You Educated Your Audience with B2B Content: What’s Next?
More times than not, when a client comes to us looking for help with their B2B content marketing strategy, we notice the strategy itself is either very new, or it exists with a lack of focus (both SEO and target audiences). After spending time with these clients to learn the business inside-out, we start identifying keywords and keyword phrases that offer an opportunity for them to increase brand awareness in the online marketing space, and indirectly improve customer acquisition as a result.
We typically are able to help them appear on the first page of search results for competitive terms via targeted traditional content assets like blog posts or glossary pages. These types of assets are fantastic for driving organic search traffic growth to the site and educating the market on key concepts and challenges.
At this stage (top of the funnel), our job as marketers is to drive curiosity about the brand and services, enough so that they will remember your name when it comes time to evaluate products or services in the future.
If you’ve done the educational portion of the content marketing process effectively, you will surely see website traffic start to climb and likely new prospects filling out forms or requesting demos.
But, what about your existing customer base or those prospects that are already aware of your brand or industry and need more than educational content?
Well, this is when it’s time to start adding content that explains how your offerings and expertise will assist customers and where you fit in the market compared to the competition.
Here are five quick tips to take your B2B content marketing strategy beyond the educational phase:
1. Don’t be Afraid to Talk about Your Services
After your audience have been educated on the industry and your business from a bird’s eye view, you need to start considering the creation of content that answers the “why us?” question. Middle to end of the funnel content should offer in-depth information about your offerings, and most importantly, the pain points they address.
In terms of content types to do so effectively, consider videos and case studies. Videos are more engaging than “words on a page” content and can typically offer the audience more information in a shorter period of time. Customer testimonials, reviews, and product overviews are great topics to consider as you create videos on your website. Also, keep in mind who will be featured in your videos. If you can get someone from the C-suite, it could help to boost the impact of the message being delivered.
Case studies are another great form of content for showcasing the effectiveness of your products or services in an engaging way. As you create case studies, think about producing success stories that apply to your specific industries. While your service or product may be standard in terms of its composition, its applications and ability to solve specific customer pain points can be dynamic. Always remember to use specific examples and metrics to show off your abilities (tell the story!).
2. Repurpose and Bundle Existing Content
Two of the most common obstacles to creating effective content for all stages of the sales funnel are simply time and resources. You will likely struggle to come up with unique angles for all stages of the funnel, and struggle even more with physically creating such content. You don’t need a content army to have success.
As you think about users in the middle or end of the funnel, take the time to revisit the content that already lives on your website, as it can be a treasure trove for creating fresh content. For example, you may have a number of “best practice” and “challenges” articles and blog posts on your site that relate to a specific theme or industry – bundle the ideas from these into the script for a webinar, or use it to create an in-depth whitepaper. As you create these assets, also think about placing them behind gated forms, as the prospect information will allow your sales team to follow up with a call or targeted email.
3. Leverage Your Data!
This one may seem obvious, but it’s surprisingly overlooked. Data is everywhere, and it should be fully-utilized when it comes to creating content that goes beyond the awareness phase of the sales cycle. Leveraging internal data will allow you as a content marketer to better understand your audience, and more importantly, what challenges customers are facing and what they need to overcome them.
Here are some data sources to leverage as you create middle and bottom of the funnel content:
- PPC – look for terms that convert highly on paid search
- Sales data – what questions and issues are the sales team addressing?
- Blog comments – what types of posts get the most comments on your blog, and what are people asking?
- Forum comments – look at forums like Quora to identify the questions people are asking within your industry (and how they are asking them)
- Social media interactions – pay attention to the hashtags that drive the most engagement and always track retweets, shares, mentions, etc.
4. Create CTA Banners
Let’s go back to earlier in this post. Remember when we were discussing top of the funnel content assets like glossary pages and blog posts pulling in an abundance of organic search traffic? Well, those pieces of content should not be backed by a “set it and forget it” approach.
For many of our clients, we work with their design teams to create eye-catching call to action (CTA) banners that live within these pieces of content. The purpose? Encourage the reader to take the next steps down the funnel. These CTAs will commonly link to in-depth whitepapers or case studies (mentioned above), or if applicable, product pages or possible demo requests.
Evaluate the content on the page you are considering for a CTA banner and also be sure to check site metrics like time on page, bounce rate, and pages per session. Remember, CTA banners should come naturally, and they should always give the reader an option to visit another page they really care about.
5. Target Your Social Sharing
Now that you have down-the-funnel content created and published on the website, it’s time to share. While you should always create content that is organic search friendly, the truth is, it can take several months for a content asset to rank highly within organic results.
Thankfully, we have social media to help us give our content an initial boost. While sharing of any kind is better than not sharing at all, we do recommend B2B marketers take a look at targeting social media efforts to the right audiences. The B2B industry is typically comprised of a small and focused group of decision makers, so it’s critical to hit them at the right time and with the right content.
Here are some networks (and tactics) to consider:
- Facebook Targeted Audiences: Utilize Facebook’s pixel to set up an ad campaign that serves your content to anybody who’s visited (or completed a specific action on) your website.
- Twitter Ads: Use audience and keyword targeting to serve your content to demographics that fit your needs. You can also consider username targeting to make sure your content is reaching the exact handles of your ideal audience.
- LinkedIn Ads: These ads appear directly in the LinkedIn feed and blend into organic results pretty nicely. After you find a piece of content you want to advertise, LinkedIn allows you to target by geo-location, industry, job title, and more.
Whether you’re starting a B2B content marketing strategy from scratch, or you’re looking to improve your efforts, always be sure to consider the various stages of the sales funnel. Creating educational (top of the funnel content) is great for initial visibility, but to really drive sales, you need to go a step further. We hope this post will help you on your way to realizing more conversions and revenue from your B2B content marketing strategy.
Feel free to drop a comment below or connect with me on Twitter to keep this conversation going!