Why B2B Organizations Benefit when they Invest in Content
If your B2B organization is not investing in content marketing, you are missing one of the most effective ways to build a reputation, attract qualified leads, and nurture prospects and current partners. In fact, recent research shows that the most successful B2B marketing teams spend 40% of their marketing budget on content marketing. Add to that, content marketing generates three times as many leads as traditional marketing at 62% less cost.
An ongoing content marketing strategy is difficult to tie value to in the short term, but in the long term, it pays outstanding dividends. Studies show that close rates are 27.1% higher for companies with content marketing and website conversion rates improve by 6x with content on the site. For example, we worked with one healthcare brand that reduced their marketing budget by over a third after they invested in content marketing for one year and cut back on event and advertising spend. They not only reduced their marketing budget, sales were also two times higher than the previous year.
Content marketing lends itself particularly well to B2B because of the long sales cycle B2B organizations experience. As you are undoubtedly familiar, your customer’s transition to your solution is a complex choice, often involving multiple decision makers. The collective power of consistent content creation and promotion builds your audience and brand so that you are top-of-mind throughout your customer’s decision-making process. When your prospects need a solution like yours—whether that is next week, next month, or next year—content helps position you as the expert of choice.
In other words, when you consistently provide your audience valuable and interesting content, they think of you as the go-to solution when they need it.
If it is so undeniably valuable—what stops B2B executives and marketing leaders from leaning into content marketing?
The top culprits are:
Lack of awareness of its effectiveness
Lack of bandwidth
Lack of budget
The reality is, it takes time to build a library of content and systems around promoting it and measuring its effectiveness. That is why it is important to start small and to focus on what moves the needle for your business. A focused content strategy offers a whole host of benefits for your brand. Some are specific and measurable:
Increased organic website traffic
Increased website conversions
More qualified leads
More closed contracts
More database contacts / larger email list
Others—the most impactful benefits—are the longtail effects on your sales results and brand reputation. One of the most beautiful things about content is that it keeps working long after it goes live. You can use the content in your arsenal in your sales and marketing processes for years to come.
Benefits of Content Marketing
Establish your company as an expert in your industry
Your prospects will look to you when researching solutions like yours or asking questions your expertise helps answer.
Make your brand more visible and trusted
Whatever content focus you have (whether it is posting on your blog, sharing on your LinkedIn page, sending a monthly newsletter, or securing a byline in an industry publication) more people will see your brand name when you regularly share content, which adds to your notoriety and credibility.
Build an engaged audience
The more useful and consistent your content, the more qualified prospects will opt-in (whether by opting into your email list or clicking “Follow” on LinkedIn) to hear from you more often. This audience will become an asset over time as your business offerings evolve.
Support your sales team
When you have a robust library of content resources, you no longer need to “just check in” or “follow up.” Instead, you have resources to share that show your value to your prospects. Rather than “circling back” you can offer valuable content to your prospects (like a case study from a past client with a similar challenge, or a guide educating them on a process you help with).
Where in the sales funnel does content marketing fit in?
If you are just getting started with content, we suggest creating content resources that support each of your main solutions and target audiences tailored to each phase of the sales funnel:
The Awareness Stage
For prospects just becoming aware of your company or solutions like yours, create content like blog posts, social posts, or conference presentations educating your customer on their most frequently asked questions and challenges your solutions address.
The Consideration Stage
For prospects actively searching for a solution like yours, create informative landing pages on your website, email newsletters, and more in-depth content such as whitepapers, guides, webinars, and eBooks that illustrate your unique approach and process. These resources do not give away your secret sauce, rather, they highlight your expertise and the complexities you simplify for your prospect.
The Decision Stage
Develop sales collateral that your sales team can use as they guide prospects through their decision process. This might include a detailed case study of past performance successes or leveraging one of your awareness or consideration stage pieces paired with a targeted email campaign.
Overcoming the Budget and Bandwidth Barrier
The antidote to overwhelm is structure. Creating content takes time, but it pays long-term dividends. The more focused your content plan, the more likely it will happen and the more poignant your investment. When you start by creating a few evergreen pieces tied to your core business offerings and growth goals, you will be able to reuse content in various valuable ways. You can maximize the benefits of every piece by repurposing it across different channels. For example, a single article could be leveraged on your blog, LinkedIn, newsletter, and work overtime as a webinar topic, presentation, or helpful link in a targeted sales campaign.
Whether you know it or not, you already have a wealth of golden content ideas that would fill a year-long content calendar. A wonderful place to start to identify topic ideas is to ask your sales team the most frequent questions they receive and to ask your best customers what they appreciate most about your solution.
No doubt, there are already thought leaders in your industry. That is ok! You can put a unique spin on those topics because your business is unique.