Content marketing is a phrase that’s often thrown around in the marketing community.
Most of the conversations and practices surrounding it, however, are based on the model of B2C, where brands focus on connecting with the individual customers interested in their product.
But how do you most effectively utilize content marketing when your target customer isn’t an individual at all, but a company? In this post, we will explore and explain how you can use content marketing in your B2B marketing mix.
How content marketing helps your B2B marketing efforts
Before we dive right into boosting your B2B marketing plans, let’s take a moment to explore exactly what is content marketing. Content marketing is the practice of using targeted content to encourage potential customers to interact with your brand, enter the sales funnel, or engage in other behavior that your organization has determined leads to sales. Content marketing is by definition, content based.
This means you will be working with blog posts, videos, ebooks, and a slew of other tools that more than anything, are based on the information. So now that we’ve discussed this, let’s talk about how you can use it for your business.
Implementing content marketing in your B2B marketing processes
- Establish the size, establish scope – Before you begin creating content or disseminating existing content, it’s very important to understand your customer. Hopefully, you already have an idea as to what your ideal customer looks like, but if not, that’s ok! The important thing to consider for this step is this: what is the size of my ideal customer’s company? You could be a lawyer who’s looking to do business with small startups, or you could be a multinational IT company looking to work with local governments. This matters.
- Establish marketing asset inventory – Next, establish exactly which B2B marketing assets you currently have available for use in content marketing. Has your company been posting relevant blog articles? Have you created any videos talking about your service or answering questions? Have any members of your organization spoken at conferences or events related to your industry? Think hard! Odds are you have more assets than you think!
- Build your content strategy – This is where things tend to get tricky – when you begin creating a content strategy. The first question to ask yourself is “What is my goal?” Are you pushing people to a webinar, to a mailing list, or your site itself? Are you encouraging people to call for a consultation? Despite this being B2B marketing, the most important thing to consider is that while your customers might be companies, an individual just like you and me is making the choice of working with you.
This is often the single best place to start when it comes to building a powerful content strategy for your B2B marketing campaign. Who are the people who are making up your client base? If most of your business is coming from referrals, for instance, you can establish that trust is one of the big factors for your business.
At this point, there are two questions you need to answer:
- Who is the decision maker you should target?
- What is this person concerned about?
Let’s use an imaginary example. Company A sells database management services to large nonprofits. These databases make fundraising easier and more efficient. Company A has some videos demonstrating the service, and some video testimonials from happy clients. They also have some blog posts discussing the importance of properly keeping data.
Looking at the two questions above, Company A realizes that fundraising directors will be the ones who make the call on decisions like this. Company A realizes that ultimately, this person is really concerned with increasing year over year contributions and growth.
Now Company A has all the information they need to begin pushing content.
- Where is your content going? Armed with the above information, Company A decides that in addition to their existing content, they will begin creating more content discussing the efficiency aspect of their product. They make blog posts containing financial projections for a hypothetical company that uses their services, showing how just a 5% increase in existing donor pledges has a dramatic result on overall funds raises. They talk about the low overhead cost of getting more from existing donors vs finding new ones, and how these savings can make nonprofits better at serving their mission.
Now it’s time to post it and see your B2B marketing ROI skyrocket. Obviously, you can post content on your site, and share it on social media. But what about other sources? Some examples of interesting delivery systems that aren’t being utilized across the board yet are podcasts, weekly webisodes, and of course, iTunesUniversity. You’d be surprised how many interesting delivery systems you can find when you get out there!
- Tweak, tweak, tweak – Once your content is out in the world, it’s time to tweak your strategy. Use Google Analytics and link tracking to understand how your campaign is going. Which channels are working? Which messages are getting the most traction? You can find this information out quickly and effectively with today’s high-powered analytics tools. We wrote a post on leveraging Google Analytics that will be helpful at this stage.
And there you go–you now have your own basic content marketing initiative you can use in your B2B marketing right away.
If you want more information on content marketing best practices or are looking to learn more about some outside-of-the-box delivery methods, shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will set up a consultation, free of charge!