Content is ‘King’.
Plenty of articles about Content Marketing being circulated across the internet seldom fail to include this line. However, when you come across the same, you reckon it to be overrated as well as cliched, don’t you? Especially those who run a B2B business tend to overlook the power of meticulously crafted content. Instead, they tend to fish around for ‘special (Read old-school) treatments’ such as cold calling that would help them close more B2B sales.
Following the digital marketing evolution, modern end-users are consuming greater amount of details in order to make purchase decisions. As a result, nowadays it has become far more easier to advertise what you can offer to your consumer base, simply using content. This logic stands undeniably true in case of business to business(B2B) sales as well. How? Get back to the basics to derive the answer.
- Business is a cyclic exercise as spelled out herewith.
- Revenue is the most important business objective.
- More sales generate more revenue.
- More quality leads land you up with more sales.
- Showing right information brings you more quality leads.
- Using engaging content you can distribute right information.
Bingo! This is how everything boils down to creating effective content in the end. Moreover, writing about your own business is easier than toiling to collect contact details of potential buyers from random sources and make cold calls or junk emailing. When you display ‘Right content’ at a right place, you automatically attract right leads to yourself. That is Content Marketing in a nutshell. More results for lesser efforts, does it sounds relieving? It indeed is.
A commonly accepted notion is that Content Marketing visibly works wonders in B2C business environment. However, it is equally effective in B2B segment too when used optimally. Having established that, Content Marketing is one of those highly effective strategies that modern businesses use. Nevertheless, there are a handful of best practices that help you emerge with content that converts more.
It is absolutely fair if you (as a B2B business owner) could still not build a staunch confidence in Content Marketing. For further assurance, let us present these statistics:
- 51% of B2B buyers (that is more than half of them) take to content while researching about products they intend to purchase.
- interestingly,9 out of 10 B2B buyers say that online content has a moderate to major effect on their purchasing decisions.
- B2B buyers are most likely to share their contact details when they are offered useful contents such as ebooks (63%), white papers (76%), reports and analytics (66%), and even webinars (79%).
- 95% of B2B buyers take the think of the content as a reliable resource while they evaluate any product or service that another business has to offer.
Now that you know why Content Marketing is indispensable for your B2B business, here are some of the best practices and pointers you should keep in mind while including Content in your marketing strategy of 2018 and thereby boosting your sales. (Yes, it is not too late to revise that yearly marketing plan for 2018 that you created last month.)
Back to the fundamentals: Attract, nurture, convert
This is the the fundamental idea of dealing with B2B leads you generate and convert as a result of Content Marketing. When businesses intend to buy anything from another business, they give preference to trustworthiness.
That is, once your content brings you in contact with a business owner who can potentially buy from you (the attraction part); you will need to gradually inculcate trust in him as to why your product or service is most suitable for his business. This is the nurturing part.
This way, as you move down the funnel, you have considerably educated the lead with your USPs. Now it will be extremely easier for you to convert that lead and make a sale.
How you can implement this attract, nurture, convert idea?
Setting a goal for Content Marketing
For your business buyers, you can use Content Marketing to serve plenty of objectives apart from just attracting potential buyers. It can be any of the following.
- Lead generation: When you want your content to bring you more prospects. You then take over, engage with them and strive to convert. The content here will be aimed to make people buy from you quickly (sort of a salsey pitch).
- Consumer awareness and education: When you want your clients to know more about specialties of your products or services. You educate the readers about what all you have to offer them and why they need it. This type of content puts education over hard core promotion and intends to make the user aware of what product is suitable for him.
- Thought leadership: When you wish to establish that you are the leader of the industry you operate in. The content here will be highly detailed, in-depth and transformative. The readers look upto thought leaders when the industry demands radical changes or developments.
All of these goals are direct or indirect sales boosters. You can decide your own business objective because setting a right goal will lead you to develop right strategy and yield the result you want.
Decide your target audience first
Top of the funnel readers who read the content you publish and approach you for more details. This is an inbound method to attract leads, and later convert them. You already know who your buyer is, however online selling requires you to build an ‘Online Buyer Persona’. Visualize what your buyer looks like, what are his characteristics, and how you can sell him what you offer.
Closing in at the bottom of the funnel
As the prospect travels down the funnel, it indicates higher level of interest. He already knows much about what you have to offer and how he can utilize them. One of the effective objects at this time is to share with him case studies of your existing clients.
Case studies are highly effective as you can show what challenge or area of problem one of your clients faced and how (amazingly) your product solved it and saved their valuable time and efforts leading to increase in their revenue.
The shining star: Call To Action
Believe me, your content piece is incomplete without this. A right call to action directs the reader what action he/she needs to take after reading an email or visiting a website. Lead the reader to the contact us form, register, or enroll with us page where he can leave his contact details for you to revert to him. A call to action can be a ‘Button’ or a URL that tells him what is the next step.
Document your own content marketing strategy
Identifying your USPs
Before you strategize and start curating content, specifically spot the USPs or the key areas you want to showcase about your business. What are your strengths that gives your users and edge over their competitors if they buy from you? List them out and put them at the base while building the strategy.
Addressing to the users’ pain points
What are the pain points your product or service addresses to? Are you able to make their operations easier? Are you able to save their time? How do you facilitate the business of your clients? What challenges you can solve for them. Answers to these questions lead you to target right sets of prospects who might need you what you have to offer.
Never miss this part. A successful content marketing strategy can only be built on a well researched foundation. Before making the action plan, perform a thorough research about what works in your industry and area and what not. The idea is to find what influences your prospects to make a buying decision.
Benefits over features: the right approach
Now that you already have figured out your USPs and users’ pain points, then comes the exhibiting part. You need a right approach to develop content that can convert big time. And one of those powerful approaches is, talking about benefits. Do not simply go on talking about the features in your content. Instead, tell them how it benefits them. This type of actionable content will land you up with more prospects as well as closure.
The content that you have produced in previous step needs to be circulated on number of channels so that it can reach the right readers. A list of handy channels would generally include email, social media, websites, blogs, landing pages, eBooks, White Papers, and even display ads. Run the content through these channels and ensure that it reaches your desired audience.
Bringing it all together
The idea of getting more sales in B2B domain using Content Marketing is to effectively curating content and distribute it through right channels. Afterwards, you have to ensure that the content is engaging and actionable. It is not enough to simply write online content, but also you need to provide pathways using which the prospect reader can reach you and close the loop. All in all, content marketing leverages your ability to generate leads for you. Closing the leads still counts on your stunning selling skills.