Establishing appropriate business contacts and demonstrating leadership are keys to driving business connections in the B2B world. These are tasks made simpler by the use of content marketing. It is also the reason why content marketing in the business-to-business environment continues to dominate online strategies. With content marketing the possibilities seem endless. You can create and share information in the most innovative ways that help businesses reinvent themselves to their customers. More importantly content marketing has helped in the area of lead generation, lead nurturing and content related promotions. But how does it help?
Traditionally inbound marketing has been used to generate leads for companies, however with proper content strategy, the tides are turning. Companies that are maintaining various different types of media such as blogs, video, white papers, news, and the like, are all benefitting from the search engine optimization that this content brings.
B2B brands are online building communities. These are commonly found through organic search engine results or through referrals by other customers, which often result from these customers engaging with online content.
Obviously lead generation is important, but it’s also important for these leads to be genuine and to be careful that you’re not creating content for the sake of it. Buyers are completing 57% of the decision making process before they even speak to your sales team, making quality of your content becomes even more important.
In a survey of 400 marketers in the B2B world, 82% of them were using content marketing. As the most utilized marketing strategy (far above search engine marketing in second place) it is a ‘given’ practice in the business world. The large take up rate means that your customers expect you to have content. One of the main reasons that it continues to grow with markets is the fact that it not only quantifies genuine lead generation, it does so at a considerably smaller cost for the business. Markets from the same survey were spending less than a third of their marketing budget on content management.
Once the customer has contacted your sales department, your content will help maintain the customer/brand relationship. Decide what you want your content strategy to entail, whether you implement more automated content (but be careful about the engagement aspect of this), or attempt a more hands on community management strategy. The way that content marketing can be incorporated into your strategy is to fully understand the exact information your customer seeks in each of their decision making processes.
By knowing the problems that your customer may be facing, your content design will lend itself to alleviating purchase anxiety, a common issue in the B2B world due to the transactional values involved. When your company gives the business customer information on potential issues, you’ll achieve better success in closing the deals. Again the content is relevant in aiding in problem solving for your business.
Traditionally marketing methods have eroded the concept of trust. It is almost impossible to build a relationship with your customer via these methods. One common example of how this relationship has broken down is the fact public relations efforts are now seen as a ploys. Print, television and radio are noise avenues of advertising messages that probably infuriate receivers rather than engage them.
Content marketing has allowed business brands to create online communities and customers respond favorably to being involved with the brand. The right content offers company a way of transparency because it’s not utilising the predictable efforts of mainstream that your sophisticated buyers may now be immune to. Don’t get us wrong, traditional media will continue to have its place, but providing valuable information to your customer with great content will assist you more with customer relationships.
The maintenance of content that is relevant to your business will also ensure that customers do repeat business. It will help your company by moving the transaction up the ladder. Content marketing can also make partnerships and even joint ventures possible with information that nurtures the relationship process.
Content Related Promotion
Because there is so much information online, it is easy for content to get lost on the Web. Therefore by monitoring and consistently promoting your information you can build a stronger relationship building process that is inherently associated with B2B customer acquisition and retention.
Search engine optimization gives you visibility. On search pages when you’re using the right strategy you can high attraction rates. Without the right content behind that search, the probability of converting the sales is low. The search engine optimizing shouldn’t dominate the marketing strategy because it’s not going to keep business customers around for long. What will keep them with you is your content. SEO should be a supporting effort to content marketing. Once in place it will create a cycle of repeat business back to your site.
Promoting across a multitude of media (video for example is an impressive and highly effective medium for you to visually stimulate customers) gives your business greater visibility. This diversification will also assist linking strategies to other vested parties, not just sale targets.
When it comes to marketing in modern day business, we’re faced with new set of challenges as the digital age rolls on. No longer does one size fit all in the marketing world. Your content management should be a key area to adapting to these changes. It will also continue to drive customer acquisition and maintenance to give you success in the B2B environment.