How do you know if a piece of content “works”?
The first step is to define what you mean by “works.” This is determined by the goals and objectives you are looking to achieve. Is the goal of your B2B content marketing strategy to attract high-quality traffic to your website, to nurture existing prospects through to the final sale, to retain your existing clients, to generate qualified leads, or to increase the revenue of your existing client relationships?
For the purposes of this blog, we’ll look at content marketing examples that do one or both of the following:
- Attract high-quality traffic to a B2B website
- Generate quality leads from a target audience
Below are content marketing examples that accomplish one or both of the goals listed above, along with an explanation of why they work.
Introductory Guides for Prospects
- Buyer’s Guide to Choosing a Partner
- 101 Guides
Did you know that 67% of the B2B buyer’s journey is digital and that 57% of buyers have already made their decision before they speak to a salesperson? (Source: iScribblers) These two statistics give insight into why we are seeing success with buyer’s guides and 101 guides. Both of these B2B content marketing pieces target prospects at the beginning stages of their journey and are intended to guide them through the buying process.
A prospect starting out in the process of looking for a B2B partner or product needs to know what they should be looking for and what to focus on. These guides are an unobtrusive way to guide the prospect without making them feel pressured by a salesperson, especially for higher-priced products and services.
Examples of B2B introductory guides:
Case Studies that Demonstrate Results
Case studies for B2B buyers can be either ungated or gated. If they are ungated, the primary focus will be on attracting prospects to the website. If they are gated, the focus is on generating leads from a case study. Whichever objective you are trying to reach, a case study only works if you provide real, actionable data. Ideally, the client name is included (although this is not always possible), the problem or issue to be solved is clearly stated, and the results of solving that problem are included (extra points for including metrics on revenue generation or cost-savings).
Examples of B2B case studies:
Thought Leadership Articles that Provide Actionable Insights
Strategic thought leadership articles have significant value, but it’s important to give away knowledge to attract and convert your target market. Part of this “give away” approach means sharing actionable insights in articles. Yes, some readers may take your insights and never get in touch but the best prospects in your target market will read your insights, put them to use, consider you the expert, and reach out to you when they need your products and services.
Articles with actionable insights can again be gated (via a free subscription), published on third-party websites, or simply shared on your own B2B website. You don’t need to give away everything, but share at least 2 – 3 implementable tips in your article to provide value and establish your authority as a resource.
Examples of B2B thought leadership:
Takeaways for B2B Content Marketing Pieces that Work
Not every piece of content you create will work, however, there are a few best practices to follow to set yourself up for success:
- Set specific goals and objectives – Define these clearly and write them down so you can refer back to them and look at data against them.
- Be realistic with your expectations – If you’ve never seen 50 downloads a month for a guide, don’t expect to do that with a new guide.
- Know your audience – Want to be sure what your prospects or leads are interested in? Ask them or your sales team what common questions they hear. Another great approach is to go back to basics and address a clear pain point for your customers.
- Craft content for all stages of the buying process – Don’t just focus on mid-journey or end of the journey. Remember that you’ll have more success converting a prospect into a client if you are “there” for them at the initial stage of the buying process.
- Track your content – Make sure you are tracking all your content, whether it’s in Google Analytics, HubSpot, Marketo, MailChimp, WordPress, Salesforce, etc.
- Evaluate results – Periodically evaluate what is working and what isn’t working. Include anecdotal evidence where a client or prospect references a piece of content or a blog post.