Ardath Albee’s eMarketing Strategies for the Complex Sale

Ground reality – 1. B2B sales cycles are long and complex. 2. Marketers today are under high pressure to close sales and show results quickly. 3. Buyers don’t want to be pitched to. How do B2B marketers successfully navigate the challenges along the B2B sales course map? In her new book, eMarketing Strategies for the Complex Sale, Ardath Albee recommends that it is important to find answers to the following questions – Who are you buyers? What are their critical priorities? What do they need to know to make a buying decision? We have invited Ardath Albee to get an insider look into her book eMarketing Strategies for the Complex Sale

Ardath Albee is a B2B Marketing Strategist. Her company Marketing Interactions helps companies with complex sales and quantify marketing effectiveness by using interactive e-marketing strategies driven by compelling content. She empowers her clients to create customer-centric nurturing programs that leverage strategic story development to engage prospects until they are sales ready. Ardath’s book, eMarketing Strategies for the Complex Sale is now shipping!

Ardath Albee

Blog Marketing Interactions eMarketing Mastery Twitter Ardath421

Create content for each stage of the buying process that’s focused on delivering value from the buyers’ perspective.

Ambal Balakrishnan: Ardath, it is a great pleasure to discuss your new book eMarketing Strategies for the Complex Sale. Thanks for finding time out of your very busy schedule to provide your valuable insights to our readers. Tell us about what Marketing Interactions does?
Ardath Albee: Marketing Interactions helps B2B companies with complex sales increase and quantify marketing-to-sales effectiveness by developing and executing interactive e-marketing strategies driven by compelling content. Essentially we help companies use content to engage with and help prospects choose to become buyers because of the strategic advantages they gain by doing so.

Ambal Balakrishnan: Give us the background of how you gained an interest in B2B Marketing?
Ardath Albee: I’d been strictly B2C for a number of years as a turnaround specialist for hotels and country clubs. When I was invited to help launch a start-up B2B software company, it was a new challenge and time for a change. I’d always been a writer, but what I found as I helped companies use the software platform for best results, was that they needed a lot of help with content strategy. Through helping them become successful, I found a way to put my passion for both customers and writing to work and decided I enjoyed that work more than running companies.

Ambal Balakrishnan: What prompted you to embark on creating your book eMarketing Strategies for the Complex Sale?
Ardath Albee: That’s a good question. There wasn’t a good resource out there that tackled the exact challenge of content creation from a strategic perspective. I know. I looked. I’ve learned a lot about what that takes and want to share that knowledge to help marketers learn to fish, instead of having to hire people to fish for them. I wanted to write an accessible book that could be used as a guide for how to create content strategies that produce results, not a high-level book that gives you great ideas, but no way to put them into practice. I hope I accomplished that.

Ambal Balakrishnan: Please walk us through the book writing life-cycle from concept to launch?
Ardath Albee: Oh boy. Are you sure you want to know?

I was referred to my agent by a colleague. He was interested in my concept and worked with me to create the proposal for the book. Within about a month, he had interest from my editor at McGraw-Hill. We worked together to incorporate her ideas and that changed the original concept quite a bit. Then I signed and they asked me to complete the manuscript in 3 months. That was the most challenging part – writing the book while continuing to do client work.

After I turned in the book manuscript, we went through two revision rounds and then it went to final copyedits. Those required quite a bit of re-work on my part as that person didn’t understand my subject matter, but firmly embraced the publisher’s style guidelines. I requested they change most of it back, and I’m really thankful they agreed.

In the midst of all that, we went through two cover designs. The first one missed, but they nailed what I wanted with the second one and I’m very pleased. Their designers did a great job on the book design itself and it was really fun to watch it evolve.

Then, the day came when they asked me to get endorsements for the book. Oh, and told me I had two weeks to get them. Fortunately I had great support from some wonderful people who I consider luminaries in the industry. They all pulled together for me and I made my deadline. But, that was truly the hardest part. It was the first time I’d had feedback on the book outside of my editorial team and the colleagues who’d been Beta readers. It was terrifying to have some of the people I’ve got a huge amount of respect for, but don’t know all that well personally, as the first to read it. Thank God they liked it!

