The importance of content marketing for B2B businesses
In a digital age where so many activities are driven through online experiences, content marketing has become the steering wheel through which action is derived. B2B brands must navigate content development with these activities in mind and try to understand their customers to establish connections with their audiences in meaningful ways. Content marketing is defined as “a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.” Content Marketing Institute
The Content Marketing Institute recently published the report ‘B2B Content Marketing — 2017 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends’. The study shows that 89% of B2B brands are currently using content marketing as a part of their digital marketing efforts. Content marketing is the measurement by which you either beat your competition or succumb to their superior strategy and execution.
There are several key actions that effective B2B content marketing should achieve. If you are not focusing on these results of your content marketing, you are not being effective. Here are some of the top actions your content marketing should be driving with your prospects, customers and target audience.
- Traffic: If you have a distribution network setup that includes an extensive social media presence, email subscriber list and search penetration, your content marketing should be driving traffic to your site, blog and landing pages.
- Conversations: Great content should birth conversations with your intended audience. If you are not seeing comments, questions, likes and shares, you are creating content that is not fostering these connections with your customers.
- Subscriptions: The traffic your content is creating should also result in an increase in subscriptions to your email list.
- Leads and inquiries: If your content is addressing your customers interests and challenges, you are sure to get inquiries and leads coming in.
- Sales/revenue: Probably the most important action that should be resulting either directly or indirectly from your content marketing is sales. At the end of the day, your content has to get real measurable results that equates to revenue.
- Exposure/reach: Your content marketing should expand the reach of your brand to other prospects that might not know you.
There are several channels B2B marketers use to distribute content. The most popular channels are email, LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. Search Engine Marketing, Social Promotion, and Native Advertising are the most effective paid methods of content promotion. Website Traffic, Sales Lead Quality and Sales are metrics that provide truly measurable results of content marketing efforts.
You need content in order to communicate your business messages. However, your content needs to go hand-in-hand with a marketing strategy to be truly effective. If you are able to achieve this, relevant content can do a lot for creating a rewarding customer relationship. Content marketing will help you build a community of loyal users and understand your customer’s needs. It can help you promote your brand and strengthen your authority on business subjects you care about. All in all, content marketing is one of the most dominant digital marketing trends.