When crafting B2B blog content, don't forget that your end goal should be conversions. It's no secret that a B2B sales cycle takes time - don't expect to turn strangers into customers the first instance they come in contact with your content. Instead, make sure you initiate a relationship with them. Add value, build trust and push them down the buyer's journey to a point where they're ready and willing to buy what your company is offering.
The following B2B content marketing principles will help you drive conversions from your content.
Know who you are writing to
If you think your target audience is "everyone" your content isn't resonating with anyone. Research and learn who your buyer personas are. Buyer personas are fictional, generalized representations of your ideal customers.
Map out their needs, behaviors, demographics, challenges, and motives. Do this by speaking with your current customers, research online in Q&A websites such as Quora as well as groups and forums.
Don't waste a second creating content before you're confident that you have a deep understanding of who your content is for.
Add value. Write content that is relevant, unique and … incomplete
Once you know who you are writing to, make sure to craft different content for the different stages of the buyer's journey.
The buyer's journey is the active research process a potential buyer goes through leading up to a purchase. Simply put, most of the time, your buyer's are researching about their challenges and needs way before they consider your solutions or decide to buy. There are three stages to a typical buyer's journey:
The different elements of the journey:
Trying to sell to a prospect who is only at a stage where they have realized they have a problem and have expressed symptoms, would be like asking someone to marry you on a first date - too soon! Make sure to write your content in correlation with your presumed prospet's different stages of the buyer's journey:
- Awarness stage content should be educational and help the visitor identify their problem. It shouldn't be about your company it should be about the prospect's needs and challenges.
- Consideration stage content should help the prospect consider certain solutions. At this stage you can include your solution, however don't pull out the ring just yet and don't try to sell.
- Decision stage content should help the prospect make a purchasing decision. The decision stage is your time to "propose".
Style wise, make sure to write clearly and to support your writing with data, examples or stories. Be different, be interesting and evoke emotion.
On each stage, give enough information to interest your audience, but not enough to fully meet their need. This creates a sense of urgency to receive more information from you, thus motivating your readers to progress down the funnel and convert from stranger-->visitor-->lead-->customer.
Capture your prospects' info along the different stages
Help your leads find their own path leading to a purchase.
If a visitor reaches your blog, reads your content and isn't invited to receive more value in exchange for providing info about themselves - consider that a missed opportunity.
When a prospect visits your blog for the first time, your main goal should be to capture their email and turn them into a lead:
Once you capture their info, don't send them to sales! Seize the moment by using a thank you page inviting them to read another blog post with consideration stage content. Keep pushing them down the buyer's journey and capturing more info about them. Ask them for info that will help sales close the deal further on down the line. For example, find out what their job title is or what they find most challenging about their work. Gathering information will also help you screen out irrelevant leads who aren't your buyer personas. Consider how much time your sales team is currently wasting on leads who aren't your target audience and will never become your customers.. By asking the right questions you can avoid such waste and as a bonus, improve sales and marketing collaboration.
When building relationships in this method, once your prospect is at the decision stage, selling to them will become natural and mutual. When done right, they will want to know how you can help them and what you're offering. Essentially, that's the opposite of interruptive marketing - it's marketing people love.
Optimize for different devices
Keep in mind that your readers use desktops, laptops and an array of mobile devices to view content. If your content is not displaying properly, you will lose a portion of your audience before they ever get the opportunity to read your content. If your CTA is not visible, you're shooting yourself in the foot – your visitors won't convert and your efforts will be useless.
Make it easy to share
Turn your readers into promoters by adding share buttons for social media sites. Linkedin is most relevant for B2B, yet provide them a chance to share at whatever network they prefer. A great plus is that readers who share are more likely to convert.
A lot of factors play into conversions, but each conversion starts with an impression and has great content at its core. To drive conversions, start by understanding your buyer personas and the buyer's journey. Write engaging and relevant content that connects with your audience. Always remember your goal is to turn your readers to leads and to then push them down the buyer's journey from awarness to consideration and eventually to a decision to become your customers.
P.S. If you found this useful, and you're curious to learn more and find out how to create a long lasting inbound marketing strategy, we invite you to download our How-To guide for creating an inbound marketing strategy.