What is a B2B Go-To-Market (GTM) Strategy?

Broadly, go-to-market (GTM) refers to the act of bringing a new revenue-generating business practice to the right buyers.

In other words, GTM is the motion of your entire company (or at least the marketing and sales teams) when introducing a new product.

Naturally, there are many moving parts during this. The best GTM strategies match the level of complexity with a level of flexibility and resiliency. A great GTM strategy will bend but not break under the internal and external pressure of introducing a new product to the market.

More than just a strategy for one particular product, a GTM is also a philosophy and a distinct way of organizing your employees into a structure that best suits the needs of your upcoming product launch.

GTM is a complicated subject, so today’s blog will cover just what you need to know to get started on creating a GTM of your own.

What is GTM in B2B?

A GTM is not a single, one-off marketing or sales strategy for a single product launch.

Instead, you should imagine your GTM motion as the form your company takes when it’s about to launch a certain product or revenue source.

This form will need to be malleable to adapt to the needs of each individual launch. On top of this, your GTM needs to be structured in a way that holds employees responsible from the top down.

Ultimately, your GTM should be:

  • A repeatable and iterative process for revenue source introductions.
  • Scalable. In fact, a strong GTM may even answer the question of how to scale your business.
  • A cultural force for your employees to rally around.

Types of GTM Motions

Before we get into the motions, let’s briefly mention the three main parts of a GTM: strategy, planning, and execution.

Each product launch will necessitate different strategies, planning, and execution, as well as a unique mixture of each.

Start by considering how you intend to bring your product to market. Is sales leading the charge with outbounds? Or are you taking a more subtle approach and looking to integrate with partners and scale alongside the ecosystem?

Here are three examples of GTM motion types and how the planning, strategy, and execution look for each one.

Inbound-Led

  • Strategy: Utilize content marketing to drive traffic to conversion channels.
  • Planning: Since this is a fairly traditional strategy, your organization shouldn’t need to move too much to accommodate it. Still, all players with skin in the game need to be involved in the strategy session. This means having sales and marketing together with senior leadership determine what success looks like before any decisions are finalized.
  • Execution: Your marketing team will generate and capture demand with high-quality content. MQLs will be forwarded to sales for outbound follow-up.

Category-Led

  • Strategy: Become a category leader by introducing a new movement or idea that’s meant to transform the marketplace.
  • Planning: Generating an idea or concept on this level takes decades of experience and knowledge. If your leadership team has something they think can truly change things, it’s time to figure out how to tell people about it.
  • Execution: You’ll need to establish the credibility of an industry leader. Results are king here – legions of happy customers will be all the proof you need.

Product-Led

  • Strategy: Let the quality of your product be the loudest voice in the customer’s head. If you have something customers don’t think they can live without, you’ve got a source of revenue and an invaluable business partnership.
  • Planning: Your product should be made from the ground up to influence customers. A combination of free and paid features can help here – customers will stick around if value is being provided for nothing in return.
  • Execution: It’s so good that users will naturally spend the time to experience the product and use it to facilitate further deals and feature discovery. Sales and marketing should be on hand ready to take advantage of the demand your product will generate for itself.

4 Go-To-Market Strategy Tips

Here are a few tips when creating a GTM strategy from scratch.

1. Resist the Urge to Assign a Single Owner

It’s tempting to eliminate the possibility of “too many cooks in the kitchen” by assigning a single employee to hold responsible for the GTM. We believe this is a mistake.

It’s more important that the entire organization feels the pressure of accountability. Naturally, since more people are involved and being held responsible, there are more angles to consider and more employees to keep happy.

However, this increase in the challenge of people management should be offset by the increased synchronicity of your operation.

2. Be Comfortable Introducing New Roles and Responsibilities

It’s not necessary to change your entire org chart every time you launch a new product. But it is critically important that employees on all levels get comfortable with slightly different roles regularly.

The more each employee knows about how to operate in diverse roles, the easier it will be for them to adapt under pressure. This kind of adaptability is exactly what a strong GTM motion should aim for.

3. Emphasize the Team Nature of GTM

Business is a team game. GTM, being one of the most important aspects of your business, is the ultimate teambuilding tool.

Look at your upcoming GTM motion as an opportunity for your business to prove it belongs. Each employee in your organization should be involved in and aware of the strategy and what they’re expected to contribute. Motivating employees is its own challenge, but you can start by emphasizing the unique nature of the situation (a product launch) from the top down.

4. Choose One Strategy and Stick to It

When faced with such a large decision, it can be difficult to even begin searching for the correct path. This problem will only be exacerbated when you’re involving so many employees from disparate areas of your company, each of whom will bring unique concerns and perspectives.

Don’t fall for the trap of assuming you can perfect a GTM in a board room.

Avoid decision paralysis. Don’t worry about if your GTM motion is perfect – because it isn’t! No plan ever is. Instead of waiting around for the exact right moment, or for when you no longer feel any anxiety or uncertainty about your plan, pick a path and stick to it.

You can and will adapt on the fly as issues arise.

What is a Good B2B GTM Strategy?

Every great GTM strategy should be distinct from all the ones used before it.

The simple reason for this is that no two companies, let alone product launches, are ever the same. No two moments in time can be directly compared. No material conditions are ever identical. Your GTM strategy should follow this principle as well. Bruce Lee once observed that water takes the shape of any container it enters, yet is never anything other than water.

Your GTM strategy should be like water: true to itself but adaptable enough to generate solutions to problems in real time and ultimately take whatever shape is needed to drive growth.

If you’re interested in learning more, Hushly’s Efficient Growth at Scale eBook contains even more information on creating GTM strategies at any scale.

How to Create Personalized Landing Pages in 6 Steps

Someone who trusts you will come to you with many problems. In the world of business, problems mean opportunities to build solutions.

