It’s no secret that inbound marketing has taken over. At this point, if you’re not using inbound marketing tactics, you’re behind. It’s getting harder and harder to reach your target audience with traditional methods such as television ads, trade shows, or cold calling. Instead, businesses are focusing on educating their potential customers with content. However, for some business, content marketing hasn’t quite made it into the B2B marketing plan – but why?
For content marketing to work, you must relate to and capture the attention of your audience. It’s not uncommon for B2B companies to throw up their hands and cry “But how? My company isn’t entertaining enough for content marketing!” but the truth is that any industry can benefit from content, as long as they’re using the right strategies. Think your company is too boring for content marketing? Think again. Start by incorporating these must-have strategies into your B2B marketing plan.
Use Your Competitive Advantage
The first step is to let go of the idea that your company isn’t interesting enough to capture your audience’s attention. Consider what makes you different. Don’t think too hard about this one! Every company has something that sets them apart – what’s different about you? Taking advantage of this feature in your content marketing will make your content stand out.
Your B2B marketing plan should reflect your competitive advantage. It should show off who you are and what makes you unique. You know what your competitive advantage is. You use it to close clients during your sales pitch. Now it’s time to create supportive content that shows this aspect of your business to potential customers.
Break Down Heavy Content
When was the last time you decided to read a thick book on a complicated, foreign subject all in one go? Probably never, right? (And if you have done this recently, how did it work out for you?) Your customers don’t want to be force-fed huge tomes of complex information. They have a problem and they want to know how you can help them with it. Don’t make your content so complicated that they decide to go somewhere else. Make your content accessible to your audience. There are two basic approaches you can take to do this:
- Pretend you’re explaining something to a 5-year-old. You probably heard this advice once or twice back in school: “If you can’t explain it to a child, you don’t understand it well enough”. Sure, you have an understanding of your business, but if you can’t explain it in simple terms, then you don’t understand your prospect. Keep in mind that your consumers are educated individuals, but they are likely not experts in your field. Avoid using industry jargon and abbreviations, and don’t assume that your audience has previous knowledge about your topics.
- Use everyday examples. Nothing helps explain a concept better than putting it in terms that your customer can relate to. Analogies can be hit or miss, but strategically using information that people already have makes it easier for them to understand a concept. Let your imagination shine – creative examples will get more attention.
Get creative with your content
“Creativity may well be the last legal unfair competitive advantage we can take to run over the competition.” – Dave Trott
Your creativity is one of your greatest assets – so use it! People are visual creatures, which affects the type of content they’re willing to consume. A potential client might not have the time to surf through a whitepaper, but definitely has time to scan over an infographic with interesting statistics. Think of content as information you’re feeding your website visitors. If you feed them the same thing day in and day out, they’ll get bored and won’t come back for seconds. But if you spice things up once in a while, they’ll come back every day – and they’ll bring their friends. How do you accomplish this?
- Create content staples. This is the type of content that your team can easily churn out and is a crowd pleaser. Perhaps this is a weekly blog post or email newsletter.
- Surprise them with something new. Infographics. Slideshares. Videos. This type of content needs a little more attention than your typical blog post but makes for highly shareable content for your social media followers and potential customers.
- Serve up some content specials. These are highly valuable pieces of content, such as a case study or ebook. They take a lot of effort and man-hours to produce, but the value they provide to your prospects is worth it.
Remember that this is your opportunity to be creative! There are countless types of content – what do your buyers want to see? Don’t be afraid to try something new, because it just may grab your prospects’ attention in new ways.
Consider Your Buyer’s Context
How many buyers does it take to screw in a light bulb? We’ve all heard one variation or another of the classic light bulb joke, which highlights that it often takes an entire team to perform what seems to be a simple task. So… how many buyers does it take to make a purchasing decision?
Often, more than one person is involved in the buying decision. Keep in mind that the people involved will be in different stages of the buyer’s journey, and people at different levels within an organization require different information about your product to get on board with making a purchase. Some of them may have a deep understanding of your industry and what they need from you, while others may not even know what you do (initially). Alternatively, you might be in direct communication with one person, but they cannot make a decision without their manager’s – or even HR’s – approval.
It all seems a bit dizzying. How can you possibly be expected to work with every person involved in the purchasing decision? Well… you can’t! But your content can. With a good content strategy, you should have content that speaks to people at different stages of the buyer’s journey. When people involved in the purchasing decision have questions, your content should be able to answer them. This allows you to build trust with people throughout the organization.
Your B2B Marketing Plan
No matter what your industry, every business has a story to tell. So how do you begin telling it? Download our free strategic marketing planning kit. It has everything you need to begin a strategy-first plan designed to help your company succeed.