Internet is out there and we must use it in favor of our own business. In other words, we must use and abuse of digital marketing and its techniques – SEO, inbound marketing and content marketing. Attracting new customers and maintaining the ones we already have are some of this model’s goals. Besides promoting your brand, it’s an important way of communicating with your audience. And that’s the moment when new possibilities of B2B (Business to Business) companies content open up.
As discussed in another article, content marketing establishes a positive view of your product or service. However, to reach that level, you need to create value and get your audience’s trust. Those are challenges that are worth the effort of your team. To get an idea, 68% of B2B companies who apply digital marketing in generating leads consider it successful, according to a report published by Content Marketing Institute in partnership with MarketingProfs. Number one in the ranking is content marketing applied to brand recognition, according to 81% of participating organizations.
These two points clearly show the benefits that content for B2B companies might bring for you. Nevertheless, wanting to make digital marketing a reality is not enough. There are further steps required, obviously. It’s necessary to take some actions; understand how sales work for each audience; identify your audience (“personas”); and use the most appropriate content.
Difference on sales for companies
Before you start building a corporate blog and creating content, you need to think about how the sales funnel works when it comes to B2B business. Note that this is not the same situation of working with “end users”.
We must take into consideration main difference between B2C (Business to Consumer) and B2B is in the time spent to build relationship. B2C relationship is much more agile, immediate, and the customer does not always bond with a particular brand. It depends of his particular set of tastes and preferences. In B2B, the customer (company) needs to consider several factors prior to acquiring a product or service and hardly change brand.
Decision making is another divergent aspect. In addition to being faster in the B2C relationship, it takes experience and emotion into account – even if unconsciously. In the B2B relationship, the reason gets to speak louder, which explains a longer delay on the final response. Further analysis are required over the different proposals and offers, as well as the approval of executives and the company’s financial department. It takes much more time, to summarize.
Targeting your B2B content to appropriate personas
After identifying differences in the purchase journey for each business, identify your target audience. Or rather, build the profile from each of your personas. Dealing from person to person is much easier because we may identify their tastes and their peculiarities. Start embodying the companies you sell to. Create an identity with name, age, tastes, problems, and solutions this person is looking for.
When generating a persona, the interaction with the target company of your product or service becomes much simpler. Content is personalized, more humanized. It may be the case your audience has numerous buyers’ types and profiles. Due to that reason, think of content that unite your audience. Do not waste time trying to reach those who will not generate leads / new businesses.
Once the persona is created, it’s important to understand that the content should not be based only on what you find useful. On the other way around, build it based on what your person seeks, with answers to his or her possible doubts.
Try different formats and create the habit of checking your metrics periodically. This way, you can identify what attracts the attention of your personas. Another method is to do a quick and simple survey with your customers, without the need for great technology. It can be in person / face-to-face, in meetings, via email or even with Google Forms. In addition to understanding what your audience is looking for, you may still customize and direct your questions to them.
With specific questions, you discover sources of information your targeted audience prefers, as well as helping you to define your content strategy. Surveys can be easily applied to your plan and future strategies. Some interesting topics are interesting to find out, such as:
- How long does your client stay reading a content?
- How does your client consume content (mobile, tablet, or computer)?
- What content format does he or she prefer (blog-post, article, video, audio, infographic etc)?
- How does he or she share content?
- Among other possibilities.
How is your competitor’s content?
Study and explore your competitors. Check how they use and apply content to B2B companies. Understand how they promote content, how they position themselves on blogs and social media, and whether they have partnerships with influencers. Monitor the reaction and engagement of each of your posts. There are tools such as SEMrush that help you have these and other data. Use Google Analytics and monitor your website’s traffic and acquisition.
Your competitor may indirectly give you several tips of what to do or not. And if the content has worked, why not take some inspiration from it? Note that the right word here is “to be inspired by” and not “to copy it”. No copy-paste!
Suddenly, you may even identify a question in an unanswered comment at your competitor’s website or social media. You can even turn this question into content that you had not thought about. This attracts views and brings visitors to your company’s blog or social media.
What is the right content for B2B companies?
The answer is simple and straightforward: it depends on your audience, definitely. To help you, there are some outstanding B2B content to be higlighted.
Success stories, tips on some point related to your product or service, plus curiosities. These are contents that can get attention. Other possibilities are surveys, e-books, whitepapers, solutions to possible doubts and webinars. The good side of e-books, webinars and courses is that you can make them available for download, after filling a simple form.
Once a visitor fills out a form to download your material, you may continue the relationship marketing and move to the next phase. You can send an email a few days later, with other content that might probably interest your visitor. And so on, in order to take this visitor going the long distance, from beginning to the end of the funnel, which means becoming a lead.
But remember: do not do too much self-promotion. Besides distancing the prospective customer, your brand will hardly have the recognition you sought from the moment you decided to produce content.
How to define the content to be published?
Observe what your audience have been talking about. Checking the social media and content of the segment is a great method to find out which keywords to use. By the way, define the keywords that are most important to your business at first. In addition to monitoring social media, use industry-leading tools such as Google Trends.
The keyword should not necessarily be formed by just one word and you’ll understand why. Let me exemplify. Using only “marketing” as a keyword for a blog-post is not quite the best technique. It’s more likely that someone googles a much more specific expression or a question. People are using Google in a much more customized way. Modern searches have been more in the following direction: “how do I do content marketing?”. Did you notice both aspects? Personalized – “I do”; and more specific – “content marketing”.
Another way is to form content based on the sales funnel:
- Top (“ToFu”): make general and superficial content, which take the usual doubts;
- Middle (“MoFu”): slightly deeper content in the segment; “How to develop my content marketing plan for 2019” – only to stick to the example above;
- Background (“BoFu”): content aimed at closing business, e.g. a success case story.
Even if it’s content for B2B companies, use an informal language. Simple words and short phrases are great options to make yourself understood quickly. After all, understanding is the basis for any communication.
Which media should I use regarding content for B2B companies?
Lists and infographics are practical ways to attract readers and make information organized and enlightening. Canva is a free tool that assists in the production of infographics and pieces for social media.
Videos are also another great asset. According to Wyzowl’s survey, 94% of customers watched videos explaining the products. Moreover, among the companies that have used self-explanatory video, 81% say it has helped to increase sales. Do not overdo it in time, a minute and a half is enough time for your customer to understand the product and watch your video to the end.
Main channels for B2B content
Blog, e-mail marketing and social media. Please update each of these channels frequently. Several companies have a marketing team inserting content daily. Being overlooked is very easy while other brands appear in front of your target audience.
Find out which social media your personas use more often, based on analysis and metrics, and develop an action plan. When it comes to B2B business, LinkedIn groups are a potential target to be in touch with your audience. According to the survey of Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs, mentioned earlier here, this social platform is the most effective, 78% – followed by Twitter and Facebook, with 48% and 42% respectively.
Email marketing, like newsletter, is the most effective way to communicate with your target audience (74%, according to the same survey). Through it, you can deliver information and promotions. In addition, the consumer is guided on his journey through suitable content for each stage of the funnel in which he or she’s inserted.
Conquer the customer!
Even after you have gained new customers, keep publishing an interactive content to them. Remember: content marketing’s goal is to attract and retain your customers. Loyalty is a must-do!
Enjoy that you have finished reading here and start putting together your content action plan for B2B companies. Have you been already practicing content marketing? Share your experience. Are you having any difficulties? Leave your comments below. Don’t be shy.