Technology has changed everything about the way we live, learn and shop – B2B sector included. However, when it comes to their B2B content marketing strategy, many businesses are still sticking to yesteryear methods as if it’s still the early 2000s.
That said, we understand that modern B2B marketing can be hard to get right. Today, we’ve summarized everything you need to know about creating a winning B2B content marketing strategy into this easy-to-understand guide.
1. Understand the B2B digital transformation
The typical B2B marketing strategies included methods like making cold calls, holding trade shows, and printing ads, while the traditional B2B sales path was straightforward and predictable like this marketing funnel:
However, these tactics are no longer as effective as they once were, mainly for four reasons:
- More than half of all B2B buyers are now millennials. And millennials hate cold calls.
- More people are involved in B2B purchase decisions. Instead of just one primary buyer, the typical buying group now comprises more people who all get a say.
- The modern B2B buyer does lots of online research before making a purchase. On average, a B2B buyer makes 12 online searches before even interacting with a vendor. When they want to speak with a representative, they are already 57% through the purchasing process.
- Most B2B buyers now make turns through the marketing funnel, looping and repeating at least one or more steps in the buyer’s journey. The modern marketing funnel looks more like this:
You may notice that the modern B2B buyer behaves like a B2C customer. Nowadays, 70% of B2B buying decisions are based on a buyer’s customer experience, and only 30% is based on the price or the actual product.
What this means is that business is no longer conducted face-to-face like before. In order to create a winning B2B content marketing strategy, you need to create an engaging digital experience for your target audience.
2. Plan and develop your B2B marketing strategy
All the strategies in the world won’t help you succeed at B2B marketing if your target audience does not understand what value you’ll provide for them. Making your message easy-to-understand and compelling is the foundation of all of your B2B marketing strategies.
So this is where to start:
Develop your branding
Your brand goes beyond your logo, your brand colors and your fonts. Your brand is everything a buyer knows about you and how it makes them feel. It’s the perception of your company that is formed in someone’s mind every time they see you, hear you or interact with you.
That means putting across who you are as a company, and why you do what you do. A strong branding is something that captures people intellectually and emotionally. It shows that you understand your buyer, and why their lives will be better if they choose you.
Build a professional B2B website
Now that you’ve got your branding down, the next step is to create a professional B2B website. Your website is your most valuable marketing asset because it plays such a major role in every stage of the buyer’s journey.
Today, half of all modern B2B customers expect a supplier’s website to be a helpful channel, and over a third expect it to be their most effective channel. This number will only get bigger as more Baby Boomers leave the workforce, and more millennials (and soon, Gen-Z) replace their roles.
Most important, your website needs to be five things for it to be effective in generating B2B leads and sales:
- Fast – As the world becomes more and more digital, people’s attention spans are decreasing. 39% of people will navigate away from a webpage and go somewhere else if it takes too long to load.
- Secure – 85% of consumers won’t make a purchase through an unsecured site. Move your website from HTTP to HTTPS by purchasing an SSL certificate.
- Mobile-friendly – Approximately half of all online traffic comes from a mobile device. Not only that, but 80% of B2B buyers use a mobile device at work, and more than 60% report that mobile played a significant role in a recent purchase. Not convinced? More than 90% of buyers say they are likely to buy again from the same vendor with a superior mobile experience, and 50% of B2B enquiries are made on smartphones (and this number will only continue to grow).
- Easy to navigate – 37% of buyers will leave a website because of poor design or difficult navigation, and 46% will leave because of a lack of branding. Not only that, Just one bad experience on a website will make users 88% less likely to revisit
- Actionable – Your website is not a shop signage; it’s a 24-hour sales rep. 44% of B2B buyers will abandon websites if there’s no contact information. Your website needs clear calls to action, a live chat system or contact forms, and authority builders like customer reviews, testimonials, awards, and affiliations.
3. Develop a solid B2B content marketing strategy
Now your website is up and running, but the work doesn’t end there. You want to actively draw your target audience to it, not just wait for them to stumble upon it. And one of the best ways to do that is to offer lots of useful, authoritative information on your website. This is otherwise known as content marketing.
Some examples of content marketing include:
- Blog posts – Blogging is a great way to develop a strong web presence and one of the best ways to generate leads. Buyers especially love pieces that are qualitative and show that that you are capable of eliminating their struggles. Read more about blogging as a marketing strategy and how to optimize them for search engines.
- Social media posts – Social media is the modern-day billboard for businesses. It will probably not be your top source of B2B leads and sales, but it can be an important tool for reaching B2B customers.
- Videos – No B2B buyer has ever said “wow, look at the time I have on my hands.” Online videos are the easiest and fastest way for B2B buyers to acquire information. Viewers also retain 95% of a message when they watch it in a video, compared to 10% when they read it in text. They are an innovative marketing strategy especially with 360-degree and interactive videos. Look into how you can create video versions of your blogs, videos answering questions, and short ads for your products and services.
- E-mail newsletters – Email marketing is a way to connect with your customer base directly and make aware of your company updates, a promotion that you’re running or to redirect them to your website, blog or social media. Read more about email marketing here.
- E-books – E-books might not be for every company, but they’re a great way to provide the reader with actionable takeaways as well as valuable resources.
4. Implementing and measuring your marketing effectiveness
The root of B2B marketing success comes down to data and analytics – click-through rate, cost-per-click, conversion rates and many more. The good news is you don’t have to measure everything, just pick the ones that matter most to you. For example, if your main goal is to increase leads by 20%, then you should focus on lead generation metrics. If you need to get more people in the door and make them aware of your product, then focus on clicks, web traffic and time spent on your site.
With this data, you can go on to ask the right questions. How did this visitor land on your page? Was it via social media, or your email newsletter? Are they your target audience? Do they fit your buyer persona? How much time did they spend on your page? Why didn’t they convert? How can you tweak your tactics to get them to convert? All these things will help you shape your campaigns and refine your business strategy.