The number of articles that exist about B2B content marketing strategy on the Internet is impressive, even if the pieces of advice aren’t always great.
Upon dissecting what exists on the web today concerning B2B content marketing strategy, there seems to be a consensus on doing the following things:
Define your goals
Develop your buyer personas
Track your competition
Promote on LinkedIn, etc.
These are good moves, however, there is a critical gap in these bodies of knowledge: Who is a B2B audience, and what is their buyers’ behavior?
Understanding what ought to be done when dealing with a particular set of people is crucial, but knowing who you are dealing with will help you cultivate the right mindset in doing whatever has to be done and evolve when necessary.
For all I know, the online world is constantly evolving, and an idea you hold dear today may be of little use tomorrow.
This is why solid marketing ideas should always be built on understanding your market. Read on to see five things B2B customers have in common.
Your site UX is their first impression of your business
A B2B buyer landing on your page for the first time could have landed on any of the 527,200 websites created every day.
And out of the millions of entrepreneurs who are doing all they could to win the largest (or the smallest) market share, you are just another one.
So, your best chance of hooking them in begins with the kind of user experience you give them as they land on your website.
As a serious business owner, how your website looks and functions tells a lot about the kind of service you offer, especially to the B2B audience.
According to FocusVision, 70% of B2B buyers consume their content on a vendor’s site, and they do consume a lot of content before settling on a purchase decision.
Take a look at the graphic below.
Photo credit: FocusVision
That is why placing a premium on your overall site architecture and UX is very essential.
As you begin to plan your B2B content marketing strategy, go over your site once again to check whether the design can compel anyone to want to look further into the site.
An Ogilvy’s classic but timeless marketing quip reads, “you cannot bore people into buying your product.” Selling to B2B customers in the Internet age, then, isn’t just about your story slant or content anymore, it involves the visual and the experience it brings.
Make your UX in a way that compels your site visitors to spend more time. And even as most of these targets come off as serious people, a playful design that doesn’t bore does no harm. Take, for example, what Grammarly does with her premium service.
Or what’s a dainty meal in a stinking restaurant?
Teaching is pitching
B2B buyers come off as being knowledgeable and smart. Knowledgeable, not in the sense that they know everything, but smart enough to know there is always more to learn.
What they are looking for is content that shows and tells them something they never knew before. Or, at the very least, something they never knew was a problem or was a solution.
And you need to help them see that in your content. Hence, they need teaching, not pitching.
At IPI Group, we developed a new process automation tool that’s different from what our clients knew before. The core of our marketing strategy was, first, to show them that they have only been able to use 20% of other tools they were familiar with, and our own tool unlocks it all.
It generated a lot of interest from our clients who wanted to know more.
Now, that’s justification, a getaway from their rippers-off.
If we are talking B2B marketing content, we are talking comparison reviews, latest findings, unique critical how-tos, and so on.
A B2C buyer may be looking for a few tools he can quickly use, or how to solve an immediate problem. A B2B buyer is not in a rush. In fact, it takes between 2-6 weeks for a B2B buyer to make a purchase, according to the 2020 Demand Gen Report on B2B buyer’s behavior.
When creating a B2B content, aim to teach, inform, and delight.
Easy-to-read is a time-tested and time-honored sales writing principle. Make sure that your content is easy to understand.
Write like someone who knows the bread and butter of your industry, yet make sure they never have to spend any of their time wondering what you meant. Put simply, avoid ambiguity.
Data, data, data
“66% of B2B buyers want vendors to use more data and research to support content.” That is what DemandGen’s 2019 Content Preferences Report says.
But it isn’t until you see this research to know this is a requirement. The purpose of creating marketing content in the first place is to help your audience quickly make informed decisions.
If you need to tell a story that propels the audience into immediate actions, there is no better way than to put it to them in numbers.
In copywriting, there is a lesson in concreteness which, by and large, means numbers. When you say “a large number of people drive Tesla in Seattle,” “huge number” is abstract.
But when you say “out of the 102 billionaires that live in Seattle, 94 of them drive a Tesla,” that is a concrete piece of information right there.
