By systemising your content marketing, you can generate warm leads and take the direct route from content to customer. But to do this, you need the right toolbox.
Every day, Danish B2B companies are responsible for a conveyor belt of phenomenal content. However, only rarely has this content been properly systemised. This means that it is difficult to assess whether all the many hours of hard work have been well spent. They most likely have been, but this is not really the strongest argument to put forward at the next marketing budget meeting.
For example, do you know if your well-written guide, which meticulously explains how contractors can achieve the best results in construction by integrating your product, has generated any more traffic to your website? Or whether the blood, sweat and tears involved in last year’s white paper on choosing the right OEM supplier or technical advisor has actually resulted in more sales?
If not, you should definitely read this overview of free or cheap tools to systemise your content marketing:
Keep your eye on the prize
Before we get going, let’s agree on the purpose of content marketing - the ultimate prize:
The purpose of content marketing efforts
(New) satisfied customers who are loyal ambassadors for your company
There is no easy and direct way to do this (if you happen to know one, please give me a tip). But with good old-fashioned legwork and the right toolkit, you can exploit your valuable content and serve red-hot leads on a plate to the sales department. Believe me; they will just love you for that.
This cycle is also called inbound marketing.
In short, you need to put together a toolbox that can ease your target audience's path from stranger - to visitor - to lead - to customer (and ultimately to loyal ambassador who can top up your marketing machine with new content).
From stranger to visitor
At an absolute minimum you need to have Google Analytics (free) in your toolbox. With this free and comprehensive tool you can keep track of everything that happens on and around your website. On the surface, Google Analytics may seem complicated, but after just a few hours of familiarising yourself with the tool, you can really begin to reap the rewards.
Until you have had some more training, here are some things to look out for:
- Unique visitors
- Time spent on page
- Bounce rate (how many visitors navigate away after viewing only one page)
- Acquisition (where your traffic comes from – newsletters, social media, searches, direct etc.)
- Behaviour (which pages are most visited)
Help with content
Your content should give answers to the questions and challenges your target audience is asking Google. You can make some fairly qualified guesses on these questions using experience, brainstorming, and target audience analysis, but you can actually get a highly accurate answer by using Google Search Console (free). With Google Search Console, you can see which entries in the Google search box have caused one of your pages to appear on the Google search results page. You can also see if the view has led to any clicks, and you can see how high your page is ranked for the given search. This is a brilliant tool for assessing what your next piece of content should be about - and which words to include in the title.
Google Keywordplanner (free) is yet another freebie from Google’s big goodie bag. This tool can assess the competition on certain search terms and come up with suggestions for other keywords. You need to have a (free) Google Ads-account to access the tool.
If you use social media and/or email marketing to distribute your content (and I certainly hope you do!), you can make your life a whole lot easier by adding a small tracking ID to your URL (UTM tracking). This enables Google Analytics to show you exactly which of your channels a visitor came from. The tracking ID is the "utm _ ..." followed by a long string of seemingly random characters that are added to a URL in the address bar when you click on an article in a newsletter or similar. The string is of course not random, but is used to tell the sender which campaign, source, content, etc. a visit to the website originated from. This makes working in Google Analytics much easier.
Google has its own tool to generate these tracking-ids – Campaign URL Builder (free).
The Danish web agency Co3 has, however, made a simplified (and more user-friendly) version – Social Media Tracking Tool (free), which can also be used for more than just social media.
See which companies are visiting you
Leadfeeder (from €53 to €359 per month) can work together with Google Analytics to show you the name of the company, and where the visitor is employed. This allows you to defreeze your ice-cold canvas calling. Leadfeeder identifies companies on the basis of their IP addresses and LinkedIn information. Albacross (from 79€ to 249€) is another great tool that serves the same purpose.
From visitor to lead
Your visitors now need to submit their email addresses, and with this information in the bank you can start warming up your leads. If you do not already do so, you now need to include gated content. All of your best content, such as whitepapers and ebooks, should first be released once the visitor has given their email address on a form.
Pop-ups are irritating, but work
Visitors need to find their way to your conversion content, and pop-ups can help you do this.
Sleeknote (from €49 to €549 per month) makes it easy to create well-designed pop-ups that you can control yourself. For example, they can be set to appear after a 50% scroll or when the visitor is about to leave the website. The lead collection in Sleeknote can be linked to email marketing systems such as Campaign Monitor and Mailchimp.
You can use pop-ups to direct visitors to your landing page, or you can embed a form directly into the popup.
HubSpot Marketing Free (free) is a service that lets you create pop-ups and collect leads while viewing the behaviour of these leads on your website. Once a visitor has submitted their email address, you can see which channel they came from, how many times they visited you, how many and which pages they visited, and how many forms they filled out.
HubSpot Marketing Free even identifies any embedded forms from other services on your site and tracks the leads that convert through them. This is a smart and extremely useful feature.
From lead to customer
LeadScoreApp (from 500 to 2,000 kr per month) is a Danish tool that takes good care of your leads and makes it easier for you to take their temperature. With LeadScoreApp you can set up a lead scoring system and a tracking ID to your email marketing campaigns. This allows you to see which leads are red-hot and can go straight to the sales department, and which ones need to be warmed up a little more. You can also set up automatic email campaigns to further warm up leads.
Automated email marketing based on the behaviour of your leads and their lead score is effective at heating up half-warm leads and getting them ready to become customers. Many email marketing systems support the creation of automated flows – including Campaign Monitor (from 5$/per campaign) and MailChimp (from10$ per month).
From customer to ambassador
To turn your clients into ambassadors, you must continue to provide relevant and inspiring content that makes them wiser and more satisfied. In other words, it is your good old-fashioned legwork and your toolbox that come into play.
HubSpot also has a free (and user-friendly) CRM system, which lets you keep an overview of your pipeline and gather information about your customers in one place.
A Swiss army knife or a toolbox?
The tools mentioned above make up just a fraction of all the tools that can help you systemise your content marketing efforts. The advantage of these kinds of independent tools is that they are relatively inexpensive and do the job once you know how to use them together with each other. The downside is that it can be difficult to know how to get these many proprietary systems to work together and still be able to meaningfully analyse the data they deliver.
The solution to this challenge could be to choose an all-in-one tool, and here nothing beats HubSpot. With HubSpot, you get a complete digital marketing toolbox with all the above features plus many more. By managing all your efforts from one unified system, you can be sure that all your data is interconnected. This makes it much easier to measure the impact of your efforts. The downside is that a system like HubSpot can make a big hole in your wallet – see prices here.
This kind of Rolls Royce solution is certainly not relevant for everyone, but if you are serious about your content marketing efforts, have a need to measure the impact of what you are doing, and also an ambition to actively use your content for gathering quality leads and generating more sales - you should already start preparing a compelling sales pitch for the next budget meeting.
If you would like to talk about which toolbox best suits your level of ambition, please feel free to contact Casper (firstname.lastname@example.org / +45 29 91 22 86).