What Is B2B Content Marketing and Is It Necessary?
Content is king, as they say in this day and age, so it makes sense that the market is booming. But where does B2B content marketing come into play?
This strategy refers to business-to-business marketing. There are some important distinctions to discuss when we compare it to your traditional B2C (business-to-consumer) model.
It’s not all dry and boring, though, we promise. Learn why and how B2B content marketing works today.
What is B2B content marketing includes:
- Content marketing explained.
- What makes B2B marketing standout.
- Tips on B2B marketing.
- Do businesses need it?
Content Marketing in Brief
Let’s start by jogging your memory with what content marketing is by definition. It doesn’t end with repeatedly telling your customers how good your product or service is (simple marketing. Instead, it offers more value.
Examples of this include, but are not limited to, educational blog posts, videos and webinars. So, instead of sending an email to prospective clients about your recent product launch, you’d offer industry insights or analysis, for example.
What does this look like when you’re marketing to another business, though?
What’s the Deal With B2B Content Marketing?
B2B marketing relies on similar techniques as B2C models. However, as we’ve sussed out, it strictly relates to business-to-business sales. One company has a product or service that another one needs.
The way consumers respond versus businesses is important to know, though. Where the former relies on factors like popularity and emotions, a business is mostly concerned with profit and sales.
This indicates that it’s essential to approach businesses differently than you would your average consumer.
Top Tips on B2B Content Marketing Strategies
Creating effective B2B content does take some knowhow and we’re here with some tips to help you out.
Identify Your Target Audience
It seems everything related to marketing always starts with this step, and for good reason. Understanding your audience is the first step towards relating to them and providing something they would value, and that’s the whole point.
This step is very different from B2B to B2C marketers. You need to understand what the businesses you’re targeting, and what kind of content they may need. Your thinking process should tackle the important questions. Who needs my product? Why do they need it? What kind of work do they do? What information do they need to do their work more effectively? What kind of information is valuable in this industry? Use that to create content that would get more clients.
The above questions will yield what might be called industry-common characteristics. These are the traits that are shared between all the businesses in that specific industry. What you do next is try to identify client-common characteristics. These are the traits that mark all your current customers. What do the people that already do business for you want? What do they need? What are their interests? Consequently ask yourself, what do they share together? This you can use to better serve your current clients.
Perspectives That Boost Your Content
There are some core boosters that can help make your content stand out. Learn to use them efficiently, and you can drive sales for your business.
Want to Be Engaging? Tell A Story
Everyone will tell you that your content needs to be engaging, but how do you actually do that? What makes a piece of content engaging?
Have you ever felt bored or disengaged watching a good movie? Probably no. And what makes a good movie? A good story. So there you go. All you need is a good, industry-related, value-focused, story.
Your narrative should be tailored to the employees, managers, or execs of the company you want to bag. It should create a story they can relate to. One in which their problem is a villain, and your product, it’s the hero that saves the day.
It also helps if you can use images, videos, and infographics to better explain information. Think of them as plot twists and memorable scenes in a movie.
Don’t Forget the Personal Touch
B2B marketing is much less personal than B2C marketing, but it’s not completely robotic. Your website is representative of your potential clients. While most of them are just window shopping, some people are waiting for the right bait to bite.
Using analytics to understand your clients helps you tinker with your content marketing to give them the right bait. It helps you tailor their experience on your website in a way that shows them the value you offer, and makes them want it enough to make the decision, or convince the decision makers.
Producing Content for All the Content Funnel Stages
The content what now?
The content funnel represents the stages of interest your audience presents. The first stage is a normal website visitor who’s just looking around, reading an article here and there, and possibly checking out your other web pages. Below that you get TOFU, the consumer who reads more detailed articles such as guides and how-tos, perhaps even watching shorter videos. MOFU is up next, and those are the people that invest more time on your website, watching longer videos and subscribing for information. Finally, you have the BOFU stage. Readers interested in demos and case studies.
Effective B2B content should not only be engaging, useful, industry-related, and tailored to your customers, but also tailored to these stages. You should cover all four stages of the content funnel as they apply in your specific case. This way, whichever stage a particular reader is in, there’s always something that appeals to him, and something else that takes him to the next stage.
Do All Businesses Really Need B2B Content Marketing?
If they don’t want to be left behind then yes, they absolutely do.
The Content Marketing Institute (CMI) releases an annual survey on B2B content which highlights key findings that we think you’ll find quite convincing.
The 2017 version reported that 89% of B2B businesses use B2B content marketing. This leaves behind only 11%, 52% of which are planning to start within the upcoming year.
As for the 2020 version, it showed that only 2% of businesses that use B2B content marketing have reported that their B2B content marketing efforts were somewhat less successful than last year. On the other hand, 51% said they were somewhat more successful, while 18% said they were much more successful. This means that businesses are steadily getting better at this. If you don’t start now, you’ll have even more catching up to do.
According to CMI’s report, 50% of outsourcing companies their content marketing activities. Wondering whether to outsource or go in-house? Learn more here.
Additionally, content marketing is where you can get your customers. Pardot reports that 72% of buyers turn to Google for research before making a final decision, but what results do they find? That’s actually your choice. They can either find your content, or that of your competitors. It all depends on how well you create search engine optimized B2B content.
The Final Words
B2B content marketing is not only an excellent way to expand your market share and increase loyalty with your current customers. It’s now becoming an essential tool for all businesses in the fight to stay relevant.
There are tons of channels in which you can spread your content, and the competition is fierce in all of them. Customers on those channels are now expecting to see content marketing, in fact, they want to. It’s your choice whether you want to show up.
Learn how to create a strategy that works for you. Continuously use the available analytics to better understand your customer and tailor your strategy. And remember, content in content marketing must be valuable content.