From triggered content to case studies: content marketing trends

Email marketing blasts are dead. Long live triggered content!

Research conducted by IBM and eConsultancy states that 90% of marketers agree that dispatching personalised and relevant communications to customers is key to commercial
email_notification_
success.

Despite this, just 20% of customers believe that the average brand truly understands them. Much of this is down to a lack of automated or ‘triggered’ content, which can be scheduled and personalised based on the recent actions or geographical location of the customer.

A previous study has shown that 61% of marketers in the US rely on blast emails, sent en masse as part of a pre-planned marketing campaign, rather than automated messages targeted at individuals, which are used by only 5% of marketers.

Triggered content can include almost any type of automated message, from a ‘welcome’ message for a new account holder, to a gentle reminder that an item has been left in their virtual ‘basket’. These are the most popular types of triggered content:

  • Welcome messages
  • Onboarding
  • Activation
  • Milestones
  • Surveys/polls
  • Order confirmations
  • Shipping confirmations
  • Backorder notifications
  • Return/refund requests
  • Real-time weather or location-based notifications

To reach out and truly engage with the 80% of customers who feel misunderstood, marketers will need to get the hang of triggered content – and fast! Those that do are likely to see their revenues increase, time spent prepping email campaigns reduced and working practices simplified.

The case for case studies

Up to 77% of B2B marketers believe testimonials and case studies to be the most influential form of content; so says the latest report from B2B Technology Marketing Group.case studies

The ‘B2B Content Marketing Spotlight Report’ – based on a sample of 600 B2B marketing professionals – put case studies and testimonials top of the charts in two complimentary categories:

  • ‘Most effective marketing tactic’
  • ‘Most effective content subject to write about’

This result spells out the value of customer-centric and customer-generated content to B2B marketers. B2B customers don’t want the hard sell. Buyers want you to gain their trust before they commit.

A good case study will support both you and your product. It should tell a story, and be backed up with genuine customer feedback and data. This type of content helps B2B buyers imagine how a product or service might work in real life, and adds an element of social validation to the purchase process that gives them the confidence they need to commit to a purchase.

Case studies and testimonials are also highly versatile resources. So, once you’ve taken the time to collate the data and feedback, you can re-use the finished article in a host of different ways, including:

  • Blog posts
  • White papers and eBooks
  • Site content
  • Email promotions
  • Social media posts
  • Brochures
  • Presentations

The effectiveness of case studies and testimonials is far from academic; recruitment community Wikijobs have recently increased their conversion rate by 34% since the adoption of such resources. If that’s still not enough of a case to convince you, check out our guide to case studies and storytelling.

Content marketers are playing the long game

Engagement via social shares and comments is a more important content goal than conversion or immediate action on the CTA, according to new research from like_share_click_easelBusiness2Community.

In response to the question “Which goals are the most important for your blog?”, 70% cited engagement, while only 63% chose conversion or action taken in line with the CTA.

blog-goals

*Graph courtesy of Writtent

Both are dynamic customer processes, though immediate action on a CTA is a short-term sales metric, while engagement via social shares and comments is a long-term, trust-building technique.

This correlates with results noted in Content Marketing Institute’s ‘2016 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends’ report, which found that 82% of enterprise marketers stated engagement as their top content goal.

This trend appears to suggest that marketers are beginning to act on something many of us have known for a while now; in the brave new world of digital marketing, it’s all about playing the long game. This requires building authority and recognition as a leader within your sector before those deals start to close.

More from: Content Strategy / Weekly Round-Up