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Creative Content’s Guide to B2B Marketing

Creative content's guide to effective B2B marketing

Are you thinking about the next marketing campaign for your B2B business? Like many of the companies we talk to, you may be feeling confused about where to start – the services you offer may not translate well onto an appealing billboard or magazine ad, and even then, those ads wouldn’t effectively reach your small, specific target market!

The go-to strategies for B2Bs are often direct, outbound techniques – cold calls, tapping into referral networks or emails sent straight to identified prospective clients. This may deserve a place in your marketing toolbox, but it is not the only way to engage potential clients or your wider industry.

To generate leads, there are far better strategies to help you remain at the forefront of potential clients’ mind far longer than the time it takes for them to read the latest sales-focused cold email in their inbox!

 

B2B marketing versus B2C marketing 

B2B and B2C buyers have different mindsets. A typical B2C buyer is generally looking for one product, without much cost or risk to the transaction. Maybe, they’ll Google a product and read a few reviews or shop around, but often the sales process just a few minutes. Overt marketing tactics can easily inspire impulse buys for B2C customers.

B2B buyers are more sceptical and informed. Choosing to invest in a product line or service with business money carries far higher risk than purchasing as an individual. Also, a B2B purchase is often the start of a long-term relationship. So, they thoroughly research their future purchase before they even contact you.

Because the B2B buyer comes to you with knowledge, the best way to generate a lead is to have already established authority and trust within your industry.

To foster trust and bring your company to the forefront of your buyer’s mind first, effective strategies incorporating content marketing are crucial!

 

The elements you need for your ultimate content marketing strategy:

 

An absolute understanding of your audience

Content marketing is the creation of meaningful, helpful content with your exact consumer in mind. The goal of the content isn’t actually sales – it’s engagement. You are creating conversations and solving pain points for consumers in the wider context of your industry.

Content is useless if it doesn’t connect with your audience. Although you are discussing business and business processes, people make the purchase decisions. You’re targeting the key decision makers in these companies, so you need to gain their attention and respect through storytelling that resonates with them. You’re saying to your audience ‘I see where you’re at and where your pain points are, and here are several solutions…’ with an educational, interest-based focus.

So, you need to ask:

What is your core audience looking for? How do they communicate, and how do they expect to be communicated with?

Understanding the characteristics, needs and lifestyles of your consumers allows you to effectively craft marketing messages they respond to. A great example of this in action is our full rebrand of Connect Outsourcing, which we carried out based on extensive client interviews and market research to gain a deep understanding of their audience.

With your audience in mind, you can then begin to build your content.

 

An effective website

You need to completely tailor your website to your audience. There is no point creating an appealing website if it doesn’t contain useful, industry-specific information in the tone of the people you’re trying to connect with.

Given the risk involved in a B2B purchase, it is important to showcase up-to-date testimonials to assure prospects that your company ‘walks the walk’.

To be effective, your company website should be an industry resource engaging current and potential clients, solving their business problems in the wider industry context. FAQ’s sections, educational pages regarding your specialty or regularly updated blog modules can achieve this. We created effective educational resources for Aaron Martin of New Zealand Immigration Law, which helped position him as an authority figure on immigration. He is now a source for news outlets reporting on immigration! This exposure places him first in employers’ minds when they seek immigration law services.

Your website can’t just provide information! It should contain persuasive ‘calls to action’. Keep in mind the people-based nature of B2B business decisions – you’re not pushing consumers directly to carts or ‘buy now’ options but encouraging them to contact sales-people or request quotes. You can provide a bit more information about who they will be speaking with – showcase your staff as helpful, friendly or professional (whatever your audience is looking for) using an ‘about us’ page or staff profiles.

Succinct, clear copy is also crucial for websites. Read our thoughts on creating the most effective copy for your website here.

 

A social media presence

Social media platforms aren’t always the right place for B2B businesses – your industry content may not be what people want to see when scrolling through their newsfeeds! However, if used the right way, Facebook and LinkedIn in particular are valuable avenues to get your message noticed by your audience.

These platforms can start conversations around industry tips and news. You can share business advice for people in your industry, industry news, snippets of success stories or case studies and cross-promote blog material from your website. Essentially, you’re connecting with prospects on an interest level rather than sharing sales-focused content. The more visually appealing the posts, the better! Check out our guide to an effective Facebook video marketing strategy.

 

SEO

Potential B2B clients are likely to do a Google search to find solutions to their pain points instead of waiting to be found. You need to proactively place yourself in front of these clients as their solution! This is where Search Engine Optimisation comes in.

SEO helps search engines find you and rank you according to relevant keywords on your website. By improving your website rankings on a search query, you improve your visibility over your competition.

More visitors to your website means more leads! SEO experts help you apply the most effective keyword phrases based on pain points of your audience to optimise your site for search.