What if you had a permanent funnel of problems to cook up solutions to, each of them coming from a few customers who are so engaged with your content and products that they come to you first before even looking for other companies?

You’d be sitting on a goldmine.

This is the goal of personalized marketing content. In particular, today’s blog will be about personalized landing pages and how to effectively use them to generate trust and establish long-term business relationships that will help both parties scale.

What Do Personalized Landing Pages Look Like?

Google considers the first page a client lands on to be a landing page.

This is not always a homepage. In fact, it rarely is.

Instead, a landing page looks more like this:

This is where the Google link landed me after searching for “personalized landing pages Hushly.”

Notice that this page doesn’t focus on anything except the solution I was searching for. This is because it’s based on the search result.

As I scroll, even more information becomes available, but all of it is still only related to my original search term (plus some other features that are related to it).

An even more personalized approach is possible and desirable when dealing with large customers like B2B buyers.

Why Use Personalized Landing Pages?

Here are a few reasons you should consider personalized landing pages.

B2B Customers Are Inundated with Ads and Generic Content

Marketing expert Ron Marshall penned this blog in 2015 where he attempted to count all of the ads he encountered in a single day to test the idea that each individual is exposed to up to 10,000 ads per day.

The experiment lasted less than an hour.

Before breakfast, Marshall had counted nearly 500 ads. Going outdoors would only increase the number of ads he was seeing. He called it quits there and decided the 10,000 figure was probably correct.

Buyers Have Limited Attention and Must Be Selective

The real world is a cacophony of information.

This doesn’t just include advertising. Our human brains are only capable of processing so much information at one time, so we are naturally evolved to make choices as to what information is worth paying attention to.

Personalized content is about recognizing this simple reality and trying to break through someone’s selective attention defenses to prove that you’re not just peddling more noise, but a legitimate solution to problems they’re facing.

6 Steps to Creating Personalized Landing Pages

Identifying your targets, challenging though it may seem, is the easy part. Now you’ve got to create the content. You’ll need unique content for each landing page you plan to personalize.

Here are six steps for creating that content.

1. Know Your Customer and Their Level of Engagement

You need to know the ins and outs of your B2B buyer’s company, responsibilities, needs, wants, and prior experience with your company.

Where the buyer is on the journey, and how they’re feeling about it, is the key to crafting great personalized landing pages.

How engaged are they with your sales process? Are they a return customer or a new prospect? How far along in their research have they gotten before you were involved?

Some of these can be answered with data, but some of them will require more involved research.

Don’t be afraid to reach out to potential customers to find this information out directly. It can help them and other customers who might fit a similar niche.

2. Leverage Search Results

How a customer searches for your content is crucial to how they’ll engage with it.

A customer who searched for a competitor of yours needs to know why your alternative is better, whereas someone who searches for you directly doesn’t need to hear about how you’re better than a competitor – who knows if they’ve ever heard of them?

You should also consider your keyword strategy and if it’s coherent across all landing pages. Your messaging is important, so similar keywords should appear in all forms of content.

3. Cater Landing Pages to Personas

Your buyer persona is your best customer. They check every box, are interested in your product, and are looking to scale alongside you. Always keep them in mind when crafting your landing page.

Though the persona is technically fictional, their specificity is bound to elicit a strong emotional reaction to real customers who feel you’ve really understood their pain points and offered a solution that makes sense to them.

In this way, your use of the character of your persona will be like how a writer uses a narrative to generate emotional investment. If a buyer sees themselves in the persona you’ve created, you can easily show them how your solution makes their lives easier.

4. Localize

Geographics can be as important as demographics. Learn your audience and prove that to them by taking an interest in their locale.

A buyer who believes you understand them, their goals, and even their daily lives may likely listen when you pitch your solution.

An easy example of this has to do with language.

If a customer is connecting to your website from French Canada, an option to navigate to your French website should be prominent on their personalized landing page. You could also include things like pictures of their location to further drive home that you’re knowledgeable about them and their circumstances.

5. Prioritize the Customer’s Needs

The ideal customer relationship is one that is mutually beneficial.

You want your product to help their company grow, and their success will contribute to your own. In this way, you are forming a partnership for the future.

Like any good relationship, the one between you and your B2B buyer must be based on trust.

How do you earn trust before someone knows anything about you? By showing them your good faith: prove the value you can offer them for nothing in return. This is the principle behind all ungated content marketing, so personalized content should only drive this home further.

6. Let Hushly Do It for You

No matter how skilled you are at crafting marketing content, the ordeal of sifting through reams of data combined with the creative pressure of personalizing your message to dozens of clients can weigh on you. The problem only grows larger as you scale.

If you’re interested in dropping that stress from your life, consider an automated content platform like Hushly.

Hushly uses a data-driven approach to personalized landing pages. We supply all the tools you need to create adaptable, scalable, personalized landing pages for every client you serve.

Earn Their Trust, Earn Their Business

If you’re confident in your product and your service, you should be extremely motivated to share it with those you believe it can help.

After all, if I’m capable of helping you, but you can’t find me when you need me, what use am I to you?

You want to be there for those who trust you. Your company should walk a similar line with the B2B clients that are most important to its business model.

When crafting any personalized content, whether it be landing pages or email campaigns, remember that your main goal is to earn the trust and camaraderie of the person you’re dealing with. Manage these relationships like you would your personal life.

Personalized marketing content should be friendly and familiar, like someone who is genuinely interested in your problems and wants to see you succeed.

If you can manage to convince buyers that you’re engaged in their problems at this level, you’ll have a far easier time selling them your solution.

Take a look at Hushly’s eBook, Efficient Growth at Scale, for more information on how personalized content will help you scale.

