After you’ve launched your business and ventured into the amazing world of marketing you probably tried establishing your online presence by creating a website and several social media accounts. But online platforms are just blank billboards you have to fill with relevant information. And what if this information had the power to sell more and implement your reach?
Then it’s not just information. It’s content. There are loads of benefits to including content marketing in your B2B strategy, but how exactly can you use content marketing? And why do you need to?
If you tend to underestimate the power of a well-written sequence of words, you will reevaluate your beliefs by the end of this post.
Are you ready to stop babbling and start writing?
Here’s our guide on how to use B2B content marketing, and a look at why you really need to…
What Is Content Marketing? Let’s Play “Never Have I Ever”
According to the Content Marketing Institute: “Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.”
This definition alone should be enough for you to start looking more closely at this often underestimated side of your business strategy.
As you might have noticed in the aforementioned definition, one of the most important and key adjectives that we’ll never get tired of highlighting is “valuable”. This is because, ideally, your content will have the power to increase brand awareness, traffic, leads and sales.
That’s a lot to expect!
You’ve certainly come across several examples of content marketing in your experiences as a customer. It’s probably only now that you are in business yourself that you have decided to pay a closer look at its mechanics.
Let’s shift to the buyer’s perspective, just to get a better grasp at some of the best examples for content marketing and to play the evergreen “Never Have I Ever”:
Take a shot for every statement that’s a lie…
- Never have I ever signed up to a newsletter, perhaps in exchange for a discount on your first order? That’s content marketing.
- Never have I ever looked for information online – such as “what is B2B content marketing” *wink wink*- and ended up on a business’ website, reading one of their captivating articles right now? That’s content marketing.
- Never have I ever come in contact with a new company through Social Media? That’s content marketing.
- Never have I EVER decided to buy something with basically no online presence – a crap website with no reviews, empty social media feeds, and no trace of happy customers? That’s a lack of content marketing.
This was just a small warm-up to familiarise you with some of the most common marketing examples.
Now let’s delve into the multifaceted universe of business-to-business content marketing strategies…
The Difference Between B2B and B2C Marketing…
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that because you are a consumer, marketed to by businesses all the time, that you understand what’s needed in a B2B campaign.
A B2B marketing strategy is quite different from its B2C counterpart. Your audiences are different; they have different needs and are driven by different impulses.
A B2B campaign aims at customers as individuals. They may, personally, need a product or service, want a new pair of shoes, or have an unhealthy obsession with the collection of plushies.
Whatever is being sold, it’s the individual who wants it, and the individual who makes the choice to buy or ask someone else to buy it for them.
B2B is very different, as the product or service is for the benefit of a business, rather than an individual. And while it may be an individual who makes the decision to get it, they are doing so on behalf of the business. For the benefit of the business. And at the expense of the business.
Marketing you experience as a consumer is aimed at you, an individual.
What you need to do to market your business to another business is quite different.
How Can I Use Content Marketing In A B2B Strategy?
The simple answer is: however you prefer, as long as the content is on-brand, it respects your target audience, and it’s aimed at and it’s realised with careful attention to all the details by someone who knows what they’re doing.
The latter point is vital. Done well, content can achieve great things. Done poorly, it can be counterproductive. Please, don’t delegate your communication to someone random – an apprentice, a friend, a family member, a junior staffer with little experience.
It might ruin your business for good.
The more complex answer is that you can use it to achieve any marketing goal, provided you can clearly define that goal. Precisely how you will use it will vary depending on the goal, but content can be leveraged for almost any purpose.
Who Are You Targeting And Where Are They?
For content marketing, you specifically have to start by identifying your potential audience, your ideal buyer persona, and where they are more likely to notice you. If it’s on social media, which platform? Stereotypically, B2B Social Media Marketing is more successful on Linkedin than other, more customer-oriented social media – such as TikTok.Yet this isn’t always the case. Perhaps the product or service you’re selling is to the benefit of employees, rather than the company.
Raising awareness among employees is the best way to make the business aware of you – when they’re all demanding what you’re offering they will soon come snooping after you on LinkedIn.
Twitter, in general, is also a great platform for B2B campaigns, for while it is designed for individuals, there are many very active business accounts on the platform. There is also a tendency for CEOs, MDs, and other higher-ups and decision-makers to have quite a prominent presence on Twitter – think Elon Musk, Gary Vaynerchuk, Richard Branson, even Donald Trump (when he’s not banned!).