Then came the day that FedEx pulled up with cases of books. I finally got to see and hold the real thing. It was amazing. I still smile when I look at the copy sitting on my desk. But, the day after that, Amazon started shipping. A full three weeks early and I wasn’t ready due to my client project schedule. But that’s okay, I’ll get there – about the time it was supposed to be released.

The funny part is that I work in a business environment that moves fast. And I received the book in final form almost a year to the day I signed my contract. It seemed like it took forever. Most gratifying is that people are buying the book. And I’m hearing from them, which I absolutely love. That people are finding value in the book makes it all worthwhile.

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Ambal Balakrishnan: Who is eMarketing Strategies for the Complex Sale addressed towards?
Ardath Albee: I wrote the book for marketing and sales organizations challenged with engaging prospects across the entirety of a lengthening, complex buying cycle. I think the book will be helpful for any size company that needs to answer that challenge.

Ambal Balakrishnan: How is the B2B Marketing landscape different than what it was a decade back?
Ardath Albee: A decade ago buyers pretty much had to speak with a salesperson to find out what they needed to know to make a purchase decision. The Internet changed that by connecting people with information about nearly everything. Buyers now can learn pretty much what they need to know to get to the creation of a short list without ever speaking to a salesperson. Not only has that made becoming the advisor to help people buy harder, but it’s transferred a lot of responsibility to the marketing side of the scale. In addition, instead of face-to-face, much of communication today is done digitally. That’s a wholly different process that requires us to develop different skill sets in order to work effectively.

Ambal Balakrishnan: How is Content Marketing for B2B’s different from B2C’s?
Ardath Albee: I think the biggest difference is that B2C doesn’t have the buying committees and influences that impact the B2B market. In B2B we have to address the buyer, but we also have to know how roles, responsibilities, corporate culture, industry specifics and stakeholders impact the problem and the choice to buy. We’re often dealing with complex systems where our product or solution impacts only a part of them, but still, we have to be able to address the ripple effect of everything else they touch.

In comparison, the most complex purchase a consumer makes is often their home. Much of how they decide is based on personal values and their buying committee is usually their spouse, and maybe the family. Generally the values you’re addressing are shared. In B2B, it’s not that easy.

Ambal Balakrishnan: You have an entire chapter dedicated to B2B Marketing Metrics. Which metric is the one you most reach out to in your metric toolbox?
Ardath Albee: Goal Achievement – aka Levels of Engagement. Whether opt in, other response activity or online dialogue, B2B marketers must motivate their prospects to respond in increasingly interactive ways or they aren’t generating the amount of interest necessary to progressively move them toward viable sales conversations. Every content “touch” must be designed to achieve a goal. With progressive goal achievement, marketing builds pipeline momentum that drives sales outcomes.This is not to say that contribution to revenue isn’t the ultimate metric, but that I use goal achievement much more often to tune and tweak marketing programs and make sure that metric sees impact.
Ambal Balakrishnan: What is one change you recommend for businesses to do better when it comes to handling complex sales?
Ardath Albee: Create content for each stage of the buying process that’s focused on delivering value from the buyers’ perspective.

Ambal Balakrishnan: What are the 3 key lessons you want readers to take away from your book?
Ardath Albee:

  • Know your prospects and customers really well.
  • Engage prospects and customers with compelling content that helps them, regardless of their timing to buy.
  • Nurture prospects continuously and consistently across their buying process—and beyond, once they become your customers.

Ambal Balakrishnan: What one “get started on right away” change do you recommend to the reader of your book?
Ardath Albee: Put marketers and salespeople in the same room and complete the Customer-Focus Tune Up exercise. You’d be amazed what you discover that can help improve relevance and how you’re using content to engage prospects.

Ambal Balakrishnan: Please recommend 3-5 resources (books, blogs).
Ardath Albee:

Ambal Balakrishnan: What kind of projects (both personal and professional) are you involved in when you are not blogging, speaking or consulting?
Ardath Albee:

  • Training my Australian Shepherd puppy, Bella – or just playing ball with her in the backyard.
  • Reading and writing women’s fiction.
  • Research and thinking. My husband thinks I’m nuts, but I’ll sit for hours and just think about something from different angles. And I love research. Crazy, I know.

