B2B buyers read at least 13 pieces of content before making a purchase decision. In fact, Over half of the buyers say they are more likely to buy from businesses after reading their content.
Content marketing allows B2B marketers to reduce the cost of acquiring leads, boost brand awareness, and position themselves as thought leaders in their niche. No wonder, 87% of B2B marketers prioritize informational content over promotional messages and sales.
In this article, we will highlight a few handy B2B content tactics to attract and retain a clearly defined audience.
Know the Elements of a Robust B2B Content Strategy
In this era of digitization, there’s so much content poured out by businesses that it may feel there’s no room for more. But if you pay attention to the basic elements of a B2B content strategy, you’ll be able to lay the groundwork for stellar content that converts.
- Buyer Persona
To create the perfect buyer persona, you need to be talking to the real buyers, your customers. Sift through your CRM data to pick them and know why they chose you. Check how they found out about you and what particular feature they enjoy in your product or service before planning your SaaS content marketing strategy.
Refer to this post by HubSpot to create a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer.
The brand messaging should be relevant to your buyers and their pain points. It should address their concerns and questions. Besides, make sure you think of broader topics that your buyers may be thinking about.
For instance, think of issues they don’t have right now but may encounter in the future. That’s where your content creation will begin.
- Content Goals
Determine what you want your content to achieve for your audience and business. Do you want to address a specific customer issue? Do you want to generate more traffic to your website or improve your share of voice? Are you aiming to generate more qualified leads?
Setting clear goals will help you measure the effectiveness of your content programs using specific metrics.
- Content Types and Platforms
What kind of content does your audience consume and where? Hello again, buyer persona!
Does your audience like to watch videos or listen to podcasts? Where will your content live? Make your content –
- Searchable – can be easily found on search engines
- Sendable – can be used as a part of your nurturing campaign like emails
- Shareable – can be shared on social media in the form of thought leadership content
- Content Promotion
Though it’s good to depend on organic visibility, you will need to craft a paid strategy like social advertising or pay-per-click campaigns to reach your audience and boost the chances of the right people seeing you.
Regardless of whether you have an in-house team or hiring a B2B content agency, it’s important to acknowledge these elements.
If you are outsourcing content strategy, make sure you choose one that focuses on these elements. Most agencies spend more time on writing content than building bandwidth for strategic thinking. Look for an agency that designs a long-term strategy that drives demand, creates brand awareness, and builds an environment for buyer enablement.
Lastly, if you are wondering what is a B2B content marketing agency and how to hire the right one, we’ve got you covered. This post by InboundJunction offers handy information on the subject.
Define Your Audience
Who are you creating content for? The most common answers we get are – marketing managers, business leaders, or technicians. However, you need to go deeper than that.
Ask yourself –
- What problems are my customers facing? What are their pain points and business challenges?
- What channels are they present on and what type of content do they consume? This is a part of your ‘buyer persona’ journey.
- How is your content unique? Customers are bombarded with a sea of content. Does your content offer value to the user? Does it talk to the real buyer?
- What stage of the marketing funnel are they in? If they are at the top of the funnel, you need to raise awareness using light content.
The answers to these questions will help you understand who you are talking to and create relevant content that meets their needs.
Pick Your Core Content Format
Once you know who your audience is and created a clear buyer persona, you’ll know what content format is best for engaging your customers. A recent Content Preferences Survey Report revealed the top content forms B2B buyers have consumed in the year 2021-22.
Here are the top three formats you should focus on when building your B2B content marketing strategy.
Regardless of the industry, video content is one of the most effective content forms when it comes to engaging users. An article in Inc confirms that over 90% of B2B buyers are watching product videos when researching a brand.
Case studies, testimonials, how-to videos, and creative ads are among the most watched videos. Besides, B2B marketers are leveraging webinars, live videos, and ephemeral video content to emphasize the value of their brands in an engaging way.
This video by SurveyMonkey uses slick 3D animations and energetic music to showcase how easy their platform is to use. There’s not a word said in the video, yet the content speaks of the brand’s cheerful personality.