Your Branding And Voice…
Then you will have to think about your voice.
How do you want your brand to communicate? What tone of voice will most appeal to the businesses you’re targeting? Can you identify your brand as if it were a living, communicating being?
Is it funny, dorky, with a tendency to throw in a few jokes between posts?
Or is it an extremely formal, concise workaholic, perhaps with a reputation for factual correctness?
To determine how your brand should present itself, first you have to see who your audience is.
What would your ideal buyer persona like to see in a business? Move from there, but be careful: there’s only one thing that makes your brand unique and stand out from the crowd. And you only know what it is. Sure, you have to develop your identity from what your audience likes, but don’t forget to be authentic about it! If there’s something you would like to incorporate, discuss it with your strategist and try to work it into your brand!
Your audience will guide you on how to convey your brand’s message in an effective way.
Once you’ve refined your voice, you can start using content marketing in your B2B strategy in numerous ways…
Social media users represent the largest chunk of the market. They can literally move mountains and drastically change the economy and society to their likings (link to TikTok when they crashed trump). But not everyone is on every platform. We all have one social media that we prefer over others, and that is a general truth: to the point that statistics are able to tell us where to look for our audiences in marketing.
For a Business To Client strategy, you should aim at covering all of the main platforms, so that you optimise your chances of reaching a bigger audience. For B2B the most effective social media seems to be Linkedin. One of the staples of business networking and employment is a valuable asset in which to invest from a content marketing perspective.
These are, most likely, the most important and yet one of the most neglected. Many businesses don’t feel the need to invest much in their blogs, preferring other things to them and being totally wrong. Blog posts on your website are what will drive your audience to your very home: they have an incredible ROI and will help you in both establishing an audience and gaining credibility in your field.
Webinars, in-person seminars and exhibitions, are probably the first thing you think of when thinking about B2B communication. And, as a matter of fact, they are incredibly valuable. Unfortunately, though, the pandemic made it much harder for businesses to meet in person. And even if some prefer face-to-face gatherings, webinars are much more accessible and allow you to do some high-quality networking without spending too much time and money travelling to the chosen location.
White papers, just as webinars, are a way to scientifically show what you know about your field. Just as scientific papers, they can help you strengthen your reliability and demonstrate your strengths as a business. Especially if you choose to incorporate case studies (and we suggest you do so), other businesses will have the chance to see how you work and how you decide to solve specific problems related to your field.
Infographics are, quite simply, your data. Sounds boring right? Well, it doesn’t have to be! Data are powerful and, in B2B, where all purchases are scientifically thoughtful and there’s no space for impulse buying, you should be using them. They don’t need to be boring, though! Consider investing in a nice graphic.
Emails are often underestimated, but they have been revealed to be incredibly powerful tools for nurturing pre-existing relationships with customers. In the last paragraph, we will show you how to make your email communication effective.
But WHY Would I Do That?
To put it quite simply, your winning product or service has no value if nobody is talking about it. The likelihood of someone deciding to buy a product – be it exceptional, good, or average- if they don’t know it even exists is pretty much impossible. If they know the product or service is a ‘thing’, but don’t know your business exists, that your brand of that product or service exists, your chances of getting their business are equally slim.
To look at this in detail (and talk dirty with statistics for a moment) 30% of marketers consider Content Marketing to have the highest return of investment (ROI) of any channel. And this is probably proved by the fact that 90% of marketers have decided to invest in content.
If you are in business, you are not doing it for free.
You certainly want to improve your ROI (even if it’s already good, you want it to be even better, surely?). You also want to boost your brand awareness and all that jazz.
Without fixating on the technical jargon, you want to make a profit out of all your hard work.
You likely also have one or more specific needs that can be easily met with content marketing:
What can Content Marketing do for your business, in detail?
You Need To Build An Audience…
The first, immediate effect of publishing consistent, quality content is that you’ll drive people to your website or social media platforms. Why would you need an audience? Well… Because they could either turn into buyers or they could suggest your business to other people. What you ideally want from your audience is that they stick around and create a community experience around your brand. Having a great relationship with your audience will also help them trust you and, somehow, care for you and your business.