Marketing Pillars of Efficient Growth at Scale

To create an efficient growth model you need to develop a repeatable, scalable motion. And know your ‘Why’. Why should your buyers care about your company? Why did you create this product and what problems does it solve? Understanding your ‘Why’ will be the catalyst to your entire go-to-market strategy. 

Luckily, marketers have started to see a shift in growth at all costs to efficient growth based on data-driven, scalable marketing. There are big trends in the market supporting this shift — most of which focus on how to drive predictable pipeline and revenue generation with the adoption of technology, data, and prioritization of the buyer’s experience.

Source: GTM Partners

The key to driving efficient growth is to orchestrate well-timed and personalized experiences that meet the needs of the prospective buyer – where they are in their journey – reduce friction and build relationships. There are two key marketing pillars required to drive efficient growth: content and experience. Read on to see exactly why without investment in these two areas it will be tough to develop a repeatable, scalable motion.

Pillar 1: Content 

66% of marketers
are devoting more budget and resources to content
this year than the last – according to HubSpot.

Content is more imperative than ever. And you need to have it for every stage of the buyer journey. But, your content can’t just be content for the sake of content. You need to establish the right message for the right people at each stage of the buyer’s journey that maps back to your “Why”. 

Gartner does a great job illustrating how complex the B2B buyer’s journey is and why you need to ensure you have the right content to answer questions across every channel and stage. In fact, the research found that customers who perceived the information they received from suppliers to be helpful were 2.8 times more likely to experience a high degree of purchase ease, and three times more likely to buy a bigger deal with less regret.

source: Gartner

There are three core components to developing a content strategy that drives efficient growth. 

Step 1: Identify topics and keywords

Understand what your audience cares about by looking at the data. What are they searching for at each stage that’s relevant to your “Why”. It’s really important to dig into keywords you are tracking and prioritizing. Your keywords will be used for several things like, capturing intent data, SEO strategy, and ultimately developing your content pillars. Remember the old adage “Crap-in, crap out”? Well it definitely holds true here, so take the time to get your keywords right!

  • What words, phrases etc. Start by thinking about what you’d seach for if you were one of your persona’s
  • Interview customers and talk to other people your company
  • Once you get a long list, do some research to see what you’re missing.

Step 2: Establish content pillars

Leveraging intent data provides great insight into what your target accounts are interested in, especially in relation to your product and solution offerings. If you don’t have an intent data provider, no problem! Go back to your keyword list and make some assumptions based on what you know. You could also try a free tool or Google Search Console to see what keywords users used to get to your website.

source: Hushly

Once you know your top keywords and topics you need to tie them back to your product and value prop and establish “Content Pillars” or themes.

source: Hushly

In this example, you can see that the organization offers B2B growth marketing solutions, and that their target accounts are showing intent for keywords such as ‘B2B Growth’ and ‘Marketing Growth.’ Do this exercise for your business and develop pillars that can support both your inbound and ABM strategies.

Step 3: Create a content matrix

Now that you have your content pillars you will need to map out the different types of content you need for each stage in the buyer’s journey, personas, and channels.

source: Hushly

Pro Tip: Most content can be turned into multiple formats with varying degrees
of depth according to the persona and stage in the buyers journey.

Hopefully, you have existing content ou can leverage, but now is a good time to inventory what you have and find the gaps you have. A lot of businesses tend to have more top of funnel content but not enough for the mid and bottom of funnel. 

The best thing about having a content matrix is when you are planning marketing campaigns you can easily pull it up to see what you have to leverage and where you need to make more investments. 

Pillar 2: Experience 

“To put it bluntly, if a buyer doesn’t like the way you
interact with them, they will go somewhere else.”
Sangram Vajre, Founder at GTM Partners

Every step in your buyer’s journey is an opportunity to delight your prospects and make doing business with you a pleasure. That’s why it’s so important to examine each step and think about how you can better enable your buyers. Where are the points of friction and how can you alleviate them? Make every interaction

purposeful and as frictionless as possible!

The best way to understand what experiences you need is to map the content you have to the touchpoints and channels you plan to deliver it on. This should allow you to easily identify what experience you need to build.

source: Hushly

Then from there, you should look to the following areas to improve the experience.

  1. Use intent data.
    In order to understand what your audience is looking for and what buying stage they are in you need to know what they are doing behind the scenes. 
  2. Inspect what you expect.
    All of your paid and earned channels should be driving your audience to your website. Evaluate what your audience is seeing when they get there.
  3. Create dynamic landing pages.
    Using the content matrix and taxonomy you developed plus advanced technology like Hushly, you can dynamically serve up a content experience that is highly relevant to your audience.
  4. Ungate content & utilize smart forms.
    These days, most of your content should be UNgated! Be sure to consider the type of content you are publishing before putting it behind a form. If you do have to use a form don’t ask for information you don’t need. 
  5. Be sticky!
    After you’ve done all the hard work of getting someone to your landing page keep them there! Perscribe content to read next and answer questions on the spot with live chat. Make sure people are finding what they are looking for and more when they are there.

We know it can be intimidating to put together an experience that is both repeatable and scalable. The good news is, there is technology and data to support us in making it happen. As we think about the buying experience, we like to design always-on programs that are in sync with your buyers needs. 

It is our job as marketers and sales teams to meet potential buyers where they are in their journey with helpful, relevant information. Leverage content and reduce friction to make it easy for buyers to discover what they need to make an informed buying decision.

source: Hushly ABM Experience

By leveraging tools like Demandbase, RollWorks, 6Sense Zoominfo or Bombora for intent data and buyer experience and conversion platforms like Hushly you can dynamically personalize your website, ABM pages, and campaign destinations in real-time. You can personalize things like:

  • Showing target account logos
  • Copy and graphics
  • Videos 
  • Swap out content by persona, account, industry, etc.
  • Providing the right account reps contact info
  • Messaging by stage of the journey

Investing in the experience does require the right resources and technology. But once you have it in place, you really can build a single page and scale it to thousands of your target accounts. This is really where you start to see efficiencies in your marketing efforts. 

