How To Succeed In B2B Content Marketing - Henry Harvin

Earlier companies used to have a sales representative, dealer, or channel partner and were the key point of contact for gathering information. B2B Content Marketing is in demand, by using digitalisation trend.

From warranty information, pricing, product features, and more, a sales representative was the entry to any information related to the product or service.

Of course, this is not the case now, content marketing continues to rule strong for B2B marketers.

In the era of B2B marketing, it’s a conflict between your success or your competitors. The right marketing strategies can keep you way ahead of the curve, if not your competition will be hard on your heels.

The Modern B2B Cycle

It has evolved and the B2B products and services are also typically more complex and require solutions geared towards rational decision making versus spur-of-the-moment purchases.

B2B (business-to-business) marketing is the marketing of products or services to businesses or other organizations for use in the production of goods.

For use in general business operations (such as office supplies), or for resale to other consumers, such as a wholesaler selling to a retailer.

B2B buyers have numerous channels on which to research. In fact, an estimated 57% of the purchase decision is made before a prospect even engages a sales representative.

According to B2B marketers, the most effective tactics for content marketing are:

  • In-person events (70%)
  • Case studies (65%)
  • Videos (63%)
  • Webinars (63%)
  • Blogs (62%)
  • Newsletters (60%)
  • White papers and research reports (59%)

Be sure to create different types of content based on where they are positioned in the buying cycle.

Developing a mixture of content helps the buyer to move seamlessly from awareness to price and product comparison.

Without any involvement from a sales representative until the prospect is ready to engage.

Content Marketing

Content marketing

According to the “Content Marketing Institute” recent study, 84% of marketers failed due to no documented content strategy in content marketing.

Earlier in traditional days, marketers used to promote their brands locally, manually, and through television advertisements.

After launching a product, they put their complete effort to promote their business by going door to door, doing campaigns, and giving a sample to use them.

Before launching a new product and putting a logo on something, they had a clear plan that fits into a larger strategy and committed towards their goal.

In traditional marketing, it’s all about campaigns, on-going, and day-in-day-out production of high quality and it widely differs from content marketing.

Once you start you can’t stop and it requires more commitment and to have a good thought about it before you start.

Also,

Now being in the digital world, content marketing in its early stage is quite interesting and marketers want to have a trial and check the benefits of it.

The problem is about their non-committal attitude as content marketing requires a bit of commitment.

2013 being the evolution year of content marketing, to enhance your brand’s perception and reduce the traditional marketing costs and attract the customers towards your brand

The ways can be writing a few blogs, answering their questions promptly, and bringing awareness about the brands and the quality.

Content Marketing means writing, publishing, and promoting a piece of relevant content to a specific audience to attract customers through different marketing channels.

In content marketing, our sole objective is to attract potential customers.

Content marketing is all about sharing other people’s content as your own in your style and a good content strategy should also address the approved sources and topic-specific feeds.

Content Strategy

B2B content marketing strategy

According to Kristina Halvorson, the author of Content Strategy for the Web, describes content strategy as “planning for the creation, delivery, and governance of useful, usable content.” 

A good content strategy should include:
  • social channels to use for promotion
  • channels to use for sharing content
  • schedule of content production
  • content production guidelines
  • word count limits
  • tone of voice for blogs
  • and visual guidelines for infographics and images.

Most of the companies fail in content marketing due to a lack of content strategy as they don’t have any objectives and measurements. No SMART goals set before them.

As digital marketing is moving fast, there is immense pressure to act quickly or you will be left behind in B2B Content Marketing.

Keep updating yourself by reading the blogs, asking for professional help, and taking time to plan before you start doing.

Content Marketing Cycle

The entire cycle from starting to ending involving content from its reason for existing to the results you get.

Each part of this cycle gives you, as an entrepreneur, different pathways for creating a profitable business.

content marketing cycle

5 Tips to Write Successful B2B Marketing Content

Tips for B2B content marketing
Easy to remember

Your content should be clear and easy to understand. It should stick in the mind of the reader. The information should not just list the features, functions, qualities, and characteristics of your product or service.

It should be informative in an interesting way which persuades them to read. 

Inform them of the actual use, benefits of your product or service. Talk about how other businesses have been helpful by using your product or service in a transformative way.

Compare your product or service to that of a competitor’s and explain why and how you are better.

Simple and valuable

You must make the content short and easy to read as you are communicating with a businessman.

A businessman has less time to go through all the pages of information – while a customer might persuade to read things for fun; a businessman will never do so.

The content must be available quickly and easy to read and understand the B2B content marketing maybe a minute to three minutes is the perfect length for your content.

You can use conversational style and graphics or videos that make the information easier to understand. Use different fonts size to make sure the person can skim the content and the right information will jump on them.

Examples:

You can also use Grammarly, Hemingway, OmmWriter to improve your writing and grammar skills.

