Do you own or work for a business who sells to other businesses? Content Empire does a lot of work in the business-to-business (B2B) marketing space, helping our clients find, engage and nurture audiences in target industries. Here are the steps we recommend to create and action a powerful B2B content marketing strategy.
Identify your B2B audiences and build buyer personas
The first step is to build a clear picture of your business marketing audiences. Identify your target industries, business types and sizes, then dig deeper into the various job titles of the stakeholders involved in selecting and purchasing your service or product. Who are the key decision makers and influencers you are trying to reach?
After defining your key audience groups, you need to build up your understanding of who they are (eg. age, gender, education, income), and how and why they make decisions. We call this building buyer personas.
Consider conducting audience research or search online for relevant insights. Will your business customers invest time in online research or is industry word of mouth more influential? Does cost outweigh experience when assessing a new product or service? Thinking through all these questions will enable you to target content to the right people in every business.
Choose the channels to find your B2B audiences
Next up, think about where your audiences ‘live’ online, both when they’re at work and in their spare time. How are you going to reach them? Social media offers powerful tools to find new customers while email can help you nurture current and past customers.
- Facebook and Instagram – These are great channels to casually speak to small business owners, as many use these platforms to market to their own customers. You can run paid campaigns to find business audiences based on their location, interests and age group.
- LinkedIn – For engaging larger organisations and government departments, LinkedIn can help you connect with people based on their industries and job titles. You can read our dedicated LinkedIn advice for B2B marketers here.
- eDM (email direct marketing) – We highly recommend email marketing to nurture ongoing B2B relationships with past and current customers. At the very least, a quarterly eDM campaign will keep your brand front of mind.
- Search engine advertising – Google Ads offers pay-per-click advertising to help you reach people who are searching for products and services like yours.
Consider retargeting strategies too – using email, social media and online advertising to ‘remarket’ to audiences who have already visited your website.
Publish content that speaks to business pain points
What drives your business audiences? Remember, they are making decisions on behalf of an organisation and want to find solutions to business problems. Compared to B2C customers, B2B audiences are less likely to be influenced by emotional triggers. They want to be educated and they will want to see evidence of your product or service’s value, ROI, efficiency and expertise. You need content that demonstrates that you understand these challenges and can solve their problems. Speak or write in their business language and use relatable images.
Think about how you can use content to move business customers along the marketing funnel. From brand awareness to deeper consideration, to first purchase to ongoing business and, finally, the holy grail of brand loyalty and advocacy!
Here are some content ideas that can help you engage B2B audiences:
- Industry thought leadership
- Customer case studies and testimonials
- Webinars offering expert advice
- Staff profiles
- Behind the scenes of your business
- Infographics that visually demonstrate your solution
- FAQs – Offer solutions to common industry problems or answer frequently asked questions you receive in your business.
Format content for easy consumption
As well as covering the topics that your audience cares about, your content also needs to be delivered in a format they can easily access and consume.
Are your customers out on site all day and rarely at their desk? In this case, make sure your content is short, snappy and easy to consume via mobile viewing. If a large portion of their work day is spent at a computer, you might be able to offer content with more detail, including downloadable documents. In both cases, video is an increasingly popular format to engage with busy people.
Engage with your business customers on social media
According to recent studies, 75% of B2B buyers and 84% of C-level executives use social media to make purchasing decisions. That’s an impressive statistic and reinforces the importance of social media and professional networks, such as LinkedIn, in your B2B content strategy.
If you choose to use social media as a B2B marketing channel, posting content is not enough. Proactive engagement will make a huge difference to your social media success.
- Always reply to comments and enquiries on your posts.
- Encourage interaction via direct messaging, making sure you provide prompt and helpful responses.
- Also get active by commenting on, sharing and liking content posted by your current and prospective business customers. This outreach work is a great way to get noticed by key decision makers and influencers.
By engaging with your audiences on social media, you’ll be building brand awareness and initiating a positive ‘virtual’ relationship that could lead to real business.
Monitor content engagement and sales impact to learn and optimise
Make sure you are constantly tracking how your content performs across every channel.
- Create a quarterly engagement report that tracks key metrics such as email opens and social media likes, comments, shares.
- Measure clicks through to your website across all channels and, of course, any direct sales that result from your content efforts.
- Look closely at what social and email content has worked best, and what underperformed.
This will enable you to constantly learn and optimise your content. After monitoring your content performance for one quarter, you will be in a position to create some benchmarks that you can strive to outperform every time.
Do you need an expert partner to support your B2B content marketing? We can help you create a content strategy, then execute it with awesome audience-focused content. For inspiration, check out some of our B2B work for clients: Dulux Protective Coatings, University of Melbourne, Dahlsens and ACER.