Leadership teams at growing B2B companies have a lot going on.
After establishing their product/market fit, the most important challenge for early-stage companies is often not in understanding what they need to do– but what to focus on first.
At this stage, opportunities can seem to be everywhere but resources–and attention–are scarce.
Success comes from consistently focusing on the right things and executing against your plan–doing the right things right.
At a time when distractions can seem deadly, focusing on a B2B Content marketing strategy might not be the first thing that leadership teams prioritize– but there are plenty of reasons to consider prioritizing it sooner rather than later—and some of them are not obvious at first glance.
1-A content-led approach can inform all of your marketing, not just your content strategy
Devising an effective content strategy requires a proven framework.
Like almost all marketing questions, the answer to what you should do with your content marketing lies with your customer.
This is why, aside from fully understanding your company and competition, you must fully understand your customers and develop customer personas.
Once you understand your customer personas, their needs, wants and pain points, and how they consume information, the world of content opportunities starts to become obvious.
Beyond content–new opportunities to reach your customers through other means–such as paid advertising and partnerships, also become apparent.
Observations from the proper development of a content strategy can uncover ways to optimize your sales processes and expose gaps or opportunities with the product itself.
2-A Good B2B content strategy empowers sales teams
Once you understand the context–your company, your competition and your customers–and your customer personas are clear, the question becomes: where do I focus my content strategy first?
A good content strategy for a growing company starts at the bottom of the funnel.
The bottom of the funnel is where you have opportunities for quick wins–It is where you get to understand customer pain points and objections and spot any bottlenecks to conversion.
It’s also the place where content work can lead to immediate results, whereas some of the top-of-funnel initiatives can take time to realize.
Here–you can create content that helps conversion and increases your sales team’s efficiency.
An effective way to discover bottom-of-the-funnel opportunities is by asking your salespeople, “what are you tired of explaining?”
The answers will yield great content ideas that will also serve as tools for salespeople, who can forward them to prospects when those objections are raised, allowing them to close sales faster and move to new opportunities.
3-A Good B2B Content Strategy Lowers Your Customer Acquisition Costs
Companies that have found their product/market fit and are in growth mode eventually need to address customer acquisition costs.
Lowering Customer Acquisition Costs (CAC) is crucial to building a sustainable business. It will almost certainly be an essential topic for investors when judging the long-term health of a company.
Using content to support your customer’s journey helps bring CAC down, whether through expanding awareness with general problem-solving search content at the top of the funnel (TOFU), allowing them to identify product alternatives at the middle of the funnel (MOFU) or directly helping them buy at the bottom of the funnel (BOFU).
The process of creating a content strategy can also help companies refine paid plans, as ranking for keywords organically can help determine which keywords yield the best conversion. These learnings can also be applied to SEM/paid search. In this case, lower acquisition costs come from greater efficiency in paid marketing.
4-A Good B2B Content Strategy Increases the Lifetime Value (LTV) of Customers
What is the use of lowering all your acquisition costs if you can’t retain the customers you acquire?
LTV is an extremely important metric.
Aside from what it tells you about potential issues with your product that are leading to churn, it can tell you a lot about the quality of your traffic sources and potentially– the quality of your support content beyond the bottom of the funnel–content that builds loyalty.
There is a reason that many marketers have added an “L” at the end of the famous AIDA (Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action) model.
The customer journey doesn’t end with a single purchase, and definitely not in recurring revenue models, where companies need to keep winning the loyalty of their customers.
5-Customers Expect It
According to research from Salesforce, 80% of consumers now consider the experience a company provides as important as the product.
“Experience” is just a synonym for the customer journey.
Aside from a quality product, consumers expect companies to provide pre-sale information, post-sales support and beyond this (and through all touch points)–a glimpse into company values and brand personality.
In highly competitive markets where product differentiation is limited, content can be the differentiator.
How to Start Developing a B2B Content Strategy
Decide who needs to help
The decision on how you move forward with developing a content strategy depends on what stage your company is at in its growth. In most B2B companies, the responsibility for content strategy lies with the marketing team.
Depending on your rate of growth, bandwidth and strengths of your current marketing leadership, you may work with an outsourced content strategy team to develop and execute the strategy or help build up the capacity in-house, immediately or over time.
It Starts with a Strategy, Not a Bunch of Tactics
A common mistake is to dabble without putting together a cohesive plan.
An “SEO guy” tests some content that will never rank on its own, and a Social Media agency posts a few times a week on topics that may be irrelevant–on the wrong channel–targeting the wrong audience.
It takes a good understanding of the needs of the business, a framework, and some thought to make a plan that has a good chance of success.
Start with a strategy, and don’t waste time dabbling.
Once You Have a Strategy, Don’t be Afraid to Start
As Mike Tyson once said, “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.”
The world of digital content is a world of fairly quick feedback loops, testing and iteration.
Success comes from having a plan and executing and tweaking strategies based on real-world feedback.
The only way you get that feedback is if you step in the ring…
Measure The Right Things
Not all traffic is equal.
People tend to focus their attention on the data that is most readily available. This is also known as “Availability Bias.” Unfortunately, it just so happens that the most readily available data is not always the most helpful.
Many content marketers are quick to claim victory by bringing a B2B blog from 0 to thousands of visits, but traffic alone can be a vanity metric.
~20% of your traffic will likely be responsible for ~80% of your business. The key is understanding what keywords, platforms or marketing tactics generate that 80%. This will help you improve your return on content or on ad spend.
In the end, the most important metrics for your business are sales and retention. Working back from your most important metrics will yield the greatest results.