Good B2B business relationships are based on trust. Although performance marketing can be effective in achieving certain goals, it has limitations in terms of timeliness. It takes a lot of contact with potential customers to sell high-priced items. This trust and bond can only be established and strengthened over time through continuous relationship building.
Content marketing does not seek a quick fix for success, but rather sustainable growth over time. If you continuously provide potential customers with relevant, high-quality content, they will eventually come to trust your company. Furthermore, this will also cause your company to be seen as an expert in the relevant industry.
Good effective content marketing require a lot of time and resources to distribute and advertise the content. Purchasing content that is cheap is not a good idea. Strategically planning and taking the time to implement high-quality content is important. Standing out from the competition is important, as is creating content that is aligned with the company’s goals and the needs of your target group.
The information that companies make available on their own channels and external channels is known as content. Strategic content marketing involves creating content for all of your company’s relevant channels in order to reach your target audience. This includes things like your website, social media, blog, and any other relevant outlets.
What are the goals of content marketing in the B2B area?
B2B content marketing will be more successful if specific goals are defined before taking any measures. The types of content, placement and distribution options you should include differ depending on which goals you are pursuing.
An overview of possible targets for content marketing actions:
- Branding: Increase your awareness as a company or brand. You build up and expand your expert status in your industry and thus increase the trust of potential customers in you and your offer.
- Customer loyalty: Successful content marketing looks at the entire customer journey and is based on questions such as: Which customer needs can you answer in which phase of the purchasing process? Which problems or questions can you support potential and existing customers with? How can you create interaction and involve your customers in communication? The more customers you consider a valuable resource on a particular topic, the more you understand and feel “heard” by them, the greater their loyalty to you will be.
- Visibility/ Range: Increase traffic on your website or in your online shop or targeted on specific landing pages. This point includes all visitors who come via different channels (paid and unpaid search results, referral traffic, clicks from e-mails or social media, etc.).
- Lead generation: Motivate potential customers to leave you their contact information to maintain communication and relationships. The most common solution here is to add your name to your email list, usually by subscribing to the newsletter or requesting further information by email.
- Revenue growth: Even if, as described above, content marketing is primarily long-term and is designed to build trust, strategically created and placed content can also help increase your sales. You can achieve this by presenting your product or service as a solution to a customer problem and highlighting your USP. This promises success if you see your content as advice, as real help for visitors and less as aggressive sales talk. If, for example, a visitor is interested in a product, present its features and possible applications and offer possible alternative solutions.
Why is B2B Content Different?
Content pieces for businesses that sell to other businesses (B2B) usually focus on complex decision-making processes. So, content marketers working in this area have to work hard to build trust and connection with their audiences.
It’s more important for businesses to provide content that gives their audience practical advice to help them with real marketing issues.
Common pain points B2B content should aim to alleviate (that are not typically relevant to B2C content) include:
- Aligning with stakeholders
- Getting internal and external followers interested in new marketing initiatives
- Managing skills and talent gaps on your teams
- Building compelling business cases for your projects to gain executive level buy-in
Make sure your B2B content is shaped to fit these needs.
Why Your Content Marketing Strategy Needs Rescuing
Content failures often occur when the material you are giving your audience is not valuable to them.
There are many reasons why your content marketing might not be working. It could be that you are publishing in the wrong places, your work is not good enough, you are not engaging enough with your audience, or you are not giving them what they want.
You may find yourself in a hypothetical situation below.
Picture yourself at your desk. You’re holding a cup of coffee, listening to music on your headphones, and jumping between Slack and your inbox to try and get everything done on time and deliver good work.
When you look at your metrics, analyze the data, and prepare quarterly reports, you realize that your results are not what you expected.
As you discover that conversion volume is going down, as well as organic traffic, and domain authority hasn’t increased, you feel your heart sink. Your team is looking to you for answers and you feel overwhelmed.
A plan of action is needed urgently. After months of focusing on daily workflow, you have finally decided to check whether your efforts have been effective.
You’re reading the right article if you’re looking for actionable tips to improve your SEO and content.
Get Connected to Get Aligned
You should forget what you think you know about your audience when you start planning your presentation. What does your audience need when they consume content?
Your content should offer something unique that cannot be found elsewhere.
At the beginning of the process, it’s a bad idea to be too quick to suggest specific solutions. This stage should not be about finding a solution, but rather helping people understand the full scope of their problems.
Instead of focusing on how to solve someone’s problem, try asking what they want to talk about. This will give you a better idea of what is important to them and how you can help.
If the blog is trying to attract Chief Technology Officers who are interested in ITSM software within the next 18 months, it would make sense to consider what else they care about. If you want to know what CTOs need to know to make a business case or make a decision for their organization, ask them.
If you are trying to sell to them immediately, you will have a difficult time fulfilling that need.
