The purpose of Content Marketing is to organically attract your Ideal Customers and pull them into your Sales Process. You “just” have to create relevant content (blog articles, videos, case studies…) that provide value to your target audience.
It sounds straightforward but it is not that easy.
In this article, we explain what Content Marketing is all about and share relevant B2B examples. We detail how Content Marketing can benefit your Business and how you can successfully implement it.
What is Content Marketing?
Definition of Content Marketing
According to the Content Marketing Institute, Content Marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing relevant content to attract and retain an audience to ultimately drive profitable customer action.
In a nutshell the goal of Content Marketing is to help your clients by providing useful content that can help them solve their problems.
Ultimately, Content Marketing warms up your audience to the thought of purchasing your products or services.
Picture this: You are a Landscaper, specialized in Hotel and Restaurant Lawn Care. After reading an article about content marketing you decide to start your own content marketing strategy. You start writing blog articles, creating video content, sending newsletters…
At first, you don’t see much results. You get discouraged… Is content marketing worth it? Is my target audience actually reading my content? Is my content good enough?
You may even get a little suspicious, are you just sharing your expertise to your competitors?
We’ve all wondered that at some point. 😅
Little by little you start to see results, your content marketing efforts are paying off.
With each piece of content your write the quality improves and your audience is growing.
Before you know it your hard work is paying off. Your readers and prospects are delighted: they enjoy watching your well-made educational videos and they are getting valuable tips from your content.
They appreciate your content, they trust you. When the time comes and they have a need, who do they call first?
They call you.
You’ve never talked to them before, you do not know them but they feel like they know you. Your content sold for you.
Content Marketing has something that advertising doesn’t: it is subtle, educational, and always relevant. Even though content marketing is not new (John Deere is considered the Content Marketing Pioneer, 125 years ago) it is very relevant to our digital era. It drives sales without being salesy.
Content marketing mustalways echo a defined strategy that serves your business objectives. Would you like to :
- Build Brand Awareness?
- Attract New Prospects
- Become a Thought Leader in your industry?
Bear in mind that content marketing is a long-term strategy.
Volume, relevance and consistency are the keys to be successful.
The more quality content you’ll regularly publish the better your results will be.
Inbound marketing vs content marketing
Here’s the short answer: think of content marketing as being under the umbrella of inbound marketing. Inbound marketing is a comprehensive approach to attracting, qualifying, nurturing, closing, and delighting customers.
Content Marketing is a component of a good Inbound Marketing strategy. Other components of inbound marketing are SEO & Website Optimization, Social Media, Email Marketing, Lead Nurturing and Marketing automation.
Inbound marketing is a data driven methodology. For a successful inbound marketing you need content that drive results, so content marketing is tightly integrated with your conversion strategy.
A good Inbound Marketing Strategy, leveraging all components & forms of marketing is THE most powerful customer acquisition machine for B2B companies. It becomes a repeatable and scalable engine that produces leads month after month.
For optimal results have a customer-focused approach when designing your Inbound Marketing strategy and implementing its components.
Leveraging Persona Development, the Jobs To Be Done framework and the Buyer’s Journey will provide the insights you need to craft the right strategy and create relevant content for your audience.
B2B Content Marketing examples
How do brands take ownership of Content Marketing?
The keystone of your Content Marketing strategy is of course the “added value” that you will bring to your audience. How can you deliver this value?
Really your imagination is the only limitation. There are so many different types of Content Marketing you can use:
- blog posts
- customer stories
- case studies
Here is an example of a company that have implemented a successful Content Marketing strategy:
The Strength of Airtable’s content strategy is that it combines User Stories with concrete examples of how their solution solve customer issues. This allows the visitors to picture themselves using Airtable and the benefits associated with it.
Now that the visitor is drawn in he is going to want to know more and explore the templates to see what the solution looks like. So what happens when you click on one of the template?
Here it is, a beautiful example showcasing Airtable’s value.
This is a great example because Airtable is pulling in visitors every step of the way. Step by step they are educating their visitors and showing them how they can help them.
At the end of their journey, visitors that have a pressing need will most likely be converted.
How can Content Marketing benefit your Business?
Content Marketing is a powerful lever for companies. It allows you to create a qualified audience, educate your prospects and ultimately increase the conversion rates of your sales teams.
Generation of a qualified audience through SEM and SMO
Creating content a good start. But the goal is to generate leads and ultimately sales, isn’t it?
To do that you need to broadcast your content to an audience. The best way to do that is Search Engine Marketing and Social Media Optimization.
Let’s take an example:
A business coach designs his content marketing strategy around long blog articles, a white paper and a weekly podcast.
How will he reach his target audience?
- ✅ Through Google.
A complete, relevant, optimized article with more than 2000 words & multiple illustrations can go a long way. After a while the article he posted is ranking on Search Engines. It reaches Google’s first page and brings in traffic to his website.
- ✅ Through Linkedin.
The coach shares testimonials from his clients on LinkedIn. Every time he posts he get hundreds of views, growing his network and building an audience of prospects.
What’s next? Providing a great User Experience and turning this audience into clients.
That’s a good start, the content is good. It attracts people that are interested in his services.
Qualify, Educate & Convert your Prospects into Customers through Lead Nurturing
Another way Content Marketing can become a great asset for your business is if your leverage it for your Lead Nurturing Strategy.
During long Sales Cycles it is important to nurture your prospects and keep these relationships alive.
No matter how long your Sales Cycles are you need to properly nurture your opportunities. We all know that a lot of things can go wrong at anytime. So the sooner you can close the deal the better!
We are not talking about harassing your prospect and calling everyday.
The good way to nurture a relationship is to selflessly continue to bring value and genuinely try to help your prospect. Share quality content that you know will interest your client, like a personalized email, an helpful guide, an interesting webinar or a relevant news.
By sharing great content you showcase your expertise and demonstrate your value. He is then more likely to choose your solution when he is finally ready to buy.
Improve your Sales Team’s conversion & closing rates
The last perk of embarking on the fabulous adventure of content marketing?
It provides you a wide array of tools for your Sales Team to use throughout the Sales Cycle.
For that content marketing to be successful you need an effective collaboration between your Sales & Marketing team.
On the one hand, the salespeople know your clients the best. They meet with them on a regular basis, they know how they are. They know their motivations, their questions and the issues. They are dealing with.
On the other hand, your marketing team has in-depth knowledge of the digital journey of leads. Using the Sales Team’s insights the marketing team can create content to reassure the customer every step of the way.
The tools produced by the Marketing team are useful for the Sales team. The sales people can participate in the distribution of the content and the content will help them convert.
So, why Content Marketing is essential for B2B companies ?
- It is THE ultimate marketing tool to attract your clients without being “pushy”.
- Inbound Marketing and Content Marketing are intimately connected: there is no inbound marketing without good content.
- B to B Content Marketing can take many forms: fact sheets, e-books, FAQs, video marketing, customer testimonials. Use your imagination, be creative and bring value to your clients!
- To sum-up : Content Marketing allows you to generate qualified traffic on your website. It enables you to assert your position as a thought leader in your industry. Finally, it maximizes the chances of your Sales Team to close more deals.