Create Unique Opt-In Collateral That SMBs Love
Opt-in collateral is the best way to increase your value delivery early in your funnel and entice your audience to join your email list. It can help to provide the long-form detail and explanations that are incredibly important to your prospect’s success but can be difficult to deliver in a blog article, social media post or other routine form of communication that you use to build awareness toward your brand.
The most popular types of collateral used by IT providers today are whitepapers and ebooks, typically around buzzworthy topics such as cyber threats or business profitability. While these can be effective at times, their frequent use and popularity among MSPs can degrade their practicality, as they are all beginning to look the same in the eyes of an SMB.
When developing your opt-in collateral, look to these alternatives to stand out from your competition and provide tangible value to your potential customers:
When executing a vertical specific campaign, case studies can be a great form of collateral to use. If you have already solved a common problem in your targeted industry, documenting this in detail will not only help your audience better understand their options but will simultaneously build authority around your brand.
Try to avoid creating case studies that read like long testimonials. While it’s great to document your customer’s satisfaction, don’t forget that you are still in the early stages of the funnel and your prospect might be put-off by sales heavy content. Instead, focus on education, such as documenting what you did, how you did it, and why you did it that way. This lends the inspiration and guidance that the prospect may need to tackle their own problems and hopefully hire you to help them execute.
Companies in various industries look to Managed Service Providers to navigate their use of business technology and the resources available to them. Whether you realize this or not, this makes you a technology expert for their industry. As an industry technology expert, you can help your customers understand how their company’s use of technology stacks up to their industry trends and statistics.
For example, how many Non-Profits outsource their IT to a third party provider? How much do they spend on backup, security, or cloud services? What type of products do they use for email, productivity, etc? Providing this data will be very beneficial to your audience and will ultimately lead to a more informed prospect, should they progress further through your funnel.
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Purchasing IT Services for the first time or changing from one provider to another is a big decision to make for a business. With the impact that technology has today and growing costs associated with it, you can even argue that it is one of the biggest decisions that company will make in any given year. Purchasing guides can help these companies make a more informed decision and remove the risk of potential oversight.
Create a guide that provides a set of criteria that the customer should look for when evaluating providers. Documenting what characteristics are important, how providers differ, what price ranges are appropriate, and interview questions they should ask are all unbiased ways that you can help the prospect during this process. Most importantly, let the prospect come to the realization themselves that your firm “checks all the boxes” through subtle hints. Blatantly injected sales verbiage could discredit the information you have thoughtfully compiled and distract from the points you are attempting to make.
Live or pre-recorded webinars are a more interactive way of producing collateral and are becoming increasingly popular in the IT Industry. Since a live presentation has a start time, it puts a deadline on the opt-in and creates a sense of urgency. At the same time, it’s important to make the webinar available to download or access after it is over, this way those who are unable to attend can still access it.
Webinars are typically around 90% educational and 10% sales pitch, which is to be expected by anyone who has ever attended one. To increase the value of your webinar, use a slide deck presentation that will help your prospect follow along and visually digest the information. Also put some of your strongest material toward the beginning of the presentation to avoid a slow start. Unlike an in-person presentation, webinar attendees can come and go with a click of their mouse and are likely to bail if they don’t see immediate value.
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Gated Blog Content
Another increasingly popular form of collateral is the general gating of your content, be it blog articles, how-to videos, or podcasts. Gated content is typically content similar to your free “awareness” content but might be of more value (or more in depth coverage of a topic). The most turnkey way to gate content is by using a plugin for your content management system. These plugins will allow you to gate specific pieces of content and even set limits to the amount of content that can be consumed before it becomes gated.
While this method can be incredibly effective in building membership of your list, in some cases it can do more harm than good. If your premium content doesn’t live up to the hype (or if you simply don’t have enough of it) you can lose a majority of the prospects that you are likely paying to acquire. Turnover this early in the funnel can be the difference between a profitable lead generation system and one that simply burns cash, so give your audience what they expect and you will retain their attention in return.