Content Marketing in the Business World
In the content marketing world, the way you communicate to your audience has a lot to do with what your goals are. When you’re targeting an individual in business to consumer, or B2C marketing, you’ll often be focused on encouraging customers to try your product or service immediately. In business to business, or B2B marketing, there are several factors to consider as you strive to attract professional clients and develop long-term relationships.
Be Aware of the Decision Process
When creating marketing materials, take into consideration where your contact is in the process. There are five stages to consider:
- Awareness: This is the initial phase when a company is becoming cognizant of your existence and services.
- Consideration: Once a company is aware of you and what you offer, they will begin to determine if your product is one that they can use now as well as in the future.
- Comparison: Unless you happen to be the only provider in your particular industry, companies will likely need to take the time to compare what you offer to that of your competitors and determine if you will add the most value.
- Conversion: Once you have proven your worth and superiority over other companies, your target business will decide if they are convinced to convert to your product or service.
- Retention: Once businesses have tried your service or product, they have entered the retention phase. Here they will decide if they want to switch to a different company or continue supporting your business.
The way that you market to the specific person will depend on what phase they are in, so ask yourself some questions. Are they already aware of your company and what it offers? Are they already using a similar service? Have they ever tried your service before? The answers will offer insight into where they are in the process and how to best approach them. Keep in mind that you can develop content marketing that can target two areas, but trying to cover more than that will likely decrease the effectiveness of your campaign.
Once you’ve answered these questions, you can ask additional questions to determine the best way to develop or expand your B2B marketing pieces for different stages of the process. What makes you better than the competition? How can they benefit from trying and continuing to use your service? What aspects of your business will be most valuable to them and increase their awareness of your company? These questions can help you fine tune your marketing pieces for each phase to create content marketing that is precisely suited to particular clients.
Adjust Your Content for Your Target Audience
B2B marketing differs in another way from B2C marketing. When you secure a lasting relationship with a business client, the long-term value that you gain from the client is generally far greater than the customer acquisition cost. For this reason, it’s worth it to spend a little more in order to acquire a new customer. A bigger budget allows you to customize content so that it can impress the right person in the company. In B2B marketing, the person who initially hears about your product is likely not the person who makes the final decision or backs the finances. You’ll have to consider the best way to spread the word to each of those people, whether it’s the buyer, CFO or head of the HR department. While you need to target your content to the buyer, you also need to make it appealing to the other decision-makers in the company. There are some other things you can do to increase the likelihood that your work gets into the right hands.
- First, you can use your increased budget to create a piece of content to give away for free, like an eBook for example. When a potential client finds your website, have information available that will pique their interest. Make this piece high-quality so you can create a strong impression. Offer a teaser or show a section of the content that is large enough for them to get an idea of what it’s about.
- Once they’ve become interested in what you have to offer, include a form for them to fill out in order to access the entire piece for free. For each entry field your form contains, your chances of the potential client completing it go down. Keep it short, maybe just their email address. When you have the ability to contact them, you can find out more information later.
- Finally, it’s important to create content that is shareable. If your piece is a PDF file that has to be downloaded, the chances of them downloading it will drop and their ability to share it with other decision-makers at their company is low. Make it easy to access from any device and your viewership will increase.
- Once you have their email address, don’t bombard them or you’ll quickly be unsubscribed. Instead, send them information about purchasable content pieces that relate to the initial piece they received since you already know they’re interested in that subject.
The key points to remember in B2B marketing are that you need to know where your audience is in the decision-making process, market strategically to their needs and give away an impressive, shareable piece of content that is easy to send to whomever will be making the final decision. By doing this, you’ll be able to get your business name in front of more eyes and take full advantage of the many benefits of content marketing.