Pulling it all together

Using the right technology coupled with a strong content strategy allows you to create a relevant, and scalable content

experience that will both educate and move prospects along in the buyer’s journey faster and more efficiently.

Without a content strategy and the right technology, the chances of a disconnected and inconsistent experience are high. However, when creating a content strategy, the tendency of many businesses is to create a lot of content and put it all out there (behind a gate) for prospects to consume after they give you their contact information.  And then send a BDR, or Sales Executive after them to try and get a meeting. This experience creates low conversion rates, missed revenue targets, and poor brand perception.

Increasingly, we are learning that prospects are looking to simply figure out how to do things better, and get results. They buy products with the result in mind. They do research to uncover what their options are and how they work. They are pulled in many directions so when it’s hard to find what they are looking for they will bounce and go somewhere else.

Marketing teams that create meaningful, personalized content experiences, in a repeatable, scalable way – will win the hearts, minds, and wallets of the customer. It’s time to create a better buying experience in the name of efficient growth!

How to Do B2B Keyword Research That Brings Leads

You plan your B2B marketing content carefully to add value to the lives of your clients, inform customers about new or upgraded products, and direct prospects to your sales teams to close the deals. But does your B2B marketing content generate leads with a coherent strategy based on strong B2B keyword research?

According to Baclinko, 99% of clicks are on the first page of search engine results. The top 3 results by themselves see more than 50% combined clicks.

All of this means that your B2B keywords are extremely important to your organic search results.

Today’s guide will give you a brief overview of keywords, how they apply to B2B customers, and some actionable tips on how to choose the right keyword for your content strategy.

What is a B2B Keyword?

When we refer to keywords, we’re talking about the language you focus on when creating and marketing your content. Your favored keywords should appear in multiple diverse places on your website.

B2B keywords are unique because B2B clients use different languages and have a different philosophy compared to B2C clients.

A B2C client has the license to be compulsive. They don’t need to consider as many variables before making a purchase decision. This psychological mindset is radically different from a B2B buyer, who has to balance the needs of the entire company against their personal preferences.

All of this means that B2B buyers will be more thorough in their research. Their use of keywords will be savvier, and they’ll have spent enough time sorting through lots of content to know what’s useful to their research and what isn’t.

The B2B content marketer’s job is to anticipate what their ideal client is going to be searching for, so the right content is ready to go when the buyer needs it.

How Do You Do B2B Keyword Research?

There are a few methods for finding great B2B keywords. If you’ve never done it before, it might help to take a look at some of the internet’s most popular B2B keywords, for example, this list put together by Mondovo.

Before you start creating content based on the world’s highest performing keywords, keep in mind that ranking for these keywords will be very challenging, if not impossible, regardless of the quality of your content. The simple fact is that the higher a keyword ranks, the more likely it is that someone has already produced the content you would like to make for that subject.

Instead, go through the list for an example of the kind of language and questions that B2B clients are asking.

Put Yourself in the Buyer’s Shoes

Try putting on your client hat for a moment and research as though you had no idea your company existed. Take on the persona of one of your ideal clients. This can be a real buyer or a fictional one that checks all your boxes. The important thing is that you’re becoming your own ideal customer to determine what information they want and how best to deliver it to them.

What kinds of questions would you be asking yourself? Keep in mind that these questions and concerns will change as you get further in the process. Your initial question may be so broad that it immediately spawns several smaller and more specific questions. This is the crux of keyword research: unfolding a broader topic until you find a question that hasn’t been answered well.

Use Automated Tools

Once you get a long list of possible keywords, we recommend you use some online tools to find even better keywords that you can rank for quickly.

  • Semrush and Spyfu are domain search tools that allow you to input a URL and explore that site’s keyword ranking information. This is extremely useful for analyzing competitors’ keyword usage as well as identifying possible ranking opportunities.
  • Semrush also offers a keyword gap tool that helps you compare your keyword usage to your competitors.
  • Keyword Hero is another online tool that helps you understand what keywords are leading customers to your content.

Is SEO Effective for B2B?

SEO techniques are based on the marketing community’s understanding of search engine algorithms. Their usefulness doesn’t depend on the subject being searched for. Since most research by B2B clients will be done using the internet and various search engines, applying SEO keyword philosophy to your content is the best way to increase organic search engine traffic.

If a customer is searching for a keyword that you’ve already written 10 blogs about, Google will see your website as more authoritative and comprehensive and rank your website higher as a result.

Focusing on certain keywords is a way to optimize your search engine rankings. SEO and SERP (search engine result pages) are seen by customers as organic and trustworthy. Your appearance high on the SERP will instantly build credibility for your brand.

What to Consider When Doing B2B Keyword Research for SEO

Knowing how to do the research is one thing, but how do you know you’ve found a promising keyword that could be the basis of a single piece of content? What about a keyword that your entire brand is built around?

The most important question when it comes to selecting keywords is how challenging it will be to rank for them.

Naturally, being at the top of the list for a search term with a five-figure monthly search volume is a home run. You’ll be swimming in clicks and the quality of your content will carry the day from there.

However, this is much easier said than done. Reaching the top of any keyword search result requires consistent quality content and authority that is generally built up for months or even years.

Instead of shooting right for the top, you should select keywords based on the following criteria:

Client Feedback

A great way to build a list of potential keywords is to get in touch with some of your important clients and ask them what kind of research they’re doing regularly. This is an extremely valuable insight that should apply to much more than just your keyword strategy.

Your Own Sales and Marketing Teams

Your own sales and marketing team will have important insights that you should farm for keyword ideas. They’ll have their own perspective on what kinds of information they wish was publicly available, as well as what kinds of feedback they get from clients and prospects.

