26 November 2014
In this blog, we ask: What is your story? That simple question represents a huge marketing oversight for many B2B companies. Many of your potential customers care just as much about who you are as what products you offer.
Before a prospect enters into a business relationship, they want to hear the story of you.
There’s no need to make up a fable like Goldilocks and the Three B2B Solutions or Little Red Manufacturing Plant. Just be honest. Effective B2B content marketing informs your website visitors about who you are in addition to what you do.
B2B buyers spend a long time researching prior to making a purchase, often several months.
In turn, these consumers like to build lasting relationships with companies. By building emotional connections with users, your B2B content marketing builds long-term trust and encourages customer retention.
Forrester reports that B2B marketing budgets on the rise for 2014, and B2B content marketing is a great place to get your story heard. So here are three types of B2B content that work individually (and even better in conjunction) to engage customers with your unique business perspective:
1. Case Studies.
Case studies give you the opportunity to show off a specific instance when you solved other companies’ pain points. They’re an especially powerful piece of content marketing because you’ve already proven that your solution works. The difficult part is making the story compelling. When writing your case study, you don’t want to push too hard with a “sell, sell, sell” mentality. Let the story speak for itself. Think of the case study as a mini-documentary on the unique way you analyze a problem and envision a solution. If you’re especially good at implementation, include an explanation of how you made it easy for your customers. By showing how you both view problems and implement solutions, you show prospects as much about you as about your product or service itself.
Case studies also make great B2B content marketing for generating leads. Gating a case study behind a lead form allows potential customers to trade their contact information for downloadable PDFs.
If case studies cover your successful history with past solutions, blogs give you the immediacy and recency expected from the web. Another advantage of blogging as part of your B2B content marketing strategy is that you get to show off some personality. What you don’t want to do is ramble on about your company each blog. That’s too transparent. It’s not fun to write, and it’s not fun to read. Instead, write about current industry trends, related news items, and your unique views on the pain points, road blocks, and solutions in your business. While discussing these subjects, that’s when your identity shines through. And don’t be afraid to inject a little humor. You don’t have to be Tina Fey or Chris Rock to make your reader crack a smile. Blogs and their comments sections also build on your B2B content marketing to start discussions with readers. Content comments continue conversations with customers.
With the spread of speedy Internet reaching your PC, your phone, and even your car, video marketing is more accessible than ever. Including webinars and webcasts into your B2B content marketing strategy lets your customers behind the scenes. Assuming no extraterrestrials are reading this blog, we’re all human. We’ve evolved to recognize and empathize with the faces of others. Video content builds an automatic empathic connection with your audience. You also want to use this opportunity to show off your knowledge in your field. When potential customers trust that you’re the expert, taking the next step to a purchase is that much easier. Other content such as instructionals or “How To” videos show your prospects that you know the ins and outs of a problem, while also giving you a chance to show off the product itself.
With case studies, blogs, and video, you tell the story of your company – the past, present, and future. Build on the connections you make through B2B content marketing because behind every B2B sale is a real person, and that customer wants to know about you.