by Erin Hogg
"It's like Siri for the iPhone, but for large enterprises," said Tim Peters, Director of Marketing, IntelliResponse.
As an emerging new technology, IntelliResponse is providing a service many people don't know exists.
The company was founded in 2000 and received a patent for its unique virtual agent technology in 2007. It provides organizations with a customer service software that they can leverage to improve online customer experiences.
For example, when a customer on a banking website is looking for an answer to a problem, they often look to the frequently asked questions section to help find what they need.
Many of these pages on websites can be difficult to navigate, and the user sometimes has to know the exact terminology used to find an answer. With IntelliResponse, a user can simply search using plain language
and be given results that are much more intuitive and relevant to their needs.
"We help them self-search. They can go to website or a mobile channel or it's your social media and get the answers they require on their own. So, they don't have to call into a call center or spend a half hour writing an email," Peters said, adding that customers are able to get answers quicker and move on with their day.
The challenge the IntelliResponse team faced was having a new technology that companies may not know exists nor fully realize how it can benefit their businesses.
Around 2010, IntelliResponse saw other B2B companies in its industry embracing content marketing, so they decided to implement that strategy as well to increase brand awareness and become a leader in the space.
"For us, we have realized that the landscape was changing [and] that the whole B2B buying process has changed. People now are doing so much research on their own. They no longer call you and ask you for a quote. They are tech-savvy," Peters said.
The team wanted to not only adapt, but also be at the forefront of the trend by providing valuable and relevant content to prospects for all parts of the sales cycle.
Since beginning its journey into content marketing, IntelliResponse's strategy has evolved to engage prospects through the sales process at the most opportune time.
The team develops creative content to help prospective companies that may not even realize they have a customer service problem through raising awareness. The team also developed more late-stage content to help potential clients feel comfortable with what IntelliResponse can do and the impact the software has.
Because of the complex nature of the software, the team also leverages content to help prospects understand what the solution is.
"Product marketing is big for us and then lead generation also, so [we're] using all of the content marketing to help generate leads at that front end of the funnel," Peters said.
Besides churning out valuable content to reach prospects at all levels in the sales funnel, the IntelliResponse team has extensively researched their addressable market.
Catering to call centers, utility companies, banking institutions and large retailers, the team analyzes who would be that C-level executive most interested in the technology IntelliResponse offers.
They also target managers, directors and vice presidents of customer service as well as employees in marketing departments who own a company's website.
Step #1. Design infographic case studies
To target executives with limited but very valuable time, the IntelliResponse team turned to creating infographic case studies to provide prospects easily digestible snippets of information that would generally be conveyed in a white paper.
"We thought, let's take the popularity and the elegance of the infographic and let's use that to make a case study instead of giving the white papers that used to be so popular," he explained.
The infographics provide in-depth information
about a particular client's success, including the challenges the company faced as well as the results data they achieved. Graphics and charts tell the story and explain what the client is looking to implement next with IntelliResponse.
When creating these case studies, the team strives to make them as appealing as possible, but they are also designed to be understood quickly. These pieces are created in-house by a dedicated member of the IntelliResponse team.
The client services team reaches out to customers to gain permission to share results. The team will then share with prospects who indicate they are excited about the technology and want to learn more.
The infographics are available on the website, and there's no lead form fill required to view them.
"[Prospects] can see a really visual, appealing piece of content, and see that we may have reduced calls or emails to a company by 20% or 30%, and we've increased customer satisfaction. I think it's very impactful and it really explains what we do," Peters said.
The team has found this method is effective for gaining the attention of potential clients and helping them decide if IntelliReponse's solution is right for them.
Besides hosting the infographics on the site and personally sharing them with prospects, the team leverages them on the blog and on social networks, including SlideShare, to help promote the company from an SEO perspective.
Step #2. Produce video case studies
Building off the infographic case studies, the team looked to leverage video content to share customer case studies and showcase the successes of clients.
Keeping the videos relatively short and easy to digest — under two minutes in length — the idea was to create compelling, exciting content to provide high-level understanding of the solution IntelliResponse provides.
"We try to give them industry-specific case studies so prospects who say they are from the airline industry, we can give an example of a case study for airlines," Peters said. "That light bulb goes off, and you get really excited and hope to learn more about our technology."
They also leverage YouTube remarketing to offer up case study videos to those who viewed related content on the IntelliResponse site.
"So if you've been on our airline section of our website looking at some information on how we can help that specific industry, or just we were targeting people who've been on our website itself, we then placed our video remarketing ads to target those individuals when they are on YouTube watching videos," Peters said.
From this, the team has seen high rates of people watching the case study videos and clicking through back to the website to learn more about the company.
To create these videos, the team utilizes an outside partner using the scripting IntelliResponse provides.
Video case studies are available for viewing on the company website, on the blog and on IntelliResponse's social media accounts.
Step #3. Create white papers
To generate thought leadership for IntelliResponse, the team develops white papers on various content focus areas.
The team has quarterly content meetings and plans out what kind of content they want to produce white papers on for the next three months. They then brainstorm and come up with new ideas based on what trends they have seen in the marketplace.
