As is shown in the image below from the Content Marketing Institute’s 2017 report, the vast majority of B2B marketers are using content marketing in their everyday strategies. However, the real key to using content to generate conversions is making sure it’s as engaging as possible; and that’s where many businesses fall short, in fact, just 22% of marketers say their current efforts are very or extremely successful, according to the Content Marketing Institute.
While coming up with interesting articles and other pieces of content on a regular basis is definitely a challenge, there are several tools you can use to make the process quicker, easier and less of a headache in general. Let’s explore some of the ways your business can produce content that really captures your audience’s attention.
Why is Content So Important?
Planning, crafting and distributing content can feel like a huge effort, but when done effectively it’s definitely worthwhile. It’s often the first form of interaction you have with your potential customers, and quality content is much more likely to endear them towards your brand. Given that so much of the buyer journey is self-guided nowadays, it’s also important to have content in order to provide your leads with all of the information they need about your company and products.
Website content such as blog posts and other articles are often a great way of gaining organic traffic, which, as is shown in the graph below taken from HubSpot’s 2017 State of Inbound report, is the most important marketing goal for most marketers in the next 12 months. There’s also the fact that those coming across your blog through a Google search are more likely to be warm leads, and therefore more likely to make a purchase – according to InsideView, companies that blog just once or twice a month see 67% more sales opportunities than those that don’t blog at all.
According to a study from the Content Marketing Institute, 85% of B2B marketers say they owe the success of their content marketing to higher quality and more efficient content. So how can your business consistently produce content that is top-notch? Using these three tools is a great place to start…
Tool #1: Great Writing
Obviously, you need to focus on the actual writing first and foremost. All the marketing tactics in the world won’t help if your content is dull, repetitive or hard to follow. Here’s how you can make sure that doesn’t happen:
- Pick Topics Wisely – Keep tabs on your competitors and the industry in general to see what’s popular in your niche, as well as what’s trending on social media. It’s a good idea to keep a pool of resources you can use to come back to for inspiration regularly, be it blogs, news sites, magazines, for example.
- Mix it up – Make things more interesting for your readers (and yourself!) by writing different types of content, from how to guides and case studies to whitepapers and product guides, as well as general news from your field.
- Don’t Focus on Selling – It may seem counterintuitive, but when it comes to engaging your readers selling should always come second. Nowadays people are much savvier when it comes to ads, and no one likes to feel they’re being given the hard-sell. Instead focus on providing real value in your content; not only will this inspire more trust in your potential buyers, it will also position you as an expert in your sector and therefore see readers keep coming back.
- Hire a Professional – Writing is a skill that takes time and practice to master. It’s important to give a strong sense of your brand by using a certain tone in your writing, whether it be a long article or a Tweet. Hiring a professional writer is therefore a great alternative if the thought of sitting down to draft up content brings you out in a cold sweat, and the quality will improve as a result.
Tool #2: Stand Out Visuals
Too many businesses try to cut corners by neglecting to use visuals in their content marketing. That’s undoubtedly a big mistake… humans are very visually driven, particularly nowadays when there is so much noise on social media and a solid block of text is many people’s idea of hell. Want to make your content more appealing? Take note of the following…
- Use Professional Photos – The images you use are a direct representation of your brand, so they need to be good. Lay off the cheesy stock photos – they’re unrealistic, unreliable and impress no one nowadays. Instead, think about hiring professional photographers, or use photos with your real products in. Give your images a human touch in order to emphasise your message and create more of a connection with your audience.
- Variety is Great – As with written content, you should aim to use different types of images to keep things interesting. As well as product images, try utilising things like infographics, memes, graphs and charts, screenshots, and comics.
- Don’t forget Video – According to Salesforce, video advertising in B2B marketing has grown a mammoth 204% in the last two years. Videos are a great way to get information across in a more digestible way, and are also more likely to be shared than other types of content.
- Use on Social Media – As is shown in the graph below from a study by Adobe, the majority of marketers note that using images is the most important tactic for effective social media content. There’s good reason for this; images make the posts stand out and convey a message much quicker, which could explain why research from SHIFT found that tweets with images are responded to and retweeted 2x as much as those without.
Tool #3: Personalisation
There’s no doubt that personalised content sees better results; research from Montage revealed that marketers see an average increase of 20% in sales when using personalised web experiences, and according to the Direct Marketing Association, segmented emails generate 58% of all revenue.
In order to do this effectively, you first need to segment your audiences. Different types of individuals and businesses will all have different needs and preferences, so it’s important to target them differently to have a better chance of engaging them. As is shown in the image below from Salesforce, the majority of B2B marketers understand this, and are taking steps to act on it.
Using a Database for Segmentation
Gaining access to a B2B directory like Global Database simplifies a lot of the segmentation process. You’ll be able to narrow your search based on a wide range of factors such as industry, location, sales volumes, technology use, number of employees and lots more. By using this data to create separate lists within your marketing database, you’ll be able to target them with content that really speaks to each set.
Using data to make informed decisions in your content strategy has been proven to be very effective. For example, Forbes Insights and Turn report “Data Driven and Digitally Savvy: The Rise of the New Marketing Organisation,” revealed that data-driven marketing delivers success in terms of customer engagement, customer loyalty and market growth. The study found that companies deemed ‘leaders’ in the practice report much higher levels in these three categories than their ‘laggard’ competitors; leaders were three times more likely to report higher results in customer engagement, as well as increased revenue.
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Although having to create regular content that truly engages your customers can be daunting, by using the right tools you’re sure to see a big difference in both ease of production and the number of conversions it drives. Ultimately the equation to bear in mind is:
Contextual visuals + specific tone + the right segmentation = engaging content
Once you’ve got into the habit of doing things using these tools, everything will fall into place and it will become second nature every time you start typing.