B2B Content Strategy: The new Marketing Mantra
Enterprises both big and small in virtually every domain have awoken to the need for a robust B2B content marketing. Immersed in a cauldron of competition firms realize that ‘Content is King’ especially in reaching out to potential and loyal B2B customers in myriad ways. This plan is imperative because the overall volume of B2B transactions is much higher than the volume of B2C transactions.
Gone are the days when word of mouth or an advertisement in a broadsheet sufficed. It is an entirely different ball game altogether today and proof of this can be found in statistics which reveal that an overwhelming 92% of companies generate content internally, while around 38% believe that curating or syndicating third party content will work just as well to meet their business needs.
Indeed, companies must transform rapidly in developing incisive marketing content to keep pace with the new breed of customer—the savvy, informed and empowered customer—who has new sources of information and instant access at his fingertips. Since the advent of the Internet, power has shifted to the customer. So enterprises need to make their customers the focal point of business operations.
So is there a particular form or pitch that marketing content should assume? And should a hard and fast rule be followed to gain maximum ROI? Difficult as it may be to believe, the answer to both these questions is a resounding ‘No’. That’s because your content can take absolutely any form, as long as you think outside the box! Far from assuming the high ground, your company must endeavor to create content that is simple, concise and one that is able to stoke curiosity. The right kind of content can help you gain visibility with which comes trust that is ultimately creates customers out of leads.
The success of an effective and efficient B2B content strategy lies in how well your company understands and engages with prospective clients/customers/buyers. To achieve this competently, you need a plan that reflects your goals, an understanding of the top concerns of our target audience―and most important of all; content ideas should align to a clear-cut vision that works 365 days, 24×7.
Check list of key areas that need immediate assessment:
The customer’s challenges and the emotions which accompany those challenges.
Solutions and Services you can provide for their pain points.
How your customer likes to absorb content. Publish visual content to amplify brand impact.
Content strategy should address buyers directly, regardless of their stage in the buying journey.
Now that you have a clear understanding of the role and reasons for developing an assertive content strategy, it is time to study how your research can place you a cut above the rest of the competition. Therein lies the first of many challenges that your organization will have to surmount to emerge successful.
Effective use of Content Marketing can help:
- Shape a brand preference and influence future purchases.
- Generate social media shares and inbound links.
- Put customers in the driver’s seat.
- Help fuel search engine optimization (SEO) efforts.
- Increase brand awareness.
- Generate quality leads for less money (compared to traditional forms of marketing).
Businesses that think they can run and thereby save costs, will soon discover they cannot hide from Social Media engagement for too long. Blogging, social media and case studies are in fact the most routinely used content marketing tactics and formats; with blogging alone accounting for a massive 65 percent of this chunk. At a time when every second person on the planet owns a smartphone you should turn to mobile app development and maintenance. Additionally, you can optimize your website by including the latest branding and design elements,so that it performs flawlessly on a range of wireless handheld devices.
But just before you take off on a flight of fancy thinking that Social Media and mobile apps are the one stop shop for all your audience engagement requirements, remember that content marketing ROI is not that easy to measure. Tracking ROI in this space is in itself an unenviable task. Still, it is beneficial to review some facts and figures that explain that all your efforts will be well worth it in the long run, if you only exercise patience.
- 93% of online experiences begin with a search.
- 39% of a brand’s customers come from search, on average.
- 70% of the links that users click on are organic.
- 75% of users do not look past page one of search results.
- 72% of business owners with an SEO strategy reported that it improved their bottom lines.
Here’s a word of caution that you would do well not to ignore. In the battle of Likes Vs Leads metrics such as Facebook Likes, Twitter followers, LinkedIn followers or even blog comments do not necessarily translate into new customers. If you assume that running a Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn campaign will get leads to pour in, you’re way off the mark. Data indicates that as your social followers increase, your conversion rate with those new followers decreases. But isn’t this baffling? Maybe, but not until you probe for the reason which states that the quantity of your social media following isn’t nearly as important as the quality of your social media following.
The pitfalls in failing to read the market adequately before embarking on devising a content strategy are multiple. You could flounder terribly if you lack a formal business strategy that delves into aspects such as revenue, cost savings, or customer loyalty around the content produced. Some companies assume that generating content that they mistakenly assume suits the market is all that it takes to be top draw. Certainly not. Whatever happened to catering to customer preferences?
As you might have guessed, there are no formulae for instant recognition or overnight results―not by a stretch. Marketing gurus have often pointed out that content marketing is akin to a long-drawn marathon and not a quick sprint that you can be over and done with in a jiffy.