B2B Content Marketing may feel like a challenging and open-ended problem to solve. However, with this guide, you will learn how to create a strategy and implement a B2B Content Marketing solution to grow your business online.
Marketing author Seth Godin said that the only way to consistently improve and grow in the B2B content marketing industry is to be better than simply very good. While this might sound very easy to do, it is a lot harder to accomplish in real life.
Your best bet at making it big in the B2B world is by letting other people and businesses know how good you are via content marketing.
B2B content marketing deals with reaching out to your target market and communicating your brand’s message. A lot of people have the misconception that B2B content marketing might be boring since you are talking to businesses instead of individual people. But it doesn’t have to be that way. If you’ve got the right B2B content marketing strategy, you’ll be able to convey your message without boring your audience.
Before we go into the details of content marketing for B2B businesses, let us go over first why you need it.
Why Is Content Marketing Important for B2B Companies?
The demand for great content continues to soar among marketers and businesses. Quality content is also effective in generating a significant amount of organic search traffic and social shares. That’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Here are some of the common reasons why B2B content marketers turn to content marketing:
1. Brand awareness – Creating brand awareness is a common B2B content marketing goal, especially for those in a niche market. Creating valuable content that shows how your company can help, allows businesses to reach a large audience.
2. Thought leadership – This is somewhat relevant to the first goal. While brand awareness focuses on visibility, thought leadership aims to position your brand as an authority in your industry instead.
3. Customer engagement – Customers want to engage with people, not with impersonal companies. That is why nurturing a relationship with your audience is extremely important. You can start by sharing information about the people behind the company and showing what’s going on behind the scenes.
4. Brand loyalty – Your loyal customers will be the lifeblood of your brand. The people who buy your products or avail your services regularly bring more value to your company compared to new customers. Solving their problems and answering their questions can create a relationship built on trust.
5. Traffic – Website traffic is not exactly the main goal, but it does help in getting more people to read your content. Keep in mind that this should not be your main goal because otherwise, you’re just doing clickbait.
6. Lead generation – An important goal of B2B content marketing is to attract new leads. Your content should be powerful enough to influence customers to take that first step into the buyer’s journey.
7. Lead conversion and upsell – Nurturing your leads using relevant content improves the relationship of trust, making it much easier for you to convert leads and upsell with your current customers.
8. Valuable content – Another reason why B2B marketing is important is the kind of information being provided. If customers find your content useful and relevant, then they are more likely to interact with you.
9. Removing roadblocks – The buyer’s journey is not a straight line. Roadblocks and challenges may appear at any stage and make your customer walk away. Providing guidance through tutorials, how-to guides, videos, and other helpful materials can help resolve these challenges for them.
10. Talent recruitment – Finally, B2B marketing is used to recruit people to your team. By showing how your team works and the dynamic between each member of the team, you’ll be able to attract new talent who will be willing to work with you.
Your B2B Content Marketing Strategy
Your content strategy will revolve around these goals so it should be the first thing you decide on. You need to know what you want to achieve using your content marketing before mapping out the strategies you can use to get there.
Now, some of these goals may seem to overlap, but that’s fine. You are also free to choose multiple goals for your campaign, as long as they don’t clash with each other.
According to a study conducted by the Content Marketing Institute, most brand awareness (86%) and audience education (79%) are the most cited content marketing goals in 2020.
B2B Content Marketing 101: Success Stories
93% of B2B marketers use content marketing. That means that the majority of businesses now realize the value of content marketing. Of B2B brands having a content marketing strategy, 39% of their marketing budget is spent on it.
Here are some examples of B2B’s most effective content marketing strategies:
LeadPages is a popular platform for designing landing pages and testing them. To gain a competitive edge, Leadpages invested in the following B2B content marketing ideas:
- A marketing blog that discusses lead generation, A/B testing, and other marketing-related topics
- A suite of marketing resources users can download
- ConversionCast marketing podcast run by Tim Paige
- Weekly webinars on online marketing topics
Leadpages got so much right so they acquired 35,000 customers after three years and gained more than $16 million in revenue in 2015.
