Driving B2B leads through content marketing

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The Challenge

From solo entrepreneurs to Fortune 500 companies, the vast majority of businesses run Microsoft software. However, Microsoft has faced challenges in forming meaningful connections with small companies. According to surveys, many small businesses believed Microsoft didn’t care about them; their software was designed for large enterprises. Huge organizations and scrappy small businesses don’t speak the same language, so cookie-cutter communications fell flat. A company with a handful of employees has different goals, different pain points, and fewer resources. To inspire, celebrate, and educate small businesses, Microsoft needed to resonate with them on a deeper, more-personal level.

The Airfoil Solution

Airfoil developed the 10 Under 10 e-book to share inspirational true stories about “microbusinesses” with fewer than ten employees. The e-book discussed the challenges, motivations, and eureka moments of tiny companies doing big things. With a focus on women-owned businesses, young entrepreneurs, and unique trailblazers, the e-book highlighted businesses such as Me & the Bees, a charitable organization created by 11-year-old Mikaila Ulmer. Celebrating small-business successes wasn’t the only goal; Microsoft hoped to generate new business leads from 10 Under 10 readers. Airfoil housed the e-book behind a download gate that required contact info and business-size data to drive leads into the sales funnel.

The Numbers

In just a few months, more than 1,300 readers downloaded 10 Under 10 — and 11 percent of them were qualified prospects in the small-business landscape. But 10 Under 10 wasn’t just an e-book. Each story was turned into a standalone piece, and that content reached more than 3.7 million people, garnered more than 420,000 impressions, and drove 4,700 engagements on social media. An audio news release about the 10 Under 10 profiles also aired nationally, reaching an audience of 67 million people and counting.

Content Marketing & Lead Generation

“You guys rock!”

Steven Fielding, Senior Marketing Communications Manager

Microsoft