Content marketing is the latest marketing strategy to trickle down among companies both big and small as an effective way to generate new leads and drive conversions.
However, if your company is a B2B, you’ve probably wondered at least once if content marketing would work or make a difference.
I’m here to tell you that it can, and it does.
And I’ll be honest. I was a skeptic at first, too.
After reading “They Ask, You Answer” by Marcus Sheridan from IMPACT and doing various HubSpot Academy courses, I quickly understood the value of content and inbound marketing, but I was still having a hard time visualizing how to implement it from a B2B perspective.
The marketing and sales team here at VMG Studios fell into the trap of, “Well, our business is different,” and, “We can’t possibly talk about pricing because of how convoluted it is,” or, “GASP, we especially can’t talk about our competitors!!”
And we were wrong.
We absolutely have the power to discuss those things. While our fear of driving people away or driving them towards our competitors was and is still something we discuss, we’ve quickly realized the benefits of content marketing outweigh those risks.
As a B2B business, one that primarily works with enterprise-level corporations, we’ve realized content marketing can work. We’ve also come to realize that it’s even more important than we initially thought (especially in the age of COVID-19). In this article, we’re going to outline why B2Bs should implement content marketing into their business practices.
What is Content Marketing?
If you clicked on this article, you likely already have a baseline of what content marketing is. If not, here’s a quick summary.
Content marketing is a strategic inbound marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and educational content digitally to attract, retain, and qualify potential new leads.
It utilizes search engine optimization best practices so that potential customers find your business instead of the other way around.
To substantiate our positive results of content marketing as a B2B business, we have seen a 744% increase in organic search traffic to our website this year.
If that piques your interest in giving content marketing a try, let’s discuss how this strategy can work well for B2Bs.
In my humble opinion, there are two primary reasons why B2Bs should implement content marketing:
- Sets you apart from the competition
- Qualifies leads
There are many other benefits of content marketing, however, these two are essential in making an impact amongst skeptics in B2B marketing departments.
Content Marketing Sets B2Bs Apart From Their Competition
Naturally, both B2B and B2C companies deal with competition – I recognize this isn’t solely a B2B challenge – however, B2B companies often use this as a reason to not give content marketing a try.
The biggest example of this is when it comes to pricing.
For B2B companies, especially ones who often bid against other businesses for work, keeping their pricing options close to their chest is common. The last thing you want is your competitors to see what your pricing tiers are and come into a bid with a slightly better deal for the client. I get that.
However, transparency is increasingly important for consumers when making purchasing decisions. A study found that 94% of customers are likely to be loyal to a brand that offers complete transparency.
If you are vetting two companies and one offered pricing on their website, even if it’s a wide range of cost options, and the other one didn’t – which one would you be more inclined to reach out to for more information?
And it’s not just cost-related content.
Providing educational resources regarding your services, products, processes, industry, etc. can help differentiate your company from your competitors. Content marketing also helps establish thought leadership and highlights your expertise while assisting customers on their buyers' journey.
Content Marketing Qualifies Leads for B2B Companies
Besides constantly having to beat out the competition for new projects or business, the sales team dedicates a lot of time to qualifying new leads that come through the door. Traditionally, the sales team has done this through one-on-one communication such as phone calls, emails, or LinkedIn messaging.
What if I told you that potential new customers could qualify (or disqualify) themselves before even reaching your sales team? And those leads would already have an idea about your services, what they’re looking for, and how much it costs? Sounds pretty great, right?
Well, that’s exactly what content marketing is designed to do.
I’ve used this statistic before, but it’s worth sharing again. One survey found the average person consumes 11 pieces of content before making a purchasing decision.
11 pieces of content.
If a potential customer is able to self-educate and read 11 pieces of content before requesting an introductory call with your sales team, there’s a good chance they’ve already determined that your company is the right fit. This means your sales team can dedicate more time on the call towards understanding the client’s needs as opposed to simply selling them on choosing your company.
The bonus of customers qualifying themselves before reaching out for a meeting is it saves your sales team much needed time. Not only in the qualification process but also when it comes to frequently-asked questions. Instead of having to answer those questions in an introductory call, your sales team can send educational resources such as articles and videos regarding the service or product they’re interested in ahead of your first touch-point.
Content Marketing Builds Trust and Loyalty for B2B Companies
By differentiating your company from your competitors and offering transparency through educational resources, content marketing also helps build customer trust and loyalty.
Longevity for any business is not only attracting new customers but retaining existing customers.
Think about the Nike vs. Adidas battle or the iPhone vs. Android battle – people often have strong opinions on which brands they prefer and support in these cases.
While you might not need to build the same kind of die-hard loyalty, it’s important to build up some rapport to entice customers to return.
Transparency, through content marketing and easy-to-find information about your company, your products/services, and pricing, is a great way to do that. In fact, a study found that 73% of consumers say they would be willing to pay more for a product that offers complete transparency.
Transparency often leads to trust which can help lead to loyalty – the ultimate goal for building a lasting brand.
Adding Content Marketing to Your B2B Strategy
As most consumer bases continue to gravitate towards digital purchasing and researching, it’s important that we, as marketers, shift our practices to meet our target audience where they are. And it’s safe to say that a lot of them practically live on Google.
Customers now have the power to research, vet, compare, and contrast companies with the ease of a few keywords plugged into a search engine. Content marketing helps thrust your company to the forefront of that research with educational resources that benefit both the consumer and your company through brand awareness growth, improved search engine optimization, and increased conversions.
B2B companies have the added pressure of selling to other like-minded marketers or executives within other companies who likely know the tips and tricks implemented to close a sale.
Content marketing is a great way to differentiate your B2B company from your competitors while qualifying leads and building brand trust and loyalty.
If you’re part of a marketing team, this is likely what you’re constantly trying to accomplish for your company, and content marketing could be the missing piece to reaching your goals and assisting the sales and executive teams.
To start outlining your content marketing strategy, click the image below to download our free content marketing 101 worksheet!