Your Own Content

Use one of the automated tools above to analyze your own content as it currently exists.

What keywords are showing up regularly? How does your brand’s existing language rank on SERPs? Is there a coherent philosophy that you should add to? Or will you need to create an overarching keyword strategy from scratch?

Competitor’s Content

You should use the same tools to take a look at some of your competitors. This will give you a range of insights like how well you rank compared to them, as well as where the gaps in their content exist that you might fill.

Choose a Strategy for Long-Term Growth

There is no shortcut to the top. 94% of Google searchers immediately scroll past SERP advertisements.

If you want to rank in one of the coveted top three spots, which account for 68% of all SERP click-throughs, you’ll need time and dedication to crafting high-quality content that users engage with. You’ll need to accomplish this with an eye on the ever-changing keyword landscape.

Ideally, you’ll flesh out a list of frequent keywords that are highly relevant to your business and customers. Over time, with consistency and dedication, your odds of reaching the top will increase.

Check out Hushly’s Efficient Growth at Scale eBook for more tips on finding the right B2B keywords.

Your Guide to Creating a Content Matrix

Try visualizing yourself as someone shopping for a product like the one you’re selling.

How do you expect to engage with content? What does it feel like to learn about a product, educate yourself on it, decide whether it’s worth buying, and pull the trigger on the purchase?

If you’re selling to B2B customers, you know this journey can take months and involve half a dozen decision markers.

Each step on this buyer’s long journey is a chance to present them with content that will close the deal. However, each piece of content needs to make sense of where the buyer is on the path.

From the first moment the customer learns about your brand, through the education process, all the way to the closing of the sale, different marketing content will be needed to keep the customer well nurtured and on the path towards buying.

This strategy is what a content matrix embodies, and it’s the main principle behind our recommendation that you build one.

Our guide today will cover some important reasons to consider creating a content matrix and give you some easy ways to begin crafting your own.

What is a Content Matrix?

In broad terms, your content matrix is the overarching theme and flow of your content marketing.

Think of the buyer journey as a path along which many smaller paths branch. Each smaller branch is a piece of content that is right for that stage in the buyer’s journey.

For example, a radio or television ad is appropriate for someone who’s never heard of your product before. On the other hand, an email to a lapsed customer is only contextual if that person has actually bought something from you before.

Both of these pieces of content are crucially important and can lead directly to conversions. Though they’re separated by time and context, you’ll need both at the right time to truly succeed in marketing content.

Why is a Content Matrix Important to B2B Customers?

Just like the movie, customers shouldn’t realize they’re in the matrix.

Your content matrix isn’t something that you’ll be presenting to customers, yet it’s still crucial to the process of marketing content to B2B buyers. This is because it represents your plan, even if you’re not calling it a matrix.

Not having a plan is tantamount to going in blind with your marketing materials. Why waste time creating high-quality and engaging content only to skip the step of figuring out when and where to deploy it for maximum impact?

B2B Customers Have Higher Standards

B2B buyers spend more time researching decisions than B2C customers.

The quality of their research is also better, meaning they won’t be swayed by rushed or poorly made content.

In this LinkedIn blog post, Pinterest’s Christina O’Connor makes the great point that although 67% of the buyer’s journey may involve self-directed research, it doesn’t mean sales teams should be excluded from the process. Sales teams can prove why they must be involved by providing tangible value.

In short, B2B decision-makers expect more – a longer sales cycle means more opportunities to impress. Other companies will make the effort, so yours won’t stand out if you’re not doing the same thing.

However, you can’t just insert yourself into the process arbitrarily.

There needs to be an obvious reason for your involvement from a customer perspective, or else they won’t bother with the interaction. Why should they trust someone who wants to sell them something over their own research?

The only reason would be because you’ve proven to them you can improve their lives for free – hence the value of great content organized well.

A well-thought-out content matrix is a key step toward ensuring each client has a memorable and positive experience every time they engage with your brand.

How to Create a Content Matrix

If you want to get started on a content matrix, or just want to evaluate the one you’re currently using, consider some of the following core principles that Hushly follows when crafting a content matrix.

Create Content Pillars

Start by thinking about all of the different kinds of content you’ll need for the buyer’s journey. These are your content pillars around which your content creation will be organized.

Here are five examples of content pillars you can follow along with or change for your own purposes.

  • First Impressions: The most basic form of advertising – you’ll want content designed to reach new customers by introducing them to your brand.
  • First Purchase: This is more advanced content aimed at customers who are ready to make their first purchase. Think of this type of content as something someone would find when browsing your website for the first time.
  • Retaining Customers: Once a customer has bought your product, you’ll need to keep them hooked with content that educates them about how to get the most from your solution, as well as informs them of new features they may not be familiar with yet.
  • Re-Engagement: After your customer has bought from you once, they’re much more likely to do it again. You’ll want marketing content that acknowledges their status as loyal customers while informing them on how further purchases can make a similar positive impact.
  • Converting Lapsed Customers: Finally, for those customers who bought from you once but didn’t come back, it’s worth crafting content that tries to find out why. A simple email campaign asking for feedback could change their mind, or at least supply valuable insight as to why they left.

Create Buyer Personas

To go along with the theme of putting yourself in your buyer’s shoes, it can be extremely useful to craft a buyer persona.

A buyer persona is basically a fictionalized version of your ideal B2B buyer. The purpose of creating one is to imagine all of the ways your company can make their lives easier. This is a form of preparation that is invaluable to matrix creation.

Create Multi-Channel Content

A diverse mixture of video, print, blogs, and other forms of content is necessary. Just like the timing of the content is important, the kind of content you create needs to be diverse and suitable for all stages of buyer development.

Organize Content

The majority of the matrix will be made here.

