If yours is a business to business (B2B) model, Content Marketing is a very powerful tool in your digital marketing arsenal.
It enables you to:
- Attract a wider audience
- Tell your ‘value story’
- Show potential buyers your capabilities
- Highlight your expertise, and
- Showcase your competitive advantages.
When you couple it with Marketing Automation, it becomes the ‘engine’ behind your lead generation process — improving the efficiency of your sales team and reducing the cost of generating Sales Qualified Leads.
What research tells you about how your B2B buyers tick
As you know, B2B customers rarely make impulse buys.
They go through a process.
And you need to carefully steer them through your sales funnel if you are to end up being their chosen vendor.
In this article, we’ll explore some recent research on how your potential customers make buying decisions — and what you can do to optimise your Inbound Marketing funnel to engage them.
The research comes from the Content Marketing Institute, who polled 1,200 SmartBrief subscribers who are involved with purchasing decisions in their organisations.
It turns out that your potential buyers DO want information from your website
For years, (even way back when I was chipping out direct mail letters on stone tablets), I have been pushing back against some clients who say that “People don’t read stuff”.
And even now, I sometimes hear, “Nah Jerry… people don’t research or read stuff. They just call us when they are ready to buy.”
Well it turns out that 81% of them DO want to “read stuff”.
Yes indeedy, as the research shows, your potential B2B buyers are doing their homework. A LOT of homework.
Little wonder that a well planned Content Marketing strategy is such a powerful sales tool!
Of those surveyed, 81% agree that they do their own research before they reach out to a vendor or manufacturer. And 46% strongly agree that research is very important.
“Hang on a minute,” you say, “That’s not MY experience!”
If you are only getting calls from people who are ready to buy and who just want to get down to a pricing discussion, there is a strong chance that you might not be getting a true picture of how your potential buyers really tick.
In fact, you might be getting a false picture altogether.
Here’s what’s probably going on.
There are a bazillion searches every hour on Google. By all kinds of people looking for answers to all kinds of questions.
Think of them as fish, looking for a specific kind of food (bait).
Every website (including yours) offers a specific kind of bait, attracting:
- A specific type of buyers
- Looking for specific types of information
- Matching specific stages in the buying process
The type of buyers it attracts depends on the bait (content) that you have on your site.
- Your website has nothing to offer the 81% who are early in the buying process and are looking for information,
- You’ll never hear from them, and
- You are tricked into thinking that those people don’t exist.
You are not attracting or engaging with 81% of your potential buyers.
Your competitors are.
And you are only getting calls from a small percentage of the remaining 9%.
A real world example
I had this a little while back with a gentleman who came in to see how a digital agency like Crockford Carlisle could increase his business.
He was targeting the corporate sector with his products, but when we started to talk about Content Marketing, he wasn’t having any of it.
He was adamant that:
- “My market is different” and that
- “Our market are executives and are not interested in a lot of information” and
- “We don’t believe in putting a lot of info on our site. People don’t want all that”.
When we looked at his Analytics, (his site was long established and indexed by Google), we saw that he was averaging only 249 visitors a month!
This graph shows six months’ worth of traffic. 1,497 / 6 = 249.
And of those sessions, when we dug into Analytics and filtered out the spammy rubbish, (these are the ‘bots’ that visit a site to try and cause mischief and put the data out of whack), we are left with 136 visitors a month.
This… on a long-established website!
Lo-and-behold, he was receiving only one or two enquiries a month, mostly from people who were looking for employment. Or offering to “Make You Number One On Google”.
Meanwhile, over in the red corner, his competitor’s site is rich with content, blogging and information — providing EXACTLY what those executives are looking for when considering their next step.
But he was adamant that his market was different. And that Content Marketing wouldn’t work. And off into the sunset he sailed to continue to spend even more on AdWords.
Anyway... let’s get back to that research and what you can learn from it…
So, what do the 81% want from your content marketing?
First up, 62% of them said that they want material that “speaks to my specific needs and/or pain points.”
There is nothing new about this.
But it is good to see the numbers that confirm it.
The lesson here is that your website content shouldn’t be all about you and what you do.
- It should be about your potential buyers
- And about the specific issues that are of concern to them
The starting point to getting this right is to invest time into developing clear Buyer Personas for your business.
your market is made up of different Buyer Personas, each of which have different needs and objectives.
The more you figure out who they are, how they tick, and what they want, the better positioned you’ll be to add content on your website that resonates with them.
And here is a key point…
43% want content to be more educational than promotional.
So how do you figure out what they want to be educated about?
Invest some time with your client-facing team to list the types of questions that your potential customers are asking.
When you download the free e-Book via the link just below, you’ll see there’s a chapter about this, where it talks about going “Way Back When”.
That is, way back when you didn’t know all the ‘stuff’ that you know about your product and service.
Why is that important?
Because that’s where a big chunk of your potential buyers are right now.
They don’t know your industry jargon. They don’t have the insights or understanding that you have — and so they are looking for answers, education and information at their level.
You need to speak THEIR language.
This is where content marketing and marketing automation work together
You are on track with pulling your educational, informative content together.
Now, how do you use it to generate business?
This is where Marketing Automation really shines.
Remember, at the beginning of this article, we talked about Content Marketing and said:
So how do we do this?
When we onboard clients to help them with lead generation, we audit their existing marketing material to see:
- What digital assets can be re-purposed
- What content should be freely available on their blog or website pages
- What “Premium Content” should be gated — so that people complete a form (and give us their information) to access it
You need to go through this process at your business.
Figure out what goes where to create the best experience for your potential customers.
Think about the questions they are asking as they move towards a decision, and where there are gaps, get busy producing the material.
(Or even better, call on Crockford Carlisle to produce it for you. As a digital marketing agency, writing and designing the collateral you need to reach your market is what we do.)
Once you have done that, you can use Marketing Automation software such as HubSpot to automatically nurture potential buyers who enter your sales funnel.
Instead of just blasting away, you’ll:
- Be able to send them information that resonates with them,
- Because you’ll use on-page forms to ask questions,
- About the problems that they want to have solved.
As they engage with you, you can tell your value story, show your expertise and, over time, win their confidence.
Want to talk about your B2B market, and how to reach more of them?
Based in Brisbane, Crockford Carlisle is a national digital agency and can help anyone who has an Internet connection and a phone line.
Our number is (07) 3891 3800.
We promise you won’t get an ‘agency sales pitch” when you call.
We love what we do, and will be happy to have a chat about your business, and about your growth objectives. If we think we can help, we will say so and give you a proposal if that’s what you want.
But if not, we are happy to give you some ideas and point you in the right direction to achieve the growth you are looking for.