Today’s B2B marketers face a unique challenge brought on by digital transformation and a rapidly changing business landscape: content creation. Most of the buyer journey now happens online and B2B buyers are increasingly drawn to a more content-rich, personalized experience—80% expect their B2B journey to have a B2C feel. Additionally, IT decision makers are now more content-focused, downloading an average of five assets before making a purchase.
This shift in buyer behavior is putting pressure on marketers to up their content game and find new ways to connect with their target audience. Whether you are totally re-working your content strategy or just need to fill gaps in your editorial calendar, look to your buyer journey for content inspiration. We’ve put together a list of content types for each stage of the B2B buyer journey and how to make them work in your broader demand generation strategy.
Journey stage: AWARENESS
For many marketers, top-of-funnel content is king when it comes to earning engagement, with 67% of B2B marketers saying it’s the type of content they create most often. Buyers at the Awareness stage are searching for answers—they have a problem to solve and will give their attention to the sources that help frame their issue, contextualize it in terms of their job function, and provide possible solutions. It’s important to note that buyers aren’t necessarily researching specific products at this stage of the buyer journey. So a hard sell of your solution will likely fall flat. Instead, focus on educational content that grabs their attention, keeps them engaged, and leads them to the next stage of the buyer journey.
Blogs and eBooks
Blogs and longer-form eBooks are an easy way to address the specific pain points of your target buyers. Explore their issues and then provide a solution, tips to help them manage their challenges, or other educational information. Blogs are also useful for tracking content performance and pinpointing effective messaging and positioning.
Today, 72% of people use social media in some form, so devoting time to your social media presence is crucial for engaging buyers where they are active. Social posts should feature content that specifically addresses your target audience and how your company rises to meet their needs. You might highlight customer testimonials, share interesting industry news, and drive traffic to useful thought-leadership content or other Discover-stage assets. Social media also provides valuable insight into audience behavior and trends that should influence your content strategy.
Video and podcasts
The prevalence of video as a marketing medium continues to rise, and it’s easy to see why—83% of marketers say video helps increase the time prospects spend on their websites. Your video content should educate, inform, and engage your audience while positioning your brand as an authority in the problems facing your buyers. How-to videos, testimonials, and forward-looking industry commentary are examples of ways to leverage video content to address buyer needs and strengthen your brand.
Infographics and checklists
Providing a buyer with actionable insights is key to positioning your company as an industry leader and a trusted partner. Infographics provide a visually engaging way to frame buyer pain points and present industry data that supports your solution. Checklists, likewise, provide immediate value, encouraging prospects to revisit or reach out to your company for additional resources.
Journey stage: EVALUATION
In the middle of the buying cycle, buyers are still considering their options but have likely identified a handful of finalists before making a decision. The content you deliver in this stage is critical and should be focused on providing in-depth information and proof points for your solution. The right content at this stage can take you from passive to active engagement with your buyer.
Case studies demonstrate the value of your organization and the type of financial or other ROI your buyers can expect. Make them customized to your target audience. It’s OK to have more than one version of a case study if it addresses more than one pain point or buyer group. Include a customer quote or testimonial whenever possible for authenticity and authority, and be sure to keep your case studies updated with new developments as they become available.
White papers and industry reports
B2B buyers are particularly drawn to thought-leadership content—88% say it increases their respect for an organization. If your goal is to position your organization as an authority in your field, white papers and industry-focused reports will help. This content allows you to flex your experience and show buyers you are thinking about their future goals as well as their current needs. Data-driven insight into your buyer’s job and industry showcases your company as a strategic partner instead of just another vendor.
Journey stage: DECISION
Today’s buyers are more informed than ever and are keen to see facts that demonstrate the value of your organization. Seventy-seven percent of B2B buyers conduct a detailed ROI analysis before making a purchase decision. So it’s important to have data-driven content that proves your ability to help meet your buyers’ unique business goals.
Customer testimonials and reviews
Never underestimate the power of word-of-mouth. Your reputation is invaluable when it comes to prospective buyers. If you don’t have a bank of customer testimonials, it’s a good idea to do a customer audit, talk to Sales, and evaluate which current customers would be amenable to writing a short testimonial or review. Telephone or virtual video referrals are also a great way to connect the experience of current customers with prospective buyers.
Another way to show value to your prospective buyers is to give them a sample or preview of your work. B2B marketers can support Sales in this process with online demos and material that guides in-person consultations. This content helps your organization do a deep-dive into your buyers’ issues and show them how your company can help solve their problems. Use consultations as a time to present the buyer with similar client scenarios and wins, insights into how you strategize with clients, and next steps in the process.
Journey stage: POST-SALE
You’ve booked new business, but now what? The buyer journey doesn’t end when a deal is closed—continual engagement ensures you are meeting customer needs and encourages brand loyalty.
Surveys and calls
Conducting follow-up calls and sending out regular surveys keeps customers engaged and provides you with valuable feedback. Surveys can cover the onboarding experience, motivations behind the purchase, product differentiators, roadmap testing, customer service, and more. The data these surveys provide can help you refine your messaging and content strategy moving forward.
Nurture email campaigns are a staple of mid-funnel outreach, but they can also keep new customers engaged. Marketing can contribute to recurring revenue and customer retention by continuing to provide value to buyers after the sale. Emails can keep the conversation going with useful thought leadership content, relevant product developments, webinars invites, or training resources. Email to current customers also establishes a channel for cross-selling, referrals, and soliciting customer feedback.
It’s time to up your content game
Buyer engagement and conversion starts with winning content. PMG has a long history of partnering with B2B tech and SaaS marketing organizations to drive business value through high-impact content and digital marketing programs. Contact us today for a free 20-minute consultation.