B2B Marketing: What is content marketing and why you need it
B2B Marketing: What is content marketing and why you need it

The rise of the internet has changed the way businesses sell and people buy. To understand the importance of content marketing we need to first look at how buyer behaviour has changed.

In the days before the internet, buyers were relatively uninformed and sales people held all the answers to common questions such as: “What's included in the offering?” “How much does it cost?” “Who else uses it?” and “What do they say about it?” The internet changed everything and it turned the buyer-seller relationship completely upside down - today the information that buyers need in order to make a purchase decision is just a click away.

According to Forrester, 59% of buyers do their own research online before contacting a sales representative, therefore B2B companies need to ensure that they get found, demonstrate their expertise, and build trust with prospects before actually having any human interaction with them. This is the function of Content Marketing.

What is Content Marketing?

“Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.” Joe Pulizzi, Founder, Content Marketing Institute

“Traditional marketing and advertising is telling the world you’re a rock star. Content Marketing is showing the world that you are one.” Robert Rose, Chief Strategy Officer, Content Marketing Institute

Why do you need it?

1. Content gets you found
Search engines love content. Writing valuable content that addresses the needs and pains of your prospects will get you ranking on Google and other search engines. The more valuable, fresh content that you have on your website, the more value Google will place behind your site and the higher your search rankings will go.

2. Demonstrate expertise
Writing articles that are educational and add real value is an excellent way to demonstrate your expertise which in turn builds trust and credibility with your prospects.

“Research highlights that Expertise is the top selection criteria for most prospects when selecting one company from another, and is most frequently the factor that tips the scale for the winning company” – Hinge Research Institute

Content marketing makes your expertise visible, it allows prospects to sample your thinking and approach while establishing your company as an authority in your respective field.

3. Generate Leads
More than 95% of your website visitors won’t buy or make contact with you on their first visit to your website. They might still be in the research phase, familiarising themselves with potential solutions, or they might be aware that your business could help them solve their problem but not yet ready to make a commitment. This is where having an attractive lead magnet on your website becomes an effective strategy for lead generation. A lead magnet is an incentive you offer to potential buyers in exchange for their contact information, this could be in the form of an ebook, white paper, checklist etc.

Publishing white papers or ebooks on your website (eg: a buyers guide) in exchange for contact information is a great way to generate leads for businesses. It allows you to start forming a relationship and educating the prospect while building trust and reinforcing the need for your product or service through lead nurturing tactics. It is also a way to capture a lead’s information and qualify them based on their behaviour on your website.

4. Build relationships and nurture leads
Content is not only about being found online it is also an effective tool for sales to leverage to build relationships and nurture leads. For companies who have long buying cycles, it is important to keep in touch and stay top of mind with prospects in your sales pipeline, but follow-up emails and calls don’t work as well as they used to because they provide little value to the prospect. Our alternative is to send emails that add value, demonstrate your understanding of their needs, and show genuine interest in their thoughts, concerns and questions. This is a highly effective strategy to move prospects in or out of your funnel faster.

In conclusion, the benefits of content marketing are fantastic for B2B marketing, however your content strategy will only prove to be successful and show results if it is of real value to your target audience. The more useful your information, the more serious prospects will trust you — and the more likely they are to hire you when the time is right. Now that is powerful competitive advantage.

Article written by:
Donna Hirschson
Co- CEO NinjaTech

Forrester Report 2015, Death of a (B2B) Salesman
KissMetrics Blog
Hinge Research, 2018, Differentiation Strategy for the Professional Firm
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