You’ve heard the term B2B many times before, but what does it really mean when it comes to your marketing efforts? And does it need to be approached any different than B2C marketing? Truth-be-told, B2B and B2C marketing may be similar in the fact that they are both involved in content marketing, but that is about where the likeness stops.
The well-known cycle of B2C marketing involves a large target market and a short buying process. Your content is created in a way that it can drum up emotions and feelings that will forever be associated with the brand you are trying to promote. The B2B buyer’s journey is quite different.
Rather than focusing your marketing efforts toward a large group, your attention is on a smaller, more pinpointed target. Then, once you successfully reach this target, the buying process is long – much longer than that of the B2C market. Why? Because you are trying to create a relationship with the buyer – and build trust. One way to look at it is that clients from B2C markets buy with emotion, while clients from B2B markets buy only after they make sure you are the best fit for them.
When it comes to B2B content marketing, your ideal buyer is another business. And, quite frankly, they aren’t looking for someone or something that is going to spark up feelings inside. Instead, the ideal customer in a B2B content marketing scenario is looking for one of two things: a product or service that will either help make them money or save them money.
Now, don’t mistake B2B content marketing as dry, boring, and lacking passion. Using your creative side, you can be just as successful in the B2B content marketing as your colleagues in B2C – reaching your target market and striking up conversions. After all, a business pays for your product or service but a person who purchases it.
B2B content marketing: The numbers
The methods that you use to develop an effective content strategy need to be well put-together. You are approaching your ideal buyer in a much deeper way than you would in B2C content marketing. This means that your content needs to be more meaningful, deeper, more useful, and of very high quality. The more time you spend proving yourself and your company worthy, through quality content, expertise, and engaging personalized behavior, the better success you will have in converting leads.
Recently published research from the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) shows just how important this is. According to the study:
- 65% of the most successful B2B content marketers have a well-developed, written content marketing strategy.
- 96% of the most successful B2B content marketers agree that their audience views their organization as a trusted, credible source of information.
- The top B2B content marketers say that the best way to research their target audience is by talking with the sales team, website analytics, and keyword searches.
- 77% of the most successful B2B content marketers have developed and use their buyer personas.
- Educational content and emails are the most used tools for nurturing their audience.
- 90% of the most successful B2B content marketers put the persona’s informational needs over their product promotion.
As evidenced throughout the results, you can see a pattern emerge that shows a deeper interest in the potential buyer. B2B content marketing is, essentially, focused on creating an investment by proving that they can provide support, value, and will be there when needed.
10 guaranteed tactics to leverage your results
1. Value is greater than promotion
In the B2B world, your buyer isn’t looking for your product for personal use. So, how that product makes him or her feel is a moot point. Instead, your customer is seeking your product or service to either make or save money. If you’ve already reached them, then it is time to form and nurture a relationship. Let your buyers know, feel, and understand that you are there to help them. That you care about their businesses — and their success — and you want to do what you can to see that they prevail.
Through quality content, show the buyer that you are someone they want on their team. Spend more time talking about the ways you can help and support, rather than focusing on the promotion of your product or service. In other words, the value that your company as a collective can bring to the table is worth more than the product or service itself.
2. Create story-driven content
No one wants to sit down and read a technical, difficult-to-follow thesis. If you are looking to have your readers lose interest after the first couple of lines, this is a great way to do it.
What you need to be doing is creating B2B content that is engaging. By delivering this story-driven content, you are essentially telling a story and reeling the potential buyer. You can still give technical, purposeful information in a conversational, lay way. Do it.
3. Remember, you (and your customers) are humans. So, act like it
Sometimes it is easy to forget that there are actually people who run companies. Therefore, it is important to remember that, although you are in the B2B content marketing field, you are still creating content for people – not businesses.
The best way to do this is to create content that you would want to read. Make it user-friendly, easy to read, and enjoyable. Add some media to break up the monotony of words. Keep it well-structured and thought out. And, most of all – make it useful information. All of these ideas will make your B2B content more digestible.
4. Become a master of your Buyer’s Journey
If you don’t know who you are marketing to or where they are in their journey, your content marketing efforts may become ineffective. After all, it is important to know what your buyer is seeking – and when he or she is seeking it. According to the CMI research report, 77% of the most successful B2B content marketers use their personas.
It may seem silly to remind content marketers to master their buyer’s journey. Unfortunately, so many people jump straight into the creative process that they never take the time to fully develop their buyer persona.
5. Don’t undervalue lead nurturing
In today’s digital world, content marketers strive to get their content to reach their ideal persona. Those who are successful at doing so often find that their content is followed up by that of the next company. Perhaps following the Rule of 7 can get your content exactly where it needs to be. But, with content flowing in every direction, how do you make yours stand out?
To be successful with your B2B content marketing efforts, it is imperative that you do not undervalue lead nurturing. An effective plan will have a concise nurturing scheme and will work hard to develop a close relationship with prospective buyers. Remember, you are trying to sell your value and support, not your product or service.
6. Create a support network
You have likely heard the saying, “it takes a village.” This can be applied to your B2B content marketing, as well. Having a support team can help you grow into a more valuable source of information and support for your ideal buyer. And, as you now know, proving yourself and your company valuable is the best way to convert B2B leads. So, welcome those guest posts, link your content to reputable sources, and take the time to learn from the experts in your industry.
7. Distribution is key
Creating magnificent content is great, but if you don’t distribute it via the proper channels, it can destroy your strategy. As stated in tactic 4, knowing your buyer’s journey can better help you be prepared to meet your potential clients right where they are. Branded email campaigns, social media posts, useful and informative blogs, and so forth may all be beneficial to your B2B marketing content. Take the time to learn where your prospects are – and distribute accordingly.
8. Repurposing content
If you have created a great piece of content that seems to have brought you great results with your potential buyers, don’t just toss it aside. Instead, repurpose it.
There are many things that you can do to get more out of your successfully created content. For example, if you have a blog that has done well and seems to have grown very popular with your readers, why not turn it into a podcast or video? Use the information as a base and dig a little deeper, adding even more value to the content. Another idea would be to take popular blogs posts or emails and turn them into a visually-pleasing infographic. These are informative and easy to share across social media, too.
9. Ads can benefit you – if they are done right
There is a lot of thought and data that proves organic content is the way to find success with inbound marketing, whether in the B2B or B2C realm. However, paid ads can actually provide some benefit if done so correctly, such as increasing your reach potential. In fact, 71% of the most successful B2B marketing companies used paid methods to distribute content, according to the CMI research report.
Spending money on ads will be a waste of time and resources if they don’t find their way to your potential buyer. Before you dive into this idea, be sure you have mastered your buyer’s journey and you know the most effective distribution methods to reach them.
10. Develop a growth mindset
In life, confidence breeds confidence. In B2B content marketing, growth breeds growth. If you are ready to leverage your B2B content marketing results, you are going to have to change your outlook and your mindset to one that follows growth marketing.
B2C content marketing and traditional B2B content marketing focuses on the funnel and various stages of the buyer’s journey. The primary focus here is on the top of the funnel, i.e. gaining exposure. With growth marketing, you will turn your focus on the entire funnel. You will learn how to reach your buyer, how to convert them, and how to keep them long-term.
Metrics are crucial to the success of your content marketing. The growth marketing methodology, then, involves testing and analyzing your campaigns to see what truly works so you don’t waste time doing those marketing techniques that are not going to lead to your growth
It’s time you forget the rules of B2C marketing and begin approaching your B2B content marketing as a reliable source of information. Combining this with the above tactics is a surefire way to land yourself successful marketing campaigns.