Organize your content based on the pillars and channels they are most appropriate for. An excel spreadsheet could help with this, but there are also templates online that you can use.

Take Stock and Reevaluate

No plan is perfect, especially the first time you implement it. Your content matrix will be no different.

A truly great content matrix is one that’s been developed over time with feedback from clients and fellow marketers. Remember to frequently take stock of how well your content is performing and try to adjust it where needed.

A Failure to Plan is a Plan to Fail

Ultimately, your content matrix is the plan you’re following for your marketing content.

As with all human endeavors, preparation is key to success in this arena. You’ll want a comprehensive matrix that follows some distinct pillars and always takes into account the point of view of the customer.

A well-made content matrix will be constantly updated and drive your marketing well into the future.

For more on content matrices and scaling content with your growth, check out Hushly’s Efficient Growth at Scale eBook.

When Should You Ungate Content?

The decision to ungate your website’s content hinges on many factors. The performance of your MQLs, the importance of your brand awareness, and the quality of your content are all pieces of a puzzle. To know when and how to ungate your content, you’ll need some important information about your company as well as the state of gated and ungated content.

To help, we’ve produced today’s guide. In it, you’ll find a list of helpful tips and concepts that will help you understand when the best time to ungate your content will be.

Gated vs. Ungated Content

Gating content means requiring something from the client before allowing them access to, for example, an eBook that your company has published. This could be monetary, but more often is in the form of landing pages that ask for contact information.

The principle is that if someone is interested enough in your content to give you personal information for it, they should also be more likely to want to buy your product.

Generating MQLs (marketing qualified leads) this way was once seen by many in the marketing world as the most profitable way to use content. However, how consumers engage with content is evolving, and the philosophy behind gated content is no longer ironclad. In fact, many companies are seeing the benefits of switching to ungated content models, or at least modifying their gated content.

Questions to Ask Before Ungating Content

The simple path is to ask whether ungating content will increase the performance of that content. This could be in the form of impressions or revenue. However you define it, your marketing and sales team must be on board first. To convince them, you’ll need to be sure yourself.

 Here is a list of four questions you can use to determine if now is the right time to ungate content.

1. Is Your Gated Content Underperforming?

Gating content comes with some major drawbacks that can affect its performance.

For one, handing over personal information, even if it’s to a business they trust, is still a big risk from a customer’s point of view.

You may just be asking for simple contact information. However, if that contact information is sold or given to a third party, the customer is the person who will suffer the consequences. People are aware of this before going through content gates, and many legitimate prospects could disqualify themselves once prompted for information.

If your gated content is underperforming, this could be a key reason why.

There is also the simple fact that a landing page is an additional step in the sales journey. Each new action you ask a customer to take is another opportunity for them to do nothing and forget about your product instead.

2. How Important is It for Customers to Consume Your Content?

If your content is a key part of your brand, ungating it is something you should strongly consider.

Customers appreciate in-depth articles about topics they care about. They want to learn. Customers care not only about your product, but the context of the problem it’s solving. They also want to learn how to use your solution once they’re convinced you have one.

Gated content can have a deleterious effect on customers like these, who come to your site seeking answers and are dissuaded when it becomes obvious you want to sell it to them. (Make no mistake, even if you aren’t asking for money, customers view their information as a form of currency.) This is especially true if the customer can find the answer to their question for free somewhere else.

3. Have You Already Started Producing Multi-Channel Content?

If you already have a catalog of content made for multi-channel marketing (a mixture of video, blogs, podcasts, etc.), now may be the best time to establish a content hub.

Netflix and other streaming platforms have changed the way customers view content. There is no longer the expectation that you’ll learn a bit about the content before deciding whether or not to “buy” it.

Instead, customers expect to view and access content on their own time and without needing to give anything in return. It may seem counterintuitive to create value and give it away for free, but remember that building your brand awareness by utilizing all the high-quality content you spent good money on is not nothing.

4. Do You Have Time to Wait for Results?

There will be a time lag between making the switch to ungated content and seeing the results.

Remember that you are not capturing existing demand but creating new demand by ungating content. This means that you’ll need to wait for customers to find the content for it to work. This is, of course, in direct contrast to gated content which requires (and is made for) marketing to push.

If your company can’t afford to relinquish existing demand in search of new demand, now might not be the time to ungate.

How to Start Ungating Content?

Here are a few tips for making the switch from gated to ungated content.

Start With Your Best Performing Content

It may be tempting to test out ungated content using the content you care least about.

This is a mistake. Instead, you should use your best content to ensure that users who come across it are engrossed and educated at the same time. Remember that one of the main benefits of ungated content is the boost it can bring to your brand awareness and credibility. Maximize that with your highest-quality, best-performing content upfront.

We recommend you measure this by cost per lead or other content engagement metrics.

Create a Hub

Long-form content, like eBooks, is a fantastic resource for content hubs. Chapters of eBooks can be broken down or expanded on to create blog posts. Chopping up an eBook like this could generate blog posts for months.

You can also use the email campaigns that previously pointed to your gated content to direct traffic to the hub.

Generate Buy In

When selling this to your sales and other marketing executives, come prepared with statistics. Compare the performance of your MQLs and SQLs and leverage the attitudes of your sales team. Do they feel like they’re wasting time on low-quality MQLs when they could be focusing on outbounds? This is a powerful sentiment that can be leveraged in your favor.

Allow Time

Set the expectation among yourself and others that the results of the switch won’t be immediate. You’ll need to allow the time for the new demand to be generated. Have faith in your content for which you paid a lot of money and worked hard to produce. If the content quality is there, the impressions will follow.

It’s Not All or Nothing

Keep in mind that gating or ungating ALL content is not a requirement. As with many decisions you make in marketing and business strategy, there is often a happy middle ground that your content might occupy.