Ambal Balakrishnan: Ardath, thanks for taking the time to discuss your book and sharing your B2B marketing insights with us.
Ardath Albee: Thanx Ambal.

Win FREE copies of eMarketing Strategies for the Complex Sale

To celebrate Ardath Albee’s book launch, we are giving away 3 FREE copies of eMarketing Strategies for the Complex Sale

To enter this giveaway, simply do the following:

We will randomly pick 1 lucky winner each day for the next 3 days and give them a copy of Ardath Albee’s eMarketing Strategies for the Complex Sale. The winner for each day will be announced the subsequent day. Stay tuned!

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Over to you…

Fellow B2B Marketers – What are you waiting for? Get yourself a copy of eMarketing Strategies for the Complex Sale and engage with your prospects through compelling content. The book is filled with examples and tools to help you navigate the complex world of B2B marketing and teaches you how to create and use online content and communication strategies to get the attention of prospects and engage them for sales readiness.

Connect Direct’s High-Tech Direct Marketing Handbook

The High-Tech Direct Marketing Handbook is packed with 65 tips and techniques on demand generation strategy. We have invited Howard J. Sewell, the author of  The High-Tech Direct Marketing Handbook to  get an insider look into the making of this Handbook.

Howard J. Sewell is president and founder of Connect Direct Inc. (CDI), a full-service agency with offices in Seattle and Silicon Valley specializing in demand generation and lead management for high-technology companies.  Prior to founding CDI in 1990, Howard was a marketing manager for software giant Oracle Corporation.  When not running his company and working with clients, he is a frequent contributor to online publications on demand generation, lead nurturing, social media, and other topics, and also writes his agency’s blog, Direct Connections.

Howard J. Sewell

Blog Direct Connections Twitter HJSewell

Ambal Balakrishnan: Howard, it is a great pleasure to discuss your ‘High-Tech Direct Marketing HandBook’. Thanks for finding time out of your very busy schedule to provide your valuable insights to our readers. Tell us about what Connect Direct does?
Howard J. Sewell: Connect Direct Inc. (CDI) is a full-service marketing agency specializing in demand generation and lead management.  In layman’s terms, we help technology companies generate and manage sales leads.

Ambal Balakrishnan: Give us the background of how you gained an interest in B2B Marketing and more specifically in High-Tech Direct Marketing?
Howard J. Sewell: I worked in high-tech sales for a few years after college but always knew I wanted to move into marketing.  I was fortunate enough to land the perfect transitional role – marketing manager for a sales organization – at Oracle, and found my way into their in-house direct marketing agency.  I’ve been a direct marketer ever since, and eventually left Oracle to start my own firm.  That was 19 years ago and we’re still going strong.

Ambal Balakrishnan: What prompted you to embark on creating an ebook for High-Tech Direct Marketing?
Howard J. Sewell: The ebook’s origins lie in an monthly email newsletter I wrote for 10 years on high-tech direct marketing, a newsletter that eventually became our blog, Direct Connections.  10 years in I was sitting on more than 100 tips on high-tech direct marketing, and our creative director at the time had the idea of turning them into a handbook.  We shipped hundreds of copies in hard copy form before converting it to an ebook this year.

In all candor, the handbook has always been intended to be an offer.  It’s a way to introduce people to our company and our way of thinking in the hope that somewhere along the line the reader will have a need for our services.  In the process, hopefully we help educate people a little by sharing some of what we’ve learned in 19 years.  I think people appreciate the fact that the handbook isn’t a brochure – I often hear from people who have a dog-eared copy by their desk at all times!
Ambal Balakrishnan: Who is ‘The High-Tech Direct Marketing Handbook’ addressed towards?
Howard J. Sewell: For the most part, the tips contained in the book are practical techniques rather than high-level strategy.  Because of that, the person who will gain the most from the book is the person “in the trenches,” someone chartered with developing, designing, and executing lead generation programs for their company.

