How to find more marketing hours in the day (and get more return on your content marketing efforts).
Michael Settles, Concep North America
Is it just me, or as we speed towards the last quarter of the year does it seems like there are never enough hours in the day for everything on the To Do list? It’s that time of the year when most firms seem to have more events than ever to organize, campaigns that need to go out and new thinking and content to distribute to clients and prospects.
It’s also the time of year when we should start reflecting on the year so far, analyzing what has worked and what can be improved, deciding how can we use insights to be more strategic going forward. That’s takes time a lot of us just don’t have.
So how do we get back more hours in the day? One solution is to explore which processes and activities could benefit from marketing automation. Automation is a big topic and a buzzword we’ve been hearing about for a while in the professional services ecosystem. Most of us are familiar with marketing platforms that will take your contacts ‘on a journey’ until they finally “click” or “buy”. But how does that work for legal marketing – or in any professional services firm that needs to engage and nurture clients over a longer period of time? How can you use automation to work smarter whilst ensuring the integrity of what you do?
Concep’s web, email and event marketing capabilities all provide some form of automation in one format or another. We’ve taken the technology principles behind automation and applied them specifically to some of the more common processes and activities that we know take place in professional services organizations.
One of the most impactful automation solutions, in that it frees up valuable time whilst ensuring your contacts experience your brand in the best possible way, is automating content distribution.
Legal and professional services firms invest large amounts of time, money and effort into creating thought-leadership articles, whitepapers, case-studies and repurposing information of interest to their clients. Marketers know that a solid content strategy will help to:
- Establish the firm as the voice of authority on a particular subject or industry
- Showcase the firm’s knowledge and expertise
- Build trusted relationships
- Engage new contacts and nurture existing ones
- Drive valuable traffic to the website so they can capture contacts’ data (and gain consent to use it)
- Provide content for social media to grow their reputation
Content is critical in professional services marketing – yet it can be time-consuming to distribute and difficult to determine the impact. All too often, good content strategies are let down by poor content distribution tactics.
In most firms we work with, the first activity that happens to a new piece of content is that it is published on the firm’s website. Once there, the link can easily be shared by the authors or relevant stakeholders on social media platforms. If the content is optimized for search engines it will also drive traffic organically to the website.
That's all well and good. But truly effective use of content on the website requires one of two things: 1) a “Subscribe me” button – this can be a pop up - that will automatically build your marketing lists each time someone choose to sign up with their email address, and 2) a data-capture form that “gates” the content and only allows the contact to view it once they have given their details in exchange.
This is where you also need to think about implementing an automated data protection compliance workflow so that you can be sure you can use the data going forward. It’s an ideal time too to ask a contact their email preferences and what topics they are interested in using an integrated survey. Get this right and it could be the start of a beautiful relationship.
In either of the above scenarios, the data and any relevant tags from the preference manager or consent process need to be integrated into your marketing platform or CRM where it will be added to your emailing lists for future campaigns. Just having a data capture form or gated content without integration is undermining their effectiveness.
But we’ve not got to the content distribution part yet. This is where the magic takes place.
Often marketing teams will send out an e-newsletter with all the content relevant to a contact. The process of getting content into the template and looking good enough to go and approved can take days. If you are only sending out a newsletter once a month, your contacts are getting news and updates that are not even news anymore!
Imagine if instead you could get content directly into the right contact’s inbox in a beautifully branded template within 24 hours of being published on the website, at a time that best suits your contacts. Imagine not having to create a newsletter and figure out what needs to be included and who it should go to. Imagine that all happens automatically.
At Concep we call this reactive automation as it ‘reacts’ to news or content that has been published on a website. We’ve developed Alert - a tool for marketers to distribute content to the right people, at the right time. If you’ve integrated news from third party apps, Alert can pull that in too. It’s also a great way to get the latest content distributed internally within the firm so everyone knows what is being shared externally.
In a survey of high-growth firms (Demand Generation Benchmark Survey Report 2018),59% of B2B marketers recognize the effectiveness of email, and 51% the power of the website in driving early-stage engagement. Combine that with the 81% who believe email and 50% who believe the website have the most impact in the latter stages of the relationship funnel and the benefit of ensuring the two channels 'connect' becomes obvious.
Integrating your processes: web content, data capture, data compliance and email marketing, and using automation to share timely content, will help you create the time and headspace for more value-added activities. The added bonus to knowing that your marketing is more efficient and effective, is knowing you have created a solid foundation on which your firm’s fee-earners can build their next most profitable relationship.
Automating your content distribution makes sense. If you are a current client and would like to trial Alert and see the difference it makes, contact us.