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Content or inbound marketing, is the process of attracting buyers to your products or services through the distribution of free, useful information. It is less about sales and more about customer service because the content provides relevant information to build trust with the prospect. Content is a key part of a robust, integrated marketing plan.
Excellent Content Builds Trust
For the B2B customer, finding content that addresses their questions helps them feel better about their purchasing decisions. The agency that provides the answers to the buyers’ questions in a way that is compelling and relevant makes the brand distributing that content appear more credible and trustworthy.
Give Something to Get Something
Content marketing relies on giving something valuable to receive something valuable in return. Brands create content as a means of attaining the name, email address, and other information from the prospect that is essential to the sales process. Prospects that would typically avoid revealing their contact information to a salesperson are enticed to hand over their email address to access the valuable intelligence that informs or simplifies their buying process.
Promoting Your Content
Your audience must be convinced that the content you are supplying is worth the price of relinquishing their contact information. So, in addition to creating the content, (such as infographics, white papers, case studies, webinars, videos, etc.) the agency you choose must also promote the content so the target audience finds it in the first place.
Website landing pages, blogs, social media posts, emails, and other tactics attract prospects to the content.
Good content takes time and money, so don’t approach it haphazardly. Use a strategy ascertained through a thorough examination of the target markets and their purchase decision-making process. You have to understand who the target market is including their beliefs, fears, and motivations. You must appreciate their pain points, how they have tried to solve the problem in the past, the obstacles they have to purchase, and the people around them who influence their decisions. You then have to figure out all the steps the buyer takes between realizing they have a need and telling others about their purchase decision.
Blogs are written with certain keywords and long-tail phrases that the intended audience will likely search for during their path to purchase. If the agency has done its job well, the prospective buyer will find the company’s blog that speaks to their concerns and answers their questions.
The buyer will begin to recognize the content publisher as an authority on the subject. And, as a result of interacting with the content, they will likely view the company as more trustworthy than competitors. (And speaking of blogs, you can visit our blog here.)
Unlike blogs, white papers answer the more nuanced and detailed questions the buyer formulates as they move further down the sales funnel. These solutions are typically best for B2B companies who are selling technical products or complex services. Often, white papers sit behind paywalls on the company website so that the visitor must relinquish their name and email address as payment.
The sales team benefits from a white paper strategy because they can see exactly where the prospect is in the funnel by the white paper they download. And they receive contact information through the paywall system so they can follow up with the prospect.
You can see examples of white papers in our education section.
Case Studies demonstrate the value of the product or service to the prospect. This type of content is your opportunity to show real-world examples of how your offering helped another company.
Typically, facts, figures, and statistics are included in case studies so that the reader can derive more confidence from the information and formulate more trust with the seller.
Case studies are best when they feature companies with challenges that are typical and representative of many prospects'. Ideally, the buyer should see themselves in the case study and be able to visualize how your solution will benefit them.
Once the buyer has paid the content toll with their email address, they can now be remarketed to. Through marketing automation, a series of emails designed to pull the buyer further down the sales funnel can be automatically sent over a period of time and in a sequence.
By delivering content that answers their next logical questions in their journey, the brand deepens its credibility with the target market.
It takes more time to look at a printed piece of mail and determine if the subject is something you are interested in than it takes to read an email subject and hit the delete key. Snail mail requires more attention, so your brand stays in front of the prospect longer.
For some industries and particular types of messaging, snail mail is very effective. Talk to us about creating a direct mail campaign for your brand.
Infographics are a popular form of content. Data, information or knowledge is transformed into colorful, graphic visual representations that allow the reader to grasp concepts more quickly.
We can create infographics to solve several types of messaging challenges. Let’s talk about how infographics might be useful for you.
Video is exceptionally good at conveying emotion and complex ideas. Done well, engagement rates for video are very high. For example, Social video generates 12 times more shares than text and images combined.
Even more compelling for you as a brand, views on branded video content have increased 258% on Facebook and 99% on YouTube as of June 2017. Yes, video is costlier, but for some applications, it is well worth the expense.
When establishing your company as an expert in your industry is essential, webinars are a particularly useful content marketing solution. They give you an opportunity to explain or demonstrate your product for many people online at once.
Webinars can be recorded and then re-purposed into video content that can be accessed in a resource or how-to section on your site, or emailed out to contacts.
Additionally, webinars give your salespeople a good reason to reach out to prospects to stay top-of-mind.
That presentation you worked on for ages for that conference can be re-purposed into valuable content for your salespeople.
Fill in some of the blank spots that were delivered verbally in the presentation and you can reuse those valuable slides on your website, social media, or e-newsletters.
We regularly work with companies on putting together presentations then repackaging the content when the event is over.
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