 

An engaging blog

Blogs provide a platform to showcase content outside of static website copy about your business. They also provide opportunity to build on your SEO keywords as you will be discussing industry-specific issues.

Blogs set you up as industry thought leaders. They help retain clients by continuing to provide them with useful information outside your specific service, and engage potential clients in a wider conversation led by your business.

Your blog should create engaging experiences, with each post providing unique and helpful perspectives. High-quality stories have power to push your prospects to take action and reach out to your business.

Potential blog topics:

  • Business tips
  • Pain point solutions
  • Industry news
  • Interesting features of your products or services
  • Success stories and case studies

There is no point creating useful content without incorporating it into your wider marketing strategy – blog posts can be repurposed for social media and direct emails.

Ultimately, a well-crafted, relevant message must be at the heart of B2B marketing campaigns. It is far more effective to connect with your specified industry audience through education and helpful information, leveraged through several platforms, instead of overt sales messaging.

If you’re looking to start your new marketing journey, our Creative Content team specialises in B2B marketing. We create a cohesive strategy to build brand profiles and generate leads. You can check out some of our recent projects here. Contact us now!

How Content Marketing Creates Leads

Content marketing to drive engagement

Marketing in 2019 is impossible without great content.

As a marketer, I see my clients struggling to identify where they should spend their energy (and budget) to get digital leads, especially if they have a B2B service.

Marketing is becoming increasingly complex, with a range of platforms to choose from to speak to your audience.

Is your business still supposed to be posting on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Instagram? What type of content should you share? How does creating social content actually generate leads?

As a forward-thinking entrepreneur, you know there has to be a better way.

Enter content marketing.

Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach. It focuses on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, drive profitable customer action.

Content marketing aligns with the new ways people engage with brands and content and develop brand loyalty. It’s integrated, intelligent, and customer-centric.

With content marketing you’re not simply pitching your products or services in traditional marketing copy. You’re providing truly relevant and useful content to your prospects to help them solve their issues.

In some ways it is similar to what we see with the rise of the “freemium” product model. Now that people can access high-quality free advice and content online, it won’t cut the mustard to simply promote how great your product or service is. Your content needs to put your customer’s concerns first. This is especially important in light of the way Google serves any search query with the most relevant answers; your content needs to be accurately centring your customer’s questions if you want to appear on their Google search results.

Content marketing works to build the respect and admiration of your audience, but this will take time. First you need to earn their trust. You need to prove you have the relevant knowledge and (even more importantly) that you have integrity. Then you can become a guiding light that people turn to for authority in the noise of too much available information.

The authority you gain then transfers to your products or services, making customers that much more likely to choose you over the competition.

Regardless of what type of marketing tactics you use, content marketing should be part of your process, not something separate. Because of the complexities of the communication strategy required, it’s also something that I would recommend that you engage a content marketing agency to do for your business, rather than attempting it  on your own.  Quality content is now part of all forms of marketing.

So, what are the other benefits to your overall marketing strategy?

The Tangibles:

Site traffic: Traffic may be the obvious benefit, but it’s also one of the most important. Great content will bring people to your site, where they’ll also find information about your company and your products/services.

Improved SEO: The benefits of content for SEO are far too numerous to get into here. Great content attracts editorial links, which tells Google you’re important and authoritative. Google can also crawl your content, getting a better idea of what your company is about, which allows it to return your site for more relevant queries (including a great many long-tail queries). The list goes on, but it can be boiled down to this: without content, what is there for search engines to optimise?

Social media marketing: content marketing strategy comes before your social media strategy. An ideal mix of content for social media is always a mixture of unique and curated content based on the themes that relate to your audience interests. So high quality content based on informing your potential customers is ideal content to share on social media. It can also become great “lead magnets” if you are creating a Facebook ad funnel for inbound inquires.

PPC: for Pay Per Click to work, you need great content behind it. Content marketing is not direct sales copy- that is what landing page copy is designed for, but your content marketing is supposed to warm up your audience handling all of their objections and answering all of their questions before you make the direct offer in an adwords campaign. It is also useful in your Adwords remarketing campaigns, if someone doesn’t call or email from your initial ad then you can remarket to them to take them to more information where your content page may address common objections and give the information required to inform the potential customer of the process.

PR And Brand awareness: content marketing is all about championing the customer and solving their problems. It involves storytelling and providing useful and relevant customer-centred information. A flow-on effect from creating high-value content is that you can now position your brand as an authority on solving your customer problems. So, you can begin commenting on the “state of your industry” and sharing this as an opinion piece to your local media or business networks as an opinion piece to increase your brand authority.

If you’re looking for help to market your business, get in touch with our Content marketing team. We can help you to create a content strategy that will transform your sales and marketing activities.  Contact us now.