This post is by RP Singh, Chairperson, Content Marketing Summit Asia
Are you running a B2B Business? Do you have long sales cycles? Do you want to be involved with your customer throughout this long consumer journey? Are you experiencing a dip in your marketing efforts? If the answer to all these questions is a Yes, then it is time to explore Content Marketing. Before we discuss how to do content marketing for B2B business, let’s establish key needs of such a business
Sales is the key
No sales, no business, no survival. All efforts in marketing should lead to sales and that’s how every B2B business is run today. It is in contrast with a B2C business where sometimes, you may have other objectives to fulfill apart from pure sales. Various researchers show that content influences the purchasing decisions of over 50% of customers while 61% are of the opinion that effective content marketing leads to sustainable business results.
Retaining customers, it goes without saying, remains a top priority item on any such business’s agenda and that’s because each and every customer is acquired after a huge amount of time and effort. The right content marketing gets you customers for life and/or frequent repeaters who use your products and/or services time and again. While you also aim to attract more customers, retaining existing ones should be given equal importance as well. Regularly updated content plays a crucial role in keeping existing and prospective customers informed about new products and services that interest them.
Need for Integration
B2B businesses usually, work with low marketing budgets and therefore getting the maximum value of any marketing asset is of utmost importance. Content is omnipresent and can be integrated across all media. Fresh ideas are not required for each specific medium. Instead, they channel the content while integrating it across the board. So, whether it’s online, print, social media, digital or video, ensure that your content reaches far.
Having a clearly defined & documented strategy works for over 44% of B2B marketers. It outlines business goals, the content required to fill gaps and the plan to put in the missing pieces. There is, however, no one-size-fits-all strategy for content and you need to customize it to suit your business objectives. Even though this template strategy happens to be non-existent, five basic principles need to be addressed when developing the master plan.
Unveil grand plans
If your principal objective is to generate brand preference, first calculate your end results and subsequently supply all decision makers with the maximum amount of information. Include all possible risks, proposals to handle them should they arise as also the clear picture about the end game. This gets your strategy the much-needed executive support to finally succeed.
Determine the success metrics leading to sales
Ask yourself what your overall goal is from the content marketing strategy that you are going to implement. This should definitely be highlighted along with exact plans to achieve this stage as also the hurdles that need to be overcome along the journey.
Identifying your audience
The most important element for content marketing first identifies key persons in the target audience. The content is then crafted accordingly. Find out who your customers are or are likely to be. Put yourself in the buyer’s shoes while asking yourself those questions and/or reservations they may have. Base your content ideas so that they address these specific concerns; reinforce the reputation of your brand while also ensuring that clear advice is provided to all your readers.
Brand linking in
Remember that your brand is the center point for all content marketing activities. This needs careful consideration on how your business’s message will be incorporated into the final content output. Keeping your company’s voice & message consistent is also important.
Identify the right marketing channels
You have a whole lot of media platforms for portraying your content. How then will you select the most appropriate one? Make the right choice from multiple options like email marketing, blogs, social media, web copy, white papers, case studies, webinars& videos etc. to get the desired results.
In sum, the future of B2B marketing lies in content marketing, therefore, you need to understand how effectively you can marry content to your existing marketing efforts. B2B purchase decision making is a long process and the decision makers need a lot of support & guidance at each stage of this process, Content can be a great enabler which will go a long way in helping them along their purchase journey.