Content marketing is an extremely valuable tool – when you use it correctly. It can build brand awareness and loyalty, increase traffic and conversions, and improve your brand’s reputation. High-quality content marketing can completely revolutionize your business. However, if you’re noticing that your B2B marketing campaigns are achieving none of these results, then you’re probably doing something wrong. Many people have come to us, frustrated and distraught, asking why their B2B marketing campaigns aren’t working. They’ve put so much time, effort and research into their content and they were so sure that it would be a game-changer. But they saw no improvement in their site visits, potential leads, or brand awareness. “What could I have possibly done wrong?”, they ask. As many benefits as there are to B2B content marketing campaigns, they’re frustratingly easy to get wrong. In fact, many of our clients who are struggling with their B2B marketing campaigns make the same four mistakes: their content is irrelevant, their sales and marketing teams aren’t aligned, hey aren’t approaching their campaign in a scientific way and they’re still using data lists. Luckily, these mistakes can be easily fixed with a bit of knowledge and a lot of action.
Your content sucks and nobody wants to read it
The most important reason your B2B marketing campaign isn’t working is because your content is irrelevant and boring to the reader. You may seem offended by this comment at first, but let’s look at the stats:
- Internet users only link to 25% of web content
- 75% of businesses have increased their content marketing budget
- The average consumer will only spend 37 seconds reading your article
What do these stats tell you? Businesses have bigger content marketing budgets, yet only 1 in 4 consumers will link to their web content and the average consumer will spend less than a minute reading content. These stats show that if their content is not relevant, no budget will be big enough to make a business’ content marketing strategy effective. You may have worked long and hard to create your content, but did you ever stop to ask yourself what the content would look like from your ideal customer’s point of view? When B2B marketing content is ineffective, it also proves to be a huge waste of time and resources. The reason why most content doesn’t drive your marketing campaign is because it’s too technical, too “fluffy” or a repetition of other content already available online. How can your audience be expected to read, and enjoy, content that they can’t understand or have already heard before? This type of content doesn’t sound very engaging, and it’s not. Here are a few practical ways to ensure that you don’t end up creating content like this:
Don’t Focus Solely on Increased Traffic
The point of content marketing, or any form of marketing for that matter, is clearly to accomplish things like increase traffic and improve lead generation. So, it may seem counterproductive for me to tell you not to focus on increasing traffic to your site while writing your content, but there is a reason. When you see the main purpose of your content as increasing traffic to your website, you often only focus on generating keyword-based blog topics. This content may lead to more organic traffic to your site, but it does little to improve your ROI, which is the real purpose behind content marketing. Content marketing has several benefits, but the end goal is to increase your Return on Investment so that your business is profitable. This cannot be accomplished when you’re looking at your content through a narrow lens. You need to see the bigger picture and the larger purpose of content marketing, which has to do with your ROI. When you shift your focus to writing content that will increase your ROI, it will become more relevant to your audience by default.
Write Content That Your Reader Wants to Hear
A major issue with B2B marketing content creators is that they can easily get caught up in their research and in the nitty-gritty details of their business and forget that their understanding and the understanding of their target audience aren’t always on the same level. There needs to be a shift in the content you create from being written according to what you want to write to being written according to what your readers want to hear. You may be creating well-written, high-level content, but who is that really best suited for? The CEO or your ideal customer? In order for your content to be effective, it needs to be written based on what your audience needs to hear rather than your own selfish motivations. Remember that you are one person creating content that will (hopefully) reach many people. The content needs to be relevant to those individuals, which can only happen when you write with your audience in mind.
Prioritise Content Creation
All companies embark on content marketing adventures to improve their business. However, there are many demands for a business and, especially for those new to content marketing, it usually becomes the first aspect of a B2B business’ marketing strategy. This usually results in the creation of sub-par content due to poor time-management and pressure. However, the result of poorly written and under-planned content is that it can severely damage your business. If you want your content to be effective, it needs to be prioritized
Your Sales & Marketing Teams Aren’t Aligned
At Gripped, we talk often about how important it is for sales and marketing teams to be aligned. It truly can’t be overstated. When sales and marketing teams don’t communicate, the areas in which they overlap aren’t given the proper amount of attention. When it comes to B2B marketing, one of the ways in which the responsibilities of the sales and marketing teams overlap is in regards to content.
