Although I’m always promoting the value of high quality content marketing to B2B marketers, I acknowledge Carter Hostelley’s great point in a recent CMSWire.com byline to make sure to get a few peer recommendations to promote your services. Particularly among B2B, “buyers trust the recommendations of peers more than what we marketers say in our blog posts, white papers, webinars, status updates or tweets. Sorry, but it’s true.” So, who are the best advocates for your brand? Reach out to your customers, your employees, your peers, influencers and prospects. The foremost tip on how to generate recommendations: make it easy. Make it easy—for your “ecosphere” of partners, clients, and investors—to share your branded content or their favorable opinion of your business, add a testimonial, and participate in company events.
Tracking ROI is a challenge for content marketers, but those with a documented strategy say they track ROI successfully (35 percent with strategy compared to 21 percent without one). More B2B marketers are creating more content (70 percent), with LinkedIn being the top social media platform (63 percent) among B2B marketers.
Speaking of strategy, Ruth P. Stevens, also reporting in AdAge.com, suggests some ways to most effectively use content marketing as part of the overall B2B marketing strategy. The “Four Pillars of B2B Content Marketing” that strengthen your business’s position while generating and cultivating leads are:
- thought leadership—not only builds awareness, but “kickstarts” the business relationship by introducing CEOs and executives
- lead generation offers—irresistible content and research that solves business buyers’ problems and captures the prospect’s data seamlessly
- search engine rankings—useful content educates and informs potential customers and bolsters organic search results
- lead nurturing touches—“can quadruple sales” by communicating with valuable, “non-salesy” messaging to existing prospects, rather than wasting efforts churning up new leads
Sales and marketing have to coordinate their efforts and messaging throughout the buying process for the most effective lead nurturing campaigns. Here are “7 Ways Content Marketing Can Simplify Your Customer’s Buying Process.” Author Angela Vuona breaks down the timing of when to deliver the “right content at the right time” by aligning the stages of content marketing with the customer buying process of attract, convert, close and delight, with her tips:
- Attract: through keywords and educational blogging
- Convert: through calls-to-action (CTA) and landing pages
- Close: through lead nurturing emails
- Delight: after leads become customers, continue to provide useful, relevant content by delivering smart calls-to-action that offers something new or addresses their interests. Use social media to continue to engage customers, provide customer service, and gather endorsements and shares among target audience.
Let’s finish with some more good news from AdAge, and the title says it all: “86% of B2B Marketers Now Use Content Marketing: Only 35% of Marketers Have a Documented Content Strategy.” Citing the “2015 B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends” survey of more than 1,800 North American B2B marketers, author Kate Maddox advocates for documented content-management strategy to yield more effectiveness. 60 percent of B2B marketers with a documented content marketing strategy rate themselves highly in effectiveness; 32 percent with a verbal content strategy rate themselves highly.
Peer reviews and endorsements are vital to continued lead nurturing and effective (documented!) content marketing strategy.
Image via hobvias sudoneighm