There are lots of expressions in the English language that have a barbaric history. “Holding someone’s feet to the fire” is a particularly nasty example. Today people use it to mean holding a person accountable, but it was a literal expression during the Crusades.
“Killing two birds with one stone” is another example. Now it means to solve two problems with a single act. This post is about a marketing tool that does just that.
So what are these two birds? In this case, they are market research and content marketing. Specifically, some of our clients are combining market research – delving into their prospects’ needs – with the creation of a lead generation asset from that same research.
It’s a pretty simple formula that won’t break the bank.
Many marketers would like to hear the issues that their prospects are facing direct from the horses mouth so that they can better tailor their messages to match those needs. Surveys are a particularly useful tool for generating these insights.
Before you say, “Wait a minute. I’m responsible for generating leads, not market research,” let me explain. Typical market research is designed to help your company develop new products for customers in the future. The type of market research I’m describing here is designed to help you create content that will engage prospects today for the products you already have.
Our customers have found that these types of research reports give them valuable insights into how to address their communications. They are also extremely useful for generating leads. How useful? The proof is in the pudding. Earlier this quarter we ran a research study on behalf of a client that generated 369 responses from our pool of prospects. We then invited those 369 plus a wide range of additional prospects to a webinar that showcased the results of the research.
The emails introducing this webinar had typical open rates, but generated anywhere from 100 – 200% higher CTR than invitations to a standard webinar. In turn that led to almost 3X the number of registrations for this webinar than we would typically see. It seems that engineers are interested in learning what their competitors are doing!
Since the webinar worked so well, we decided to repackage the results as an eBook so that we can continue to mine this rich vein of leads. Clearly, the prospects who are considering a solution are very interested in original research by a credible source like ENGINEERING.com.
How to Create a Research Report to Generate Leads
- Decide what you want to know about your prospects. For example, let’s say you want to know how many of your prospects will be adding Internet of Things (IoT) functionality to their products in 2017.
- Find an intersection between your marketing objectives and what your potential customers would like to know. In the IoT example that’s easy - lots of your prospects will want to know what their competitors are planning regarding adding IoT features, and that same information can help you position your product.
- Work with an expert to craft the survey. Keep in mind how you will analyze and present the results. Keep it short and sweet.
- Launch the survey with an email and social media campaign
- Analyze the results. Sadly, data analysis isn’t an area where all marketer feel comfortable. That’s too bad, because many of the most interesting findings come from cross-tabulations of the data. For our IoT example, an interesting cross tabulation might be by industry, so that you could determine whether medical device designers are more likely to release an IoT product than aerospace designers.
- Use the findings to guide your content marketing strategy for 2017. The knowledge you glean from this research into what your prospects are planning will save you from barking up the wrong tree when positioning your product.
- Package your results into a webinar, white paper, eBook, series of blog posts, etc.
- Pull out all the stops to distribute those content assets through email, publishers, social media, etc.
There are many nuances to this process, so if you would like to talk to someone about how to run your own survey and research report, let me know. Of course, sooner is better when it comes to scheduling these projects for 2017 – early bird and all that.
And just so you know that we eat our own cooking, next week we will launch our very own research report on Engineering Marketers Budget Plans for 2017. I hope you will participate.