You could be wondering to yourself if the purpose of creating content is selling our product/services.
At this stage, the reader is looking for answers to their questions. You have to earn their trust so they will continue to read your content.
Your objective should be to simply establish a connection. Your audience may need specific information on ITSM software, but many people do not yet know what ITSM software is. If you only write about your services, you’re missing an opportunity to get people’s attention and build your brand. The first step in rescuing your B2B content strategy is to understand your audience.
B2B Content Strategy Step #1:
It is more effective to adjust your goals to meet your audience where they are rather than to try and force them to come to you.
Content that builds a relationship with the reader and allows for two-way communication is more effective than content that is only designed to sell a product or service. Here’s how you can realign:
1. Respect the Value Exchange
- Remember, there’s a transaction dynamic to respect. The content and value you provide needs to build sufficient trust and credibility with your user, and ultimately betters their perception of your company.
- This will improve your chances for them to make an exchange. You can see that here, “47% of buyers viewed 3–5 pieces of content before engaging with a sales rep.”
2. Introduce a Customer Feedback Loop
- Talk to your sales team about common questions and objections they receive from your audience. Find out their most effective responses! You can then use this feedback in your content topic ideation and calls to action.
- Use social listening. Observe how your brand and competitors are discussed on social media (Facebook groups, Twitter, Yelp) and on forums (Quora, Reddit). What is the buzz around your brand? Do people have questions they need answered?
3. Tackle Difficult Topics
CXL calls it “Movement First.” Consider offering contrarian perspectives. Go beyond educating and cast a future potential scenario. Share your vision for what your industry could become in order to help others see it too.
If existing blogs are covering the basics sufficiently, what your niche might need is a fresh perspective on a particular topic. Find out what specific problems your research can help them solve.
4. Conduct Better Keyword Research
Avoid choosing keywords based solely on search volume. You should take into account the intention of the person who is doing the search, and how competitive the keyword is, when you are choosing your keywords.
Target keywords based on data. We often see pages that are built for a certain audience or market, but they don’t have any real keyword research to back them up. This results in a great article that gets very little organic traffic. Not ideal!
You have to decide if you want to change your content to better fit your audience’s needs. Which is more important to you, creating new content or optimizing existing content?
If you have content that could be improved to reach your audience better, start with that and produce new content when you’re ready.
B2B Content Strategy Step #2:
Get more out of your content by adding depth to provide a more thorough explanation or discussion of the topics.
1. Obtain a Sufficient Word Count
- It’s essential to provide an ample word count to compete with pages currently ranking on page one of Google’s search results. However, don’t simply add fluff words for word count’s sake.
- Expand your content to cover additional subtopics with a depth of information that other pages lack.
2. Post Quality Content Often
- When asked how frequently blog articles should be published, consider this statistic from Hubspot, “B2B companies that blogged 11+ times per month had almost 3 times more traffic than those blogging 0–1 times per month.”
3. Expand Keyword and Topic Focus
- Target less competitive, longer-tail keywords to start. Long-tail keywords refer to keyword phrases containing at least three words and are narrowly focused on niche topics. This opposes shorter phrase keywords with mass appeal. An example of a short-tail keyword is “CRM Software,” and a long-tail version would be “ERP and CRM Software Solutions”.
- After you’ve gained traction from the right audience, pivot to higher-volume keywords and make your mark.
Now you’re ready to tailor your funnel path to your readers’ needs and interests. Now is the time to start creating content that is targeted at each stage of your customer’s journey. This will help you to more effectively reach your audience and achieve your business goals.
B2B Content Strategy Step #3:
Go “full-funnel” with your strategy (TOFU MOFU BOFU).
1. Plan Content for Each Stage of the Funnel
Content that is designed to bring in relevant traffic and increase brand awareness is typically referred to as “tofu” content.
Why is this topic important to me and my goals?
Sharing blogs or videos related to your topic is a good way to encourage discussion.
MOFU content is designed to help people who are looking to solve specific problems, as well as to reinforce your status as an expert in your field.
These offers help to persuade visitors to continue down the marketing funnel from their entry point.
BOFU content targets readers who are ready to make a purchase.
What is the best way to share information with your audience that will gain their trust and make them more likely to choose you over your competitors?
This is the perfect opportunity to offer a free trial, demo, or sales call. Seal the deal here!
2. Offer Relevant Calls to Action
- Here’s another perspective on the statistic we shared above, “47% of buyers viewed 3–5 pieces of content before engaging with a sales rep.” If your company doesn’t have lead scoring and marketing automation tools in place, this suggests it would be more effective to “sell” another content piece in your call to action (CTA) instead of some type of “Contact Us” or “Speak with Sales” CTA.
- Ensure your CTAs are appropriately placed in your content and not thrown in at the very bottom. You want your audience to have access to them.
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