Category Archives: content marketing

Great B2B Email Copywriters: Where Are You?

Lead Nurturing depends on great content. Not just eBooks, blog posts and webinars, but especially email content. Email is still the most effective way to promote your content, but it’s hard to get noticed in today’s overflowing inbox. However, a good email can make the difference between a 2% click rate and a 12% click rate.

The email text itself is not the only thing that matters. It also includes the ‘from’ address, the subject and the offer that you’re presenting. You really need to understand direct response marketing, but apply it to the email medium.

Unfortunately, it’s really hard to find good copywriters for email. Most copywriters focus on whitepapers and press releases, fewer copywriters are good at direct marketing, and even fewer can apply direct marketing best practices to email marketing. And some of those are exclusively B2C.

Is there really a difference between a B2C and a B2B copywriter? I think the principle for writing great emails is the same, but the tone-of-voice will be different in B2B, and it can be lot harder to understand the topic: everyone knows what car insurance is, but it can take a while to understand complex corporate insurance policies.

So good emails can make a big difference in the effectiveness of your lead nurturing program, but the people who can help you with this are hard to find. That is the reason why certain specialized B2B copywriters like Ivan Levison can charge a serious amount per email (see a recent interview with Ivan).

What is your take: are B2B email copywriters a seriously scarce resource, or is it a coincidence that I know several companies that have trouble finding someone like that?

PS. If you are a copywriter specializing in B2B email, please leave a comment or send me an email. I know several companies who are looking for someone with your skills.

PPS. If you are a B2B Marketer and currently looking for email copywriting skills, also please let me know. I may be able to match you with a copywriter who responds.

5 Questions That Will Double Your Email Response Rates

Great lead nurturing content starts with great email copy. So I’ve created 5 questions to ask yourself when writing email copy. If you use these questions to optimize your emails, you’ll see a spectacular increase in response rates.

Want to see more?

In just 30 minutes, the webinar will show you how to:
– create more content than you ever thought possible
– map content to personas and buying stages
– link this all to your marketing automation processes

View the Webinar recording »

Also please let me know your comments on this video!

25 Great B2B Content Marketing Articles

While doing research for my webinar on creating content that converts, I found many great articles on B2B Content Marketing. Here are the 25 articles that I liked best. Most are blog posts, but I’ve also included some eBooks.

My focus is on B2B, rather than B2C. Often, some of the basics are the same, but not always. For example, the complex sale is usually unique to B2B selling, and that’s when you would map content to stages in the buying cycle. So here are the articles:

Overview Articles

Joe Pulizzi, What is Content Marketing?

Michele Linn, A 7-Step Plan for Getting Started with Content Marketing

Doug Kessler, The B2B Content Marketing Workbook

Ardath Albee, 23 Reasons Why Content Marketing Fails

Adam Needles, What’s Behind the Rise of Content Marketing

Russell Sparkman, Creating Consistent Content – A Content Marketing Plan


Adam Needles, Why ‘Personas’ Are the Key to Achieving a ‘Mass One-to-one’ Strategy

Stephenie Tilton, Do You Have Any Idea Who You’re Talking To?

Adele Revella, How Kristine Developed a Great Buyer Persona

Tony Zambito, 10 Rules for Buyer Persona Development

Content Planning

Michele Linn, Is Less Content Better? 5 Steps to Simplify B2B Marketing Content

Stephenie Tilton, How Much B2B Content Is Enough?

Michele Linn, Need Content? 20 Formats to Consider

Ardath Albee, Content Marketing is for Customers Too!

Rick Burnes,5 Common Content Marketing Challenges — And Simple Solutions

Ardath Albee, Forgettable Follow-up on B2B Content Offers

Content Reuse

Ardath Albee, The Rule of 5 for B2B Content Development

Michele Linn, The Dos and Don’ts of B2B Content Reuse

Michele Linn, Got Content? 10 Steps to Repurpose Your Best B2B Assets

Joe Pulizzi, BtoB Content Marketing: Six Places to Find Hidden Content Gems

Content Mapping

Barbra Gago, Content Mapping 101 – part 1, part 2, part 3

Steve Woods, The Buying Process; Auditing your Content Assets

Steve Woods, The Content Gap – Lead Nurturing and Content Creation

Steve Woods, Buyer Roles, Buying Stages, and Perception Challenges

Jeffrey Ogden, Mapping marketing content across the buying cycle and personas

Please let me know if I forgot any seminal articles!

On-Demand Webinar: The Secret To Creating Lead Nurturing Content That Converts

With the right content strategy, leads will move through the buying process more quickly and you’ll boost your conversion rates. To learn how, view this 30-minute on-demand webinar.

View the Webinar recording »

Hubspot Review

UPDATED REVIEW: My earlier review of HubSpot’s Inbound Marketing software was more than 1 year old and the software has evolved a lot: time for an update!

I see two clearly distinct target groups for HubSpot:

  1. Small business owners
  2. Marketing departments at mid-size companies

Both groups will use HubSpot to generate more inbound leads, but they have vastly different requirements. Small businesses usually have no dedicated marketing resources, are less tech-savvy, and often don’t have a CRM system. Mid-size companies have dedicated marketing people, an IT department, a CRM system, and generally more sophisticated requirements. HubSpot can serve both audiences, but in a different way. But – just like any other SEO & Social Media tool – HubSpot will only deliver results if you put a fair amount of time into creating and promoting content: compelling content is what makes the HubSpot engine hum.