2. Simply Business
We can all agree that insurance has the stigma of being a very boring industry. In most cases, businesses only deal with insurance companies because they have to. The process is dull and tiresome and many businesses just want to get it over with.
But Simply Business is different. Being the UK’s largest insurance broker, its goal is to attract leads using content marketing. The company caters mostly to small businesses, so the marketing team decided to provide content that would help their target audience. In fact, most of the articles on the website don’t have anything to do with insurance. They simply wanted to make their presence known to potential customers and show that insurance can be interesting and fun as well.
Their B2B content marketing efforts paid off in the end. Most of their keywords increased in rankings, which led to a significant increase in organic traffic.
As one of the competitors of Leadpages, HubSpot had stepped up their game in order not to be left behind. Aside from LeadPages, its major competitors include giants like Marketo, Pardot, and Infusionsoft. But HubSpot still took the first spot, and we’ll tell you why.
HubSpot’s content marketing strategy is centered on its blogs. They have two blogs for different purposes: one for marketing, and the other for sales. These two blogs work together to drive traffic to their funnel. HubSpot caters to small businesses so most of their content revolves around inbound marketing, content marketing, SEO, blogging, and social media.
Also, content marketing helped HubSpot leapfrog the competition and turned the once-funded company in 2006 into a $75 million public run company that’s worth over a billion dollars back in 2016.
4. Single Grain
Digital marketing agencies are popping up like mushrooms, especially with the world’s businesses turning to online marketing due to the pandemic. Single Grain is an established digital marketing company and the secret to its success is focusing on tech startups. It used its content marketing strategy to attract tech giants like Amazon and Uber.
Single Grain’s B2B content marketing strategy includes:
-An online marketing blog complete with the latest updates and tips
-The Marketing School podcast run by CEO Eric Siu and marketing guru Neil Patel
-A resource section full of courses, guides, infographics, and webinars
They also harnessed the power of social media to gain shares and likes, with some of their articles getting thousands of shares.
Salesforce is the world’s largest vendor of CRM software, but it had trouble maintaining steady traffic and leads for a time. This was particularly true for Salesforce UK, prompting the company to adjust its content marketing strategy to turn the tide around.
The changes in their B2B content marketing strategy included:
- Engaging videos about sales and marketing
- The revolutionary stop-motion Slideshare
- Customer success stories done using Prezi
By ditching the old content strategy, this was the result of SalesForce UK’s three-month campaign:
- 80% spike in traffic year-on-year
- 2500% increase in traffic from social media
- 10,000 eBook downloads
- 6,500 email newsletter sign-ups
These examples show you what a well-planned B2B content marketing strategy can do for your business — if you get it right. Where do you start?
Most Effective B2B Content Marketing Ideas
The first thing you need to consider is the type of content you want to present to your audience. Different types of content have different results, and some content types are limited to specific platforms. Having a content marketing playbook keeps your branding and messages are consistent across various platforms.
Table 1: Types of content commonly used.
If you have no idea what kind of content to create for B2B content marketing, this list should help you:
Have you seen LinkedIn’s customer story ad shown on Instagram? You read that right. It’s a LinkedIn ad being run on Instagram, featuring stories of LinkedIn users. This video content is a case study/testimonial/advertisement all rolled into one.
Have you seen ads on Facebook and other social media platforms where the product seems to stick out of the ad? Don’t be confused. It’s just a visual trick using a strip of white to make it look like something is popping out of the ad. Seeing this ad on your Newsfeed would make you stop scrolling and give a second glance.
Instead of saying how your product works, you can instead create a simple video demonstrating what you wanted to say. It’s a lot more effective this way because people see it with their own eyes.
This is an old-school content marketing technique for B2Bs, but you can add a twist to make it interesting. Adding a funny or powerful headline coupled with interesting graphics would make your subscribers want to read it.
