B2B marketing differs significantly from other kinds of marketing. Marketing to traditional B2C customers assumes low information levels, so there is a need to educate as well as entice. B2B businesses, on the other hand, must meet their respective clients and partners on their own level, which means speaking their language and understanding the details of their field. That makes content marketing a vital tool, both for establishing initial dialogue and securing a working partnership, as well as delivering on your promises to your B2B customers.
According to the B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends report from 2018, 91% of B2B companies use content marketing as part of their strategy. And yet despite the widespread interest in it, only 56% claim they are fully committed to it, and only 37% have a prepared strategy in place for it. That constitutes a tremendous loss of potential that can be better taken advantage of. Sound content marketing strategies, with a practical understanding of the partner business’s needs and a concrete plan for getting there, can make a tremendous difference to the bottom line.
How does a B2B business accomplish this? Specifics vary by industry—and indeed, good B2B marketing requires adherence to each business’s unique marketing needs—but a few general strategies can establish a good base for going forward.
Establish Yourself as a Unique and Trusted Expert
Standing out means not only demonstrating the things your company can offer that alternatives cannot, but it also means establishing trust that your business can and will address a customer’s specific concerns in an effective manner.
Trust starts with empathy: the ability to understand and relate to the issues your customer’s business is dealing with on a day-to-day basis. Shared experiences in the business’s field are a great way to establish that, as is a good working knowledge of the business’s specific market at the time. All of that denotes expertise. A company that can speak knowledgeably about how to reduce operating costs or improve access to a new customer base can go a long way to establishing its credentials very quickly.
That equation often involves sharing similar paths and experiences in your company’s history—places where your brand’s story crosses over with theirs—which provides an excellent opportunity to discuss your team’s problem-solving skills. Using practical examples of how you addressed similar issues in the past conveys not only empathy for their challenges but shows the ways that you can apply your expertise to their issues.
Develop and Target Specific Audience Persona
An audience persona is a profile of the traits possessed by a key portion of your target audience. It’s not intended to detail an individual, but rather the shared markers that define that demographic for the company’s purposes. It’s useful not only in determining how to connect with that demographic, but it also outlines the kinds of “anti-personas” who will likely not be interested in the company’s product or service, and who therefore shouldn’t be the focus of a content marketing campaign.
Such personas can’t simply be created with instinct or presumption. They need to be governed by hard data, and by actionable analysis that can reliably determine the audience persona’s qualities. That requires 4 steps:
- Quantitative Analysis. A list of paying customers—as comprehensive as possible with as much information as possible—is an excellent way to start. Details should include the company’s size, revenue, and contract values, as well as key data points across both the entire company and individual users.
- Qualitative Analysis. With larger trends and similar information defined, it’s important to separate useful, actionable data from more peripheral details. It also means looking past the numbers to find out how existing customers behave and what they respond to. That includes surveys and interviews, as well as careful analysis of the responses.
- Creating Personas. With this data in hand, the next step is to build a persona profile. That includes not only basic details, but their reasons for making a purchase, the frequency of their purchases, the benefits they enjoy, and any potential pain points and their solutions.
- Acting On Personas. With the personas defined, the final step is to get the data into the hands of those who need them, to construct marketing plans, address problem areas, and adjust existing strategies to match the data.
Use eCommerce Analytics to Drive Your B2B Content Marketing Strategy
ECommerce is the lifeblood of modern business, and B2B content marketing strategy needs to address the realities of that. That means looking at how customers are purchasing a product, the steps that led them there, the rate of abandonment of sales on an eCommerce storefront, and the profit margins of every product purchased online. That provides invaluable data not only on what parts of the system are working but where problems might lie and what steps in the process require course correction to better facilitate sales. With that in hand, you and your partners can craft marketing strategies that emphasize the right products and reach the right customers.
Proper application of these strategies can have a transformative effect on B2B content marketing and by extension its impact on your sales and success rates. With the right partner, you can apply the experience and know-how of a specialized B2B solution, along with the proper hardware and software tools to integrate it into your business.
Zobrist offers innovative, integrative solutions for all manner of B2B eCommerce operations, including inventory management, automated processes, multiple transaction options, and ERP solutions designed to maximize efficiency. Our experience covers a wide array of fields, from health care to manufacturing to electronics and office supplies, and we stay on the cutting edge of B2B developments in order to provide maximum value to our customers. Contact us today to make an appointment, and let us discuss your options with you.