As each fiscal year passes, content marketing is becoming more and more of a necessity for B2B companies. No longer are traditional sales tactics enough. Potential customers are doing their homework online. They’re researching vendors. They’re checking everything from blogs to LinkedIn to videos for content that will help them separate the industry leaders from the rest.
If you’re not out there publishing relevant and high quality content, chances are your customer base has no idea who you are, what you sell or why you’re better than your competitors.
By the same token, those B2B companies that are embracing a content marketing strategy (even if only on a small scale) are reaping the benefits that come with increased brand awareness, better customer interaction, and an elevated brand image.
Content marketing offers great potential for B2B companies, as studies show it is a cost-effective way to build brand awareness and generate a greater number of leads. Here are some reasons why you should devote some quality time to developing a strategy of your own.
1. Increase Customer Engagement.
Prospects no longer pick up the phone. They don’t return emails. They don’t call back when you leave a message. But they do read your posts. They do share your content. And they do remember you when you have something relevant and meaningful to say.
Content is your way to engage with your customers in a manner that builds your credibility and allows you to start the sales process — not by selling, but by educating and informing.
Whether it’s a social post with an interesting link or a well thought-out blog, the more valuable and engaging your content is, the more your customers will seek you out in the future.
2. Position Yourself as a Thought Leader.
Your customers are always looking for an edge. They’re searching for the latest industry trends. They’re constantly digging for sources that will give them a leg up on their competition.
You can be their source for the new insights they crave. With the properly crafted content strategy, you can, over time, become their go-to source for valuable, pertinent information. As you grow to establish yourself as an industry “thought leader,” your potential customers will come to value your opinions, trust your point of view, and look to you confidently and consistently as a business partner.
3. Build Brand Trust.
It’s a simple rule of sales: Customers won’t buy anything from someone they don’t trust. So, a great way to build that trust is by producing content that delivers value and positions your company in a positive light.
With a steady stream of insightful content, you can establish your company as a respected source for your readers. The respect you build will go a long way in opening doors for your sales team, who will be armed with a brand name your customers revere.
4. Shorten The Purchase Decision Cycle.
In the B2B world, purchase decisions take time. Lots of time.
Over the past 5 years, the average sales cycle has increased by 22%.
But with a dedicated and consistent content marketing strategy, you can begin to shorten the process. Content is your cold call. It’s a way to get your foot in the door.
According to Roper Public Affairs, 80% of business decision makers prefer to get company information through articles and other related content rather than through traditional ads. And, 60% of those business managers believe a company’s content can help them make better product decisions.
When potential customers know you, trust you, and value what you bring, they don’t need to be ‘sold’ on you. Because they’ve already sold themselves.
5. Improve Your ROI.
At the end of the day, it all comes down to the bottom line.
According to Forbes Magazine, content marketing costs 62% less than traditional outbound marketing, but produces three times the sales leads. What’s more, B2B companies that have a content marketing strategy produce more than twice the leads than companies that don’t.
Because content marketing is generally inexpensive, effective, and easy to manage, it can drastically reduce the amount you put toward traditional marketing tactics.
Want to learn more about content marketing? Contact Point to Point for ideas on how to build an effective content strategy of your own.