B2B buyers are using content to research products, services and vendors. Buyers want the content and marketers are delivering it. In fact, many are now spending more than 25% of their budgets on the development, delivery and promotion of content to drive business leads, influence markets and build brand awareness. A new study by the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council found that 87% of B2B buyers said online content has either a major or moderate impact on vendor preference and selection (Tweet this!). If your business aims to use content to reach new audiences, influence current prospects and close sales, consider these facts, figures and fundamental practices your business needs to be aware of.
Know the Need and the Numbers
In an effort to create more meaningful customer engagement, B2B marketers are becoming content publishers and looking for ways to incorporate content marketing into their sales pipelines, lead flow and upsell strategies. 35% of the CMO study buyers say online content highlights the vendors that best understand their needs (Tweet this!). Reach your audience by producing and publishing content that educates your prospects and customers, while building your brand as a though leader. The content you post shouldn't be gated too heavily, blatantly self-promotional or self-serving or be generic, uniformed content. Content may be a key in reaching buyers, but it's only going to have a positive response if your audience finds it valuable. The types of content B2B buyers value most include:
- Professional association research reports and whitepapers (67%)
- Industry group research reports and whitepapers (50%)
- Customer case studies (48%)
- Analyst reports and white papers (44%)
- Product reviews (40%).
Related: Connect with buyers and reach a a qualified audience via the whitepaper content marketing offering from Business.com -- email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Face the Content Fundamentals
Knowing the fundamentals is important in all aspects of life and business. It's hard to build a marketing campaign or strategy without first understanding the basics: who your audience is, what they want and why, where they want it, and how your business can facilitate all these things. 28% of B2B buyers shares content with over 100 people (Tweet this!) so this section takes a look at those key content factors and ways your business can approach each.
Who -- Content Audience: With big data readily available for businesses to sift through, spend some time looking over who your audience is, what segments (if not all) that you want to reach with the content you create, and consider the type of content these people and buyers will want. You already know what content is valuable, so analyze how you can create industry, role and stage in the purchase process tailored content.
What -- Content Creation: B2B buyers said the characteristics they most value in online content are breadth and depth of information (47%); ease of access, understanding and readability (44%); and originality of thinking and ideas (39%). Focus on content that is relevant to your audience and incorporates as many of these characteristics as possible. Content may be king, but relevance and content are just as important when it comes to successful content marketing.
Where -- Content Distribution: According to the CMO study, the most valuable sources of online content cited by B2B buyers when doing research are professional associations and online communities (47%); industry organizations and groups (46%); online trade publications (41%); seminars and workshops (41%); and trade shows (35%). Look for ways your business can distribute content through each of these effectively. Partnerships, ongoing relationships with editors, and a presence at tradeshows are all places to get started with content distribution.
Now that you know the types of content buyers want, the things they find valuable in content and where they look for it, your business needs to reevaluate its content marketing strategy to ensure your meeting the demand of buyers. Content management, from creation to repurposing, is a must. Test what works, what doesn't and how you can more effectively nurture buyers by addressing their pain points and answering their questions.
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