B2B content syndication is a great way to drive volume and quality leads through your marketing funnel—when it’s used right. Too many marketers have unrealistic or incorrect expectations around B2B content syndication campaigns.
Now, we’re not talking about “is content syndication worth it?” The answer to that question is usually, yes. Content syndication can be a powerful tool for generating high-quality leads and increasing brand awareness when done correctly. The problem is that many companies use content syndication incorrectly.
Below are some common B2B content syndication mistakes that we see companies make all the time. And what we recommend you do instead.
Mistake #1: Having a sales rep call top of funnel leads
Top of funnel leads are not ready for a meeting or a sale. Whether they were generated through content syndication or not.
It takes 8-10 successful touch points on average before someone is ready to buy. Just downloading your content does not mean that someone is ready to put in an order with you ASAP!
For example, a friend of mine recently signed up for a free version of an online course about starting her own business. It included some free resources and tools in exchange for her email address. She doesn’t have any interest in starting her own business at this time, but she wanted to learn more about it because she cares deeply about supporting other women who want to start their own companies.
My friend is a top of funnel lead.
Does the fact that she won’t be starting a business tomorrow make her a “bad lead” for the paid version of the course? No, of course not.
Maybe 6 months from now, she will decide to start a business and buy the course then. Or maybe she will enjoy the free course so much that she will share it with two friends and both of them buy the course.
But, if a sales rep called her up today and asked her to buy their course, she’s going to say no. If that happened, the sales rep would probably mark her as a “bad lead” and no one would contact her again. That would be a huge missed opportunity!
So, what could be done instead?
Instead, the company should nurture her. The main goal for a top of funnel lead should be to convert her into a middle of funnel lead. Then eventually a bottom of funnel lead. Then eventually a sale.
The goal is NOT to convert a top of funnel lead directly into a sale. That just doesn’t happen.
Skipping the crucial step of lead nurturing is just going to cause you to throw away a ton of “bad leads.” The problem is, a lot of those leads won’t actually be bad. They’ll just be leads that aren’t far enough in their buyer’s journey yet.
Mistake #2: Generating leads before you have a nurturing plan in place
You’re asking prospects to fill out a form in exchange for your content — but then what? Where do they go? What do they see? How do they learn more?
Without having a plan in place about how you’re going to move your leads through the funnel, they will sit for long periods of time and become cold.
It takes investment to generate leads. So, letting them sit and go cold is flushing money down the drain.
Top of funnel leads require ongoing touchpoints over time so that you can win brand recognition, educate them about your unique value proposition(s), and build trust.
There are also many ways to nurture leads. You need to choose which methods are right for your company based on your current marketing infrastructure and assets. Some common mediums for nurturing include: email, social media, retargeting ads, and phone calls. Lead scoring is also very common.
Building out a strong nurture strategy can take time. So, getting an early start and making sure all the pieces are in place before you start filling the funnel with prospects is very important.
Mistake #3: Inconsistent communication
If you’re not consistent in your communication with prospects, they will become less likely to engage with your content. To be clear, this doesn’t mean that you have to be in constant contact with them all the time—it means that when you do send them something, it needs to be timely and relevant.
You need to find the right balance when it comes to nurture sequence communication. Contact prospects too frequently and they might become annoyed and unsubscribe. Not contact prospects enough and they will become disengaged and forget about you when they are ready to make a purchase.
So, what should you do?
Think about the last five clients that you closed deals with recently. What did their buying cycle look like? How long did it take? Were there frequently asked questions? What content or resources did you send them?
By looking at successful sales cycles from the recent past, you can look for common threads. Then model your nurture sequence in a way that mirrors that communication style. You want to eliminate all gaps between the time when a prospect needs information and when they receive it from you.
Mistake #4: Not using value-based nurturing
This is an easy mistake to make because many marketers and salespeople think that the goal of nurturing is to get sales or leads as soon as possible. This isn’t true!
The purpose of nurturing is to educate, engage, and entertain your prospects. So that, when they are ready to buy, they’re more likely to buy from you.
“Just circling back. Let me know when you’re free to meet.” Sound familiar?
You probably get that email from someone trying to sell you something every week. And what do you do? Immediately delete it.
If that’s what you email your prospects, guess what? They’re going to delete it too!
Instead, before you ask your prospects to do something for you (email you back, schedule a meeting, buy something, etc.), make sure you’re doing a lot for them.
Follow the 90/10 rule. Provide them free value 90% of the time, and only ask them for something 10% of the time.
Here are a few of the ways you can provide them value:
- Share interesting articles
- Send them educational resources about your product/service
- Share tips and tricks
- Offer a promotion
- Share a relevant video or social media post about your industry
Mistake #5: Using the wrong metrics to measure success
When you’re measuring the success of your content syndication campaign, it’s tempting to focus on immediate ROI. After all, it’s a straightforward and concrete metric. But be careful: if your goal is immediate ROI, then content syndication may not be right for you.
The truth is that a proper B2B content syndication campaign will take time and effort before any monetary results start coming through.
The leads content syndication generates are extremely top of funnel; they don’t really know who you are or what your business does yet. That means they need nurturing before they become sales leads—and when they do become sales leads, they still need more nurturing before they actually purchase anything from you!
In other words: measuring a content syndication campaign by ROI in the short term is incorrect.
Instead, look at metrics like:
- Open rates on nurture emails
- Number of leads moving on given your lead scoring criteria
- Number of conversations started
- Increase in website traffic
- Increase in the number of email subscribers
Mistake #6: Not leveraging marketing automation
We’ve already established that nurturing content syndication leads is extremely important and talked about what type of content you should use to nurture prospects. So, let’s shift focus to the logistics of lead nurturing.
Using a marketing automation tool makes the process simpler, faster, and much easier to track. We can’t recommend it highly enough. With automation, you can also ensure that your marketing team doesn’t waste time on repetitive tasks like scheduling emails or personalizing communication.
Automation also unlocks processes like lead scoring, which streamlines your nurture process and saves salespeople a lot of time and energy. Tracking and KPIs are also all handled inside the automation platform, so at any point, you can login and see if your nurture sequence is optimized or if it’s time to make any tweaks.
We are a HubSpot Platinum Partner, so that’s the marketing automation tool we recommend. But there are other options out there too.
Content Syndication can be a really powerful tactic for B2B marketers. But it can be confusing and hard to get right. If you’re planning to launch a B2B content syndication campaign soon, don’t make these mistakes.
Generating top of funnel leads through content syndication is a cost-effective and scalable strategy. But, you can’t stop there. You need to have a plan for how you will take those top of funnel leads and efficiently move them through the funnel so that they can eventually convert into sales.
If you want more help to develop that plan or to launch a B2B content syndication campaign, we’re always here to help.