Content: Fueling Your B2B Marketing Strategy
The B2B buyer’s journey has changed. Gone are the days of buyers contacting companies directly to learn about a product or service. Instead, buyers independently research solutions online and independently narrow their options before ever engaging with a vendor. In fact, SiriusDecision recently reported that two-thirds of the buying process is completed before sales is ever contacted.
So buyers have taken control of their own journey: Not only do they enjoy the convenience of researching solutions in their own time and on their own terms, but they’re reluctant to speak to any sales rep bold enough to interrupt this process. With sales blocked from directly engaging with buyers until a choice is mostly made, how can organizations impact purchase decisions?
Enter content marketing.
Right now, buyers are online reading about industry trends and discovering new ways to deal with their everyday issues. They’re looking for valuable information that will help them become more efficient and better at their jobs. It’s in the creation and distribution of this buyer-centric content that B2B marketers have the opportunity to influence the purchase decisions of their target buyers.
Properly targeted content affects everything from social media promotions to marketing automation campaigns to actually closing deals. In other words, content is the new force that drives traffic and moves leads through the top, middle and bottom of the purchase funnel and therefore content now fuels successful B2B modern marketing strategies.
At the top of the funnel, it no longer works to interrupt or distract buyers from consuming information that’s valuable to them (click-through rates for online ads are at an all-time low). Instead, companies can attract the right leads to their content and then ultimately to their website by creating informative, digestible and buyer-centric content. Most often, this content comes in the form of short videos, blog posts, articles and social media promotions. As buyers engage and dig more deeply into this content, they trust the company distributing that content as an educator and resource, and are more willing to exchange their contact information for access to more of that content via a newsletter, daily digest or gated eBook.
Content then fuels lead nurturing. Middle of the funnel content is still focused on educating, informing and supporting the buyer until they’re ready to learn more about a specific solution or product. But with marketing automation software, content has the potential to be an even more powerful tool in moving leads toward purchase. Marketers can now track digital body language and behavior, empowering them to further target leads with appropriate and focused content. As marketers continue to deliver valuable content in the form of eBooks, webinars, longer videos or whitepapers, buyers start to learn more about a company’s expertise and the solutions they provide. And only once they’ve displayed enough interest based on lead scoring or specifically opting-in to learn more, they’re passed along to sales.
Finally, at the bottom of the funnel, content still plays an important role. Testimonials and case studies reinforce trust and help to frame what the solution looks like. Also, because providing education and insight is still an important part of creating value, focused and informative content gives sales the extra support they need to be seen as thought leaders. By continuing to provide useful information on how prospects can succeed, that relationship based on trust and value exchange grows. And as we all know, people buy from people they trust.
So what’s the moral of the story? Whether your organization is looking to expand your site traffic and leads, nurture prospective buyers and facilitate their movement down the funnel, or close more deals content should be part of your solution. Learn more about how to build and operate a successful content marketing machine by visiting Kapost’s content marketing resources page.
Author: Anne Murphy @kapost Managing Editor, Kapost
About Kapost Kapost is the leading provider of content marketing software for medium to large businesses. Our system manages the ideation, production, distribution and analysis components of the process, so that marketers can efficiently and successfully operate their own content marketing machine, driving more new business at lower cost.