“If we don’t know that people are engaged with the content when we hand them over to sales,” Nick says, “sales is in no position to have an intelligent conversation with them.” A smarter approach: Content-rich (bingeable) experiences An “in-session, bingeable experience” offers visitors a set of related-content choices. Alternatively, the set may be dynamically created by artificial intelligence– machine-learning algorithms – based on factors like the relationship between the content assets, data on how people have engaged with these content assets in the past, metadata, and so on. In other words, the intelligent-content layer enables you to “accelerate the buyer’s journey” by enabling prospects to “self-nurture.” As a result, in Nick’s experience, those prospects reach buying readiness sooner. How do we allow Bob to binge on the right content while we have his attention? What other content did he engage with after the first click? (Right) What do we know about the content? They don’t tell us whether people are now more informed or more engaged. Nick gives the following example with fictional names – Mark Johnson and Skefington – representing people who clicked on a certain email. As a marketer, you need to know how engaged people are with your content. All clicks are not the same.
Not that you or I ever do it – plop down on the couch, put up our feet, click on the TV, and gorge ourselves on a full season of, oh, say, The Americans. Netflix has mastered the art of prompting us – I mean, prompting people – to binge on its streaming content.
Nick Edouard, co-founder and president of LookBookHQ, suggests that we marketers make like Netflix and entice prospective customers with content they can binge on. He made this point at the Intelligent Content Conference in his talk Never Waste Another Click: How Intelligent Content Experiences Can Accelerate the Buyer’s Journey.
What does Nick mean by “never waste another click”? He means, stop sinking all your energy into getting people to click through to single (“dead-end”) content assets. Instead, focus on keeping people engaged – hooked, even – after they click.
Why? Because your best prospects will move more than twice as quickly through your sales funnel – and are more than twice as likely to buy – when you reward their hard-won clicks with “bingeable” content, based on what Nick has seen with his clients.
All images in this post come from Nick’s ICC slides, and all quotations, unless otherwise noted, come from his talk.
Typical marketing approach: Single-asset content offers
Marketers are good at creating content that’s “one and done” – or, as Nick says, “one and dumb.” We create an offer that dangles a single content asset (white paper, presentation, etc.) in the hopes that people will click our offer and give us their contact info. Conversion! Score! We hand over the content asset. That’s that.
This approach has several weaknesses:
- The content is often a dead-end asset. Where does someone go after the conversion?
- The content looks the same for each person who clicks. Nothing about this experience is personalized.
- Engagement with the content can’t be measured — you have no idea whether prospects even looked at it.
While “one-and-dumb” content may get the contact information you want to kick off a lead-nurturing process, it squanders the larger opportunity to give your prospects – and your company – more rewards per click.
Besides, B2B leads rarely result in sales. “The average end-to-end conversion ratio (initial lead to closed deal) for B2B marketers is 0.75%,” says Forrester analyst Lori Wizdo in her 2012 report.
“If we don’t know that people are engaged with the content when we hand them over to sales,” Nick says, “sales is in no position to have an intelligent conversation with them.”
A smarter approach: Content-rich (bingeable) experiences
An “in-session, bingeable experience” offers visitors a set of related-content choices. Just as people binge-watch TV shows, they consume online content in concentrated ways when they’re engaged. People don’t wait for a marketing team to dole out a piece of content every two weeks; they click around looking for answers to their questions, following their curiosity for long stretches, never moving from their seats. As Nick says:
Marketers need to do a better job of accommodating this natural behavior. ESPN gets it. They aren’t happy if I read just one thing and then disappear. They want to hold my attention. They’re aggregating and promoting more relevant content to me in-session. They’re doing a lot of things to keep me engaged.
Like Netflix, ESPN essentially plays matchmaker between its content and each viewer. Our job as B2B marketers is to play matchmaker in a similar way between our content and each prospect.
Bingeable (match-made-in-heaven) content provides “in-session content sequencing,” as shown in this example:
The left sidebar lists a set of content assets that people might want to select. For a walk-through of these content assets, in their listed order, people can click “next” in the promoter box on the right.
A set of content assets like this may be manually curated by marketers, similar to the way you might create an iTunes playlist. Alternatively, the set may be dynamically created by artificial intelligence– machine-learning algorithms – based on…