Author: Rachel Foster

Rachel Foster is a B2B copywriter and CEO of Fresh Perspective Copywriting. She helps her clients improve their response rates, clearly communicate complex messages and generate high-quality leads. Rachel has taught white paper, sell sheet and case study writing for MarketingProfs. She is also one of the Online Marketing Institute’s Top 40+ Digital Strategists in Marketing for 2014. You can connect with Rachel on LinkedIn, follow her on Twitter or check out her B2B marketing blog

By rachel-foster published March 20, 2015

10 Habits of Highly Effective B2B Content Marketers

habits-b2b-content-marketers-cover

Not even four out of 10 marketers think their content marketing is effective. Yet, 86% of B2B marketers use content to attract and retain customers. Those are the results from CMI’s 2015 B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends.

What are the 38% of marketers who say they are effective doing differently from the rest of us?

I asked some successful B2B content marketers how they make the most of their content investments. Here are 10 habits that help them stay on top:Continue Reading

By rachel-foster published January 7, 2015

How to Get 200+ New Subscribers From 1 LinkedIn Article

14629125863_126e3f4004_oLinkedIn’s publishing platform used to be reserved for select influencers; however, now anyone can publish articles there. But is the platform worth your time?

According to an Oktopost study, LinkedIn is the best social network for generating B2B leads. Over 80% of B2B social leads come from LinkedIn, compared with 12.73% on Twitter, and 6.73% on Facebook.Continue Reading

By rachel-foster published December 17, 2013

Curating Content Or Creating It: Which Drives More B2B Conversions?

b2b conversions of prospectsAsk B2B marketers what their top priority is and they will likely say “getting more leads.” A recent MarketingSherpa report has confirmed this, as 75 to 80 percent of the B2B marketers surveyed stated that generating high-quality leads is their biggest concern. Their second biggest concern is “generating a high volume of leads.”

However, many marketers lose sight of these priorities when they get caught up with the latest tools and trends. It’s particularly easy to get off track when you’re deciding what types of B2B content to produce and share.

For example, someone recently asked me, “When it comes to generating leads, is it more important to create original content or curate other people’s content?

My answer is to do both.Continue Reading

By rachel-foster published January 30, 2013

Boost Your Content Marketing ROI With These 5 Discovery Tips

content marketing roi - discoveryAsk 10 marketers what “content discovery” is, and you’ll most likely get 10 different answers. With all this variation, it can be hard to determine if content discovery is just a buzzword or something that can add significant ROI to your marketing.Continue Reading

By rachel-foster published September 27, 2012

Case Study: A Community that Provides Trusted Advice and Drives Early-Stage Interactions and Opportunities

The challenge: Find ways to attract and engage early buy-cycle stage leads 

AllStream expertIP case study cover image, CMIPrior to launching the expertIP blog, Allstream had redeveloped its website to house information about its products, along with white papers that discuss how to use and implement these products. While the website proved to be a valuable tool for converting later-stage leads, Allstream knew it was missing out on engaging a huge audience — those just starting out or very early in the buying cycle. Continue Reading

By rachel-foster published June 18, 2012

3 Keys to Increasing Your Content Conversions

Increasing your content conversions, CMI

Scott Armstrong of Brainrider.

Do you know how well your content is working for you? Although a growing number of marketers are turning to content marketing to increase their conversions, many have a hard time determining how well their efforts are paying off.Continue Reading

By rachel-foster published March 29, 2012

3 Keys to More Compelling Case Studies

According to CMI’s B2B Content Marketing 2012 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends Report, 70 percent of B2B marketers find case studies to be an effective content marketing tool. That’s because they can increase customer confidence in your organization, educate prospects on how to solve their challenges, and provide social proof that your solutions are valuable.

However, many marketers often put case studies on the back burner while they pursue sexier marketing strategies. Putting off your case study development isn’t a good idea, because you may find yourself with new products or services and not enough proof that they provide ROI.

Continue Reading

By rachel-foster published February 13, 2012

How to Double Your B2B Content Without Doubling Your Workload

According to the B2B Content Marketing: 2012 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends report, one of the top concerns of B2B content marketers is producing enough content to engage prospects and customers. Since most organizations don’t have unlimited resources, it can be challenging to constantly feed your blog, website, social networks, newsletters, and other marketing channels with new and valuable information.

However, you can save time on content development and reach a larger audience if you find ways to reuse or reinvent the content you have already created. Here are three ways you can get double (or even triple) duty out of your B2B content:

Continue Reading

By rachel-foster published January 10, 2012

How to Use Content to Engage & Convert New Customers: A Case Study

Sun Life Financial is a leading Canadian-based international financial services company that provides insurance and investment products for both individual and corporate customers.

The Challenge: Engaging with early-stage leads

Prior to exploring content marketing, Sun Life Financial had created branded sites for its  insurance and investment offerings. The organization had a solid SEO strategy that drove people who were searching for financial solutions to its websites. However, Sun Life knew it was missing a huge opportunity to connect with early-stage leads — the people who were wrestling with financial problems but not yet looking for a solution.

