Jennifer G. Hanford is a friend and experienced B2B marketer. I asked her to share some of her Business to Business insights with you. She is the Director of B2B Inbound Online, a division of OnTarget Partners.She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 469-200-4909.
B2B Lead Generation: Content is King!
Without a doubt, social media participation has taken off in the B2B world in 2012. We have seen a surge in business blogging, infographics, and online videos. Businesses are learning how to harness the power of social media platforms to promote their content for increased reach. Companies are successfully attracting leads and increasing conversions via inbound methods. The increased success for B2B inbound marketing in general stems from the marked improvement in the relationships between buyers and sellers during the sales process. The primary, and probably most important goal of the inbound process – lead generation – has certainly seen growth. The main reason for increased lead generation via inbound methods is attributable to the power of content.
B2B Inbound Marketing: Effective Content Required
B2B marketing is traditionally seen as rigid and structured. Indeed, many companies still strongly adhere to the strategy of generating leads via direct marketing methods such as cold calling, trade shows, and email blasts. In direct marketing, a company may share its content through printed materials. Inbound marketing is changing the game for B2B marketers. Rather than generating leads through the “interruption” methods described above, inbound marketing seeks to attract potential leads via online techniques such as social media and SEO (search engine optimization). Inbound marketing cannot happen effectively without online content, so a blog for your website is a top priority. The nature of your company’s content will vary depending on your products and solutions, so it is crucial to identify your target market and niche.
In B2B Marketing, Relevant, Engaging Content is Key
Creating your content won’t happen easily at first. You may worry about your writing skills or the depth of your knowledge, for example. A good piece of advice is to keep your audience, or target market, in mind, and this will assist you in creating content. It may not happen naturally at first, but the writing process really does get easier the more you do it. It may also help to remember that people are drawn to your content because they like it, not because they are forced to view it. In other words, create content that you personally would enjoy reading, and steer away from sounding pushy or sales-y. Lead generation is more likely to occur when your content appeals to the reader on a personal level. Which leads me to another important piece of advice – be yourself and be genuine when creating content. It’s true that you need to produce good content when lead generation is your goal. Creating content that resonates with your potential leads is the key to attracting them to your website.
Effective B2B Inbound Marketing Has Passion and is Consistently Branded
Inbound B2B buyers are a progressively savvy group who know what they are looking for and how best to find it. To achieve the full power of your content for lead generation, it is imperative for your blog posts to be completely connected with your brand and what you represent. Potential leads and buyers want to know what you can do for them, and how you can do it better than your competition. I recently heard Jack Krawczyk, the Head of Monetization for StumbleUpon, speak in person at the 2012 Dallas Digital Summit. This is one thing he said that really stuck with me: “People don’t buy what you do – they buy why you do it”! In other words, your leads want to know what you stand for and why you stand for it. I find this to be an important reminder as I create content for my own blog, since this sentiment resonates quite strongly with B2B buyers. When you have passion for your company and its products or solutions, it is obvious to your leads. The power of your content is affirmed through passion, and is something potential leads will certainly notice.
In summary, it remains important to remember the mantra, “content is king” when planning your B2B lead generation strategy. The more attractive your content is to your target market – because it has resonated with them on some level – the more likely you are to see measurable increases in lead generation. Never underestimate the power of content.
What are you doing to take your content marketing to the next level?