89% of B2B marketers use content marketing, yet most are unable to get meaningful results from their efforts. So why aren’t your content marketing efforts working, and what changes do you need to implement to make this article no longer apply to you?
The truth is, it’s probably not any one thing you’re doing wrong, moreover, it’s likely that your strategy has either grown ineffective or is simply non-existent.
To generate leads and make consistent sales in the B2B world of today, you need a strategy that reflects the habits of the modern buyer.
To get out of the rut, you may need to take a step back, survey the environment, and implement a new approach to content marketing.
The B2B landscape of today…
If your marketing tactics haven’t been updated in the last few years, you’re more than likely behind the curve.
Today, buyers hate being sold to and have the resources available to do most of the research themselves. They are now in complete control of the sales process. No one talks directly with a salesperson anymore. No one responds to direct marketing messages. Interruption techniques are simply failing.
Instead, you need to be where your audience is. On the social channels they use. Ranking in search engines. Being there with helpful and relevant solutions to their problems. This is where the magic of inbound marketing comes into play.
The secret to getting it right… strategy!
Content marketing strategy
The best place to start when formulating your strategy is to put yourself in the position of the consumer. Ask yourself, what processes would you go through to find an answer when researching a problem, and what kind of content would you best respond to once there.
Pretty much every time, the answer is social media or web content. Buyers do their own research when looking for solutions: this may be from their friends/peers, or, more often in B2B, from influencers or well-regarded content providers in the relevant field.
This is the space your B2B business needs to occupy. There with the solutions your prospects are searching for.
How does content marketing work?
A huge percentage of businesses that blog see a positive ROI from their inbound marketing efforts, with HubSpot data stating that such blogs generate 97% more inbound links than their blog-less counterparts.
Ultimately, without a content presence out there, countless opportunities can slip by, meaning fewer leads in your radar.
Compared to outbound marketing techniques, inbound marketing strategy is more cost-effective, and simply more effective. Bringing in a higher quantity and quality of lead to your sales funnel.
Getting found & being memorable…
A wise content strategy should include a targeted approach to search engine optimisation (SEO). Essentially meaning how well your content is suited to be found on search engines.
Once a buyer finds your content, easy access is crucial, especially on mobile.
No matter what you’re offering, a smooth operating system and user experience is key to getting people to recommend you to their peers. It just is. 62% of people will simply leave if there are issues in these areas.
If you’ve already implemented a content marketing strategy, good work, you’re ahead of most of your competitors.
It’s all about offering insightful blog posts, articles, social content, and video content that is specifically designed to create interest in your products or services. None of this requires a large budget to make happen, but, without a documented strategy, it can all be a waste of time.
The buyer’s journey is crucial…
Understanding the buyer’s journey is the key to perfecting your content strategy.
Each stage needs to be covered (through marketing and sales) with tailored content that will peak interest or push engagement at the right times for the right people.
To make this work, you need to bridge the gap between sales and marketing. This is a key aspect of the inbound marketing process.
With a cohesive marketing and sales unit, and a scientific data-driven content marketing strategy in place, you can quickly build a strong online presence and bring in leads from across the web.
Put it in writing…
When creating your strategy, make sure to put it all in writing, and make sure everyone involved sees it and understands it.
Without a documented strategy and reporting system in place, your content output is essentially useless. It really can be the difference between success and failure.
Here’s why a documented strategy consistently and triumphantly prevails:
- A documented strategy = a full understanding of metrics
- A documented strategy = insight-driven adaptability
- A documented strategy = repeatable success
- A documented strategy = learn from failures
- Documented goals = equal focus on generation and retention based content
- Documented goals = keeps you on track
- Documented goals = sales and marketing teams working in support of each other
Don’t forget about a social strategy…
Any successful content marketing strategy will more than touch on the role of social media.
And this isn’t just true for B2C brands.
For B2B businesses, social channels (especially LinkedIn) can be extremely effective tools for establishing connections and generating leads.
They are spaces to grow familiar with clients and other businesses. Establish connections. Connect. And pivotally, to distribute content that will be helpful to these connections.
Success via content-planning is an area that FinTechs are dominating. For the more traditional companies in the finance sector, the right content marketing plan could transform the way they do business in the modern world.
By explaining their services in an approachable and incremental way, content marketing for financial services would be able to effectively create new excitement around their offering, increasing ROI from the insight they are currently giving away ineffectively.
Without a content marketing strategy in place that allows you to measure goals and adapt in response to them, you won’t see any real value in return from your marketing efforts.
You need to meet your potential customers where they are, and you need to be strategic in the way you do it to get the most out of it.
Do your research. Be creative. Be smart. Be strict with your plan. The results will come…