I’m not going to ramble on about how content is king. That’s so 2012. You already know you need content to sell your product or service. The challenge today is how to create the content that will actually turn a prospect into a buyer.
First thing you need to know: you are no longer in control. The buyer holds the cards. They are searching online, around the clock, across borders. Within seconds of landing on your website, they will make a decision about whether to leave, or stay, read on and be convinced. This decision will be based on how well the content aligns with their problem or need.
To do this, every piece of content your business creates, whether it’s a blog, video, whitepaper, infographic, social media message or image, must speak clearly to them, communicate value and offer a real, proven solution. Let’s break these down further…
1) Know your customer
In Digital Giants’ “Digital Marketing in Canada” survey, we discovered that only 34% of companies had a good understanding of the customer they’re targeting, and only 19% had done research about their audience. This is a problem. The distinction between B2B and B2C is increasingly H2H – Human to Human — your customer wants real messaging and emotion, not canned statements telling them that your product or service is the best. If your content isn’t externally focused on what matters to your customer, rather than your business, you are missing the opportunity to convince them that you have a solution.
A good place to start is by speaking to your current customers about what motivates them to connect with a company, where do they look for information, do they like to read/watch/listen, what answers are they seeking, how can you make their job easier or more effective.
By researching and learning about your customer, you are better able to shift your focus to their perspective, which will result in content that is more engaging and relevant — and will increase leads, trust and ultimately sales.
2) Communicate value
What value does your product or service bring to your customer? Remember that value can mean different things to different people. If you’ve done your customer research you should already have this answer. Value could be:
- Less staff required to accomplish a solution
- Return on investment
- Faster time to market
- More effective use of resources
- Less work, with more results
- Broader reach
That’s just to name a few. Your content should make this value clear and consistently, in different formats, on every marketing channel – digital or otherwise. This takes the guess work out of ‘what’s in it for me’ and ultimately turns a prospect into a buyer sooner.
3) Offer a solution, and then back it up
Your buyer is somewhere out there searching for a solution to their problem. When they type a query into Google, will they even make it to your site? If you don’t have search engine optimized content to address their pain point, then I can guarantee they will never find you online. Take this advice from Barry Feldman, a 25 year veteran content expert: “Answer your prospect’s top 30 questions. They aren’t going to buy your stuff until they get the answers they seek. Listen closely to the questions. Write them down. Then make each question the title of a blog post and publish the answers.”
Those are wise words from Barry, and I would like to add that you should think beyond blog posts to share your solution. Try creating case studies with testimonials, whitepapers, videos, graphics, podcasts, checklists or webinars. You will soon discover that your buyers find, respond and engage with different pieces of content in different ways.
To increase the trust factor and drive home a sale, give proof that your solution works by providing client case studies and testimonials. In fact, 48% of B2B customers indicated that the content they value and trust most are case studies, and 40% said the same about customer reviews. So if you don’t have case studies and testimonials as part of your content marketing, you better get to work on adding them.
Getting started with content marketing
If you weren’t already convinced that content can generate leads and sales, you should be now. We’ve got a number of resources here on our site to help you get started with content marketing, or contact us for advice to get started.
- How to Get Started in B2B Content Marketing
- Five Mistakes All Content Marketers Should Avoid
- The Top 6 Ways to Repurpose Your Content
- 4 Big Benefits of Producing Visual Content