Ambal Balakrishnan: How is the High-Tech Marketing landscape different than what it was a decade back?
Howard J. Sewell: By far the biggest shift has been the shift from outbound to inbound marketing.  Ten years ago most of CDI’s business was comprised of email and direct mail campaigns based on list rentals.  We defined an audience, found a list that met that profile, and blasted our message to that list.  Now it’s all about leveraging vehicles like social media to drive inbound leads, and then nurturing those leads over time until they have a need for what you do.  Lead management will probably be half our business this year.

Ambal Balakrishnan: What is one change you recommend for businesses to do better in their High-Tech Direct Marketing initiatives?
Howard J. Sewell: It still amazes me how many high-tech marketing plans, even in Silicon Valley, revolve around campaigns and programs.  I call it “Program-Centric Planning.”  It’s as if pushing campaigns out the door is more important than the results those campaigns generate.  It makes far more sense to quantify the results you need and then plan programs accordingly, rather than plan campaigns and hope they get you where you need to be.
Ambal Balakrishnan: What are the 3 key lessons you want readers to take away from ‘The High-Tech Direct Marketing Handbook’?
Howard J. Sewell:

  1. Sell the offer, not the product.
  2. Don’t focus all your energy on generating hot leads.  Cast a wide net, build a lead nurturing strategy, and the hot leads will happen.
  3. Plan.  Don’t just execute.

Ambal Balakrishnan: Please recommend 3-5 resources (books, blogs).
Howard J. Sewell:

  • I read Mashable’s daily newsletter every morning. It’s a great way to keep abreast of the changing social media landscape.
  • Steve Farnsworth is a former client, a good friend, and an expert in high-tech marketing and social media.  One of the best Twitter feeds out there: @Steveology.  (26,000 followers can’t be wrong.)
  • Check out Michael Damphousse’s blog, B2B Demand Generation.  Mike is someone whose opinion I really respect. (It helps that I agree with him 90% of the time.)

Ambal Balakrishnan: Howard, thanks for taking the time to discuss your eBook and sharing your B2B Marketing insights with us.
Howard J. Sewell: Thanks Ambal.

You can download Connect Direct Inc. (CDI)‘s ‘High-Tech Direct Marketing HandBook’ here.

The Content Marketing PlayBook

42 content marketing tactics, over 50 case studies and hundreds of resources – The Content Marketing Playbook: 42 Ways to Connect with Customers is packed with lots of ideas to execute on your content strategy.

We have invited Joe Pulizzi and Jonathan Kranz the authors of The Content Marketing Playbook to  get an insider look into the making of this great and informative eBook.

Joe Pulizzi is a leading author, speaker and strategist for content marketing. Joe, founder of client-vendor matching site Junta42, is co-author of the highly praised book Get Content Get Customers, recognized as THE handbook for content marketing. Joe writes one of the most popular content marketing blogs in the world.

Jonathan Kranz has written a huge stack of content, advertising, direct marketing, and public relations materials for consumer and B2B clients in financial services, banking, insurance, high-tech, healthcare, education, and other industries. Jonathan is also the author of Writing Copy for Dummies and The eBook eBook: How to Turn Your Expertise Into Magnetic Marketing Material.

Joe Pulizzi

Blog Junta42 Twitter juntajoe Junta42

Marketers have to create a story that customers and prospects want to listen to.

Jonathan Kranz

Blog Kranzcom Twitter jonkranz

Content marketing means meeting customers on their own terms.

Ambal Balakrishnan: Joe & Jonathan, it is a great pleasure to discuss your latest eBook – The Content Marketing Playbook. Thanks for finding time out of your very busy schedule to provide your valuable insights to our readers. What prompted you to embark on creating ‘The Content Marketing Playbook’?

Joe Pulizzi: Content marketing seems to be the buzz word for 2009.  There are lots of experts talking about the value of content marketing, and that’s great…but a much lesser number are actually talking about clear, concise examples.  That’s why we developed the Content Marketing Playbook.  A marketing professional can quickly get an idea of why and how they should use a particular tactic.  Now that doesn’t mean content strategy isn’t important…it’s still paramount, but that wasn’t the purpose of this.  The Playbook should be used as a great tool to brainstorm and imagine the possibilities to position your company/brand as a trusted solutions provider (through content).