Reasons why sales and marketing should align
They’re Targeting the Same People
Albeit in different ways, both the sales and marketing teams focus on the same leads. Both teams are targeting the same people. When these teams aren’t aligned, their tactics for working with leads can contradict each other. Not to mention, every company has a shared vision. Each team and division is a part of that vision. When sales and marketing teams work together, they can better understand the role that the other plays in the company’s bigger vision and can find ways to help each other accomplish their tasks.
Your Perfect Customer DefinitionMust Be Clear
Both sales and marketing target the same people, but what would happen if the definition of the perfect customer isn’t clear? If this is the case, both teams could end up targeting different people, which would be a waste of time and could also hurt the company. It is impossible to get a shared vision of the ideal customer if the sales and marketing teams don’t work together to create the definition. When it comes to content marketing, an unclear definition of the ideal customer could result in irrelevant content written by the marketing team, which would then result in an inability for the sales team to make sales.
Company Goals Can Be Accomplished Quicker
When the sales and marketing teams work together, the company’s goals can be accomplished quicker. If these two teams communicate with each other, they won’t get in each other’s way when it comes to content or customers. The more these two teams understand each other, the more they’ll realize that their individual goals aren’t that different and that if they work together they can increase their company’s productivity.
You’re not using science to make decisions
Most of the time, content creators product content based on what they assume their audience wants to hear. This isn’t an inherently unhelpful approach to content creation, but how exactly do you know what your audience wants to hear? The only way to be sure is to use science to back up your decisions. The thought of using science may sound scary- many of us are in the field of business rather than science for a reason! But it’s not as intimidating or as difficult as you may think.
Practical ways to use science to make content marketing decisions
Use Keyword Data
The way that you may want to phrase something important in your article may not be the way it is phrased by those who search on the internet. For example, the keyphrase “cheap vacation” could be searched for ten times more than the phrase “affordable vacation.” The way you phrase key parts of your article will determine its Google and SEO rankings, which will in turn determine how effective your content is. Keyword research will always pay off.
Measure Your Article’s Readability
Before you publish a piece of content, be sure to check its readability score using the Flesch-Kincaid method. Scores range between 1 and 100 and scores of 60 or above are considered easy to read. If your target audience can’t understand your content, then it will be ineffective and useless. This tool will ensure that every piece of content you publish is understandable.
Test Your Titles
The title of your content has a heavy bearing on whether or not someone will click on the piece. Just as some keywords are more effective than others, the same goes for titles. Before publishing an article, write a handful of title options and test them on social media platforms. Whether you ask your Twitter followers or members of UsabilityHub, take your survey data into consideration.
You’re Still Buying Data Lists
There’s no easy way to say it: when you rent or buy data lists you are breaking the law and wasting your time. Aside from the whole illegal aspect, when you buy a data list there’s no way to be sure if the people on the least are qualified leads or not. When you email people off of a data list, more often than not they have no idea who you or your company is and they’ll mark you as spam immediately. Even if your content is relevant and well-written, it won’t be able to reach even those who may be interested because their annoyance at being spammed will far outweigh their desire to open an email from a stranger. The foundation of any business-customer relationship needs to be trust and that’s nearly impossible to build with someone who’s information you stole.
There’s no denying the allure of a data list, but it’s not as helpful or as practical as you may think. When you focus on the quick fix of a data list, you’re blinded to the reality that 99% of the people you contact from that list will be uninterested at best and frustrated at worst. The best thing you can do is to stop buying data lists. Focus your time and energy on the traffic you currently have coming in, and that generated from your successful content marketing campaign, and provide these people with the resources they need to become leads and then customers.
Content marketing can benefit your B2B business, but it can also seem overly complex if you don’t know what you’re doing. Don’t let your B2B marketing campaign intimidate or disappoint you. With some education and dedication, you can learn how to create expert content for your marketing campaigns and see the results that you’ve always wanted. With strong content and a well-constructed B2B marketing campaign, your business can truly reach new heights. Remember to create content that is relevant and engaging for the reader- not for you or your business partners, to foster a close relationship between your sales and marketing teams, to use scientific logic when making marketing decisions and to stop buying data lists. These four tips will guide you through your content creation and marketing strategy creation processes, as well as ensure that your B2B marketing campaign will positively impact your business.