Hushly’s philosophy of micro gating content could also be right for you. By micro gating, we mean giving people some of the content for nothing and asking for contact information once the user goes deeper into the material. Hushly’s advanced software can track these leads to generate MQLs and other valuable data as well.

Check out Hushly’s Efficient Growth at Scale eBook for more information on curating your content and how micro gating can give you the best of both worlds.

Subfolder vs. Subdomain for SEO: Which is Better?

After deciding what type of content to host on your website, you’re going to quickly be asking another question: “Should I host my content on subfolders or on subdomains?”

Subfolders are the classic option. The internet was built on subdirectories and folders, and their basic structure means they’re easy to understand since they directly resemble traditional computer files and directories. In short: they’re easy to grasp and use.

Subdomains are not new, but their use is growing alongside the rise of remote web services like Google’s Cloud Platform or Amazon Web Services. The simple reason for this is that subdomains interact more easily with remote services compared to traditional subdirectories, an advantage that will only grow larger as remote services continue to grow.

So, does the advent of remote services mean that you should choose subdomains instead of subfolders to organize your website’s content? Or is the simplicity of subfolders still the gold standard?

We’ve produced today’s guide to break down the issue from our perspective to help you choose the best option for your new website.

What is a Subfolder?

It’s easy to tell you’re on a website using subfolders just by looking at the URL: Hushly.com/blog is a subfolder, the /blog at the end is the name of the folder, while Hushly.com is the domain.

Most websites are set up with subfolders by default. They work like the file folders on your computer, with many smaller web pages all being linked to one main page.

When you navigate to a subdirectory on a website, you’re usually navigating to a folder that contains an HTML file. In this way, subdirectories are structural pieces of the website associated with the domain name.

If the website is PHP-based (WordPress), the subfolders are virtual. However, they are still part of the file structure of the site itself.

What is a Subdomain?

A subdomain looks like this: resources.hushly.com. Hushly.com is the main domain, while resources.hushly.com is actually an entirely different website. In fact, anything that comes before the main domain is considered a subdomain, even “www.”

Google has long considered subdomains different websites, and they treat them as such. They even require subdomains to be separately verified in Google Search Console.

According to Google’s SEO webmaster, the search algorithm takes a few days to learn how to crawl subdomains (as compared to subfolders), but he assures us that this is mostly just a formality.

Subfolders vs. Subdomains: Similarities and Differences

There are some good reasons to consider subfolders as well as subdomains. In this section, we’ll compare the two and point out some key similarities and differences.

Why Subfolders Are Useful

A website with subfolders is the most common. This is because most basic websites have this structure as soon as you acquire them, which eliminates the need for additional setup or to verify each subdirectory with Google Search Console.

The early internet was organized on the principles of subfolders.

Until fairly recently, most websites you navigated to were hosted on physical servers. Finding a subdirectory meant you were downloading and opening an HTML file which was the webpage. The internet is still largely structured this way, which makes subfolders a natural option for the structure of your website.

Subfolders are also useful because search engines consider each subfolder part of the main website. Content on mainsite.com/BlogA and mainsite.com/BlogB will both contribute to mainsite.com’s SEO rankings. This means the site will be seen as more authoritative, even if its content is spread around different subdirectories.

Why Subdomains Are Useful

While the early internet favored subfolders, the advent of remote services means that many modern websites are switching to subdomains.

Remote services are easier to manage when used with subdomains.

The technical reason for this is that DNS records, which are necessary for remote services to function, only work on the domain level. This doesn’t include subdirectories.

If the blog at mainsite.com/blog is hosted remotely, the traffic to the hosted blog won’t count unless the traffic is sorted through a reverse proxy. Setting up a reverse proxy is not a minor endeavor and will generally require the use of special web tools like NGINX or another reverse proxy host.

A reverse proxy will also slow the performance of your website since it’s adding an extra step for each client that connects.

Subdomains avoid this problem by existing on the domain level. A DNS CNAME record is usually all that’s needed to link the subdomain to the host of the blog.

Subdomains are also useful as maintenance tools: a test website can be established, which allows you to make and test changes without affecting the main website.

Separate domains also make sense if you’re building a website in another language. Your English keywords aren’t going to rank in Spanish or German, so establishing different domains for those will make more sense.

Are Subdomains or Subfolders Better for SEO?

In 2017, Google Search Central’s YouTube channel stated that both subdomains and subfolders are fine for SEO.

In fact, their webmaster made the point that the only difference is a minor change in the time it takes to crawl a new subdomain, generally on the order of “a few days” according to the video’s presenter.

So according to the main source, there is no difference between the two.

Yet there still exists a lot of debate around the web, and the conventional wisdom is usually that subfolders are the stronger option simply because Google will treat each subfolder as a piece of the main website – thus bolstering your main domain’s overall rankings.

However, this is only one piece of the puzzle that affects your SEO results and is absolutely not the most important one.

Another piece of that puzzle is how quickly clients are clicking away from your website, which is directly impacted by its performance. Subdomains perform better in this regard because they don’t require reverse proxies.

Choose Based on Stability

Beyond the content itself, the management of the content is another reason subdomains have the edge on subfolders. Making constant changes to your website affects your SEO, and it’s recommended that you keep major changes to a minimum to stabilize your rank.

Subdomains are simply easier to connect with remote services. Since the use of those services is only likely to increase as more clients are connecting to the web from more diverse places around the globe, subdomains may be the most stable choice for the future.

Hushly Makes Creating Subdomains Easy

This is an old debate among website creators and a topic that doesn’t have one correct answer for every situation.

There are a lot of factors that should inform your choice, like how your content will be hosted, your experience as a webmaster, and the type of website you aim for.

At Hushly, we favor subdomains and believe that 25+ years of search algorithm optimization means subdomains perform just as well, if not better, than subfolders.

