Customers are hungry for content that directly addresses the challenges they face.
San Diego, CA (PRWEB) October 14, 2013
One increasingly effective means for B2B companies to differentiate themselves from their competition is through strategic B2B content marketing. Among B2B companies that “get content marketing” are Sage, a UK-based business management software company, which offers content focusing on key pain points for their clients, and Open Forum, an American Express program, whose website provides in-depth educational content for small business owners.
According to Jeremy Durant, Business Principal at Bop Design, a San Diego web design agency, a B2B business must establish itself as a “go-to” source of valuable content—particularly if its products and services are complex and not easily grasped by prospective customers.
“These customers are hungry for content that directly addresses the challenges they face,” Durant says, “and finding that needle of information in a seemingly infinite haystack of online content is a pressing challenge in and of itself.”
So how can a B2B company provide content that’s both engaging and useful to B2B influencers and decision-makers?
1. Write from the customer’s perspective. “You’re the expert on your product or service and you could probably talk all day about its many exciting features,” Durant says. “But businesses that do this on their websites and in their blogs lose sight of the fact that this is not what customers are looking for.” Effective B2B content focuses almost exclusively on describing the challenges customers face and the solutions a company provides. Everything else is filler.
2. Know the buyer’s pain points, inside and out. A B2B company that bills itself as a “solutions provider” should know its customers’ problems even better than they do. What challenges are they likely to face in the first quarter of 2014? What supply chain issues should they be thinking about five years out? Customers learn to trust a company that’s intimately familiar with their specific concerns.
3. Listen to what customers and prospects are talking about. One way to access “inside information” about customer concerns is by paying close attention to industry discussions on social forums. These forums offer a wealth of ideas, especially for content that offers answers to the most commonly asked online questions. “Your valuable and informative content—whether formatted in a blog, white paper or email piece—takes on the added gloss of being timely in addressing issues being discussed right now,” Durant says.
4. Leave jargon out. Too much marketing and blog content gets tangled up in an industry’s specialized jargon. Techno-talk may impress some prospective customers, but in general, the more technical the content, the less accessible it is. Durant suggests asking current customers to describe to you how your product or service works. “It’s safe to say they’ll phrase their description in ways you don’t expect—but will prove immensely helpful in your future communications. Remember, people are looking for solutions they can easily understand.”
5. Don’t get too serious. B2B content often veers toward the overly serious and technical side of things. In a B2B blog, it’s acceptable to adopt a more informal, conversational tone, Durant says. “Just picture yourself talking to a valued customer one-on-one. Wouldn’t you intersperse the heavy data with an anecdote or two about how your product solved a nagging customer problem? Let your blog show the human side of your business.”
6. Emphasize and demonstrate ROI. It’s one thing for a business to claim its product is the answer to a customer’s dreams. A more effective approach is precisely describing the ROI the customer will receive. Don’t make the assumption this is implicitly understood. Be prepared to spell out the value they’ll gain from doing business with you.
“Keep in mind that the value-added B2B content you offer on your company blog can be repurposed elsewhere,” Durant says. “This includes a lead item in your next email newsletter, a series of brief YouTube videos or a white paper offered to prospects who register on your website. By maintaining a laser-like focus on your customers’ needs and challenges, you’ll build trust and loyalty for the long run.”
Bop Design is a San Diego web design agency with offices also in the New York metro area. We express a business values through branding, advertising, design and web design. We also help attract a firm's ideal customer through search engine optimization and search engine marketing. The marketing firm's focus is on small businesses that want an external team of marketing specialists to help give their brand an edge in the marketplace.