There’s a misconception amongst some content marketers that targeting B2B customers is more complicated than reaching their B2C equivalent. In reality, both B2B and B2C customers are highly nuanced groups who can be effectively targeted with a considered content marketing strategy.
A different approach is required for success when targeting a B2B audience. Done properly, B2B content marketing works. Research from the Content Marketing Institute, published in 2016, suggests that 62% of B2B marketers found their content marketing success was either much more successful or somewhat more successful than the previous year.
Here are some tried and tested ways to approach content creation for a B2B audience:
1. Build Out Evergreen Content
The CMI research suggested that a leading factor of B2B marketing success was the creation of higher quality content. At the heart of this is the creation of evergreen content, the copy and resources which add ongoing value to a website.
An effective B2B content marketing strategy should always start with an audit of a brand’s website(s), identifying any content gaps. If a brand is not realising every opportunity to present useful information to their audience, they risk losing customers. A brand must position themselves as a trusted industry resource – and this can be effectively propelled by the production of a quantity of high-quality, helpful content.
As a long-term technique, evergreen content can prove to be a more worthwhile investment than a combination of short-term practices. Online resources which continually attract and draw in readership can prove to be an invaluable asset, both in terms of direct conversion and SEO performance. Evergreen content should not be sales-driven, but rather designed to help your audience rather than sell to them.
2. Know Your Trust Signals
The decision makers for big businesses are likely quite savvy shoppers, able to cut through the sales talk offered up by retailers and service providers and take their claims with a pinch of salt. The primary stance for many a B2B contact will be naturally cautious and hesitant, requiring a lot of convincing before committing to the sale.
This significantly increases the value of expert input and testimonials advocating the brand’s qualities. At the very start of the customer journey, positive brand advocates should be presented. An example of this is the Banc website, underneath our colourful headline banner, we showcase the names of some of our clients, plus case studies and testimonials.
But brand advocacy shouldn’t be reduced to just testimonials. A useful, actionable approach is interacting with industry leaders and figureheads via social media or through events – the results of this activity can give plenty of fodder your content marketing activities, which in turn can help communicate trust to your audience.
3. Respond and Interact
It is important to offer your B2B audience the chance to get in contact via a number of means (more of that in the next point), and respond to their queries. There are ways that your wider team can help to do this, for example offering a free callback service. The customer service pop-ups found on many websites may irritate B2C customers, but a B2B customer will likely appreciate the chance to chat quickly about their needs and your services.
Social media is an increasingly important channel of communication for a B2B audience; on Facebook, responding quickly to customer queries will be clearly marked on your Business Page and can help increase engagement.
Factoring this quick response approach into a content marketing strategy might not be sexy or eye-catching, but ensuring that there is a full and correct process in place can help convert interest into sales.
4. Tailor the Customer Journey
A characteristic of the B2B model compared to the B2C equivalent is a lower number of sales, but at a higher cost per sale. This gives the Marketing and Sales teams more time to concentrate on individual transactions and consider the customer journey.
Rather than a simple commerce platform with a basket and checkout process, a B2B site could retain a flexible customer-led approach to sales – making it easier for all customers to secure their purchase.
For content creators, ensuring that calls to action (CTAs) are appropriate for this audience is important. Whether producing offsite content or copy for the website, ensure your CTA directs customers to their preferred conversion method – using easy-to-identify ‘info’, ‘contact’ and ‘buy’ directions.
However your customer wants to continue their journey (order a brochure, talk to a sales person, or commit to buy), this should be made readily available for them, throughout website content. A good content marketing strategy considers the customer at each stage of their buying consideration process, beyond initial attraction.
5. Always Remarket
New customers are exciting, there’s no doubting that. But they’re often far more expensive to secure and significantly more difficult to convert. Focussing on getting previous and existing customers back through your door and onto your website can be far more cost-effective and profitable than going after new custom.
Use any data you’ve collated during previous sales processes to stay in contact with existing customers – keeping them abreast of sales and events your company has planned. This can help to keep your business at the forefront of their mind without appearing pushy or insistent.
Additionally, produce a content marketing strategy which will continue to help existing customers tackle industry issues and product problems. A comprehensive FAQs pages, about your products/services and the industry as a whole, can keep previous customers returning to your website, helping build authority and trust. Create informative, helpful and enjoyable content which can help/inspire previous customers, and share via email and social media.
Connecting via social media is a great way to stay in the minds of customers, make a connection on LinkedIn or follow on Twitter, and there’s a greater chance your materials will appear in front of the right eyes.
And that’s one of the great things about remarketing — you know you’re targeting potential customers.
If you’d like industry experts to craft your next content marketing strategy, get in touch on firstname.lastname@example.org.