Many B2B sellers who have seen B2C content at least once have asked themselves: “Why do they always get all the benefits?” But remember, B2B companies are as committed to their products as B2C. And for every B2B product, there are even more B2B users who are constantly looking for it and are interested, inspired, and gaining new knowledge. Can B2B and B2C strategies be similar?
Done right, B2B content marketing can match, and in some cases, even outperform B2C technologies in creativity and appeal. How to achieve this result? How to make your content as attractive as the trendy Jack Hammer? In this article, we’ll walk you through some successful B2B content marketing tactics.
How Does the Client Make a Decision?
Let’s start at the beginning. Let’s go over the stages of clients’ readiness for a deal. There are three of them:
Awareness of the Problem
Consider the example of an online store, which, at a certain stage now, is unable to meet the needs of a B2B business. It cannot withstand the load, and it cannot be integrated with CRM, an end-to-end analytics service, and payment gateways. The owner understands that something needs to change, and he goes looking for solutions.
Consideration of Alternatives
You can create a new online store that meets the increased requirements. Or hire a programmer who will do everything needed to maintain the functionality of this design. Or find a team with experience in implementing similar projects and order the revision of the current online store. You can also leave everything as it is and do nothing until the losses become large-scale. There are a lot of options.
Making a Decision
Suppose a businessman is prudent, he does not want to lose profit, but he is not ready to pay for a new online store. He looks for those who can turn everything he needs to the existing one, studies cases (their availability can be a decisive factor), review requests for proposals, and selects those with whom he wants to cooperate. Only now is he ready to sign the contract.
According to statistics, at any given time, only 3% of people are actively buying (they are in the third stage), 40% are studying offers and comparing options, while a staggering 57% have not yet realized that they need a product or service. Now you perhaps understand why most of your attempts to reach a potential customer through social media, by phone, or email, end in nothing.
Content marketing helps you not miss out on that 97%.
Why Is Your B2B Content Marketing Campaign Not Working?
You know how businessmen hold on to the usual methods of finding clients: cold calling and spam on purchased databases. These methods brought good results once upon a time, but now for some reason, have stopped working. Familiar situation?
We’ll tell you why you experience it and how to use content marketing to switch to the bright side of sales.
Direct sales in B2B eCommerce do not work for several reasons:
- Competition is growing. Seeing no difference between you and your competitors, the client chooses only by the price. The one who offers the maximum discount receives the contract.
- The average manager receives so many offers per day that they are quickly filtered. The overwhelming majority of letters are not even opened. Callers without prior confirmation are thrown into the blacklist.
- The cost of paid B2B advertising is growing, and the quality of the leads received is not always satisfactory.
- Not everyone who comes for advice or asks for a price is ready to buy. In most cases, those who leave to “think” do not return, and if nothing is done, you miss the opportunity to sell.
- If the product is complex and the benefits of buying it are not obvious, the buyer has many questions and objections to work with.
The tasks of attracting and generating interest are solved with the help of B2B content marketing. It helps automate lead generation in the early stages of the funnel so that sales
can get warm leads that are potentially ready for a deal, eliminating the need to persuade everyone.
Common Mistakes When Implementing Content Marketing
If we analyze most of the failed cases in B2B, it turns out that:
- goals are not formulated and KPIs are not defined; you decided to try, but no one knows why and how to evaluate the effectiveness;
- you’ve focused on content for the top of the funnel (customer acquisition), but it is not clear what to do with leads later and how to keep them;
- there is no portrait of the client, the content does not correspond to the needs of potential customers, so they are not interested;
- you’ve hired authors, given the topics, but forgotten to share critical points with them. As a result, you get a rewrite of other people’s content, which does not answer customer questions and does not demonstrate the company’s expertise, which means it is useless;
- you have allocated a budget for content, but not for promotion. Even the most useful article makes no sense if it has not been read by the person to whom it is directed;
- there is no system: someone remembers that the company has a blog and social media from time to time. However, after a couple of new posts, the enthusiasm disappears for the next six months.
These are the main mistakes of B2B content marketing tactics. Now let’s discuss the correct system.
Stages of B2B Content Marketing
Study the Client
Without this, you will be wasting your time and money on preparing and promoting content.
The stage includes:
- market analysis and segmentation
- competitor analysis
- drawing up a map of B2B content marketing needs
- drawing up a customer survey.
Develop a Content Strategy
This is the route that will help you go from where you are now to where you want to reach. It includes a description of the tools that will help you go along this path.
Here are some examples of B2B content marketing strategies:
- Global goals. What do you want to achieve with content marketing?
- Target indicators for the year in numbers: site traffic, number of subscribers, leads, and so on.
- The types of content that you plan to use: text, videos, podcasts, infographics, presentations, photos, webinars, and so on.
- Content formats: educational articles/videos, case studies, guides, podcasts, checklists, White Papers, and so on.
- Frequency of publication on the website and guest resources (per month) in social media (per day). How many units of the content in each format will you release?