The Journey: Aligning marketing goals with new buyer behavior

Sun Life’s digital marketing team studied how social media is changing buyer behavior. It learned that today’s buyers like to conduct research online before they speak with a sales representative or an advisor.

“We saw parallels between the financial path to purchase and other verticals, such as consumer electronics,” says Darin Diehl, AVP of Sun Life Canada Web. “In both cases, buyers are often intimidated before making a purchase.”

Sun Life was impressed with Best Buy’s content marketing strategy and how the retailer had created BestBuyOn to educate consumers. The content-driven site entertains consumers while informing them about how to select and get the most from their electronics.

“We felt that by adopting a similar strategy, we could remove the intimidation factor,” says Diehl. “Creating educational content allows people to better understand their problems and opportunities. It also gives them knowledge and a sense of empowerment when they are ready to take action.

The Solution: Using engaging content to educate customers and move them through the sales cycle

Sun Life realized that it needed a site with content about the financial, health, and working life challenges its customers face. The company created an editorial sub-brand, called ‘BrighterLife. The Brighter Life tagline for the new site is, “Sharing ideas about money, health and family.” Although the business goal of BrighterLife is to direct leads to Sun Life’s product and service pages, the site focused on education, and kept Sun Life’s branding to a minimum. 

The Implementation: 5 keys to a successful launch

Here are five things Sun Life learned, and wanted to share with other organizations, from its successful launch of BrighterLife:

1. Get internal buy-in: Sun Life’s first challenge was getting internal buy-in for the project. To do this, the content marketing team had to evangelize the idea. They explained the benefits they hoped to achieve, such as:

  • Reaching potential customers earlier in the buying process and having the opportunity to move them down the path to purchase.
  • Providing advisors with a stream of approved content that they can use to engage clients and prospects.
  • Improving Sun Life’s brand image by giving consumers educational and plain language content about issues that they care about.

2. Understand your voice: Once the project was approved, Sun Life’s next big challenge was choosing the right voice for its content. The company started by gaining an understanding of their audience’s needs, wants, fears, and desires. To do this, they conducted internal research and reviewed studies that shed light on Canadians’ financial challenges and opportunities. From there, they created journalistic content that educates consumers about these concerns.

“It’s often hard for marketers to have the patience not to rush to their offers,” says Diehl. “However, content marketing lets you create an early connection with your audience that builds loyalty to your brand. Developing this level of trust starts with quality, compelling and useful content.”

3. Get support: Sun Life hired High Road Communications to build the site and an editor with a media publishing background to oversee the content. The company also works with freelance journalists who write objective and educational articles for the site. Sun Life found that engaging freelance journalists is also more economical than hiring internal staff to write content.

4. Encourage customers to take the next step: Although the content on BrighterLife.ca is educational, Sun Life, like all businesses, still needs to attract new customers. That’s why it placed clear calls-to-action, such as banners or buttons, throughout the site. The team also added text at the end of every article that encourages readers to connect with an advisor or visit one of Sun Life’s branded sites.

5. Don’t let industry regulations stop you: Sun Life faced another challenge: financial marketing regulations that can make it hard to develop engaging content. These regulations can also delay the publication process.

“All our content goes through an approval process, which can be challenging when you want to be timely and relevant,” says Diehl. “We’ve managed this by thinking ahead about what’s on people’s minds seasonally and developing other ways to turn content around faster.”

From idea to launch, it took Sun Life just over a year to launch BrighterLife — but it took just six months from the time they picked an agency to the site’s soft launch. The company held a soft launch for Sun Life staff members to test the site. Then, the digital marketing team used the internal feedback to tweak the site, and officially launched BrighterLife on Sept. 19, 2011.

The Results: Converting new customers with engaging content

Sun Life wanted to attract 10,000 unique visitors per month at the launch. So far, Sun Life has surpassed this goal and has set aggressive growth targets for next year. Sun Life has also received positive press coverage and has seen evidence that the content is converting new customers. A percentage of BrighterLife’s visitors click the Advisor Match banners that are placed throughout the site. They then complete a form and become leads for Sun Life advisors.

“Anyone who uses content marketing should take metrics very seriously,” says Diehl. “We have a dashboard that tracks our traffic and how well we are engaging visitors and moving them down the path to purchase. The content marketing strategy helps us align our goals with the needs of consumers.”

Due to BrighterLife’s success, Sun Life plans to bring a similar content marketing model to its businesses in Asia and possibly the United States. The company also wants to expand into the B2B space by offering BrighterLife’s content to employers who purchase their employee benefits packages.

By rachel-foster published November 10, 2011

3 Ways to Break Out of a Content Marketing Rut

Einstein defined insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” If your content marketing is on autopilot and you’re not getting the results you want, I wouldn’t say you’re insane, but you could certainly use some fresh ideas.

Unremarkable content can also be a big problem if you’re in an industry, such as technology, that relies on innovation.  If your marketing does not reflect the innovation that goes into your products or services, it can put you at a disadvantage by making you look either boring or too complex.

Continue Reading