From GE’s Txchnologist, Adobe’s 99U, Intel’s IQ, Unbounce’s Page Fights with their focus on video content, to Australia’s MYOB End of Financial Year hub, leading B2B technology brands around the globe have been investing in content marketing to provide value to their audiences and drive business results.
If you are a marketer in the B2B technology space, you will know the challenges specific to this industry, such as getting buy-in from stakeholders in your buyer’s organisation, aligning your content marketing messages with the evolving needs of buyers, and dealing with long sales cycles that make it difficult to prove the positive ROI of your content marketing efforts.
According to a recent study by tech media company TechTarget, when choosing a new software for an organisation, buying teams often include more than four stakeholders, which means you need to reach and engage with various decision-makers during their research process.
Content has become a must-have for B2B technology brands, and marketers are looking beyond their own limitations to create innovative, high-quality content that not only establishes authority, but builds meaningful relationships with their target consumers.
Here are some tips and insights that will help you transform your content strategy.
Understand the buying cycle
Laying out your buying cycle or sales funnel before you start building your content is fundamental for the success of your content strategy.
Build your buyer personas based on whether or not they are ready to make a purchase.Once you have categorised your potential customers across each stage of the buying cycle, you can start creating and distributing content. At each stage of the buying cycle, your goal should be to support their current informational needs and move them through the funnel.
A great example is SAP’s Digitalist Magazine – a content hub aimed at creating an affinity for SAP products. The hub features engaging content that speaks to audiences at different stages of the buying cycle – from answering early-stage buyer questions to driving calls-to-action from audiences who are ready to convert.
How buying cycle impacts your content marketing strategy
So where does content marketing fit into the buying cycle? The answer is everywhere.
Many people think that content is merely a tactic to drive awareness and traffic to your blog, but this is a misconception. As content marketers become more sophisticated, they are now able to prove the effectiveness of content across all stages of the customer journey.
Solving the content ROI dilemma
Marketers know that not all audiences are created equal and are always looking for ways to measure the individual value of visitors to their content and understand how this value aligns with their overall marketing KPIs.
Technology brands are the forefront of connecting their content marketing efforts to measurable results. A great example is TrendMicro. The brand used content to cover important issues around Internet security. Through a careful distribution strategy, they reached potential buyers across around 100 premium German publishers, later expanding their focus into France and Britain as well. As a result, they saw a substantial increase in online revenues from not just new, but also returning customers.
Lead nurturing: what to do with buyers that are not ready to buy?
Nurturing your leads is one of the most crucial areas of the customer journey.
By now you know how to attract, engage and convert leads into customers. But what about those who are engaged with your brand but not ready to buy?
Given all the time, money and resources you have invested into getting those users to visit your site or content hub and educating them about your business, rather than assume that they have dropped out of your buyer cycle, take one final stab at crafting the right message to activate them instead.
Outbrain’s Conversion Optimisation experts, for instance, have set several lead nurturing flows that use email as a tool to reactivate userswho have shown interest in our offering didn’t quite make it through to creating a content campaign.
As content marketing gains traction among B2B technology brands, a firm understanding of the buying circle will therefore go a long way in helping marketers forge strong relationships with consumers through innovative, value-added content.