Producing Content With Purpose: Effective B2B Marketing in a Crisis
The marketing landscape has changed drastically throughout the last year, along with the mindsets and expectations of organizations and business owners. With in-person business interactions drastically affected and even kiboshed altogether due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, effective digital B2B marketing has grown in importance, exponentially.
Here are several key elements of strategic B2B marketing to help your company attract and connect with customers through maximizing unique and valuable content.
The New Reality of Digital Marketing
Since the COVID-19 pandemic struck in 2020, the marketing environment has undergone a series of seismic changes, the largest being much greater prioritization on a company’s digital presence.
According to a recent report by global management consulting firm McKinsey & Company, customers have made a significant shift toward doing business digitally. And with digital marketing expected to hold even more weight going forward, B2B marketers should be ready to invest more in their emailing, social media, and content marketing strategies.
“The most notable sign that digital sales have come of age is the comfort B2B buyers display in making large new purchases and reorders online,” states the McKinsey analysis.
“The prevailing wisdom used to be that e-commerce was mainly for smaller-ticket items and fast-moving parts,” it continues. “Not so anymore. Notably, 70 percent of B2B decision makers say they are open to making new, fully self-serve or remote purchases in excess of $50,000, and 27 percent would spend more than $500,000.”
Investing more heavily in digital platforms also enables tracking of SEO elements, anticipating what your audience is looking for, and helping them connect and interact with your content. It can also potentially convert them into customers.
Understanding & Anticipating Your Customers’ Needs
The first step to designing a B2B marketing strategy is understanding who you are creating content for, and to what end. Know your audience.
Create buyer personas: semi-fictional representations of your ideal customers, based on market research, real data about existing clients, and factors such as demographics, behavioral patterns, motivations, and long-term goals.
When developing any marketing strategy, it’s imperative you keep your customers at the forefront. This involves catering your content to attract ideal customers, anticipating their needs, and offering value for them in the form of education, advice or entertainment.
Once you have correctly identified who your customers are, it is time to do some research. Ask yourself:
- What products or services do they provide?
- Who are their customers?
- What are their short-term and long-term goals and challenges?
- Most importantly: What unique value can you provide that will make them want to do business with you?
It’s also important to regularly update your buyer personas, to stay up to date with your clients’ changing goals, challenges and strategies. You cannot really market to an audience you’re no longer in touch with.
B2B audiences respond most positively to unique, personalized and useful content. Your main concern should not be to sell to them, but to help them. This shows that not only do you understand the inner workings of the industry in question, but you’re invested in seeing that business succeed—building a sense of trust between you and your prospective clients.
Producing Content With Purpose
Generating marketing content for consumers is vitally different than that for businesses.
According to “The Ultimate Guide to B2B Marketing in 2021” by inbound marketing software platform HubSpot: “B2B customers are focused on expertise, driven by logic, and desire to be educated.”
B2B content marketing is the perfect tool to satisfy these priorities.
When setting up your content strategy, remember that every piece of content you create should serve a specific purpose.
Whereas B2C marketing directs consumers’ attention toward promotional offers, B2B content is designed to attract, inform and delight your audience, while providing value that will entice them to your services.
“The most obvious way by which you can help your audience is by giving them the content they are looking for,” which will also rank high in search engines, according to digital marketing firm Evinex.
“Whatever it is the type of content you use, it needs to be in a long format and focused on your audience needs,” continues its advice. “Not all the content you publish needs to rank high, but it needs to be useful for your audience, even if it is for a very specific segment of it.”
In addition to producing valuable content, it is also important to give your audience the opportunity to interact with your site and engage with your team. Provide information on clear pricing and the main features of your products or services, include a comment window on your site inviting readers to write product reviews, even offer free online tools to keep visitors coming back to your site.
Video & Live Chat Replace the In-Person Experience
Communication has always been an important element of the marketing experience, but these days, staying connected to your clients and your organization’s members has become even more so than ever.
While that quintessential face-to-face experience with customers and clients may have disappeared or been substantially modified due to COVID-19, video and live chatting have become major platforms for interacting and closing sales with B2B customers.
According to the aforementioned McKinsey study, while in-person meetings and related sales activities have dropped significantly, the amount of revenue generated from video-related interactions has jumped by 69 percent since April 2020.
E-commerce and videoconferencing also now account for 43 percent of all B2B revenue, more than any other channel—with customers showing a clear preference for video chats rather than traditional business calls.
Investing in quality video conferencing software could make a huge difference in your user experience, and further highlight your commitment to building a healthy business relationship.
Always Be Evolving
If the last year taught us anything, it was the importance of staying flexible. As the COVID-19 pandemic threw the world into disarray, many businesses that were able to adapt and pivot their strategies were the ones in the best position for recovery or growth.
“The important thing is not to stand still or grow comfortable,” advises an article by branding agency Hinge Marketing. ”To remain competitive, your firm must constantly assess your B2B marketing strategies and find ways to improve.”
“The online marketing world is evolving at a faster and faster rate, but today, the firms that successfully gather and utilize data on their performance—across a wide range of marketing efforts—are situated to win.”
Morey Creative Studios is a Diamond HubSpot Partner Agency specializing in inbound marketing, web design and podcast production. Subscribe for more B2B marketing advice, or if you would like to leave a comment or question for one of our team, please use the contact us today.