They also look to what past white paper content did well in terms of lead generation and shares on social media. On the flip side, they analyze white paper content that perhaps didnít perform as expected and determine reasons why.
Prospects must fill in a form to gain access
to the white paper, and the team uses that information to start a lead scoring process to follow-up with leads.
They also use that gathered information in exchange for the download to learn more about their addressable market. A company that meets the criteria of being in that market would then be routed to a sales rep to follow-up after the prospect downloads the white paper.
The team also leverages content to nurture leads using a marketing automation system.
"If you're depending on that inside sales rep following-up, we would continue to nurture that person as well, based on the content they downloaded, and we'd follow-up with other relevant content, trying to continually educate help them in their research process," Peters said.
Overall, the goal is to warm those leads up to where they want to engage with IntelliResponse.
Step #4. Manage blog content
In addition to infographic case studies, videos and white papers, IntelliResponse manages a blog to share more useful content
All of the blog work is done in-house, and a member on the IntelliResponse team manages it.
The blog's goal is to help drive more organic traffic via search results, positioning the brand as a thought leader.
In each post, the team leverages top keywords in the space and writes about topics that are relevant and timely, posting about two blog articles per week.
In the writing process, the team makes sure everything is optimized in the post in terms of images and keywords.
"We make sure the content is relevant and not just kind of writing for writing sake but that we're able to tie it back to the value with Google Analytics and what traffic is kind of working for previous posts," Peters explained.
Step #5. Leverage content to generate leads
Using all of this content to help prospects in their research stage to generate leads and new business for IntelliResponse is a key goal.
One way the team targets content to a specific audience is through advertising on LinkedIn. They use this channel specifically for promoting white paper content
"So, if I'm targeting, for example, a Fortune 1000 company and only VPs of customer support, I can develop a whole campaign just targeting those individuals on LinkedIn and then with a relevant piece of content as well. We find that to be a really effective channel in terms of thought leadership. It's just helping to educate potential prospects," Peters said.
For IntelliResponse's other social media channels in addition to LinkedIn, the team posts as much content as they can. They monitor prospects coming back to the site via a link shared through social media, such as on Pinterest, SlideShare and Scribd, and then track behavior on the site, including requesting a demo or contacting the company. Paid search ads are also leveraged to help promote white paper content.
Email marketing is also a key channel to disperse valuable content through the company's house list two to three times per month, containing clients and prospects who signed up to receive email communication.
To overcome the challenge of creating content for so many channels, Peters explained they utilize content repurposing, or what he calls itemization.
"We're trying to take popular topics and really try and take that type of multichannel content approach, so we're taking a white paper and making it into sharable social images. We're taking it and trying to make into a topic for a webinar," Peters said, adding the team aims to get as much usage out of an idea that works well as possible.
For example, IntelliResponse recently conducted a survey on how customers want to interact with a business. That survey's discoveries and insights were used to create a white paper and then visually explained in an infographic. The team is also planning a webinar on the same topic.
Marketing and Sales alignment
The main outreach to prospects who have expressed interest in IntelliResponse by engaging with content is led and performed by the inside sales team, which are referred to as account development reps. These team members are part of the marketing team.
Rather than having Marketing and Sales in separate houses, the groups work very closely together in the content nurturing process.
Marketing uses the feedback Sales receives on the content to fuel future efforts.
"We're always getting good feedback of the quality of the leads and what content is really working well. In some sense, you can create content that almost works too well sometimes, and you can use things that are just popular in the news — like today's social media customer service — or just trends like that. Sometimes you can cast the net too wide," Peters explained.
Using that feedback as well as data, including conversion rates, number of content downloads, webinar attendees, social shares, cost per lead and opportunity and number of opportunities a piece of content generates, the team can see what's really working and connecting most with their target audience.
Team meetings are also held with everyone from the people creating the content to employees on the phones performing follow-up calls.
"It is refreshing when people feel free to share the feedback, and it does help for the overall goals of the company," he said.
IntelliResponse has seen lifts in traffic, lead generation and social media followers since embracing a content marketing strategy in 2010.
Some of the results include:
- 400% increase in site traffic in the past two years
- 100% increase in leads generated through the site in the past year
- Top 10 strategic keywords ranked organically on the first page of Google search results
- 1,000% increase in social media followers
- 35% of monthly leads generated from paid ads promoting infographic and white paper content — up from 5% two years ago
Peters has learned through this journey that prospects are now expecting companies to provide information and content to help them make a purchasing decision that's right for their business.
He has seen that putting in the effort to understand customers' needs and provide the right information at the right time works and generates quality leads.
In the future, IntelliResponse will be continuing its efforts with the video case studies. They have found the short videos are appealing to busy prospects who need to quickly understand the solution the company provides as well as see the results clients have experienced.
Additionally, the content repurposing from the proprietary research performed well with IntelliResponse's audience, and the team plans to continue this practice to raise the overall awareness of consumer trends.
"You know, content marketing works. You need to be providing informative content relevant to your target buyer, and you need to tie that to where they are in the sales cycle Ö really put the time in on the front end to put the effort in," Peters concluded.
- Software example
- Infographic case study
- White paper download page
- LinkedIn ad
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