- Content distribution channels: blog, newsletter, social media profiles, targeted resources for guest posts (blogs, forums, and communities where your target B2B audience is).
- The team that will work on the content.
- A list of experts to record a podcast, video, or interview. These are the people who have your target audience and who can bring you new leads.
Make a B2B Content Marketing Plan
Select topics from the information need, card, and tabulate them.
Here’s an example of a successful content plan:
- Planned content. For each material, fill in the following information:
- format: White Papers, case study, step-by-step guide, and so on;
- working title;
- site for placement (if we are talking about an article for a blog, indicate the section);
- Content calendar. Move here the priority topics from the first tab.
- Ready-made lead magnets (from here, they can be dragged into the content calendar).
Get a Good Team
Whether it is full-time employees, freelancers, or outsourced editorial staff, it doesn’t matter if you provide them with access to media expertise.
In order to generate content that will work, they need to understand the features of the service, its strengths, and weaknesses, the needs of the target audience.
Try to avoid mistakes such as:
- creating content with machine text or translation;
- skipping proofreading if the author is not a native speaker or does not have a high level.
Here’s what can you do:
- write yourself, and then run the text through the Grammarly service or its analogs (Ginger, Hemingway, and so on.) to correct errors and style;
- write yourself, and then give the text for editing to a proofreader who is also a native speaker;
- hire a native author so that you don’t have to double-check anything.
Form your Budget
You will need money not only for creating content but also for its promotion. Remember: 80% of the success of your content depends upon how you promote it.
How much money do you need? B2B content marketers say it depends on several factors:
- what kind of content do you plan to create (a high-quality video clip can cost much more than high-quality text)?
- who will create the content (the range of prices in the market is very large)?
- which channels will you use to promote your content?
- how will you handle the competition in the niche?
It doesn’t matter if you write the content yourself or use a copywriters’ help. Understanding these simple facts will help you save money, time, and reputation.
- Everything you create should reveal the issue in more detail, provide new tools for solving problems, show a radically opposite opinion, and so on. In the best way, your content should be different from everything that is already on the Internet. Rewriting someone else’s article is not content marketing, but a waste of your budget.
- Think outside the box. Most people who decide to try content marketing use their products’ topics. For instance, you are engaged in mobile apps, which means you will be writing about mobile apps. Ideas for content run out quickly, articles are of no interest to anyone, and a B2B company loses the idea of promoting through content. You need topics that are relevant to potential customers and make them think, “These guys are cool. We want to work with them.”
- Start from pains/problems of potential clients, answer their questions, help solve problems. If you don’t know anything about the reader, you can’t give them any value. Without this, content marketing becomes something like “everyone writes, why don’t we try it.” It will not help you sell more.
- Focus on demonstrating the company’s expertise. While you’re humble and unsure of what to write about, others have successfully used expert articles to increase their reputation.
- Pay special attention to cases. With their help, you can convince potential customers of your expertise and ability to work with tasks like theirs. Remember that a case is not a fragment of a portfolio. It should describe the features of the task, the difficulties you encountered, the process of choosing solutions, and so on.
Here are the main ways to get your content to reach your target audience:
- Search engine optimization (SEO)
- Posts in social media – on your platforms and in communities where your target audience is.
- Contextual advertising – This tool must be used correctly, moving on to informational and low-frequency queries. Otherwise, you will spend a huge budget in a competitive niche.
- Email mailing list – Good email marketing doesn’t mean spam.
- Guest posts on resources that your target audience reads.
- PUSH notifications.
- Mailings in messengers.
Evaluate the Effectiveness
It is important to regularly analyze the situation to abandon pointless promotion channels and adjust the strategy in a timely manner.
Here are some general guidelines:
- Analyze progress on a monthly basis.
- When analyzing performance, do not count the ROI of each campaign separately. All channels and content units used affect customer attraction and engagement.
- To assess the effectiveness of a specific campaign, compare the cost of the target lead with the estimated cost. If they match, or if the cost of the lead is lower, the campaign can be considered as successful.
- Estimate not only ROI but also:
- session length; this is an important factor in search engine ranking
- involvement; how many people have viewed the material and what part of them have read it to the end
- social media signals; likes, shares, tweets, and so on
- bounce rate
- the number of incoming requests
- the number of people who downloaded the lead magnet
- Measure the number and cost of clicks to see if you need to correct the text of your ads or landing pages.
To convert readers to customers and encourage business growth, you need to break the stereotypes of your target audience from time to time. The company does not work for the content, but the content works for the company. If you have something to say but realize that B2B blogging is not enough and that your business requires development, start your own YouTube channel.
Content marketing is not a magic wand; it needs an investment of both time and money. But with the right approach, it will pay off. You will stop spamming, gain the reputation of being an expert in your niche, and ensure a constant stream of deal-ready leads for your B2B sales team. Quality content will generate bids for years, even after you stop promoting it for a fee.
We hope our guide will help you organize successful B2B marketing tactics. Please share your experience in the comments below. What do you use for B2B content marketing tactics?
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