- Gated Content
Gated content is one of the most effective ways to capture leads and qualify them for upcoming stages of the funnel. Leverage white papers, e-books, industry reports, templates, exclusive courses, and case studies to generate quality leads.
Notice how BrightGauge, a premium BI tool, implements gated content as a lead magnet on its website. When visitor clicks on their ‘Resources’ page, they can access various types of value-adding content by filling out a form.
- Blog Posts
Blog posts are invaluable for marketers as it’s not just one of the most preferred content format among B2B buyers but also offers several SEO benefits. These articles are especially appealing to the top-of-the-funnel (TOFU) audience.
Drift, a conversational marketing tool, realizes the importance of having an impressive blog. Check out how their blog is designed for top-level content and great scannability. Moreover, they add the human touch to their content by ‘conversational’ and sharing images of real people who work there.
Engage in Storytelling
Though you may argue that B2B buying decisions are rational, well-researched, and deliberate, they aren’t void of emotions. Storytelling allows marketers to appeal to this emotional/ human side of buyers without sounding overly promotional.
Storytelling can help you create engaging content because B2B buyers, like normal humans, like to see that businesses are understanding their problems. They want to feel heard. If your content makes them feel that, they will engage with it more often and drive their buying habits.
Here are a few quick tips to share a compelling brand story.
- Visuals and videos are far more effective than a basic description of your business or product. It allows your audience to experience your content while being entertained. This is a great way to build customer trust.
Check out how Google AdWords shares an interesting story of a small deli that uses its web ad service to scale to a $14 million national mail-order business.
- Encourage your customers and employees to share their experiences and humanize your brand content. Notice how Salesforce’s Trailblazer Spotlight features businesses that have tasted success with this product and shared interesting interviews of individual customers.
- Make customers the central point of your stories. Your story should align with your customer goals and not lead with a sales pitch. Check out this interesting video series shared by Toshiba called ‘The Beauty Inside.’ The series made technology relatable to the audience and made them the focal point of these videos.
To make the most of your content efforts, it’s important to know which metrics determine the success of your campaigns. Moreover, tracking them will help you find a balance between your content and SEO efforts. Here are a few metrics you shouldn’t miss.
- Website Traffic – The number of people visiting your website is a key indicator that your content and SEO strategies are working.
- Email List Growth Rate – List growth rate monitors if your content is engaging and adding value to your audience. This metric is usually measured along with churn to assess if your list is growing at a healthy rate.
- Engagement Rate – It is an indicator of your content quality. It is the number of engaged visits divided by the total number of visits. Usually, an engaged session lasts for over 10 seconds.
- Time on Page – It is the time a visitor spends on your page. If your average page on time is below 20 seconds, it’s a sign that your pages aren’t engaging the visitor.
- Conversion Rate – This metric takes into account all the conversion events like white paper download, clicking on the ‘request a demo’ button, or sign-up for emails.
- Backlinks – These are an indication of your site’s authority and reputation. Backlinks are an important Google ranking factor.
Besides, you need to track other metrics like customer acquisition cost, customer lifetime value, marketing qualified leads, and social media metrics among others.
Don’t Do It Alone
To build a sound B2B content strategy, you can either create an in-house content strategy team or hire a B2B content marketing agency. This is the best investment you can make to create optimized and value-adding content for your target audience.
Regardless of which option you choose, it’s important to remember only an expert can help you increase your site’s organic growth, awareness, and thought leadership reputation. So, make sure you have a professional by your side when growing your organic audience and educating them about your offerings.
When it comes to building a foolproof B2B content marketing strategy, there’s more to it than meets the eye. By using the term ‘foolproof’ we mean a strategy that will successfully attract the right B2B audience and help you achieve the ultimate goal of converting them into loyal customers.
Building a full-fledged content strategy for your B2B business may seem like a daunting task. Use the tactics shared above to get the ball rolling and stand out from the crowd.