60% of marketers create at least one piece of content every day. But content marketing goes beyond just good blogs and carefully constructed LinkedIn posts. When done correctly, internal content marketing or utilizing B2B content marketing services are an enormously effective strategy to educate your audience, attract new leads, and establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry.
But the term ‘content marketing’ casts a wide net. Technically, anyone with a laptop and wifi connection could brand themselves as a content marketing expert. So what sets truly skilled B2B content marketing services apart? In this article, we’ll be taking an in-depth look at the differences and similarities between B2B and B2C marketing strategies, the methodology underpinning successful content marketing, and what any strong marketing service should be able to offer you.
How Does B2B Marketing Differ From B2C?
On the surface, Business-to-Business – or B2B – marketing doesn’t appear that different from Business-to-Consumer (B2C). Both are selling a product, after all. Both benefit from constructing buyer personas to better understand their target audiences. Building a loyal customer base and demonstrating ROI persuasively are both universal goals.
But that is largely where the similarities end. B2C companies are, for the most part, selling to an individual consumer, who may rapidly choose to buy or not. Marketing for this buyer needs to be attention-grabbing and entertaining. Customers will be influenced by their personal motivations and emotions, and low obligations (such as through free trials and ‘cancel anytime’ agreements) will help reinforce this.
B2B purchasing decisions, meanwhile, need to travel through several decision-makers – on average, 6 or 7 – before being approved. The authorized B2B buyer is looking for a long-term solution – testing out and canceling different options is not cost-effective. They are also likely to do a significant amount of research independently.
For this reason, emotive advertising is less likely to sway them. What you’ll need to demonstrate is credibility, knowledge, and authority in your industry – and that is what makes inbound marketing such an effective choice for the B2B space.
What Makes Content Marketing Effective: Understanding the Inbound Methodology
Inbound marketing strategy hinges on creating informative content that aligns with your target buyers’ needs and answers their questions. This is powerful for three reasons:
- It naturally draws readers to your site who have a use for your product – i.e qualified leads.
- It positions you as a credible source of industry knowledge.
- It’s cost-effective – an in-depth blog post about an evergreen product can rank highly for months and even years after publication, continuing to draw in leads.
Naturally then, content marketing underpins your inbound efforts. If you hire B2B content marketing services, they should create a content strategy for your business, to effectively identify what keywords you should be targeting, and devise a program of content to target them with.
A lot of B2B products are disruptive, meaning they’ve innovated a new technology or service that shakes up the industry. To market disruptive products successfully, you may need to first make your target audience aware your solution even exists, and educate them on the problems and benefits. What makes inbound marketing so effective for the B2B industry specifically, is it allows you to educate your target audience on your product offer while providing industry value.
Beyond Blogs: What B2B Content Marketing Services Should Offer You
Before anything else, potential B2B content marketing services should take stock of your company’s current situation. What purpose does your product or service serve? Are customers using it in practice the way it was envisioned? Who is your target audience?
Be wary of B2B content marketing services that only offer generic packages with little room for flexibility. Strategy, mixed with informed experimentation, is at the heart of successful B2B marketing. Furthermore, content marketing is all about sincerity. You build trust with your potential customers by aligning with their needs. If you hire B2B content marketing services that don’t take time to understand your buyer personas and company purpose, your subsequent content will only be superficially relevant and your marketing won’t resonate.
After determining buyer personas, B2B content marketing services should undertake thorough keyword research and competitor analysis to inform their content plan. They should also undertake an audit of your website’s technical SEO, as even great content will struggle to rank on a poorly optimized site. The best B2B content marketing services are SEMrush and Hubspot accredited, promising timely and relevant SEO knowledge.
They should be able to execute a variety of content – blogs, gated content such as whitepapers and checklists, and even video. They should also be eager to reinforce your other marketing techniques – such as social media and email marketing – with strong content to hook readers. Finally, they should recognize the value of using paid advertising to supplement content marketing. The inbound process is long – it can take up to 6 months to see results – and great B2B content marketing services will be honest with you about this. Using paid ads to funnel eyes to your well-curated content is a win-win.
What limits paid ads from being an effective strategy on their own is typically the fact that they only target potential customers in the final stage of the buyer’s journey: the decision phase. The decision phase comes after the buyer has named their dilemma/opportunity, identified their chosen solution, and committed to purchasing it. With B2B products, targeting only those who are already aware of your solution will cut out a large portion of your market – making this strategy ineffective on its own.
However, if you’re using paid advertising as a way to maintain a steady flow of leads to your sales pipeline while your content marketing gains momentum, you need to be targeting those who are ready to buy anyway.
Furthermore, let’s say a not yet qualified lead, in an early stage of the buyer’s journey, clicks one of your paid ads. If this ad takes them to a sparse and uninformative site, they’re unlikely to remember it in the future. But when the ad leads to vibrant value-rich content, you can still turn that click into a follower of your brand.
Ultimately, B2B content marketing services should work with you to fulfill your company’s full potential. At Nituno, we learned from experience that great content marketing is actually fuelled by a variety of techniques – inbound, outbound, paid, and video – and a focused understanding of what makes a company stand out. Our content writers are SEMrush and Hubspot certified, and we specialize in B2B marketing strategies. Need knowledgeable, optimized content for your website? Get in touch today.