Content creation is your gateway to prospects!
In today’s world, your prospects have little time or patience for unsolicited sales calls, spam emails, direct messages and other interruptive forms of marketing. Your prospects would much rather conduct research on products and services in their own time and engage with your sales team when they are ready.
The reality is that in the digitally connected world we live in, especially in B2B markets, your website often meets your prospects before you do. The average buyer guides themselves through as much as 60% to 80% of the purchase decision process - reading blogs, eBooks, case studies, white papers and other marketing collateral - before even contacting a salesperson!
Prior to the Internet, the only way someone could find out more about a business' product or service was to call up a business and ask. Back then they had to take the business' word that the product would work exactly as described!
But thanks to the World Wide Web, your prospects now have a seemingly infinite library of information, a library which they can use to identify their business problem(s) and research potential solutions, all without the biased input of your business' sales team.
In addition to using the Internet for research, social media platforms, such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+, provide your prospects with the means to discuss and evaluate possible solutions with colleagues, associates and fellow professionals. Review sites and forums also operate in the same capacity.
Nowadays, your prospects want to make informed purchase decisions. They want to understand your business, what it does and how it's helped others in similar situations. Subsequently, it becomes your business' mission to clearly articulate what it does and how it can help those that arrive on your website!
So how can you stand out online and attract more prospects to your website?
Simple, by creating high-quality B2B content.
If you accept the fact that your website meets your prospects before you do, you'll also appreciate that it's also best placed to educate, inform and advise your target audience.
With this considered, ensuring your website is full of high-quality content, which tailored to address the business challenges/pain points of your prospects, is key to retaining and converting website visitors.
Through the regular production of high-quality content, such as blogs and web pages, you can not only increase awareness of your business online and establish it as an industry authority, you can also target new, relevant keyword terms with your blogs and web pages, helping to drive more targeted traffic to your website.
But perhaps most importantly, your content serves as the means to develop profitable customer action, helping you to encourage prospects to engage with your business and choose it as the solution.
Any content you create should be based on your 'buyer personas'. You can find out more about buyer personas by reading this blog.
But here's a basic explanation of what a buyer persona is. A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer. It's based on research, educated guesses and existing data on your current customers.
How can buyer personas support your content creation?
With a detailed buyer persona - or detailed buyer personas - you can create content assets which appeal to your target audience(s) at every stage of the buyer journey and flywheel process. If you are unsure of just what the flywheel is, you can find out more in this interview with Brian Halligan, HubSpot's CEO and co-founder.
As you build out your buyer personas, you will begin to understand the business challenges your ideal customers face. Using this information, you can then create high-quality content to address those problems and position your business - and its products - as the solution.
Then, you use the content you produce to nurture website visitors through to a point of purchase (or a stage where they are ready to engage with your business). By producing content this way and aligning it with the buyer journey and flywheel stages, you can determine just how interested website visitors are and drive specific products and/or services.
With a regular content programme pumping out high-quality, targeted content, you can:
- Increase the amount of traffic to your website
As every web page you create - including blog posts - has its own unique URL, it's an opportunity for you to create content that targets a specific key term or phrase that's relevant to your products and services. For example, you might provide Inbound Marketing consultancy and your prospects might be having difficulty with Inbound Marketing and need help. In this case, you could create a blog entitled - "Five ways Inbound Marketing consultancy can help your business". The blog targets the term "Inbound Marketing consultancy", ensuring it will show in Google when prospects search for the term "Inbound Marketing consultancy", and addresses the pain points of your prospects.
- Capture the attention of your ideal audience online
Google loves fresh content that's educational and optimised for search engines - and so do your prospects. The more high-quality content you produce that's optimised for search and answers the questions of your prospects, the greater your business' visibility and exposure online.
You can further increase your business' exposure online by promoting your content on social media, amplifying its reach and helping you to drive traffic from different channels to your website.
All of this will help to raise your business' profile and increase awareness of your brand.
- Increase your lead generation activity
Content is what allows you to generate leads. Without content for your website visitors to engage with, you are reliant on them clicking the "contact us" call-to-action which is typically only used by those ready to make a purchase (or your competitors looking to find out more about your business).
Blogs, for example, will help you to attract and engage with website visitors at the earlier stages of the buyer journey - typically those finding out more about their business problem and the potential solutions.
Then you have eBooks, case studies and white papers, for example, these content assets explore business challenges in a bit more detail or a specific business environment. Best practice is to gate these assets behind a form on a landing page, requiring website visitors to offer some of their details in exchange for the content asset. Using these assets you can generate leads and qualify them.
- Expand the reach of your business online for a significantly lower cost compare to other marketing methods
Outbound Marketing methods are quickly losing their effectiveness - and Inbound Marketing is far more cost-effective. Inbound leads cost 61% less on average than Outbound leads - and "properly" executed Inbound Marketing tactics are 10 times more effective for lead conversion when compared to Outbound methods.
- Establish your business and brand as a thought leader in your industry
As a direct effect of producing high-quality, engaging and thought-provoking content on a regular basis, your business will be seen as a source of expertise and thought leadership. Your customers and potential prospects will turn to your website when they need answers to the challenges your business solves.
Also, the promotion of your content on social media channels will help to raise the profiles of your spokespeople, positioning them as thought leaders and eventually "influencers" as their following grows.
These are the benefits of a content marketing programme - and in a world where your website often meets your prospects before you do, having content in place for website visitors (your prospects) to engage with will bolster organic traffic, visitor retention, lead generation and customer acquisition.
You may have heard of the benefits of content marketing before but I urge you - don't dive head first into the process without a plan.
If you want to start a content marketing programme but are unsure of where to begin, please check out the eBook below. It's a wonderful and informative resource that will no doubt help you on your journey!