marketers could improve content, said drop the sales pitch.
Yes, marketers ultimately need to move towards a sale, but no one wants to be marketed or sold to. When we sense we are being sold, we start to tune out and much of the value your content could have delivered is lost.
Focusing on yourself, including selling, is one of the reasons so much marketing content sucks.
Use your content to educate and inform, not sell.
If you are not providing the information your potential prospects value in a form that is easy for them to consume, you are turning them away. Since 81% start looking for content through search, someone else’s content is just a click away.
How else do marketers turn away prospects? Share your opinion or experience in the comments below or with me on Twitter (@wittlake).
You can view the full slidedeck of results from DemandGen Reports here on Slideshare.