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Opinion

How to give B2B buyers content they actually want

By 14th October 2018 No Comments

14th October 2018

How to give B2B buyers content they actually want

James
Montgomery

How to best reach a B2B buyer has evolved, based on the platforms being used, the customer experience expected, and the changing demographics of this audience.

We all know this is about placing the right content in front of them, at the right time, throughout the sales funnel.

But this content won’t be effective if you’re not giving B2B buyers what they truly want.

There are three key qualities that B2B brands must respect and remember in order to achieve this.

Warning: may contain cat GIFs.

1. Respect your customer’s time

Time is arguably the 21st Century’s greatest commodity.

Still, that doesn’t stop us from wasting our fair share of it.

After all, there are surely more cat videos on YouTube than can be watched in a lifetime (that’s a warning, not a challenge).

Therefore, don’t waste your customer’s time.

With such a high volume of content available, buyers are now becoming more discerning and selective in the content they are deciding to consume. In the 2018 Content Preferences Survey Report by DemandGen, 88% of respondents agree that content producers need to focus less on product specifics and more on the value that can be bought to their business.

But do this quickly – cut to the chase and get to the point.

Create content that’s an appropriate length for your audience. A 5-minute blog post. An infographic that takes 30 seconds to digest.

That isn’t to say there’s no room for long-form content – far from it.

For instance, web users are becoming smarter every day, wanting specific answers to specific questions – the number of long-tail searches being performed are increasing every day.

But make sure you have something to say. Provide them with information and insights that will really make a difference to their business.

Time is precious. Respect your customers’.

This leads me onto my next point…

2. Offer valuable insights

Did you know:

  • B2B buyers are five times more likely to engage with salespeople who offer relevant insights
  • In 87% of cases, B2B buyers have decided on their purchase before they reach a company’s website
  • DemandGen states 75% strongly agree that content producers should use more data and research to support their claims, while also advising them to ‘curb the sales message’

In all honesty, selling cheapens good content marketing.

If you simply promote your product or service, there’s no opportunity to build any kind of relationship.

This is because there’s immediately an agenda to the conversation.

But with the onset of Industry 4.0 and big data, there has never been a better time to use this wealth of information to look for trends and insights, and use this real-time data to support the stories you’re telling.

So, weave insights and research into your B2B brand’s PR and content marketing programme, through issue-led articles in key industry publications and long-form pieces of content, such as white papers.

This will help…

3. Build trust

Only two years ago, a purchasing decision relied on an average of 5.4 people agreeing. Today, Forbes says that number has grown to 6.8, and it looks only set to increase further.

The key quality to getting all these decision makers on-board is trust.

With nearly 60% of B2B buyers believing that salespeople have offered them false information in order to make a sale, it’s not surprising that trust and transparency now has a greater role to play than ever before throughout the customer’s journey.

It may or may not surprise you to know that for B2B buyers in the early stages of the sales funnel, blog posts take the top spot for the content format most shared with peers and colleagues, reports DemandGen. However, for this content to work, it has to come from – surprise, surprise – a trusted and respected figure.

For marketers, therefore, one strand of your PR programme should focus on helping key spokespeople draft issue-led and authoritative blogs for platforms such as LinkedIn, positioning them as thought leaders, while using their own personal brand to build trust with buyers.

This informative and educational content helps prove their credentials, while offering a discussion point for interested readers to get in touch – perfect for nurturing engaged leads.

And with the opportunity for online peer-to-peer reviews, B2B buyers want more real-life examples of a product or service. This supports DemandGen’s findings that case studies remain on top as the preferred content format, with 79% of respondents agreeing.

Content that can demonstrate the success the others have enjoyed with your product or service still reigns supreme, allowing others to become advocates for your brand.

Other organisations and individuals, that are not tied to your own, will become your most effective ambassadors.

These are the three most important qualities in B2B content today, which can make the biggest impact on a company’s bottom line.

Looking to introduce more video content into your B2B marketing strategy? You might be interested in this blog on the secret to viral YouTube videos.

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