LiveStreams in the B2B industry can be on the boring side, especially for corporate events. Think of an interesting topic or a unique strategy that would make your video stand out. Unbounce, a Vancouver-based landing page software company, initiated Page Fights by collaborating with optimization company Conversion XL. A panel critiques landing pages in real-time and provide tips to improve them.
Stories are social media posts that usually disappear after a certain time. Facebook’s Stories, for example, will only be published for 24 hours before being archived. The sense of urgency brought by the limited publishing period would compel people to click on your post. Aside from Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Youtube have also started catching on with the trend.
Google loves long-form content because it contains a lot of information that could be useful. Reading a 500-word article seems like reading a summary of a long-form article, so you wouldn’t get anything much from it. If you want to provide in-depth and well-researched information to your readers, go with a 1500-word or 2000-word article.
There are other several types of content that you can use for your B2B marketing, but keep in mind that they should promote the marketing goals that you’ve set in the beginning. Whether you want to use articles or a video or an infographic, always go back to what you want to achieve.
Table2: Which content is most effective?
How to Get Started with B2B Content Marketing
A lot of marketers already know how to use content marketing for B2B business, but not all of them can bring out its full potential. In this section, we’ll discuss the various B2B content marketing strategies you can do to communicate and engage with your specific business audience.
1. B2B Email Marketing
Email marketing is a proven method of communicating with both individual customers and businesses. This is a popular tool for B2B and B2C businesses because it is efficient and cost-effective. 93% of B2B marketers use email, and they can be used to improve engagement which converts subscribers into leads.
Email marketing can also be used to spread your brand’s content to your subscribers. 83% of B2B companies utilize email newsletters in their content marketing program while 40% of B2B marketers report that these newsletters play a critical role in their content marketing success.
When creating your emails, remember the following pointers:
- Write interesting subject lines to entice the receivers to click.
- Stick to one call-to-action (CTA) per email to avoid confusing your audience.
- One email. One message.
- Practice segmentation to reach the most relevant audience. Not everyone will be interested in your email.
- Make sure your email designs are responsive and mobile-friendly.
- Don’t be afraid of the cold email.
2. B2B Digital Marketing
Every business must have a digital presence, especially during this time when most transactions are done online. Whether you run paid ads or do search engine optimization, the important thing is that consumers see that you are active online.
Here are some tips to establish a solid online presence for your B2B:
Define your target market
We’ve mentioned earlier that finding out who your audience plays a pivotal role in your marketing strategy. This is because you can’t craft a piece of content without knowing who you’re talking to. And the best way to do this is to create a buyer persona.
Create or update your website
Your digital marketing campaign won’t work without an informative website. Four out of five buyers will visit the brand’s website first before buying. If you don’t have a website, where will your customers go for more information?
Optimize your brand
Having a working website is not enough. It needs to be visible in the eyes of the major search engines. To do that, you need to implement on-page and technical SEO strategies —from meta descriptions to tags. Ensure that your website is loading in less than three seconds, otherwise, your visitor would most probably leave.
Run ad campaigns
Getting organic traffic takes time and a lot of patience. If you want quick results, you can invest in pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. Your content and brand get featured in front of new audiences using search engines and other advertising platforms.
3. B2B Social Media Marketing
Three out of four B2B buyers and more than 80% of C-Suite executives rely on social media when making purchases. If you’ve seen Instagram’s shoppable photos, then you’ll get an idea of what this means.
Although social media is a great channel for publishing content, it also features original and effective content ideas, including reviews and testimonials, which you can use to improve your brand’s reputation and trustworthiness.
B2B content marketing is a complicated process that involves a wide variety of platforms, techniques, formats, and strategies. Getting it right means collaborating with other members of the team to produce, publish, and monitor the content that you produce. Using content marketing tools can also help you carry out the tasks that can be automated and make the content creation faster and easier. If you need help, you can turn to content marketing experts who are willing to lend you a hand.
Get your FREE B2B Content Marketing Playbook that is customized for your business now.