Content marketing is increasingly becoming the most cost effective way of generating targeted leads on the internet. B2B content marketing is a customer centric marketing strategy to create, curate and distribute relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire and engage a segment of your targeted audience – to generate leads and help close sales. When done strategically and effectively it can:
- Reduce cost per lead by as much as 61% over outbound methods
- Increase quality and targeted lead generation by 54%
- Accelerate the lead to customer conversion cycle
- Increase your pricing power
Content marketing is all about building trust with your audience (leads, influencers, prospects and customers). We engage without hard selling to drive profitable customer action. Our tools are content that answers questions and educates our audience to both help them understand their problems and inform them in solutions. Our medium is the internet, be it search, social media, email or blogs. The profitable interaction is that we sell our service or product and they get a solution to their problem. It engages with your customers and prospect without hard selling to drive profitable customer action.
From a B2B standpoint content marketing is often about generating leads that are sales ready or sales qualified. Then they get handed off to a sales representative. While the sales representative is not always involved in every B2B sales, the majority of cases for sales of more than a few hundred dollars, there is involved or at least available.
When content marketing is done effectively and strategically content marketing will both generate leads and engage your target audience(s) through search, social media and email.
- SEM/SEO (Search Engine Marketing/Search Engine Optimization) is now about content quality and authority. Great content generates authority and people and web sites will point to your site and you search ranking will go up. Great content is great SEM/SEO!
- Social Media Marketing is all about sharing and getting others to promote your company’s products or services. People share great content — specifically content that helps answer questions, solve people’s problems and provides them value.
- eMail marketing has become an effective way to nurture your leads. People who have opted in to your email list are usually stating an interest in your content and product or service. Often they are not yet ready to engage directly with a company representative and have the desire to become more educated about the problems and solutions you address – your content.
- Blogging is more than about generating leads (and it does do this) it is about using content to build your brand or becoming a thought leader in your field.
Typically content marketing is done by targeting a specific niche or customer persona (influencer, user, buyer, etc.) and generating content to engage and educate then during each step of their buying process. The engagement will not be a linear journey, but it is a process, that requires both content and nurturing during each stage. At each stage of their journey you want to encourage them to take a next step (a call-to-action, CTA) that ultimately leads to more engagement and ultimately a customer – a happy educated customer when done well.
The image below is an example of one possible content map to generate awareness (suspects), leads and sales opportunities. What you use or need will depend on your target audience, how you sell, and your marketing process.
Below is a partial list of the tools of a content marketer’s trade. Your strategy will determine the tools you need and use.
At the B2B Content Engine we specialize in helping small to mid-sized B2B focused organizations do this well. We help with strategy, implementation and tools to make the content marketing process work for both you and your customers. We help you “operationalize” content marketing.