You have to provide new information to the reader in each of your posts and it should be valuable to your reader. Even when the post is a short, one-minute read, it has to provide new information to the reader.

You don’t want the person to read it and think they just wasted a minute of their precious time. 

Add the information in a way that makes the reader curious to read your post by:

  • Using engaging titles at the start of your post.
  • Interesting and informative content. 
  • Providing links at the end of your post, to search about the topic and find your product or service.

You can also add value by providing access to information. Engage the reader further with your business and the upcoming.

Just remember to not make all of it about your business. It’s a good way to show how the business can cut costs – not just by using your products, but also by utilizing other products and business sites.

Focus on analytics

To create valuable content, B2B marketing should focus on numbers that inform why your product or service is such a valuable option for the business.

Businesses make buying decisions with a much more rational and number-focused approach – it’s not about the price of your product but the way it can cut the cost for the business or provide them with more profits.

Take an analytics approach to your content. As well as ensuring the content is based on the actual analytical benefits of your product and service, you also need to learn about the businesses you are marketing to.

Make sure you continue to follow up on B2B content marketing how your content is read whether it is shared or forward and how often? Information like this can help you fine-tune your content further.

Create content for your audience

Ensure that the content is professional and speaks to a professional target audience. While B2C content can be more creative and interesting in nature, but B2B should always stick to a professional style.

It doesn’t mean content should be boring but keeping the office environment in mind and not your couch at home content should be built.

You don’t want to make your content jargon-filled or hard to understand. However, you do need to create content with the audience in mind.

Know about their insight and polished skill and match it with your tone and information.

Ensure the content can be shared

The social aspect of content is super important both in B2C marketing and B2B marketing.

Indeed, professionals are much more likely to share an informative post with their colleagues and even comment on it.

Therefore, you want to make it easy to share the content on different platforms and to engage with the post.

Amazing Examples of B2B Content Marketing

Content Marketing has become the champion of B2B marketers. Here are few amazing examples of B2B content marketing.

  1. LeadPages
LeadPages

LeadPages design landing page templates and testing services.

  • Focused on lead generation and A/B testing with a novel approach to generate content, from cross-promotions on social media to stop lead leaks.
  • Included free educational marketing resources, like courses, eBooks, infographics, and case studies.
  • Produced marketing podcasts.
  • Launched weekly webinars to continue and build upon their educational marketing.

Results:

According to Founder and CEO, Clay Collins, they acquired 35000 customers in less than three years and $16 million hit over in revenue in 2015.

  1. WP Engine
WP Engine for B2B content marketing
WP Engine is a hosting platform handled for WordPress users.

Their highly focused targeting approach to content marketing compartmentalized their efforts into separate “buckets” that included:

  • Focus on new features and company news.
  • Help people to build their online presence with a focus on WordPress users.
  • Business impact: Help people drive growth using their online presence.
  • Torque: Create a community with less talk about the business and provide resources for WordPress users.
  • Support: Provide written and video content to help their customers solve problems.

Results:

Able to acquire 300,000 sites in 128 countries and earn over $40 million by focussing on specific problems and pain points.

  1. Single Grain
Single Grain

The digital marketing agency and focuses on tech start-ups.

We wanted to captivate major companies such as Amazon and Uber, using content design to convert visitors into subscribers. Their content marketing included:

  • A blog focussing only on effective online marketing.
  • A Marketing School Podcast pairing Eric Siu and Neil Patel.
  • An extensive online resource center featuring courses, webinars, infographics, and guides.

Results:

Their podcasts have become highly regarded in the industry and their articles have generated thousands of shares and links.

They have fascinated tons of traffic to their website and created recognition about their business. They have achieved their original goals to convert and engage.

  1. HubSpot
HubSpot

HubSpot is a marketing company and credited for coining the phrase “inbound marketing”.

HubSpot’s approach is pretty simple. Two types of content were created to address different stages of the funnel:

  • Blog designed to teach small businesses about inbound marketing to captivate readers to the top of the funnel.
  • Resources section includes a library of eBooks, case studies, webinars, a quiz, and a marketing kit targeting mid to bottom of the funnel visitors.
Results:

Their content marketing strategy allowed them to transform in just ten years from being funded to a public company worth over a billion dollars and drive more traffic for their blogs.

  1. Scripted
Scripted B2B content marketing

Scripted helps companies to find and hire writers to develop their content.

Their strategy focuses on each step of the “buyer journey”, including:

  • Blog and podcasts discussing common problems.
  • White papers and webinars offering deeper solutions.
  • Case studies to prove their effectiveness to subscribers.
Results:
  • Blog posts driving 46% of their visitors.
  • Bounce rates for content close to 3-times, lower than other sources.
  1. Salesforce
Salesforce

It is the world’s largest vendor of CRM (Customer Relationship Management).