Small Businesses

Until recently, it was hard for small businesses to be effective with online marketing because the tools were fragmented: you had to hire someone to do your website, get email marketing somewhere else, hire a search engine optimization (SEO) consultant, and figure out this social media thing. HubSpot provides an attractive package that includes all of this: not just software, but also advice.

Their website management system (CMS) is fairly basic, but it includes everything you need: the pages are search engine optimized from the start, it includes a blog and registration forms, and there are social media integrations. If you’re really picky about the design or have advanced technical requirements, the HubSpot CMS may be too basic for you. In that case you can consider HubSpot Medium, which allows you to add tracking keys to your own website.

In addition to the website, HubSpot offers a range of SEO tools for keyword discovery, keyword selection, rank tracking and more. Social Media is also covered: you are notified of relevant online discussions on Twitter, LinkedIn and other locations, so you can join the discussion; there are ‘follow-me’ buttons in email and on your website; and you can find prospect’s social media profiles. With the improved Lead Manager, you could even use HubSpot as your CRM system. You can use basic email marketing to stay in touch with your prospects or create some drip campaigns. And finally, reporting and analytics show the business results of your activities.

Overall, if your business lends itself to online marketing but technology has been a challenge for you, HubSpot will be a good fit. You’ll have a big chance of success if you reserve 20-25 hours to get started, and enough time each week to write at least 2 blog posts (again, this is true for all SEO & social media tools).

Mid-size Businesses

The story for mid-size businesses is less clear-cut. First of all, many mid-size businesses will choose to host their own website, either because migration is too big of a task, or because they have specific requirements. HubSpot’s Medium and Large products give you the option to keep using your own site. These editions also make it possible to integrate with and – through partners – with other CRM systems. The result of this integration is that you get great end-to-end analytics, for example: you’ll see how much a particular search keyword contributes to revenue.

If you’re a mid-size company, search Engine Optimization and Social Media are really the key features that you’ll use HubSpot for. If you compare it with stand-alone SEO & Social Media tools, you may say it’s expensive. However, it’s a fully integrated solution with unique end-to-end reporting features: you won’t get this level of integration when using a combination of stand-alone tools. And when you compare HubSpot’s monthly cost to hiring a SEO and a Social Media agency, it’s not so expensive at all.

Where small businesses will be okay with HubSpot’s email marketing, email nurturing, lead scoring and landing page functionality, most mid-size businesses will have more advanced requirements. Some of these requirements are lead nurturing based on rules with an unlimited number of steps, support for multiple lead scoring models, and progressive profiling for web forms. For those requirements I would recommend using a Marketing Automation system, as even the most affordable Marketing Automation solutions have way more functionality in this area than HubSpot. However, few if none of those solutions have the SEO and Social Media tools.

HubSpot is a good option for mid-size companies that need best practices and an integrated tool to improving their SEO & Social Media strategies. Combined with a CMS and a Marketing Automation system it is a complete online marketing suite.


SEO and Social Media take a lot of time to do right, and HubSpot makes this process a lot smoother. Small companies can use HubSpot as a one-stop-shop, while mid-size companies can integrate it with their existing CMS and/or Marketing Automation system. You still have to create lots of compelling content, but HubSpot takes care of the rest.

About Jep Castelein

Jep Castelein is the founder of LeadSloth, a firm that helps technology companies find untapped revenue in their marketing databases. He is always looking for marketers who want to get a better ROI on their investment in Marketing Automation technology. For more information on LeadSloth’s methodology, see the webinar “7 Steps to Finding Untapped Revenue in Your Marketing Database“.

Is Content Marketing the New PR?

Today my article on Content Marketing was published on the blog, and I wondered whether I could visualize how Content Marketing is different from traditional public relations and advertising. I came up with two low-fi sketches. I’m interested to hear your opinion on these visualizations.

The OLD Situation

old-style pr instead of content marketing

This visual reads from the bottom up: as a marketing manager, you hire a PR agency and an Ad Agency. You give them a briefing, and they create press releases and advertisements that tout your products. They use a lot of superlatives: “easy to use”, “seamless integration”, “powerful” and so on. This is blasted out to a mass audience. Ad Agencies can just buy the ad space to get eyeballs, but you pay dearly for it. PR Agencies blast it out to journalists, try to get some journalists on the phone, and hope they write an article about it.

The NEW Situation

content marketing as the new pr

In the new situation your read from the top down. You start defining the personas that you target, and you find out how to reach them through Social Media. You choose the mix of channels that they prefer (ebooks, webinars, video, blogs, podcasts, and so on) and create compelling content. As you get feedback from the prospects, you refine your content in an iterative way.

Black and White

This is a very rough comparison, and it’s easy to come up with objections. For example, in the old situation you were also thinking about your audience, you just didn’t have all the tools to narrow down the audience. And in the new situation it looks like to can do it yourself: however, you probably still need an agency for strategy and/or graphic design. Despite the shortcuts, I hope the images illustrate why Content Marketing is so popular. Let me know your take!