5 Essential Tips for B2B Content Marketing
The potential for content marketing in Malaysia is huge. But how do you work to embrace that opportunity in a B2B setting?
Studies show that B2B buyers are more than half way through their decision making process before they even engage a supplier sales rep. That means your content has a huge part to play.
It’s easy to assume that B2B is the stuffy suit and polished shoe wearing office worker of content marketing, while those pesky B2C kids are out there wearing board shorts and jogging along the beach.
The truth is B2B content does have to operate in a slightly different way to B2C. That doesn’t mean we throw caution to the wind and forget all our lessons of effective inbound marketing. The core principle of content marketing is still there – building, engaging and converting an audience through conversation.
Here’s our handy B2B marketing guide, offering 5 key tips on how to make the most of marketing your B2B content.
B2B rarely has a single buyer
When we’re working in a B2C space it’s often the case that we’re targeting our content towards converting a single buyer. That is rarely the case in a B2B setting.
When converting sales in a B2B environment we’re often looking to influence several key decision makers at once. Are you selling the latest, greatest thing in accounting software? There’s a good chance you have to persuade the Head of Accounting, the Head of IT, maybe a Chief Financial Officer, and possibly even members of the Board, all at once. That’s a lot of different angles to cover.
You need to understand that your content has to resonate with different decision makers. That doesn’t necessarily mean trying a one-size-fits-all piece of content, but simply ensuring that the balance of your content helps to cover the particular conversations that these people are likely to want to have.
Boring is relative
This is a particularly important point if you’re a marketer working multiple accounts. It’s easy to get stuck in the B2C space, constantly looking for that next exciting story or trend-jacking opportunity. B2C content marketing can sometimes feel like an action-packed spiral of excitement in a mad rush to grab attention and promote the image of a brand. That means you can get distracted by the thirst for ‘excitement’ and constant battle against ‘boring’ content.
When it comes to B2B, it’s important not to lose site of the fact that boring is relative. The wider public might be desperately hunting their latest content fix in a battle against the terror of free time, but it’s far more likely that business customers are looking for the answers to problems.
“The sustainable savings over a ten-year period amount to a 30% reduction in operational expenditure,” is not a sentence that will be setting hearts on fire. It is however a superbly informative and helpful piece of content for a B2B audience seeking solutions to business-critical problems.
B2B can still be fun
Just because your audience are looking for solutions to business challenges, doesn’t mean you need to take off your fun-hat, throw it in a bin and set fire to it. B2B content often needs to stand out just as much as B2C, and that means coming up with innovative ways to engage your audience.
A great way to do that is looking at the idea of tangential content, that’s content that relates to your specific (and perhaps less-fun?) niche, and creating content that relates and resonates. Ultimately the limit of your content-excitement can often be overcome with great imagination. Volvo trucks, they’re boring, right? Tell that to the amazing video below.
Case studies are killer content
Case studies convert. It’s crucially important to highlight the benefits of your product and build industry authority with your content, but when it comes down to it, even B2B decision makers are heavily influenced by peer validation.
Case studies provide an outstanding opportunity to highlight the benefits of your goods or services in an easily relatable way for your audience. It’s accessible and approachable to other potential customers. It also tells those other customers that at least one partner was so happy with the relationship you built with them that they’d commit their own time to telling other people about it.
Marketing success builds into sales conversion
This should apply to all content marketing, but it’s particularly important when it comes to B2B marketing – you need to build on your success.
If you’ve created a content piece that’s brought in some leads, gained a lot of engagement, don’t just sit there passively and bask in that success, act upon it. Reach out to individuals and organisations that have interacted with your content. Link up closely with your own sales team to ensure there’s no disconnect between your marketing efforts and sales conversion.
The idea of a sales and marketing partnership is highlighted in the somewhat cringe-worthy term ‘smarketing’. Organisations with strong collaboration between marketing and sales departments achieve 20% average revenue growth annually, compared to just 4% in companies with poor alignment. Combine your resources and operate in partnership to ensure you deliver the greatest possible conversions from your marketing and sales efforts.