Written by Katie Daggett
Tip#1 – Content Marketing Is NOT Selling
The biggest failure I see is crappy content marketing that is focused on selling rather than sharing information.
Why is this a mistake?
Because B2B buyers come to your website (or contact you to request a brochure or case study) looking for solutions to their problems – not to be sold. They have specific questions that they need answered before they will be ready to make a buying decision. And, they may also need information to help them justify their buying decision to others within their company.
So, how can you, as a B2B marketer create content that shares, rather than sells?
1) Know Your Audience
Talk to your past and present customers. Interview your sales people. Follow your prospects on social media. These channels will all give you valuable insights into the questions your prospects are asking and allow you to create content that provides the right answers.
2) Consider the buyer’s personal needs, as well as business needs
Certainly, your buyer will be looking for a solution that addresses the needs of their business. But, in order to make the sale, you will have to address the buyer’s personal needs as well.
What are the personal needs of the B2B buyer?
Personal needs will vary. For example, your buyer may be looking for an accounting solution that reduces their workload, so that they can leave work earlier and spend more time with their families. Or, they may be looking for a solution that will elevate them in the eyes of their boss, and perhaps earn them a raise or promotion. And of course, your buyer needs assurance your product or service is a wise investment that is not going to get them fired.
3) Find out who else will be weighing in on the buying decision and answer their questions as well.
Who else will be weighing in on the decision to buy your product or service? Perhaps your buyer’s supervisor, the company’s CEO or CFO, the IT department, or even the employees who will be using the product or service purchased? Follow the same process you used to get to know your buyer to uncover the questions these influencers may have. Be sure to develop content that answers the questions not only of your buyer, but of these key influencers as well.
4) Create content that follows your buyer through the sales cycle.
Depending on where your buyer is in the sales process, they will be looking for different types of information. In the early stages, they may simply be looking for a general overview of the problems they face and what types of solutions are available – this is where white papers or articles can be useful. Once your buyer has traveled further down the sales funnel, they will be open to more targeted information about the solutions you offer – in which case, a webinar or case study demonstrating the benefits of your company’s product or service may be appropriate.
Great Content Builds Trust
In the end, content marketing is becoming a critical part of any company’s marketing and sales process because your prospects do not want to be sold to. They are looking to your company as a source of information for solving a business problem they are facing. The more you can provide your prospects with answers to their questions, the more they will come to view your company as a trusted resource. In a sense, your are pre-selling your prospects by helping them to know, like and trust your company. That way, when your sales team finally makes the call, your prospect is ready and willing to hear what they have to say.