The web has fundamentally changed the way we research topics we are interested in and how we solve problems and gaps in our knowledge. Your target audience is engaging with you directly much later in the sales cycle. You must seek to influence their understanding via content marketing.
Here are g2m Solutions rules of successful content marketing:
1. Know your buyers, understand their problems, their business pain and the gap between where they are now and where they want to be.
2. Understand that a buyer goes through a journey from uninterested and unaware in you and your products; to recognizing they have a problem that needs fixing; to becoming interested in engaging with you about how to fix it; to being prepared to consider a commercial proposal from you; to selecting you from a list of suppliers and becoming your customer.
3. Understand the “influencer architecture” of the decision making process. Who else is involved in the purchase process? There are both internal and external influencers. Your firm’s content must penetrate the minds of all the influencers.
4. Understand that the buyer’s content needs change at different stages of their journey and you must produce content that is relevant to the stage of the journey that your prospect has reached.
5. Have a multi-element campaign that builds your prospect’s knowledge stage by stage. As an example, this may mean educational content like blogs, white papers and eBooks that discuss the buyer’s problem in the early stages and content that validates your offer like demos and trials later in the buyer’s journey.
6. Have an automated lead nurture campaign that effectively and affordably offers that content to the buyer at the right time.
7. Know when the buyer is ready and happy to engage with a member of your sales team. Use forms that ask question related to sales readiness.
8. Create content that supports the entire funnel including the sales team in the lower funnel. It’s important your problem based messaging is consistent across both the marketing and sales stages of the funnel.
9. Is able to gather database information from that prospect at different stages of the buyer’s journey and hand over all the information gathered to that point to a sales person. Increasingly the quality of that lead data is scored to allow the sales team to rank opportunities.
10. Readily accepts a prospect that has leaked from the sales funnel and continues to nurture that lead until they are ready to engage once more. Specifically designed tactics should be introduced to recycle leads who have leaked.
Content marketing is the manifestation of the marketing revolution that is sweeping the B2B world, inbound marketing. It is in direct contrast to traditional interruption-based marketing and builds a true and meaningful dialog with prospects.