B2B might stand for “business to business”, but guess what? People run businesses. So, if B2Bs and B2Cs are both courting the customer, why do B2Cs have all the fun?
Somewhere along the line, B2B content became synonymous with “boring content.”
When Corporate Visions and MarketingProfs asked B2B marketers and sales professionals to identify the single most important factor hampering lead generation success, 37% cited content that “isn’t engaging or provocative.”
And, it’s not because B2Bs aren’t creative. The average B2B marketer falls into a content rut because content marketing is hard! Making a can of Red Bull sexy is easy. Making provocative yet compliant content for a highly technical product with a year-plus long sales cycle is not easy.
Here’s the thing: B2B content marketing is worth the effort because great content delivers leads.
Effective Content Marketing Drives Leads
In our State of Digital Marketing report, B2B marketers identified lead generation as both their primary goal and top challenge this year.
The foundation of a successful B2B content marketing strategy is simple: Revive your digital lead generation program with fun content to engage the customer. Great content delivers leads in two big ways:
First, content is a killer lead acquisition vehicle. In fact, content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates about 3 times as many leads. B2B brands with an active blog strategy generate 67% more leads per month than B2B brands that don’t. Feed the funnel by crafting unique, quality content that aims to solve the greatest business challenges of your target audience. Throwing a little humor into the mix couldn’t hurt either.
Second, content is a powerful nurture tool, and nurtured leads make 47% larger purchases than non-nurtured leads. Grow sales pipeline opportunity by auditing your marketing collateral with a persona and funnel stage analysis. Ask your team if you have content to address the needs of a prospect at each stage of the funnel across all verticals. Then dive into a content distribution plan. For instance, social media is a powerful purchase influencer, ripe for top of the funnel blog content, while email marketing automation or SEM remarketing campaigns are well-equipped to deliver mid-to-late stage funnel content based on lead behavior.
Cover your bases here and you’ll begin to answer every marketer’s greatest challenge: Delivering the right message at the right time.
Here are a few B2B brands that get content marketing right.
Now that you’re amped on content marketing, get inspired with a few B2B campaigns that are anything but boring.
1. Marketo Coloring Book
Marketing automation software creator, Marketo, created the Marketo Big Activity Coloring Book in the name of “pure, unadulterated marketing fun”. With activities like “Dress up a Marketer” and “Email Marketing Word Find” marketers took the bait. The book has been downloaded over 22,000 times.
2. LinkedIn Summer Sales Guide
LinkedIn polled sales leaders to recommend favorite books, movies, and TV shows to fellow sales professionals. The result was the LinkedIn Summer Sales Guide, a Slideshare piece that went viral among their target audience: Sales professionals interested in LinkedIn Sales Solutions for their organizations.
3. MarketingProfs Slideshare Infomercial
MarketingProfs took a different approach to promoting registrations for their next conference: They decided to create a satirical infomercial for the show on SlideShare. The presentation produced immediate results, driving four sales within the first hour.
B2Bs Should Embrace Their New Role as Publishers
Ultimately, digital has created a world where brands are now publishers. Top B2B marketers must build innovative, cross-channel content marketing strategies to stay relevant. Embrace the challenge and push your team to break the B2B content marketing mold this year.
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