You Need To Generate Leads…
Content Marketing has proven itself to be extremely effective at generating leads. That’s because good content is able to give your audience an insight into your product, your brand and will be helpful in answering the questions that might prevent them from buying in the first place.
You Need To Improve Your Visibility Through SEO…
SEO are a powerful tool to use to drive organic and paid traffic to your website. The more content you publish, the more effective your SEO strategy will become.
You Need To Get Higher -And Less Fleeting- ROI…
Amongst all the possible marketing strategies, Content Marketing is the one that will guarantee you the most effective and permanent return on investments. Even if the initial investment might seem high – and good marketing DOESN’T HAVE TO BE CHEAP!-, the returns are higher than any other form of digital marketing. Why? Because the content you post stays up as long as you decide it. And your audience can see it anytime they look for something similar. Forget about fleeting commercials you come across on the radio while doing something else: content is the secret for success.
You Need To Establish Yourself As An Authority In Your Field…
By having a high SEO ranking your website will immediately be considered trustworthy. But it’s not just that: coming up with new, consistent and clever content will contribute to making you an authority in the field you are operating.
Now Back To The Juicy Part: 5 Ready To Use Examples On How To Get Started…
We’ve enjoyed talking about the theory behind the exciting world of content marketing. But you’re probably here for more than just that: that’s why we have come up with five ready-to-use magic formulas for you to start experimenting!
#1 A Very Interesting LinkedIn Post…
Have you ever scrolled through LinkedIn? What are people talking about? Where Instagram is the right place to post an awesome selfie from your latest holiday, LinkedIn is the right place to show your expertise.
The best way to create an interesting and shareable post on this social media is to tackle one of the crucial problems of your field. What is something that needs to be solved in your business area? How does that affect you and your brand? Let’s make a fool-proof example:
You are running a cosmetic company and are well aware of the fact that many products are still being tested on animals. This obviously represents a big ethical conundrum. How is that impacting on your company? Do you have a solution or a strong evidence-based opinion that you think others in your industry might want to share? Do so and be prepared to engage in a long discussion with your network.
#2 A Fool-Proof Blog That Will Make Your Audience Click…
People like shiny things. What they are annoyed at – and rightfully so- is clickbait. What is that? An inviting title leading to content that doesn’t tackle the issue that’s contained in the title. Avoid doing that: your audience will be disappointed and you will quickly lose any of the authority you had.
To make an exciting blog, with a lively title and a lot of useful content, identify what are the questions that your audience is googling. Then blog about it offering the solutions that you have in store. That’s it.
#3 The Most Interesting White Paper You’ve EVER Seen…
White papers represent one of the most important parts of a business-to-business strategy. They’re, basically, an amazing display of how your expertise on a certain topic applies to the business field you are in. There’s no cookie-cutter for writing an interesting white paper except that you have to make sure you do your research beforehand and to write in an engaging way. Oh, and don’t forget to add images and a nice graphic!
#4 A Newsletter So Cool That It’ll Look Like An Advertisement…
Yes, newsletters. That thing we usually tend to ignore unless they’re from someone we want to know more about. Did you know that you can use them in a totally different and non-annoying way?
You should start from the object of the email. Never make it look like you are desperate. So avoid anything that looks like this: “Eva, Please Don’t Leave Us On Read!” and go for something classier and less obvious. If you want your customers to open your mail you don’t have to tell them to do so: you have to craft a title that will make them want to know what it’s all about in the first place.
Then, to the body of the text: keep it brief. It’s not a love letter, you are just nurturing your relationship with your clients by telling them politely about what’s new about your business.
#5 One Hell Of A Video Marketing Idea…
Well, we actually have more than one. Let’s keep it simple: pair up with an influencer you can afford to collaborate with and have them present your products in a post or two. That’s it.
But What If I Can’t Write?
Then, please, DON’T. I can’t build a house, that’s why I bought one instead of trying to build mine only to see my money crashing down after the first rainy day.
Nobody expects you to be able to fulfill every need of your business. You are doing great at managing resources, contacts and coming up with the coolest product ideas. But maybe you are not, really, good at content writing.
That’s why you should ask for a professional’s help! Here at Acrylic Digital, we have fun coming up with effective marketing solutions for all businesses. No idea is too crazy for us. Give us a call or book a free consultation. Let us take care of your business!