5 Ways to Make Your Content More Appealing to B2B Buyers
Are you a B2B marketer struggling to create engaging content for B2B buyers? If so, don’t worry; you’re not alone. Recent studies have found that most B2B marketers have trouble producing content that captures the interest of their audience.
In a study called “B2B Content Marketing: 2015 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends—North America” released by the Content Marketing Institute (@CMIContent) and MarketingProfs (@MarketingProfs), it was found that “Producing Engaging Content” remains a persistent challenge among B2B marketers. [See Figure 1]
The same insight was reported by Forrester Research (@forrester). The company’s research, entitled “Compare Your B2B Content Marketing Maturity,” revealed that producing engaging content is still the most common challenge that B2B marketers face. According to the report, a huge 85% of those surveyed “fail to connect content activity to business value—and, as a result, fail to retain customers or win their long-term loyalty.”
Sadly the dilemma doesn’t end there. Forrester’s 2014 study called “B-to-B Content Fails the Customer Engagement Test” further establishes the claim that most content produced by B2B marketers isn’t compelling enough for buyers. The firm reviewed 30 B2B company websites and identified 10 criteria for measuring engaging content. The types of content assessed ranged from company homepages to videos. Companies could get as much as 30 points, with 20 being the passing score. However, of the 30 companies that were assessed, only four passed the review.
“As a group, none of them passed,” Laura Ramos, VP-Principal Analyst at Forrester, said. “The biggest problem is that the majority of content talks about the company, what its products and services do and how many awards they’ve won, but doesn’t speak to the issues their prospective buyers are trying to solve.”
Tips to Help You Produce More Engaging Content
In the past, B2B buyers relied heavily on salespeople, advertisements, and brochures to get necessary information from B2B marketers. But times have changed, and now, B2B buyers are spending most of their time online, searching for solutions that can help them make better purchase decisions. This makes it more important than ever before for marketers to produce online content that easily captures the interest and addresses the needs of buyers.
To help B2B marketers like you do just that, Gordana Stok (@ContentBridge_) from the Content Marketing Institute has rounded up a list of the best practices to make your online content more valuable to B2B buyers. These tips came directly from the responses of over 100 executives Stok had interviewed. Among other things, she asked business and IT executives across an array of industries about “their buying journey and what resources they consulted to guide their decision-making process.”
- Content should recognize the profound impact of your solution to the buyer’s business case.
According to Stok, B2B marketers should focus on helping buyers provide substantial communication to convince stakeholders about the effectivity of the solution. She explained, “The content you give them, therefore, needs to go beyond demonstrating the ROI of your solution. It has to communicate the ROI of fixing the problem that your solution addresses.”
Some approaches that you can use to further justify your solution may include weighing the pros and cons of fixing the problem (Pros and Cons), explaining how fixing the problem may allow them to pursue new opportunities (Opportunity ROI), and comparing new business systems with the existing ones (Compare and Contrast).
- Ensure your content is easy to scan, yet remains substantial.
Because most buyers don’t have enough time to sit down and focus solely on specific website content, they often do a quick run-through of whatever they come across. Remember, you have dozens, even hundreds of competitors out there ready to bag the prize, and if your homepage content is just too long, complicated, and ambiguous, you might end up getting buried in the long list of vendors screened by buyers.
To avoid getting bypassed during the selection process, B2B marketers should remember to keep their value proposition under 100 words, emphasizing only the things buyers are generally looking for.
- Integrate other vital elements into your content, aside from mentioning the benefits buyers expect.
Aside from the given benefits, there are several other elements buyers want to see in your web content, which will help them decide whether they should put you in their shortlist. In order to engage buyers more effectively, you need to include explanations on how you can meet their criterion, state the difference it would make if they chose you over your competitors, and explain how you’re able to effectively support the claims you make.
- Include case studies relevant to your buyer’s industry.
Assure your buyers that you can cater well to their needs by providing them with sample case studies that are, as much as possible, relevant to their industry, backed up by in-depth information and analysis.
- Make sure your content can help B2B buyers sell your solution to their internal stakeholders.
In her article, Stok mentioned that consensus-based selling is a popular trend among complex B2B-buying decisions today. She emphasized that B2B marketers need to “tailor [their] message to a wide variety of stakeholders to maximize resonance and get consensus.” This can be done by tailoring your content to all four levels of the B2B industry—the Individual, the Department, the Company, and finally, the Industry itself.
Do you think your content is engaging and/or relevant enough for B2B buyers? What other tips can you give to B2B marketers who want to produce more targeted content?
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