There’s a hush in the crowd.

The air is pregnant with excitement.

It’s time for the last two contenders for the heavyweight B2B prospecting championship to pose, pout and cast dramatically threatening glances at each other: it’s the weigh-in.

This is our chance to assess their form and see what they can deliver.

Stepping up to the scales we have content marketing – or King Content – as he likes to refer to himself, and the new kid on the block, SoPro, and its social prospecting as a service model.

We’ve already ranked the chances of six other contestants.

    1. Cold calling
    2. Cold emailing from a bought list 
    3. Exhibitions
    4. Networking/referrals.
    5. Advertising
    6. LinkedIn

There’s been some heavy-hitters amongst them – and a couple of no-hopers.

Here’s the low-down on our last two preparing to enter the throwdown.

Content marketing

One thing you can say about content marketing, is that it doesn’t rely on just one set of tactics. From images, videos, blog posts, infographics, webinars, podcasts, slide shares, surveys, white papers and, well, the list just goes on.

And it has got some serious pundits backing it: in the Content Marketing Institute’s (CMI) recently reported that 91% of B2B marketers use content marketing to reach prospective customers. It went on to really put its money where its mouth is by declaring that content is one of the most effective ways to promote a business.

Yet, back at ground level, the hats are still tipping to King Content, but it doesn’t appear to be getting the true props it deserves: 63% of businesses don’t have a documented content strategy. That’s a bit like a boxer punching wildly but without the aim to land a single hit.

A lack of focus is also suggested by Zazzle Media, who revealed that:

  • 60% of people find it hard to produce content consistently
  • And 62% are not certain how to measure the ROI from their content

Despite this, CMI’s survey recorded 72% of marketers confidently saying content marketing increases engagement and the number of leads, and less-opinion-based reports have also endorsed the power of content.

  • Website conversion rates are nearly 6 times higher for content marketing adopters than non-adopters (2.9% vs 0.5%)
  • A recent study factored in the cost of hiring a content marketing team and pitted this against creating a paid search campaign.

    It found that, for medium- and large-sized businesses, content cost 41% less per lead – and generated four times more per $1000 – within 36 months.

    Average customer acquisition cost for a large company dropped from the equivalent of £78 to £53 when they started using content marketing.

  • Similar stats were found by DemandMetric: they discovered that content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates about three times as many leads.

The importance of content for prospects themselves is also regularly reported:

Yet , this all must be weighed up by the fact that prospective customers only spend an average of 37 seconds on each article. From this we can assume that not that many are all that happy with what they find – and, sure enough,  87% of content writers are still struggling to produce material that engages their buyers.

That’s a lot of stats to digest – here’s the shorter form guide.

Form guide for content marketingContent can take a lot of time to produce (and a fair amount of investment if it is being outsourced).

Yet it has a high success rate in producing quality, relevant leads – and its ROI comes in very favourably compared to paid ads.

Content that engages has a very positive effect on prospects, and all B2B prospects are researching online, so if you are not there you are, in effect not in the game.
Risks, in this sense, are low, although poorly-thought through content has high reputation risk.

Scalability is certainly achievable with a number of channels on offer and targeting is as good as your followers, placements or SEO.

Yet, there still remains a sense that, despite its maturity, content marketing is still adopting a splatter-gun approach rather than a strategic, sharp shooter approach – and it’s worrying that many are still uncertain how to accurately account for ROI.

SoPro’s social prospecting

At this point, it’s only fair to disclose an interest.

This is our pride and joy – but we’ve tried to be as honest and transparent in our evaluation as we can (with one of the co-founders breathing rather heavily down our necks).

To reassure you: transparency is our middle name. Take a quick surf away from this blog to our cross-campaign stats and here you can see us all laid bare (well, our data anyway).

Every month our teams dive deep into our sea of data to assess performance across hundreds of campaigns. And we publish the amalgamated results of our campaign stats with no massaging, no tweaking and no censoring.

So, if you want to quickly check on how we perform – go ahead and take a look. We’ve nothing to hide.

OK. Enough transparency – let’s assess our form.

SoPro helps businesses to identify and engage with qualified prospects – but there’s no fancy videos or beautifully designed newsletters. We use old-school text-based emails.

All our tech lies behind the scene in:

  • Identifying prospects using social media (so they are 100% fresh)
  • Finding verifiable emails for them
  • Avoiding the spam filters that stand between you and them
  • Offering you a real-time live view of results and feeding prospects directly into your CRM

All our art lies in:

  • Crafting personalised, engaging emails that read as if quickly penned by someone who has just realised they can help someone else
  • Timing chaser mails for optimised results
  • Analysing/obsessing over stats as they come in
  • Tweaking whatever needs a tweak

SoPro is a service: it is eminently scalable – constrained only by the size of your market

  • It delivers 1 million qualified leads to businesses every year
  • It offers fantastic ROI of around £36 a lead
  • Everything is taken care of for you from copy, to data to analysis
  • Campaigns convert to leads at between 4 and 7%
  • The quality of leads is impeccable – they are based on your chosen regions, industries, job role and seniority (and you can provide a list of anyone or any companies you don’t want targeting)

SoPro is prospect marketing by email redefined.

And if you’re after cost-effective leads you’ve found a truly fighting fit way of getting them.

Form guide for SoPro social prospectingAs a service SoPro does takes the heavy-lifting out of your prospecting. As with any service this comes at a cost but, minus set-up, this is only £2 per email.

And with conversion rates of 4 – 7% you can expect a fantastic ROI, depending on your team’s close rate. Our customers tell us that the ROI is  significantly cheaper than content marketing or paid ads.

SoPro mails are nether perceived as spam by their recipients or by the mail filters – hence our 98.7% delivery rate and 40% open

It is deliberately, risk-free email, offering all the benefits and none of the potential pitfalls.

In terms of targeting this is pinpoint prospecting.

A sure-fire hit in the ring.

There you have it.

Eight heavyweight contenders for the prospecting champion of the world belt.

Who’s going to take it?

Let’s evaluate who’s hitting hard – and who’s hitting below the belt – in the next post.

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