B2B Content Marketing Guide, Part 1: Why Content Marketing is Important for B2B
This is part 1 of a 6-part series on B2B content marketing. This part explores why content marketing is important for B2B. Part 2 covers audience research, followed by part 3, which explains how to create content. Then part 4 covers paid media strategy, and part 5 covers organic strategy. Lastly, part 6 reviews the crucial importance of the marketing-sales handoff.
The popularity of content marketing has skyrocketed over the last few years. However, many people don’t clearly understand what content marketing is and how it is different from more traditional forms of marketing. As a result, many businesses, especially in the B2B market, underestimate the power of content marketing to drive leads (and ultimately sales).
70% of marketers are actively investing in content marketing.
24% of marketers plan on increasing their content marketing investment.
That’s probably why you’re here. You understand the potential of content marketing, but Googling “content marketing” brings up over 4 billion results—an impossible amount for anyone to sift through. So, we have created this blog series (and a comprehensive downloadable guide) to help.
Download the complete 20-page B2B Content Marketing How-To Guide
Why Content Marketing is Important for B2B
Before we can explore how to effectively implement a content marketing strategy, we want to quickly review what it is and why content marketing is important for B2B.
What is B2B Content Marketing?
The Content Marketing Institute defines content marketing as:
“The marketing technique of creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience—with the objective of driving profitable customer action.”
If you read this definition closely, you’ll notice the key to content marketing isn’t just generating content for the sake of generating content—it’s about generating valuable content. What’s considered valuable content will vary depending on the audience and the solution or service offered. Create content that people seek out or can at least be found on Google (more on SEO here, here, and here) so potential buyers will want to give out their contact information to fill the lead funnel.
Why Should I Use B2B Content Marketing?
Are you satisfied with the number and cost of inbound leads you’re currently getting? If the answer is no, content marketing may be the solution. This strategy makes it possible to scale leads at a relatively low cost compared to traditional calls to action like “get a demo” or “talk to a salesperson.”
Plus, it’s always good to try new strategies. Your marketing tactics may be working, but what if content marketing could take your results from good to great? By providing support across the entire sales funnel in a way that traditional advertising often struggles to do, content marketing can add significant value to your overall strategy.
- Increase awareness: Content marketing increases awareness of the brand and the solution itself. This is required at the top of the funnel (ToFU) for getting new leads and at the bottom of the funnel (BoFU) for converting leads into sales. It is vital for companies whose solution is in a new or complex product category. A customer may need your product but not understand how it works or even know that this category of solutions exists. Create content on how to solve their problems, and customers will educate themselves on the solutions you offer (and eventually purchase them).
- Foster trust: Generating quality content is an easy way to be viewed as a thought leader. This leadership not only demonstrates expertise it also establishes an early baseline of comfort and familiarity. By educating prospects on the state of the industry, your brand becomes the de facto standard against which competitors will be compared. This is especially important for complex or intangible solutions.
- Earn customer loyalty: Quality content brings in customers that do their due diligence before selecting a product. Their internal motivation ultimately gives them a strong sense of brand loyalty to whoever they choose, leading to referrals and more sales.
- Improve SEO (search engine optimization): Search engines are getting better and better at finding quality content to bring to the top of search results. Improving your website’s organic search results for relevant topics increases traffic that typically converts at higher rates than paid traffic.
- Scale-up: For complex sales, only so much money can be spent on certain platforms offering demos and other direct CTAs before there is a falling ROI. Content marketing makes it easy to scale up and get leads if users are actively looking for your solution, which provides the opportunity to nurture them into sales.
- Boost sales: Ultimately, the goal of every marketing strategy is to increase sales and revenue. An effective content marketing program should be regularly evaluated and optimized to ensure it is directly increasing attributable revenue. You may have content that prospects find fascinating, but if it isn’t driving sales, then it’s time to reevaluate the strategy.
Just because people are interested in reading your content doesn’t necessarily mean they are interested in buying your product or service.
A good content marketing program will ultimately be successful when you increase relevant traffic to your website by reaching new potential customers and closing sales.
How Does B2B Content Marketing Work?
Content marketing supports other marketing efforts. For example, it gives prospects who aren’t ready to buy a reason to give up their contact information. These leads may take longer to convert to sales; however, they tend to convert at a lower cost than those generated through other marketing strategies.