Hushly’s content curation platform makes use of subdomains to quickly connect with remote services. Our self-nurturing landing pages are subdomains. We also facilitate the easy creation of subdomains on our platform.

If you’re interested in a service that utilizes subdomains frequently, check out our video guide to see how Hushly lets you create a hub for content in just a few clicks.

Contact us and find out how we can help make your content creation, marketing, and sales process simpler.

Mobile Engagement Strategy 101: 6 Ways to Win More B2B Audiences

A business owner spots an ad for your software and is convinced enough by the potential value that he makes a note to research your website later.

He doesn’t remember the note until a few days later when he’s at home going over emails on his phone, and it’s here that he finally has the time to look at your website.

So, what happens when he opens your mobile website?

If you want this hypothetical prospect to find a clean, responsive, and personalized experience that will convince him to pull the trigger on the deal, then you need a mobile B2B engagement strategy that will provide just that.

Today’s guide will explore the intricacies of mobile engagement strategies, share with you some important statistics and information, and provide 6 steps to begin creating your own mobile engagement strategy.

What is B2B Mobile Engagement?

Mobile engagement refers to building a customer experience targeting mobile users and platforms.

This means building a mobile user interface on your website, creating apps that facilitate orders or subscriptions, and pushing mobile-specific promotions and offers.

The ultimate goal of B2B mobile engagement is to create a seamless user experience that blends the power and responsiveness of desktop experience with the convenience of mobile devices.

Does Your Business Need a B2B Mobile Engagement Strategy?

Hushly believes that every business with important B2B operations implements a robust mobile engagement strategy.

Customers count every interaction with your digital presence (mobile or desktop) as part of your customer experience.

Think about it as an opportunity cost. Every time a B2B user has a negative experience with your company, their odds of doing business with you fall. The time and money spent generating a B2B customer’s interest can quickly be lost when they encounter a subpar mobile experience.

If a customer wants to spend money on your product and they encounter some obstacle on the way to it, such as a poorly optimized mobile interface or a slow, unresponsive app, they’ll see your company as incompetent and quickly find somewhere else to spend it.

Crafting a mobile engagement strategy is all about avoiding scenarios like these.

B2B Mobile Users vs. B2B Desktop Users

B2B mobile and desktop users share some essential distinctions you should understand before beginning to craft your mobile engagement strategy.

B2B customers are interested in your product, have the time and wherewithal to engage with you on it, and are willing to be impressed by a great pitch. This much is true regardless of how they are browsing your website.

However, while the typical desktop user is on your site intentionally, the mobile user might steal a moment between meetings or even be at home after work.

Mobile Users Are Desktop Users, Too

Your desktop and mobile operations are not in competition. They should be viewed as two avenues to deliver the same information about the value of your product.

Multi-channel engagement is desirable and likely to occur among savvy B2B users who will spend days and weeks researching before making a final purchase decision.

If a customer has to spend hours on your website, the odds of them opening it up on a mobile device sooner or later skyrocket. You must be prepared when this happens.

Mobile Users Are Distracted Compared to Desktop Users

Mobile users are constantly under siege by notifications, and at any time, they could have their attention compromised by a phone call or other instruction.

You should account for this with pithy, direct information that immediately speaks to the value your company can add to theirs. This way, even if they are distracted, they should be incentivized to return.

Some Key Stats About B2B Mobile Users

Here are some key stats about mobile B2B users that should speak for themselves:

6 Ways to Win More B2B Audiences with Mobile Engagement

Here are 6 stellar ways to improve your B2B mobile customer engagement.

1. Optimize Your Mobile UX

It’s not enough to just have a mobile interface. It’s the bare minimum that savvy B2B customers will expect.

You should focus on optimizing your mobile experience across all kinds of devices. Test your mobile experience often for a firsthand perspective of how it’s working.

2. Support Chat on Mobile Platforms

Finding support from a company representative should be simple, no matter how the customer engages with you. Implementing an automated support chat system is a simple way to accomplish this on mobile websites or applications.

B2B customers who find your website on their mobile devices might not always do this during work hours. An automated system that offers essential assistance and can facilitate human contact when more help is needed can save conversion that otherwise would have been lost.

3. Provide Updates on Process Completion

Mobile users are constantly distracted, but mobile B2B users will be distracted even more often, thanks to their status and responsibilities.

A B2B customer completing an order form on your mobile website or application should be able to tell how far along in the process they are.

Along these lines, it should be possible to pause an order and return to it later so that oft-distracted executives can pick up where they left off.

4. Keep Information Gathering to a Minimum

Mobile users won’t have a great experience if they constantly have to type long strings of information on a phone keyboard.

Try to keep information gathering to a minimum for mobile users. Offer to have more involved information gathering through another channel such as your desktop operation or email.

5. Promote Multi-Channel Engagement

All of your channels should be integrated with one another. There should never be a feeling of dissonance or competition between your mobile and desktop sites.

Instead, look for ways to promote each one at all times. Look at this as a way to demonstrate the consistently high quality of your product to your prospective customers.

6. Hushly

Hushly knows mobile engagement.

We recently released a mobile performance report detailing key information about how Hushly solves the mobile engagement problem.

Hushly can manage and integrate your desktop and mobile websites under one clean, responsive, and data-driven platform.

Our self-nurturing landing pages attract more mobile users, engage them more, and convert at a higher rate than standard webpages.

B2B Customers Need More

B2B customers are a challenge and an opportunity. The stakes are higher, and the decisions come more slowly and deliberately.

However, this means that the hours, days, and weeks your B2B prospect spends with you are an excellent opportunity to demonstrate the value your company can offer them.

Start your mobile engagement strategy to create a cohesive and comprehensive user experience, and B2B customers who demand more from you will be the first to notice.

Curious to see how Hushly can make your content engagement strategy simpler? Contact us today to find out.