This increased their search and paid traffic sources using a number of tactics that include:

  • Entertaining videos about sales and marketing.
  • The first stop-motion “SlideShare” in the world.
  • A customer success “Prezi”.
Results:

Within three months, their strategy saw:

  • 80% year-over-year increase in traffic.
  • Staggering increment in traffic generated from their social pages by 2500%.
  • eBook downloads reached 10,000.
  • newsletter gained 6,500 sign-ups.
  1. NextView Venture
NextView Ventures

This is a capital platform and it help companies put together their team to create a product and get customers.

We chose to create the content using an unexpected online source:

  • Using Medium Publications, they created an online publication “Better Days”.
  • The off-site content platform allowed them to generate different voices and content themes without concern about their brand.
  • It generates the content off-site, which links back to their site.
  • It allows individuals to follow them on other content platforms.
Results:

The platform provides them access to over 26 million followers, a number that their own blog could never reach on its own.

  1. SAP
SAP

In the world, SAP is one of the largest enterprise software vendors. With such a diverse target, SAP focused on segmentation that includes:

  • Customized content marketing for 19 customer segments.
  • Cover tailored messaging topics relevant to each industry.
  • Solution-based content for each segment.
  • Using the right content for each target, including their own SAP Community Network, virtual and live events, outbound and responder follow-up calls, account-based marketing, email, Tweets, blog posts, and LinkedIn status updates.
Results:

SAP saw:

  • Marketing Generated Ops to the tune of $3,675,000, and 
  • Marketing touched pipeline growth equal to $50,037,709.
Conclusion

It just takes a little ability to transform the driest information into useful and engaging content that will move prospects further down the sales funnel.

6 Key Aspects of a B2B Content Marketing Strategy

  1. Know Your Audience

You need to focus on your content, your target audience may be broad or narrow. So instead of trying to create content that speaks to your entire target audience all at once, focus on one type of client at a time.

  1. Develop a Buyer Persona

Your customers in your target audience have specific wants, needs, and priorities, and you need to take the time to understand them before you start writing content. 

A buyer persona is like an imaginary person or business that could be interested in what you have to offer and using your existing customers as a starting point, ask yourself questions about a buyer persona, such as:

What are their priorities? Their pain points?
What is their role in their own company?
How long do they spend on researching before buying?
What questions are they likely to ask you?

Once you have a few different buyer personas fully fleshed out, you’ll have a clearer idea of whom you’re writing for, what topics your content marketing should address, and how you should address them.

  1. Create a Road Map for Your Audience

The content you create and the way that you provide it can guide your leads through the sales funnel.

Because your leads don’t make the leap from the first contact to final purchase in a single bound, you need to guide them there with smaller conversion goals.

Your first goal, for example, maybe enticing a visitor to give you their email address in exchange for an incentive, putting them in your lead database so that you can nurture them over time.

A goal toward the bottom of the sales funnel, on the other hand, maybe convincing your lead to download a free trial or to sign up for a free consultation.

Thus, we can say:

Dividing up the sales funnel into smaller goals this way makes the process more manageable, both for you and for your leads.

  1. Keep in Contact with your Leads

Content marketing is not a passive strategy—it’s a hands-on one, and that includes reaching out to your leads.

Do not trust that your leads will guide themselves through the sales funnel as they could slip through the cracks.

Instead, map out the points at which you’ll reach out to them and make contact.

B2B foundation

This doesn’t mean that you need to contact every lead personally—by setting up an automated marketing system, you can ensure that every lead is contacted at the appropriate time. 

For example, you may set up a system of marketing emails that automatically sends a new message to your leads at predetermined intervals.

By maintaining consistent contact like this with the people who are interested in your company, you can stop leads from slipping away unnoticed and turn more of them into customers.

  1. Put It All Together

In the planning stage, you came to know your buyer personas, the different conversion goals in your sales process, how and when you want to contact your leads, and what types of content you’re going to produce.

The next big step is to figure out how all of those things will come together.

For example, choose a buyer persona and ask yourself what might have attracted them to view your site for the first time.

Which information are they looking for? What kind of timeline are they working with?

Basic type of content they may demand at this specific point, and how do you guide them toward that content?

Questions like these will help you to align the different aspects of your content marketing strategy so that all of its moving parts work together to provide your leads with the information they want.

  1. Produce Enough Content

For effective B2B content marketing strategy, it has to be consistent, so you can’t take breaks or skip tasks just because you are short on time.

However, to create content strategically, so that you can repurpose it over time and make things easier for yourself.

For example, the different pages of a premium download can be turned into slides, while the same statistics that you use in a blog post can be used to create an infographic.

By repurposing content this way, you can make it easier:

  • to maintain consistent messaging across different channels and
  • to keep up with a rigid content production schedule.

Conclusion

As you are now aware of key aspects of a B2B content marketing strategy, you can start developing one of your own.

By following these tips and adhering to a consistent schedule, you make it significantly easier to find, engage with, and convert the audience your business needs.

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