Most manufacturers and distributors are now doing some form of content marketing, but the overall results are not exactly earth shattering. The root problem often stems from the fact that many companies are still operating under an old style selling paradigm.
The digital age has ushered in a new approach and philosophy towards selling. In a nutshell it means first helping and educating potential buyers, with sales naturally following as a by-product of this nurturing process.
Unfortunately, many manufacturers and distributors are still doing things the old way, just with new tools. A typical scenario may involve listing products on the company website, creating a few YouTube videos, establishing a social media presence, writing a couple of blog posts and then waiting for customers to call or email. After a few weeks when sales don’t start rolling in by the truckload, company execs are often quick to dismiss content marketing as a waste of resources and not sector-relevant. “Been there, tried that,” is the common refrain.
Sound even remotely familiar? Please read on.
Consider the following findings from the State of B2B Procurement study by The Acuity Group:
- 68% of B2B buyers now purchase goods online
- 57% made an online purchase of $5,000 or more in the last year
- 40% researched more than half of goods under $10,000 online
- 31% percent of buyers research more than half of goods costing $100,000 or more online.
Whether or not your B2B is doing much in the way of content marketing, it’s clear your customers are looking online for answers that address their pain points and products that solve their problems.
Yet recent research indicates that B2B companies are spending more money on their websites and getting less in return. While web design and SEO are sometimes factors, even industrial sellers with newly optimized websites often fail to make the grade in terms of new business leads and sales. What then, is going wrong? Below are four reasons your B2B content marketing may be failing:
1. You Have no Strategy
We’ve said it before but it’s worth repeating: a documented content marketing strategy that supports your sales and marketing objectives is crucial. Simply deciding to have a blog or to write white papers is not a strategy, nor is creating product demo videos once in awhile.
A successful content marketing strategy involves listing specific objectives, and executing and measuring them. Aside from increased sales, these may also include educating buyers, servicing existing customers and building brand awareness.
In any case, you will need to know what numbers are important to you (e.g. traffic visits, page views, phone inquiries, conversions) and be sure to have tools like Google Analytics in place to track these key performance indicators (KPIs). For more details see our post on how to Improve Your B2B Content Marketing Strategy.
2. You Have Not Committed Enough Resources
B2B companies that use strategic content marketing generate 67% more leads than those who don’t. But you get what you pay for, so it’s about ROI. By carefully tracking your content marketing, you can see which marketing efforts have had the greatest ROI and which have the least and then adjust your spend accordingly.
Consider hiring a professional who knows how and where to spend your content marketing budget. This will give you a better ROI than simply adding content or changing tactics.
3. Your Content is Sub-Standard
Many B2B sellers do not appreciate the importance of quality content. This is content that helps existing customers use products or services in the best possible ways and assists potential purchasers to make informed decisions. This also means hiring a high-quality writer who can take the time to really understand your industry and your brand. Don’t skimp in this department or you’ll just end up rewriting gibberish.
4. You Are Not Promoting Your Content
The important thing to remember about content marketing is that half the work is creation and the other half is promotion. Below are some ways to promote your content:
- Email newsletters
- Marketing emails linked to landing pages
- Your Facebook company page
- LinkedIn’s various tools
- Sharing through your network by pitching industry influencers and bloggers to share your content
Social media management tools like HootSuite can help you schedule and integrate your social media postings. Remember: Creating the content is only one aspect of content marketing. Be sure to allot substantial resources to promoting the very content you worked so hard to create!
By correcting these shortcomings in your content marketing, you will begin to build the trust needed to effectively compete online.
There are other factors too, which will be covered in the next post entitled: Why Your Content Marketing Isn’t Working and How to Fix it – Part 2.