Marketing for a business can be, well, tricky business. Some businesses spend the entire marketing budget posting ads and countless hours making cold calls, only to get little to no results. But it doesn’t have to be that way, because there is a better solution – inbound content marketing.
The role of content marketing in B2B inbound strategies is to let the customers come to you, rather than spending time, money, and effort chasing the customer around.
Inbound marketing is much more effective than outbound strategies because it focuses on attracting high-quality leads that are much closer to making a buying decision.
Let’s discuss the benefits of inbound marketing and offer some tips and examples of how to get it right.
B2B Inbound Content Marketing – A Better Way to Earn Customers
Business-to-business marketing requires a different approach than business-to-consumer, or B2C, marketing. This is mostly because of a difference in the buyers themselves. B2B prospects are shopping as a representative of a business, which means the true customer is the business itself.
These prospects are likely to do a greater amount of research because they’re driven by things like ROI, profitability, financial impact, and benefit to the organization. They’re looking to solve a problem for the business, and they typically must answer to decision-makers or higher-ups.
Fact is, the B2B buyer’s journey is much longer than the B2C cycle, and it requires an analytical, information-driven approach.
It’s unlikely that a B2B customer is going to be moved by a pop-up ad or a paid advertisement. They’re spending time researching their options and weighing their choices. B2C customers, on the other hand, are often driven by emotion and impulse.
Benefits of B2B Content Marketing
Inbound content marketing provides numerous benefits for B2B companies, including lower investment and a greater success rate. Let’s look at some of the reasons a content marketing strategy makes sense for inbound B2B marketing.
B2B content marketing focuses on attracting a specific customer, one who is already well on their way down the sales funnel by their own choice. Those types of prospects are both harder to net because they’re looking for specific solutions, and easier to convert because they’re already focused on purchasing to solve a problem.
According to Search Engine Journal, the close rate of inbound leads is around 14.6%. Compared to the close rate of outbound leads, which is just 1.7%, it’s easy to see the value of attracting these high-quality leads.
Most businesses are running on a tight marketing budget and every dollar counts. Instead of dumping tons of money into an outbound strategy, which is like casting a net and hoping for the best, an inbound strategy costs little to nothing.
Content marketing is one of the most cost-effective strategies out there. Email marketing, social media, and blog posts can earn a huge return on investment. HubSpot reports that the average inbound lead costs about 61% less than outbound leads.
B2B prospects are looking for specific solutions to a business’s problems, and they need to be certain that your product is the right answer. That means they need hard proof, case studies, infographics, examples, and informative content. And if you didn’t make the connection already, these are all examples of content marketing.
Inbound content marketing is effective because it’s what the B2B customer wants. Just check this stat from the Content Marketing Institute, which states that 80% of decision-makers prefer getting brand information from articles rather than via paid advertisements.
Examples of Content Marketing for Inbound B2B Strategies
If you’re ready to get started on an inbound content marketing strategy, but you don’t know where to start, here are some examples to work from. Remember that it’s vital to match the strategy to the business, even with inbound marketing.
Focus on a strategy that will meet your target audience where they are and offer them what they’re looking for and you will have greater success.
- Blog Posts and Articles
- White Papers
- Case Studies
- Social Media Content
- Email Marketing (Newsletters)
- SEO Optimization
Tips for B2B Content Marketing
Putting together any marketing strategy requires careful planning and mapping. Follow these steps to build a targeted and high-converting campaign for your B2B business.
Set specific business goals
Businesses will find greater success from a marketing strategy when the end goal is outlined beforehand. Most businesses want to see a boost in sales and conversion. But a marketing strategy needs to be more specific than that.
For instance, are you looking for a boost in organic web traffic? A specific percentage increase in social media leads? A greater response rate from email subscribers? Laying out specific goals will help you create a more targeted marketing strategy.
Decide which KPIs to track
Secondary to setting goals is setting specific expectations. Tracking Key Performance Indicators is the best way to measure the success of a marketing campaign. Implement the right technology and software to help track the results, preferably something that integrates with your CRM (Customer Relationship Manager).
Build your buyer persona
B2B businesses are looking to target specific audiences. Understanding those audiences will help ensure that the content you’re providing is exactly what they’re looking for.
When you’re building a buyer persona for a B2B business, remember that you’re dealing with two separate entities: the prospective buyer and the organization they represent. Build out a persona for both so you can clearly understand what you need to offer to net that sale.
B2B marketing is challenging but it doesn’t have to be impossible. Overcoming a crowded market and standing out from the crowd is key. Inbound content marketing can provide the platform businesses need to provide information and engaging content that virtually sells the product for you.
Let the customers come to you, offer them what they need to make a decision to buy, and you’ve just earned a new loyal customer!
Chris Henneghan is one of Schubert’s longest-standing employees, starting with the agency in 1987. She now serves as Senior Vice President and Brand Strategist. Chris is a Notre Dame grad and enjoys tennis, golf, hiking and reading.
Learn more about Chris