You want to help your B2B audience to make their decisions on time? Help them dig out the numbers.
Data helps to cross out ambiguity, spurs curiosity, and helps make sense of information. And when a decision is based on solid-rock numbers, it combats pre-purchase dissonance which, obviously, B2B buyers do not have the time for.
Content distribution now means content repurposing
Organic traffic is a very fine place to get leads, but it’s renowned for not getting immediate results.
With the pace at which startups are springing up these days, the victory may favor the speedy; the one to have got to the attention of the buyer first.
And if you insist on distributing solely on the old ideas, you may get impressions but never attention.
The only saving grace you can have now is to give more. Giving, after all, is the first order in content marketing.
To do that, I advise you to jump on one of these three things: Online learning, webinars, and guest blogging.
In recent days, the number of webinars hosted by Salesforce is becoming insanely high. MarketingProfs is hosting both webinars and offering online courses from time to time. And Neil Patel is giving it all in the free online courses he has offered over the months.
But nothing affirms our suspicion of this new trend like data from On24 which tells us that there is a steady surge in the number of people going after online learning and webinars.
If you run a social media ad today, most people will ignore it — ad fatigue is real. But participants in webinars and online classes are active participants who will listen and understand because it promised to give them something.
Being featured in a webinar or launching your own online course will be a lead generation goldmine.
Take those pieces of content you have created and repurpose them into any other form of content, like webinars and podcasts, and see how many new people it reaches.
And on guest blogging, companies have been built. By writing 150 blog posts, Buffer moved from zero to 100,000 users in nine months. And KISSmetrics created 47 Infographics that earned it more than 40,000 backlinks.
With guest blogging, you build your brand awareness, and, if you know your way, you also earn backlinks.
Positioning is everything for the B2B audience
As a rule of thumb, if you want to succeed in captivating the attention of the B2B audience, own a word in their mind.
Value is the mechanism of action that drives B2B content marketing.
You may choose to entertain, you may use empathy, and you may be great at many things, but unless you have a positioning that communicates your solution clearly, B2B audience will never bat an eyelid.
To establish an attractive positioning, for B2B, you’d be looking to tell them any of the following:
This problem has never been solved before
This is a better way to solve this problem
This is a problem, you just don’t know it yet
This solution will make you more money
This solution will save you more money than any other available one
And for them to know you can do any of these, you are going to need to find ways to prove that through the kind of content you push out.
Let’s take a look at some brand positioning tactics through content.
Establishing authority means one thing: show them you are the absolute expert in providing the solution your brand promises to provide.
Over the years, B2B brands have used several strategies to establish authority in their industry.
Some of the things they do are:
Conduct research and make it available to the public
Display their social proof by mentioning big companies that patronize them
Dominate the search engine
Publish awesome articles on authoritative sites i.e guest post
Differing with proof
The second law in the 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing dictates that if you can’t be the first in any category, set a new category you can be the first in.
In 2015, as the gold rush for link-building continued to get high in the SEO industry, SEO Brian Dean found an unusual way of getting backlinks. He named it “the Skyscraper Technique.”
It was the first discovery of its kind, and a piece of advice that doesn’t resemble any other. To date, it’s still a point of reference for SEOs.
If you have a differing few that stands out on anything, publish it.
Sometimes, this may be as little as asking a challenging question as I did in this guide on starting a lifestyle blog.
For the title, I asked, “Do you have what it takes to start a lifestyle blog?” Then I continued to analyze some issues that haven’t been previously uncovered in any of the similar content that exists on the web.
At the end of it all, having a unique positioning is just as simple as it sounds: Be different.
Many articles are on the Internet about B2B content marketing strategy, but most do not take cognizance of who is reading or what stage they are in their marketing journey.
Unfortunately, the world will never be short of generic methods, where most people fail is in figuring out what underpins the methods that work. In selling to a B2B audience through content marketing, understanding their behavior is the most important thing.
This is because no marketing or sales plan ever goes exactly as planned. If you know your target market enough though, you’ll be able to innovate and still stay within the boundary.
Here in this post, extracted for you, is a list of things you should know about B2B buyer behavior.
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