Most people when they think about content marketing – their mind goes to stuff like social media retail company accounts, TV advertisements geared towards customers, browser ads, email campaigns constantly talking about the big seasonal sale, and a ton of product launches.
But, when it comes to content marketing for B2B (business-to-business); things are a little different. Although B2B and B2C share a lot of overlapping elements; the actual content strategy for the former must carry a few specific and unique considerations and many B2B marketing consultants like Mike Khorev adapted their marketing plan to focus more on digital advertising.
So, what makes B2B marketing unique and how can you incorporate those elements into it?
Here’s how you can tailor your strategy to produce the kind of content that audiences will best respond to –
Identify Your Customer Personas
B2B is unique in that a typical customer is quite different and shares unique attributes. Therefore, any promising strategy must begin with first identifying the customer persona. Personas are based on research and analysis of real customers.
A customer persona will basically create a ‘hypothetical customer’ for you. It paints a descriptive picture of their personal motivations, their emotional triggers, what drives them, their needs, wants, the kind of information they want, and how to best communicate with them.
Only once you truly know what your typical customer looks like; you can best craft the right kind of B2B content and SEO strategy for them.
Understanding Your Sales Funnel
The sales funnel for the B2B niche is completely different from your typical sales funnel. Take a look at this:
As you can see from the image above, how different the sales funnel looks for these niches.
For a successful content marketing strategy, you must understand how to best craft content for different stages of the sales funnel which happens to be rather complex for B2B due to the time taken to turn a lead into a prospect.
It is, therefore, imperative that you talk things over with your sales department and other teams to understand what the funnel truly looks like. After that, you can map out a way to target leads that lay at different stages.
For instance, you can capture someone at the 2nd stage via reviews and testimonials. On the other hand, someone who’s close to making a sale would benefit from emails carrying demos and instructions that discuss/talk about product features.
Before you get into the content creation purpose, you must know the exact goals for which you’re creating the content. Start with setting goals for every single piece you get down to writing along with the purpose. In this way, you can measure the success of each post.
Below are some of the commonest purposes for which brands write content:
- To secure higher rankings in SERPs
- To attract organic traffic
- To get leads via the sales funnel
- For raising awareness
- To drive better engagement on social media
You can choose from the following goals that content is supposed to achieve –
- Increase in organic traffic
- Rankings improved in search results
- The overall impact on branding
- Total leads generated
- Total backlinks earned
- Overall social engagement and outreach
Make It Useful
This may seem like a no-brainer – but it’s worth mentioning. With B2C marketing, it’s easy to find traction and success as long as the content you put out is creative. All you have to do is tap into people’s interests and desires on an individual level.
However, with B2B products and services, things are a bit different. Just captivating advertising is not enough to convince someone about a product’s usability. An IT company looking to buy software needs more than that.
It’s only possible to hook them via content that’s useful and presents a winning argument in the favor of a service/product’s value. To that end, it’s good to include data-driven statistics, case studies, motion graphics, data visualizations, etc. It’s good to supply anything concrete that proves your testimony. At the end of the day, useful content can be the most valuable tool for attracting large buy-ins for any B2B brand.
Send Out Weekly Newsletters
According to one of the surveys by CMI (Content Marketing Institute) – more than 31% of B2B brands depend on email newsletters and marketing as a way to nurture and convert leads into prospects.
You can send out all kinds of information via a weekly newsletter such as informative blogs, latest updates, launches & releases, and anything that helps your leads to become customers and customers to remain a customer.
Sometimes, just the fact that you send a weekly newsletter is reason enough for many to become a lead.
And, while you can always go with generic emails, the real power of newsletters and email marketing lies in branding.
Just the fact that emails allow you to appear in front of thousands of potential customers, gives you a chance to create the kind of image that fits your establishment. Never in history was it easier to give your branding a boost for basically free.
Test Out LinkedIn Content
An astounding number of B2B marketers like to use LinkedIn – a platform that is designed specifically for professionals and businesses. You can think of LinkedIn as the social networking platform for B2B. Almost 46% of social media traffic for B2B companies comes from LinkedIn.
It’s one of those platforms which is mostly untapped. You can use it to publish articles and also connect with other professionals and companies.
Content is the single most powerful tool for B2B brands. With the right strategy, it can do wonders. It’s all about utilizing the right kind of content across the right kind of platforms.