Jonathan Kranz: My role in the Playbook begins with a cool social networking story. In advance of publishing The eBook eBook: How to Turn Your Expertise Into Magnetic Marketing Material, I spent a lot of time online, following bloggers, Tweeters and thought- leaders interested in content marketing. Joe, obviously, was (and is) one of the big guns in the field. When I saw that we were both scheduled to speak at a virtual online conference, I introduced myself to Joe and we arranged a phone call. Naturally, we had a lot of common interests. And when Joe happened to mention, as an aside, that he had started a kind of guidebook to content tactics, but was bogged down with work, I offered to help with the writing.

Ambal Balakrishnan: Give us the background of how you gained an interest in Content Marketing.

Joe Pulizzi: People don’t want to be interrupted, but they still want to have relationships with the brands they favor. About a decade ago I realized that the way to do this was for marketers to become their own publishers. In 2000, I started helping brands become their own publishers while at Penton Media. When I left Penton in 2007, my goal was to spread the concept of “marketers as publishers” or content marketing to the masses. Writing Get Content. Get Customers. was an important part of this process. The great part is, now there are many people consistently discussing content marketing and the benefits of this philosophy. Great things are starting to happen, and it’s only the beginning.

Jonathan Kranz: Whereas Joe came to content marketing from a media angle, I came at it, unexpectedly, from direct marketing. Several years ago, I was brought in to a lead-generation project in which the premium – or offer – was a “top ten” booklet relevant to the target market. I wrote the book, plus most of the supporting marketing materials: direct mail, print ads, email, web copy, etc. All of it focused on one thing: the value of the information in the booklet – not the product, service or brand. The results were staggering: the client had asked for 500 qualified leads; the campaign pulled in 1,200, representing (after sales) $1.2 million in new business. The key? The offer wasn’t a gimmick – like a flash drive or an iPod – but something immediately relevant to prospects’ needs. That’s what awakened me to the power of content marketing.

Ambal Balakrishnan: Please walk us through the eBook writing life-cycle. How did it evolve on its journey from concept to launch?

Jonathan Kranz: Joe came up with the idea and began with a rough outline that matched various tactics with potential examples. When I came on board, we started by reviewing our list: adding missing tactics, deleting less-promising ones, and consolidating others that were similar. Then we agreed on a standard format: a brief definition or explanation of the tactic with an annotated example of the tactic in action. This, in turn, would be complemented by short bullet lists suggesting who should (or should not) consider using the tactic, plus three key “play points” with advice about execution. Once we pulled this together in a draft, we went through a few rounds of revisions to clarify our points and examples.

Ambal Balakrishnan: Who is ‘Content Marketing Playbook’ addressed towards?

Joe Pulizzi: Marketing professionals at non-media companies. We guarantee that any marketer, of any size, will get at least a couple of gold nuggets from the Playbook.

Jonathan Kranz: People tantalized by content marketing as a strategy, yet hungry for practical insights on tactics in order to execute that strategy effectively.

Ambal Balakrishnan: How is the marketing landscape different than what it was a decade back?

Joe Pulizzi: Simple answer — we went from a few, to thousands of communication vehicles over that time.  Consumers have learned to ignore or block the messages they don’t want. That means that marketers have to create a story that customers and prospects want to listen to. Enter content marketing.

Jonathan Kranz: Traditional marketing methods have taken a major beating. Direct marketing response rates have plummeted and ordinary advertising has been undermined by new customer behaviors: customers don’t sit around to “see” or “hear” your messages; instead, they seek out information they want when they want it. Content marketing means meeting customers on their own terms.

Ambal Balakrishnan: You have some great case studies in ‘Content Marketing Playbook’? How did you pick these examples?

Joe Pulizzi: It’s easier than you think.  Most of the case studies were provided by Junta42 certified content vendors.  Since we review these projects on a regular basis (because that’s part of what Junta42 does to properly help marketers find expert content vendors), we simply had to reach out to our partners.
Ambal Balakrishnan: What are the 3 key lessons you want readers to take away from your book?

