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Content marketing ? Conversions?

How satisfied are you that the content you produce as a b2b marketer – e-news, downloads, social media, white papers and so on – drives interest in your products or services, builds your brand and steers potential customers towards conversion?

Learn how to attract prospects, keep them engaged, and convert them into customers with AdStorm’s content marketing FAQ.

What is content marketing?

Content marketing is the publishing of content in order to build relationships with your prosepcts. Assets created for the purpose of content marketing often include a mix of solutions to common problems, best-practice guidance and thought leadership. Essentially, by becoming the resource that educates your prospects, you make them familiar with your brand, you position yourself in your chosen field and prospects come to know and trust you enough to do business. Content marketing, well executed, can significantly boost sales.

Why do I need content?

Great content:

  • Builds trust, and mitigates perceived risk
    Content marketing endows the prospect with the facts they need to make the right decision. Trust develops and risk which they may perceive in doing business with you diminishes – both risk to them personally and to their organisation.
  • Generates leads
    Great content attracts search engine traffic, it can justify collection of contact information such as an email address, it forms the basis for a range of marketing campaigns and can be used within your website to capture data, creating leads.
  • Nurture leads
    Content educates, informs, allays fears and sparks interest. An effective lead nurturing programme requires great content.
  • Prioritizes leads
    Content enables you to conduct lead scoring based on how prospects have interacted with your online content or lead nurturing activity. Lead scoring enables you to focus resources where they will be most effective.

Where can I promote content?

Content can be promoted via your website or blog, a newsletter or e-newsletter, as part of a lead nurturing track, in social media, in the press, in both organic and sponsored search, in sponsorship, events and partnerships. In fact anywhere that your prospects can be found.

What format of content should I consider?

Make your content a rich experience for end users – both in terms of the content and the medium through which you deliver it. Content might be Infographics, FAQs, White Papers, Best-Practice Guides, How To’s, Benchmarking, Research Findings, etc.

And each piece of content developed can be published through a range of media… in articles, blog entries, social media, brochures, emails, case studies, videos, pdf guides or printed colalteral, your web page, a microsite, webinars, podcasts, press releases etc. Use media appropriate to the particular channel, consider what kinds of prospects will use it, and tailor your content according to the stage in your sales funnel it addresses.

Being clear and up-front about your use of cookies shows users that your company is transparent, responsible and a trustworthy organisation to do business with.

Should content marketing be promotional?

In general, content deployed for the early stages of the funnel should NOT be promotional while that deployed in later stages can be entirely dedicated to your specific features and benefits. Early on, suspects with no buying requirement are more likely to be researching or educating themselves – and as such they have little or no interest in specific products, services or vendors – if your content’s over-promotional it won’t inspire or excite (both of which are fundamental to successful content marketing). As they move along the funnel however, they start to take an interest in you as they initially look for reasons to longlist, then shortlist certain suppliers, to come to a decision and finally to justify it to themselves and others in the organisation. So content deployed in your brochures and sales PowerPoints can be much more promotional than that used in a company blog or awareness campaign.

How important is relevance?

Very! Generic material will be lost in the enormous sea of information. Ensure content is targeted to your audience, relevant to your business and pertinent to your proposition. If possible, segment your target market, and in your lead-nurturing activities, segment by decision-maker in order to deliver ultra-relevant content to everybody.

And remember, when you’re producing content to support your business goals, providing evidence – with testimonials, case studies and stats – will make you more convincing.

Finally, relevance is built upon a deep understanding of your prospects. Who is this population of people and where can they be found? What makes them tick, what are their interests, their “hot buttons”? Now work out where your knowledge and expertise can best be deployed to fulfil their information needs, in terms of a) getting their jobs done, b) education, and c) entertainment. To help position yourselves in the market, choose subject matter which reinforces your relevance to the field in which you sell.

Should content be free and available without data capture?

Take great care to strike the right balance between free content and capturing data. AdStorm generally recommend you publish a range of freely available content for suspects, but to require disclosure of at least an email address in order to access premium or more compelling content, especially content relevant to prospects further along the funnel or sales leads.

It’s appropriate (and effective) to include forms in ‘middle stage content’ such as buyers guides, where prospects are amassing research. They can also be used in later stage content that includes business-specific information, at a time when prospects are evaluating your proposition.

How much data need I capture?

If you want prospects to answer more questions then consider progressive profiling – asking incremental questions each time they make a new download, rather than discouraging them from proceeding with a battery of boxes to fill out. If you must ask numerous questions all in one go, carry out A/B testing of a page with few versus many questions so that you can at least understand the impact it’s having upon conversion and make an informed decision.

Where can I access content marketing expertise?

Right here, (no question!) AdStorm would be more than happy to assist with any aspect of your content marketing.

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