Targeting the B2B Buyer With Content Marketing
April 20, 2016
When a prospect first steps on the path toward a purchase only a few may be aware of the epic journey upon which they are about to embark. The path is long and winding and at the beginning, it can be quite lonely. Today, prospects are much more likely to turn to a search engine or a trusted third-party source than to a salesperson at a specific company.
This creates confusion and chaos for companies but kicks off a unique opportunity for marketing professionals. Here is where staged content marketing comes into play. When a buyer is first starting out it’s important that they have the correct type of content to aid them in their journey.
You want the awareness of your company or product to neatly tuck itself into the buyer’s map of the purchasing landscape so that it might subtly guide their journey and pop into your prospect’s mind at the most opportune moment.
As you brainstorm content for this stage you need to help nudge your prospect onto the correct path. Nudge being the operative word. This is not a full-scale marketing blitz. Rather your content should help give a name to your buyer’s problem and present a possible solution without focusing too specifically on your individual product or service. Education should be a central theme in your messaging.
The Demand for Content
Google has constantly been upgrading its search offerings since its inception, which has resulted in a better user experience to keep pace with the changes in search behavior patterns. Inevitably, this also affects how B2B buyers experience the buyer journey because these days, they are provided with a wealth of information about purchase decisions virtually at the click of a button.
This basically means that the demand for content online is at an all-time high, as B2B buyers mostly kick off the buyer journey with an online search of all the information relevant to their purchase decision. For B2B enterprises, it is high time to realize the importance of delivering customized content fitted for every stage of the buyer journey if they want to remain competitive in today’s marketplace.
Furthermore, content marketing has come a long way in the past few years and is no longer used just to promote a particular product or service. In fact, content marketing has now become an essential part of the sales funnel, which helps to create quality business leads.
Inject Your Company Into the Buyer’s Journey
Forrester has reported that 70% of the B2B purchase decision is complete before a prospect ever contacts a vendor. Today’s buyer is educated, web-savvy, and ready to do their own research. This doesn’t mean that they’re not interested in vendor content. White papers, case studies, and testimonials remain essential educational tools—but buyers are finding them on their own well before they ever reach out to a prospective vendor.
So as a marketer, how do you get your content in front of buyers if they’re not going to engage with vendors? You build it so they will come.
Your Website Is Not Enough
It may seem obvious to some, but putting content up on your website and walking away and hoping people find it is simply not enough. Unless your company is synonymous with your product category (i.e. Kleenex), you cannot expect people to seek out your website to educate themselves.
Make Great Content
If your content isn’t interesting, if it isn’t useful or amusing, it doesn’t matter if a prospect finds it. They’ll click past it so fast that it’ll make your sales team’s head spin.
If you are making great content, and you know that it needs to go outside of the walls of your website, content syndication is a critical step to expanding the reach of your company’s message and expertise. Good content syndication offers targeted, relevant prospects a chance to engage with content that they are likely to already be looking for. The best content syndication is tailor-made for a savvy, searching audience who knows what they want and how they’re going to get it.
If you have something valuable to say on your website, you have something valuable to say on Twitter. And LinkedIn. And, depending on your market, maybe Pinterest or Instagram. B2B marketers are increasingly realizing the value of social media to rapidly spread content—and buyers are turning to their social networks more and more frequently as they educate themselves on all the options available to them.
Is your content getting in front of the right people? Are you coming up organically as people search for products like the ones you offer? If not, you may need to revamp your marketing strategy.