How is your content marketing strategy working for you?
According to this report by Content Marketing Institute, in 2016, 63% of B2B marketers reported being extremely committed to content marketing. However, only 22% of B2B marketers reported being extremely successful with their approach to content marketing.
What does this tell you?
Today, the most recommended method to include in your online marketing strategies is content creation. You can’t run a successful online campaign without great content.
Considering that 96% more B2B buyers want more content with more input from industry thought leaders, it’s easy to see that buyers go through the sales process easier when they form an attachment to companies who provide them with information that resonates with them.
Sadly, although many companies have given content a top spot in their marketing strategy, many of them are still struggling to see positive results.
There are many reasons why a content marketing strategy might fail. And one of them IS NOT because your company doesn’t need content marketing. As long as you have target customers, those customers are target audiences for certain information that will interest them.
To create an effective B2B content marketing strategy that won’t fail you, here are 7 elements you must include:
Defined Conversion Goals
What is the end result that you want after a potential customer views your content? Do you want them to sign up for your newsletter, reshare your content, or make a purchase?
To create a content strategy that flows easily, you need to outline what your conversion goals are.
Doing this will also help you determine what type of content will be created to suit your specific purpose. The different levels of your lead/sales funnel need different types of content to help your buyers complete the sales process.
Your conversion goals should align with all the different stages a potential buyer might find themselves in, providing content for each of those stages.
It’s impossible to successfully market to everyone at the same time. Not everyone needs your products.
Thus, your content marketing strategy can only be effective when you have a clear understanding of who you are aiming for. If you are just throwing generic content everywhere on the internet, very few people will stop to look because your content won’t interest most of them.
You need to identify your customer segments and create content that will target them directly. Get clear on who your target audience is.
Understanding the Content that Interests Your Target Audience
Creating content for potential buyers at different stages requires a deep understanding of where they are in their buyer journey. Usually, to initiate the first conversion and bring a new potential buyer into your sales funnel, you need to create content that deeply interests them. Once you know who your target buyer is, what interests them, and what information they are actively searching for online, this becomes easier for you.
Once they are in the lead/sales funnel, you need to provide them with content that helps their journey and encourages them further through the funnel.
To understand this stage as much as possible, you can reach out to repeat and potential buyers and ask them questions about their concerns during their buying decision process.
The more you understand your current buyers, the better you can connect with new ones.
Create Content for Your Niche
Content creation in your B2B marketing strategy can do two things to your brand:
- It can establish you as an authority in your industry (when you create content that directly concerns your niche).
- Or it can make you appear as one of the several brands, throwing content everywhere hoping to build an online authority.
In a space where every business is doing content marketing, your brand needs a distinct voice that can be heard and recognized easily over all others. This is why it is very important that you create content mainly for your niche. Content that builds your authority and provides useful information for people (in your niche) who are actively searching for answers.
Method of Contact
Initial contact between a buyer and a B2B company is either because the company reaches out to the buyer, or the buyer has a specific need and reaches out to the company. Either way, no company that expects to make sales, leans back and waits for buyers to contact them.
As a brand, you need to identify initial points of contact you can use to start business relationships with potential buyers. It could be through a tweet, Facebook ad or email campaign letter.
To do this effectively, you need adequate research on the online platforms your target audience is most active on. Use this information as a guide when creating content for those platforms. Your outreach methods should also be specific to those platforms.
Reports and Analysis (measure your results)
This is the first and more technical method of receiving feedback.
It’s important to measure the results of all your content marketing efforts. And it’s also important to understand the performance of your content strategy, the conversion and ROI being achieved.
Every action your target audience takes on your website or social media pages is driven by the content they were exposed to.
- Is your content driving conversion?
- What page do most people access your website through?
- Which page do most people leave through?
- What sources bring the most traffic?
The answers to these questions (and others) will help you understand your audience. You want to know what’s working, what needs restrategizing, and what needs to be removed.
The most recommended tool for measuring results is Google Analytics. It gives detailed but easy-to-understand reports on both consumption and social sharing metrics, among many other reporting benefits.
Listen to Feedback
Although data analysis is a great way to measure how receptive your buyers are to your content, some things still need to be heard from the horse’s mouth. Every comment, review or question from your buyers or potential buyers should be considered carefully. They give you a clear view of what your customers are thinking, and what they want from you.
You can initiate feedback by including questions in your content or creating online surveys and questionnaires. Buyers want what’s best for themselves. If they see your desire to improve, they will try to help you along the way as much as they can. They also enjoy being heard because it indicates that they are considered important by a business.
An effective content marketing strategy will need not just the right elements, but the time to understand what works, and what doesn’t. It will take some time to build a tailor-made strategy for your business. So don’t give up after your first or fifth try.
Want to talk strategy? Connect with us for a free one-to-one conversation on how to build a B2B content marketing strategy that works for your business.