Especially with B2B companies, content marketing can win the attention of the target group and differentiate themselves from the competition. In the following blog article different types of content are presented, which have proven themselves in the business-to-business market and are very well suited for lead generation. In addition, most of the formats can also be used with marketing automation tools such as B. Hubspot be linked.
Special features of a B2B target group
Before you begin to research topics relevant to the target group, you should first think about the special features of the B2B market. In the business-to-business market, the products or services offered, as the name already suggests, are aimed at other companies. Defining your company’s target group and addressing it with relevant content in a precise and targeted manner is no easy task. Classic market segmentation according to eg socio-demographic data or interests makes the work in the content marketing practice only limited. Therefore, it has proven in the B2B market to create personas for the different decision makers within the purchasing decision process. These examples and their points of view within the Customer Journey should be based on the topic orientation and format selection of future content. Detailed information on this topic, if you are interested in the article Market segmentation and target group analysis in (content) marketing.
As a rule, the demand for information and advice in the business-to-business market is much higher than in the B2C market. Thus, the spontaneity in the decision is less and the emotions that lead to the purchase are partly different. Building trust with potential customers, therefore, plays a key strategic role.
- Attention -> Supplying potential customers with useful information, for example on the USP of the product or service
- Building trust -> Building and strengthening the relationship of trust with potential customers, eg through information for problem-solving
- Customer loyalty -> Sufficient advice from customers on frequently asked questions eg for the application, installation, etc.
Rand Fishkin has an interesting video on a ” Whiteboard Friday ” published in which he particularly addresses the differences between B2B and B2C content marketing audiences.
Content Marketing as part of the SEE-THINK-DO-CARE framework
Content marketing is a part of inbound marketing and is, therefore, part of SEO. In the process, content marketing primarily serves informal search queries and offers assistance with specific topics or problems.
As part of the SEE-THINK-DO-CARE framework, it is therefore even before the classic SEO settled.
Content marketing measures are usually one of the first points of contact for users, helping to answer informal search queries. At the same time, it offers the opportunity to position oneself as an expert in certain specialist areas and thus build up authority and a trusting relationship step by step.
In the following, you will find different types of content for the B2B market, which have proven themselves online, especially in connection with marketing automation in lead generation. It should be noted in advance that the foundation of content marketing activities should always be a well-founded target group analysis and a sophisticated content marketing strategy.
Overview of the possibilities
- Video tutorials
- Case Studies
- Whitepaper / eBooks
- Social media
- Workshops & seminars, lectures
- Events (conferences)
- Free Trials
- Guest contributions (print and online
A webinar is basically the same as the classic seminar – but takes place online. A big advantage of the webinar is that the participants are not localized and therefore can participate easily. The communication takes place interactively and the participants have the opportunity, mostly via chat functions, to ask individual questions about problems. Especially intensive consulting in the B2B market can be realized online.
The number of participants is theoretically no limit and space or space problems omitted. Registration usually takes place by e-mail and a company has the opportunity to generate interesting advertising contacts via an opt-in procedure. There are various software providers, such as Web-Ex or Go To Meeting, which facilitates the realization and management of Webinars. It often makes sense to record the webinars and offer them online for long-term retrieval. Thus, sustainable visitors, for example via the SEO channel, can be won over to the corporate side. For further information, I recommend this article in the RyteWiki.
Let’s stay with the audiovisual media. It is often easier to explain facts in video format than in text form. If, for example, you want to know something about the exact use of certain machines or tools, no one wants to torment himself by a long manual in text form. A video tutorial is a more efficient and straightforward solution. Useful videos can also quickly give you a competitive advantage.
If one succeeds in delimiting oneself with practical and innovative content formats, one can quickly secure part of the information-based search engine traffic. YouTube is now the second largest search engine in the world. Video marketing in conjunction with, for example, YouTube SEO offers a lot of potential for attracting attention and building the trust of future customers in the B2B market. As an example of good video marketing, our more fire YouTube channel can be called.
In addition to webinars and video tutorials, lectures also provide a great opportunity to present know-how or to present new findings on specific topics.
For example, lectures have become established as a proven tool for our MeetUps as they provide a good foundation for open discussion. Furthermore, this format can be combined with almost all content formats listed here.
For example, the lectures can be streamed with the help of Facebook Live Videos (or Instagram Live) and thus be made available to an even wider audience. Thus, you have recorded the video directly and can share it on YouTube or Facebook. Of course, it should be ensured that the quality is correspondingly good and the picture is not blurred (work best with a tripod).
Also, the lectures or the presentations on file hosting platforms such as SlideShare can be uploaded so that users can call them again and again.
A good way to organize events or conferences is to exchange presentations for business cards. Thus, the lecturer directly has the contact details of the interested party and the interested party receives the presentation – a win-win situation for both sides.
Case studies usually deal with a real situation, eg a concrete project, which is clearly and comprehensibly implemented. At the end of each case study, an evaluation will take place. Case studies are particularly interesting for the B2B sector, as it provides the customer with a comprehensive impression of the product or service. Case studies usually also create identification and potential customers often find themselves in the situation described. Ideally, case studies are published in cooperation with satisfied customers. This transparency creates a high degree of trust and the company has the opportunity to expand its expert status. Case studies are therefore a powerful reference marketing tool.
