As you look to enhance or scale your content marketing (and win more budget and buy-in for your program), know that you’re in good company. In August 2020, McKinsey reported that nearly half of B2B buyers plan to expand their OpEx and CapEx over the next five years, with capital expenditures increasing by 6%. Their most significant investments are planned for IT hardware, software and telecom services, and (you guessed it) marketing.
The Content Marketing Institute reports 53% of B2B marketers are maintaining their robust content marketing budgets as another 29% plan to increase their spend on content marketing. Why? They know there are plenty of growth-driving benefits to B2B content marketing:
1. You generate more leads for less money
Content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing. Per dollar spent, it generates three times as many leads as traditional marketing. Why? Content marketing has a long lifecycle. When done well and shared effectively, your buyers will remember and respond to it. Plus, it’s easy to redistribute and repurpose. In fact, 90% of content marketers find repurposing content to be more effective than creating new content from scratch.
2. You drive traffic to your website
According to Gartner, the typical B2B buying group now consists of six to 10 decision-makers. Each decision-maker consumes four or more pieces of content—independently. That makes for dozens of touches before you can close one sale. So, it’s no surprise that 77% of B2B buyers find it very difficult to make purchase decisions.
You can make it easier for your buyers with a robust content marketing program and campaign resources that bring them back to your brand over and over again. With every market report, case study, paid ad, webinar, blog post, campaign and nurture email, they get to learn from your insights and evaluate your credibility. All the while, you learn more about them and study their buying behavior, so you can move them into your mid- and late-funnel lead qualification program faster.
3. You build a quality list for B2B lead nurture
Remember, your content marketing inspires your leads to interact with you. They volunteer their contact information because they want to hear what you have to say. To keep them interested, you need to show them you care about their needs, offering useful resources in the right channel at the right time.
79% of B2B marketing companies and agencies find email is their most successful channel for distributing content. If you nurture your list with valuable content marketing, you’ll convert more marketing qualified leads (MQLs) to sales qualified leads (SQLs) and product qualified leads (PQLs) with a lower cost per acquisition (CPA). And you’ll do it faster.
4. You learn what B2B marketing content wins engagement
Naturally, the better your content, the more likely more of your prospects will click through to it. Certain content marketing assets will win more than others, and when they do, those wins show the way toward your future content marketing investments.
- Getting a lot of traffic on a particular blog post via organic search? Great! Make sure you’ve got a lead capture form on the page, and go after more SERPs with related SEO content.
- Seeing a drop in your case study engagement? Test them against shorter tip sheets or research-based market reports. Run a fresh distribution campaign and retest case study engagement.
- Bouncing a lot of traffic off service pages? Test eBooks and guides to drive conversions. Ask yourself how much content you’ve added on since the initial page launch, and consider redesigning the UX with headline refreshes.
Remember, B2B content marketing draws prospects into your brand ecosystem. It’s also what keeps them there even after they agree to be in a relationship with you via a lead form, gated download, webinar sign up, or some other interaction. But, it can also show you where the holes in your brand, UX, or larger content strategy have appeared.
Read More: 6 Steps to Create B2B Messaging that Sticks
5. You develop trust and build preference
Because it takes so much time to build B2B relationships, content marketing gives your sales team reasons—and resources—to keep reaching out to leads. As your sales team connects to discover needs and uncover objections, they need a library of content marketing resources they can share to demonstrate understanding and success in addressing your customers’ needs.
For an increasing number of customers who prefer self-service, even in B2B, your content marketing gives buyers the chance to explore your knowledge base, FAQs, demos, and more. Nothing inspires confidence more than a relevant case study: Case studies convert at the highest rate of any content type, with 8 out of 10 buyers using them to research brands, products, and services.
6. You drive B2B sales and grow revenue
Don’t tell your sales team, but when you look at the data behind B2B purchases, customer interactions with sales make up only a fraction of the buying process. When making a purchase decision, B2B buyers spend 45% of their time researching purchases and just 17% meeting with potential suppliers. While doing research, nearly half of B2B buyers consume three to five pieces of content before reaching out to a salesperson.
While content marketing can effectively partner with sales to help them win in one-to-one and one-to-few communications, content marketing can support sales best by driving brand awareness, website traffic, content engagement, lead capture, and lead qualification. Of course, marketing needs to seek out opportunities to collaborate with sales, so they can create more content and communicate with messages that align with the sales team’s insights, too.
7. You inspire retention and prevent B2B account attrition
Customer retention is the single most important strategy for growing your business. It’s also at the heart of profitability. When you sign a new customer, you must deliver on your promises, building trust and cultivating satisfaction. You must also deepen your relationship with the customer, growing preference and earning loyalty through strategic account management. After all, as Harvard’s been teaching business students for years, increasing customer retention by 5% can increase profits from 25-95%.
As you mine for new opportunities and deepen your customer relationships, it’s essential to keep your standing high, so your contacts enthusiastically support internal referrals. But, it’s also imperative you think of your new contacts as warm leads because that’s how they behave: They visit your website, scroll through your blog, consider your eBooks, and lurk on your social channels. You want to be prepared with your portfolio of content marketing resources, so it’s easy for them to sign on, too.
How to see more benefits from your B2B content marketing
Growth is driven by sales, which are driven by buyer engagement and conversions, which are driven by winning content. But only 9% of B2B marketers describe their content marketing maturity level as sophisticated (providing accurate measurement to the business and scaling across the organization). The other 91% all face distinct challenges.
- Startups taking first steps need a strategy and assets to scale and see quick ROI.
- Mature brands can lose their voice and need to reinvigorate their content marketing narratives with a plan to refresh, repurpose, or renew.
- Young and adolescent brands need strategy support, scaling and measurement support, and flexible content partners who can adapt as budgets, priorities, and timelines shift.
What does your B2B content marketing program need to help you meet your growth objectives? Learn how you can accelerate your growth with high-value content strategy and high-impact content marketing. Contact PMG today for a free 20-minute consultation.