By now, everyone knows effective content is essential for educating, engaging, and converting readers into customers. This is an article that was published on the Content Marketing Institute website, written by George Passwater.
The problem is that many businesses believe in a “create it, broadcast it, and hope it works” methodology. If this actually worked, content marketing would be “one size fits all” and everyone would do it right.
In the real world, we know this isn’t the case. Business buyers are savvier; they know what content they like and when they want it. Fortunately, this awareness provides content marketers with some powerful insight into buyers’ behaviors and some direction for building effective content strategies that speak to business needs.
With this in mind, there are three keys to successfully leverage content marketing to effectively reach and persuade today’s business buyers:
Know your content options
The old saying, “one size fits all,” doesn’t pertain to today’s business buyers. Armed with online research tools, social networking, and instant answers, they now hold the advantage. To gain and keep the attention of savvy clients, more B2B companies are recognizing the power of relevant content.
Think of it in terms of variety and taste preferences. Although one type of food might appeal to one person, another may shy away from that same food for various reasons. This also happens with business content consumers. For instance, email newsletters may generate strong web traffic for group A buyers, but group B might have more of a use for the in-depth, topic-specific content found in white papers.
Some questions to help you determine which content formats will work best for your business might include:
- Are specific elements of your content more popular than others?
- Do your customers and prospects ask for specific types of content?
- What are some of the search terms that bring visitors to your site?
- What content holds the largest numbers of downloads or requests?
Know when to schedule your content delivery
For each stage of the buying cycle, the right content can make all the difference, converting prospects into sales and one-time buyers into life-long supporters. Just as it’s important to understand what type of content appeals to prospects, it’s important to know when you should share or publish that content.
For instance, sending out an email with a strong sales message to buyers right after they download one of your white papers might be viewed as overbearing.
A better approach might be to include an email invitation to an informational webinar, or a contact request to see if buyers have any questions or would like to learn more about your product.
A few tools to ensure you schedule the right message, at the right time, might include:
- Editorial calendar
- Engagement calendar (this tracks how you can engage with your audience, including commenting on blogs, posting on social media, etc.)
- Lead scoring system
- CRM or marketing automation system
Know how to measure and show your results
As with anything, you want to know if something works or if it needs to be improved. This is essential for any business looking to implement content marketing as part of their sales efforts. A strong metrics plan provides key stakeholders with a clear view that can be viewed against company goals and objectives.
Ensure your content marketing produces positive results and tracks key metrics that measure the effectiveness and conversion value by:
- Looking at click-through rates along with open rates on email marketing
- Factoring in social sharing of your content and tracking its depth
- Analyzing web analytics reports for traffic based on downloads, keywords, referrals, and social interactions
- Measuring the conversion rates of landing pages and other targeted content
If you’re simply creating content and broadcasting it to the masses without success, it’s time to understand that “one size doesn’t fit all.” With more options to research their purchase, business buyers only look for information that’s relevant to their specific what and when schedules. So, if you want to win their business, be sure your content meets those criteria before your competition does.