If you think your B2B business doesn’t need content marketing, you had better think again. Content marketing works for B2B businesses, with 74% saying content marketing increases both the quantity and quality of their lead generation. In fact, the customer journey begins with content.
86% of buyers start their process with non-branded searches, and the average person consumes eleven pieces of content before making a purchase decision. So, if you’re not producing content, you could be missing out on a ton of business opportunities, with 95% of B2B buyers using content to gauge the trustworthiness of companies they are considering doing business with.
When it comes to content, it’s rarely a bad thing to stand on the shoulders of giants, and taking a look at what some of the B2B heavyweights are doing in the field can be a great way to get some inspiration for yourself.
No list of B2B marketers would be complete without mention of HubSpot. This behemoth of the digital world is actually credited with first coining the term “inbound marketing,” so it should be safe to say they know what they’re talking about.
HubSpot runs two blogs – one for sales and one for marketing – and writes on a range of topics designed to help small businesses learn more about every aspect of SEO, blogging, social media, and a range of other digital topics. Then, when it comes to middle and bottom of the funnel content, the resource section is packed with useful downloads – such as eBooks, webinars, marketing kits, templates, case studies, and quizzes – all designed to convert visitors into leads.
One of the most competitive industries in the IT sector is in customer relationship management (CRM). As the largest vendor in this field, you’d think Salesforce would have had their content marketing locked down tighter than a drum.
However, the company was having issues maintaining steady traffic and leads, and so embarked on a complete overhaul of its content marketing strategy to tackle the problem. The new strategy included fun videos on sales and marketing techniques, a stop-motion SlideShare – the first of its kind – and customer success stories told with innovative presentation platform, Prezi.
(Image source: slideshare.net)
In the three months following the overhaul, Salesforce recorded some rather breathtaking results, including an 80% traffic increase, a 2,500% increase in traffic from social media, 10,000 eBook downloads, and 6,500 email newsletter signups.
German-based Systeme, Anwendungen und Produkte in der Datenverarbeitung (SAP) is one of the world’s largest vendors in the enterprise software industry. The company serves over a dozen different industries in many countries around the world, which presents unique challenges when creating a content marketing strategy which can speak to everyone.
To achieve this, SAP created a personalised content strategy based on audience segments. This allowed them to produce seemingly bespoke content for 19 different segments, designed to appeal to each particular group, with examples of solutions provided by SAP.
Each segment was treated to various types of content, including email, tweets, articles, radio ads, virtual and in-person events, outbound and responder follow-up calls, account-based marketing, and individual account meetings. As a result of the campaign, SAP saw a massive boost in marketing leads which were accepted by sales and converted into opportunities, demonstrating an increase in not only lead quantity, but also the quality of those leads.
Machine intelligence platform CB Insights is bucking the somewhat dry reputation of its industry by creating a content strategy based around a newsletter people actually want to read. Too many newsletters, especially in the IT industry, are bland and uninteresting, often little more than a hastily cobbled together collection of links. However, the CB Insights Newsletter is actually a pleasure to read and is packed with entertaining and informative content.
(Image source: blog.hubspot.com)
It starts with the subject lines, which are often quite funny and set the tone for the rest of the content contained within. Rather than links, the newsletter is full of information on technology and business, but presented in a way that is fun and humorous.
Balancing humour and silliness with informative content can be a bit of a tightrope act, but CB Insights manages it perfectly. The message here is to make your content something people actually want to read, but always with your audience and brand message in mind.
There are a few cold hard examples from some of the best in the business. Feel free to take some of the ideas discussed and run with them, adding your own twists and out of the box thinking to make them truly yours.