Joe Pulizzi:

  • Everyone is a publisher. If you aren’t publishing via one or many of these outlets, you are going to be in trouble.
  • Don’t be afraid. The best way to find out what works is to start, get customer feedback and continue to evolve the program.
  • There is no silver bullet, but there are 42 (and growing) ways to get your story out to customers…to present yourself as an expert in your industry…and to ultimately change the way you do business. What an opportunity!

Jonathan Kranz:

  • Think from your customer’s point of view. It’s what they need, not what you want, that matters.
  • Experiment. Most of the 42 tactics are relatively cheap (especially compared to media buys and DM). Expand on what works, abandon what does not.
  • Jump in. You’ll learn best by taking action, gathering feedback, measuring results, and making adjustments.

Ambal Balakrishnan: What one “get started on right way” change do you recommend to the reader of your ‘Content Marketing Playbook’?

Joe Pulizzi: Listen! Your customers are either talking about you, or talking about things that are important to them all over the web. Listen, then start finding a way to get yourself in the conversation.

Jonathan Kranz: Joe’s nailed it: Listen. Then listen some more.

Ambal Balakrishnan: Please recommend 3-5 resources (books, blogs).

Joe Pulizzi:
Where to start:

Plus:

Ambal Balakrishnan: What kind of projects are you involved in when you are not writing, blogging, speaking, or consulting?

Joe Pulizzi: A few that are not ready to be released, but the big one is continuing to tweak Junta42 into a truly helpful content marketing service for marketers. Also, keeping an ear to the ground in the industry looking for opportunities (like with the Playbook) to spread the gospel of content marketing to the masses.

Jonathan Kranz: I serve on the board of directors of Notre Dame High School  in Lawrence, Massachusetts. As part of the innovative Cristo Rey Network, students attend four extended school days, then spend the fifth day of the week working in a corporate/white collar environment; the money they earn helps defray the cost of tuition. This is our sixth year as a school. Despite operating in what the Boston Globe has described as the poorest city in the commonwealth, both of our graduating classes to date have achieved 100% acceptance rates to four-year colleges!

Ambal Balakrishnan: Jonathan & Joe, thanks for taking the time to discuss your eBook and sharing your insights with us.

Joe Pulizzi & Jonathan Kranz: Thanks Ambal.

Read The Content Marketing Playbook and keep it handy. You will find great ideas for every kind of marketing project you tackle. Download The Content Marketing Playbook FREE here. Get The Content Marketing Playbook’s Table of Contents here.

Over to you…

What is the one lesson from The Content Marketing Playbook you will put to use in your next Content Marketing project?

Rebel Brown – Rolling Thunder – Powering Momentous Market Launches

I met Rebel Brown through our common friend Ardath Albee earlier this year. Rebel is a go-to-market strategist specializing in start ups, turnarounds and start-arounds in the high technology arena. Rebel is a regular contributor to our  B2B Experts Interview Series and her guest post today focuses on Powering Momentous Market Launches. Her new eBook named Rolling Thunder discusses the following:

  • The key phases of a Rolling Thunder launch and how to maximize each for your launch.
  • The power of a whisper – and how to grow that whisper into a roar.
  • Tips ‘n tricks for powering new levels of launch success – measured in revenue!

Rebel Brown

Blog Phoenix Rising Twitter RebelBrown

“Rolling Thunder builds momentum across time and markets”

Rebel Brown’s Bio

Rebel Brown is go-to-market strategist and Spin Doctor specializing in start ups, turnarounds and start-arounds in the high technology arena. She has helped to define, position and launch over 75 individual products and companies since she began consulting 20 years ago. Her clients who are technology vendors and venture firms leverage her strategic marketing and go-to-market expertise. She identifies and transforms differentiation – customers crown jewels – into compelling, customer-centric value that sells. Her blog is Phoenix Rising and her business is PeopleWhoKnow.

Rebel Brown’s Guest Post

More than 60% of companies rate their launches as less than successful.
That statistic continues to blow my mind. Market launches are one of the most important things we do in our businesses. They’re certainly the lion’s share of any marketing budget. Launches are also a huge drain on organizational resources; from product folks who create demos to marketing staff building materials, to executives as spokespeople to the sales resource we train and prep.

