B2B Content Marketing Tips to Change Your Failing Paradigm
Here are some tips on how to execute content marketing campaigns for b2b businesses. The following concepts and B2B content marketing advice are good places to begin changing your existing waning marketing strategy.
Are you, like hundreds of other organizations, cobbling away at B2B content marketing without finding success with it? A report from the Content Marketing Institute shows that 86% B2B marketers are using content marketing but only 8% are actually finding it effective. This could either mean that the common belief and hope in the effectiveness of content marketing are fundamentally flawed, or it could mean that most businesses are doing it wrong.
Now it is bad logic to blame the tool when it has shown such potential in the hands of other craftsmen. But, it is natural that a relatively new and complex strategy like 'content marketing' as it is defined today will take some time to learn.
It may have shown fantastic results with B2C customers, but the same angles and approaches do not always work for B2B customers. B2B businesses need to distinguish between their needs and those of B2C companies when it comes to content marketing. The following ideas and B2B content marketing tips are good places to start changing your current failing marketing strategy.
Target the right stages in your B2B funnel
The B2B marketing funnel is not the same, but similar to the B2C funnel. Right at the top is Brand Awareness, where businesses become aware of a service or product, which may lead to Interest and Consideration. This should ideally leverage the buyer's Intent and guide them towards active Evaluation or Comparison. And finally, to avoid making your leads redundant, it should lead to Conversion. There is also one other stage in the B2B funnel that is more important than it is in the B2C funnel, and that is Retention.
Now, when you are creating your B2B marketing strategy (making sure to document it, since the devil is in the details) you need to focus on targeting at the stages of the funnel that actually need boosting. It is a common mistake for B2B marketers to focus their strategies on the wrong stage that may actually not need any help at all.
Experience has also shown that what typically for B2B, strategies that target at most two stages at a time are more effective than those which try to target all the birds in the bush. So an effective strategy that builds awareness while also helping with conversion and retention is going to be hard to come up with if it is possible at all.
Exploit the B2B buying process
Another area where marketers fall short is in exploiting the standard buying process. In most cases, B2B buyers have already made a decision on the solution they are going to go with. They may even have decided on the solution provider, based on the selling company's effective Conversion strategy targeting the buyer.
But unlike B2C cases where the target is simply an individual, in B2B cases, the buyer is not the only target. His employer, colleagues and other committee members will also need to be convinced that your business is going to be the right one to make a purchase from. While the buyer may be at an advanced stage in your marketing funnel, the others involved may need to be made aware.
The buyer is typically looking for documentation and business cases as justifications for their choice. What they are looking for is slide presentations, case studies, statistics and observable successes that were achieved using your business solutions. Such content should be compelling and accessible so that the buyer can present it to the others involved in the buying decision, and clinch the deal. Creating such content should be on the priority list of businesses that already have interested buyers.
Create accessible content
Another area businesses fall short in is creating content that is actually accessible. They may be offering white papers and newsletters to generate leads through a mailing list. But they often take the subscriber through a painful process of filling up lengthy opt-in forms before they can reach the content. This is the first turn-off. The second is the fact that the promised content needs to be downloaded.
Having to download the content immediately reduces its shareability. What eventually happens is this – maybe the subscriber downloads the document and even emails it to some others. Then they unsubscribe themselves.
A simple solution is to leave the frustrating data forms alone. A simple opt-in form that only asks for an email address is the best solution. There are many other tools available, such as FullContact that will let you build a subscriber profile from email addresses later.
Overall, the trick to successful B2B content marketing is to not blindly adopt successful B2C strategies hoping they will stick. Change your content marketing paradigm to one that suits B2B, and remember this area is in its infancy and there is plenty of scope for growth.