It can be expedient to research frequently asked questions from customers online and to treat them in the form of a suitable case study. The document can then be offered for download on an optimized landing page. For example, while researching Google, you can reach potential customers who are still in the information phase of the purchase decision process. Here case studies offer a lot of potential for lead generation. In conjunction with Marketing Automation, this can be used even better.
For example, we packed one of our B2B projects into a case study.
Whitepapers deal with common problems and show appropriate solutions. It should be noted here that the advertising character moves strongly into the background and the focus is on the consulting service. A white paper contains advice and recommendations and should be at least two pages long. As a rule, white papers are more extensive than case studies and are written in an academic style. White papers are also used in the field of PR and serve corporate communication. Here, the customer is not so much in focus, but rather the product or service.
For white papers, the approach is theoretical and deals with a fictitious issue. The customer should use the white paper to solve a problem, to understand a situation or to obtain a basis for decision-making. In the purchase decision process, a white paper starts earlier than a case study. As a rule, white papers should already be used in the problem-solving phase. On a landing page optimized with the topic with the download function, relevant data of potential customers can be won. Integrated marketing automation can help to accompany the customer’s decision-making process and, ideally, to guide the right content through to conversion.
For example, Searchmetrics is pursuing a similar strategy with the Mobile Ranking Factors 2015 study.
Not to forget in all the formats is, of course, the blog. Anyone who has been following our blog for some time will have noticed that it has grown over several years and is now one of our most important sources of traffic.
Blog articles provide a great way to engage users and potential customers and provide new information. Although this form of content marketing can be found very high up in the SEE-THINK-DO-CARE framework, they ensure that the Funnel is refilled over and over again. Potential leads are thus supplied with further information and addressed via various channels.
Here, the services or the product should not be advertised too prominently, as a blog should satisfy the informal search intention of the user. Therefore, extensive information should be provided to help the user.
With the help of Marketing Automation (eg Hubspot), workflows can be created to provide the user with further information from a certain point of time. Thus, the user can automatically receive a white paper by e-mail (if the e-mail address and consent are present – #DSGVO) if he has viewed at least 3 pages on SEO. The user will be helped and at the same time, he will reach the next phase in the customer lifecycle.
Not only since the launch of our SEA MeetUps or Video MeetUps has this format been a great way to engage directly with industry people. Again, the motto is “Everything can do, nothing has to” (Copyright MB 😉 ). First and foremost, the focus here is on exchange.
Instead of the classic frontal lectures, the focus is on interaction. After 2-3 lectures on the subject, everyone can exchange ideas in a relaxed atmosphere. The main purpose of this format is to get to know new people in the industry and to exchange ideas and help each other. Of course, you should not fall directly into the house with the door here and turn everyone directly to his product or service.
At MeetUps, you can share your knowledge with others and learn something at the same time. As a company, it is valuable to host a MeetUp without always giving lectures yourself, because the reputation is automatically transferred to the organizer. Meetups are also a valuable channel for employer branding and recruiting.
For a long time, social networks were considered pure B2C platforms and were avoided by B2B companies. But recent statistics show that B2B companies are increasingly represented on social networks.
In the field of B2B networks, LinkedIn has established itself in recent years. Even though the number of users between LinkedIn and XING is almost equal, LinkedIn has the advantage of an international focus.
However, LinkedIn has more than one social network to keep its customers and partners up to date. Since a full explanation would go beyond the scope of the article, we recommend the articles on Video Ads and the LeadGen Forms. Thanks to the detailed targeting options, LinkedIn also offers the possibility of addressing the target group very precisely and thus reducing scatter losses as well as possible. LinkedIn also offers retargeting. Thus, different phases of the SEE-THINK-DO-CARE framework can be mapped via a network.
As a counterpart to the paid ads, LinkedIn offers the file-hosting service Slideshare.
Here you have the possibility to upload presentations, presentations, whitepapers or other documents to make them available to other people – #Wissenstransfer.
This service can be used, for example, to deposit the formats mentioned above and thus make them available to the customers or potentially interested parties. For example, white papers or webinars on specific topics can be uploaded here so that they are available to a broad target group. This too can support reputation and lead generation.
For a long time, Facebook was seen as a pure B2C network, and companies avoided it. But these times are long gone.
Today, more than every other B2B company is represented on Facebook – and the number is rising.
The reason for this is that Facebook is still the largest social network and thus offers the greatest potential reach. At the same time, Facebook offers a variety of functions to regularly provide new or existing customers with new content. Facebook live videos, for example, have established themselves as the most proven medium when it comes to reporting events live.
Furthermore, Facebook offers pronounced targeting options in the area of paid ads, so that even B2B companies can reach their potential target group without large wastage. Again, the network can be combined with various other measures, for example:
- Create and promote events (MeetUps)
- Apply for Whitepaper / eBook Download
- Share blog articles / share / antivirus videos