I recently enjoyed an article titled, “Which Types of Content do B2B Tech Buyers Respond to Most?” The article is worthwhile because it provides a picture of how B2B buyers are now accepting and utilizing content as part of their buying journey. As the article so rightly points out, it’s not how much of it you produce that matters – it’s what you produce.
One of the key things to creating content that works is to marry the appropriate content with the right stage of the sales process. Note that the content and the way you present the content are not the same thing. For example, if you are a CRM vendor, a webinar aimed at people in the early stages (creating awareness) might be something like, The 10 Most Important Benefits of Using a CRM Solution. But if you are aiming a webinar at the needs of prospects who have already engaged with you, the title might be something like, 12 Tips for Fast Implementation of the XYZ CRM Solution. This is the same content tool (webinar) deployed in a completely different way to facilitate sales.
At Fusion Marketing Partners, we use a document called a Content Marketing Matrix to specify what content needs to be delivered at each part of the sales cycle: awareness, consideration, decision and retention. We spend a lot of time on this document because it is a guide to future content creation activities. We are not endlessly debating the merits of particular B2B content asset – we make a holistic plan and stick to it. By the way, you can view an example of the Content Matrix here.
The entire point of creating content is to make it easy for B2B buyers to buy from you, not your competitor. Speaking of which, you should visit your top three competitors’ websites to see what type of B2B content they are providing that you are not. If you find content items that you believe could make prospects choose your competitor over you, please get to work and fix this. You’re likely to be amazed at how many prospects go to your website looking for a particular type of content, and if they can’t find it, leave as quickly as they came. However, if you can expose them to high-quality content options that they will be willing to trade their name and email address for, you have created a conversion and an opportunity to turn that visitor into a customer.
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As shown below, the recent Eccolo Media B2B Technology Content Survey Report lists the content that was consumed by prospects as part of their B2B buying experience. Keep in mind that it is not an apples-to-apples comparison because — while the vast majority of B2B companies offer content like white papers, data sheets and emails (by the ton!) — a much smaller percentage offer items like podcasts or infographics. Our experience and client data show that these less-used tools can have an over-sized impact on results.
One other key point about B2B content: Please let go of the perfectionist tendencies. The marketplace rewards action, not contemplation, and it is vital that you get lots of good stuff out, not that you get just a little perfect stuff out. Plus, what is perfect, anyway? Even if you believe your latest whitepaper is the Mona Lisa of content, this does not mean the reader will necessarily accept it that way. Remember, you are writing for the target audience, not yourself, and there are no gold stars or A+ grades to be earned. Instead, if you give potential B2B buyers plenty of good quality content, you will earn something more valuable – their purchase orders!