If 60% of companies are unhappy with their results, why do we keep doing the same things as part of our ‘proven’ launch process?

That’s the reason I wrote Rolling Thunder, my latest e-book devoted to powering momentous market launches.

Jonathan Kranz’s The eBook eBook

We are very excited to bring to you Jonathan Kranz’s The eBook eBook: How to turn your expertise into magnetic marketing material.

Jonathan Kranz’s The eBook eBook covers these topics

  • Real-life examples of marketing successes you can emulate
  • Guidelines for identifying compelling content
  • The secrets to telling unforgettable stories
  • Hints, tips and secrets for organizing your ebook
  • How to supplement your ideas with stats, graphs, quotes, anecdotes and more
  • The right way introduce your ebook
  • An even better way to conclude your ebook to encourage reader action
  • Practical pointers on tone, theme and style
  • Suggestions for promoting your ebook

We have invited Jonathan Kranz to discuss his eBook.Today, Jonathan Kranz enjoys the confidence of numerous clients and agencies. After completing his MFA in Creative Writing in 1995 (and publishing a number of short stories in literary journals such as the Missouri Review and the Green Mountains Review), he leap-frogged agency life and jumped into freelancing with both feet. Since then, he has written a huge stack of content, advertising, direct marketing, and public relations materials for consumer and B2B clients in financial services, banking, insurance, high-tech, healthcare, education, and other industries. Jonathan is also the author of Writing Copy for Dummies.

Jonathan Kranz

Blog Kranzcom Twitter jonkranz

Buyers learn to trust the sellers who engage in authentic relationships.

Ambal Balakrishnan: Jonathan, it is a great pleasure to discuss your latest eBook. Thanx for finding time out of your very busy schedule to provide your valuable insights to our readers. Tell us about what Kranz Communication does?
Jonathan Kranz: Sure. Just two years ago, I would have said, “direct marketing copywriting.” But now, I’m seeing a growing, almost insatiable demand for content: web pages, ebooks, white papers, case studies, articles and more. I’m bringing a direct marketing mindset – targeted audiences, compelling offers, a drive toward action – to the emerging world of what’s called “inbound” or “content” marketing. Although many people are justly turned-off by the hype, my clients are embracing this new marketing world for one simple reason: it works.

Ambal Balakrishnan: What prompted you to embark on writing ‘The eBook eBook’?
Jonathan Kranz: A need for detailed, specific guidance. Many marketing gurus are selling the virtues of content marketing in general, but can be awfully vague in the particulars: How do you actually CREATE a successful ebook? The eBook eBook fills the gap with actionable, practical how-to’s.

Ambal Balakrishnan: Please walk us through the eBook writing life-cycle. How did it evolve on its journey from concept to launch?
Jonathan Kranz: Slowly and painfully! It began with a eureka shower moment, then became a draft I hammered out between client projects. Connecting with the award-winning designer, Patrick Ciano, really pulled all the pieces together.

Ambal Balakrishnan: Who is ‘The eBook eBook’ addressed towards?
Jonathan Kranz: Mostly toward those businesses or organizations that have intellectually complex products or services – the kinds of offers that require research on the customer’s side. The ebook is the company’s opportunity to establish thought-leadership in its industry, and to build prospect trust by sharing expertise those prospects’ value.
Ambal Balakrishnan: What makes the eBook such an essential component of a business’s content marketing plan?
Jonathan Kranz: Without trust, there is no initial contact – no grounds for further conversation between business and customer. The ebook establishes a credibility that can initiate subsequent contact. And as a marketing tool, it’s almost unbelievably versatile, serving as a:

  • Centerpiece for a viral, buzz-building campaign within the social media world
  • Magnet that draws Web traffic
  • Potential offer for a lead-gen, direct response campaign
  • Compelling leave-behind on sales calls
  • Means to attract favorable mainstream media attention
  • Great conference/convention booth hand-out
  • Push-over piece that helps convert fence-sitters into closed sales