Content Marketing is one of the primary B2B marketing strategies companies are using these days to create useful content on topics related to the products or services they offer. The created content can be in the form of articles, videos and/or infographics which help businesses establish themselves as subject matter experts and provide helpful and valuable information to their targeted audience for free.
Marketing has gone through a big shift in recent years. Traditional Outbound (interrupt driven) marketing strategies which included direct mail, telemarketing, print/newspaper ads, email blasts, or even TV and radio ads have become less effective. Inbound (permission driven) marketing strategies that include effective online content, webinars, social media, blogs, online videos, infographics and customers reviews are more effective in nurturing leads and engaging them through the buyer’s journey. The latest stats from Statistica published in a recent article on Ironpaper.com indicates that 91% of B2B marketers used content marketing in 2017 and 49% indicated articles are the most effective type of content for moving prospects through the sales process.
Creating Effective Content
Creating effective content has become more critical since Google and other search engines measure a lot more than just keyword usage. There are a number of things that are now measured including the depth of the content, click-through-rate, engagement, dwell time on page, which are all part of decision process used to decide which results are most relevant to the search. This means it requires a lot more than using perfectly-matched keywords to show up high in the search results. This is the reason why content marketing matters just as much for businesses that sell to other businesses as it does for businesses that sell to consumers.
As mentioned in a recent article titled “Why You Should Be Leveraging Content Marketing in Your B2B Business” on iqsdirectory.com, brand content can be made up of many things, however the easiest way think of it is this: it’s a brand’s blog, magazine, or “coffee shop talk,” placed strategically on the web in a way that naturally bolsters its marketing strategy.
The article referenced above also mentions that every brand has a story and an area of expertise, but not all of them make a concerted effort to place this content online in a free, outward-facing way. Informative and useful information about industry topics that provides good value to the targeted audience of a business is key to establishing a brand personality and promoting online visibility.
Most B2B marketers say having compelling content that is developed for each stage of the buying process is the most effective lead generation tactic. The content written to nurture potential customers through the buying process is primarily provided through either permission based email, Search (optimized site pages) or content marketing tactics according to data from Statistica.
How Content Marketing is Done for B2B Companies
While content marketing can be a very valuable asset for B2B companies, it needs to be implemented using a good strategy in order to be effective. Content marketing is all about providing helpful content to a targeted audience, building trust and credibility as well as promoting the brand as a thought leader. The content that is created for the targeted audience gives away a certain amount of helpful information for free. The primary goal is that potential customers will understand that the brand is committed to promoting a positive experience for both potential customers and paying customers alike.
The most important things that your businesses needs to consider with a B2B content marketing include:
- Know who your customer is
- What are their needs and challenges
- Know how your team resources will use content marketing
- What is the reputation of your brand
- How to create content that resonates with customers at different stages in the sales process
If your B2B brand sells niche technology products to extremely rational consumers, you will likely need to include white papers, infographics and articles that discuss the benefits the products provide and how they meet their needs. Existing collateral can often be revised into bite-sized marketing content that will resonate with potential customers at different stages of the sales process. Promoting high value content online is excellent way to achieve higher organic visibility and generate consumer trust and credibility.
For those businesses that are more relationship focused, content marketing can help potential customers discover your brand and develop an emotional connection with your product offering. Even with B2B marketing, your customers are people so the design, video content and emotional appeal related to human connections are important aspects of a holistic approach to a content marketing strategy.
Positioning Content Marketing for Success
Content marketing needs to promote the specific marketing goals of the company which also need to support the primary business goals. Start by knowing what your company is trying to accomplish this year as well as this quarter. From there know how your marketing efforts which include content marketing will contribute to supporting these company goals.
If a company’s primary goal is to increase sales 20%, what things should marketing do to support this goal? This may include improving the conversion funnel or just getting more traffic to the top of the funnel. It may also include developing better content and offers using email marketing for existing customers or potential customers who are the bottom of the sales funnel. The marketing goals need to be tied directly to the company goals so everyone clearly understands why marketing is doing what they are doing.
From knowing the marketing goals what content will be created and promoted to support those goals? If you need to promote better online visibility and more site traffic you need to take a boarder approach and focus on creating content that uses long-tail keyword terms or include answers to questions you’re targeted audience is searching on.
Measuring the Effectiveness of Your Content
One challenge all B2B marketers face is analyzing and measuring the effectiveness of their content marketing strategy. Using Google analytics and other analytics tools B2B marketers can measure the effectiveness of a content piece and make changes or write new content that resonates better with their targeted audience. The bottom line is you need to have a way to measure effectiveness. Key metrics to track include keyword rankings, organic search and branded search page visits, average time spent on the page, search engine results for your brand name, search volume for your brand name (check Moz’s Keyword Explorer and Google Trends) as well as likes, shares, engagements from posts on social media. Reviewing all of these metrics will help you determine if the content resonated with your target audience or not.
Content marketing has become one of the most effective ways to spend marketing dollars. Not only are the conversion rates considered more effective, but once you have a robust content library and use good measuring tools to track metrics, the content lives on your own domain and will not “expire” the same way traditional ads do. As you begin to develop a content marketing strategy for your business, you’ll probably find that much of your best marketing collateral already exists within your company’s collective brain trust and with your client success stories. You can tell your brand’s story to the world and reach more potential customer from organic searches than ever before.