Recently, Allie Kline, the reputable AOL CMO who has an eye for the B2B industry and has come with many precious insights in the past, declared that content marketing is one of the most important investments a B2B brand should make in order to authentically communicate the brand purpose and engage customers. She also said that content marketing is about providing value to the end customers, not about advertising (source: https://marketingland.com/a-cmos-view-aol-cmo-says-content-marketing-is-about-value-not-advertising-135991).
Even though the importance of content marketing can’t be neglected, recent research (https://contentmarketinginstitute.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/2016_Aus_Research_11.16.15_Final.pdf) proves that companies have quite a hard time finding success with content marketing. While more than 81% B2B marketers recognize the importance of content marketing, only 28% recognize that they are using this channel effectively. While 46% of marketers have a clear marketing strategy in mind, 40% have a strategy that is not documented. In other words, they are running blind.
Even though the study listed above refers to the Australian market, the results are the same in all countries in the world. Content marketing is a very important tool for B2B companies, but it is more than often not understood and not applied correctly. If it would be correctly applied, B2B marketers would enjoy huge success on the market.
Content marketers are failing at content marketing because they are not aware of the main pitfalls. According to the specialists all over the world, here are the top 5 content marketing mistakes B2B companies are regularly making with content marketing.
As stated by a recent research published by the Content Marketing Institute and Marketing Profs and sponsored by Brightcove (Source: https://contentmarketinginstitute.com/2014/10/2015-b2b-content-marketing-research/), the main reason B2B companies fail at content marketing is that their strategy is driven by assumptions. In other words, they suffer from a lack of documented content marketing strategy.
According to this study, over 60% of companies with a documented strategy reported tremendous success using their content marketing plan rather than just 7% of B2B companies without an effective strategy.
Effective content marketing should be based on various customer insights, not on trends and suppositions. It is not enough just to study the trends and to have a general idea on what your customers need. Instead, conduct weekly brainstorm sessions with your team and plan your approach to content marketing using a personalized strategy.
The whole idea around content marketing is to use it as an effective sales and lead generation tool. However, in order to do that, it is imperative to know who your target customer is. A good content marketing strategy should resonate with the company’s prospects.
The content should be written from a customer point of view and should revolve around the needs and wants of modern B2B prospects. Before creating your content, try to pinpoint what types of customers you are trying to engage. Once you know who your target customer is, you will be able to easily create the right type of content that speaks directly to your customers.
After you determine who your company’s target customers are, it is time to create content that has a strategic approach and that targets their specific needs.
The sustainability and effectiveness of a company’s content marketing strategy goes hand in hand with a deep understanding of the importance and value of content marketing in the eyes of prospects.
Consumers are always inspired by high-quality content. According to a recent study conducted recently and showcased in this infographic (https://www.demandmetric.com/content/content-marketing-infographic), over 60% of people are searching for a service or product after reading about it. Additionally, over 82% of B2B consumers gain more trust in a company after being exposed to custom content.
The above study also shows that more than 80% of potential leads prefer learning about a company by reading custom content. As a result, marketers believe that custom content is a central part of a successful marketing strategy.
This content marketing pitfall is due to the lack of measurement metrics available for companies. Successful content marketers believe that the metrics that should be used by B2B companies that want to thrive on the market are:
- Increased web traffic
- Increased sales and lead quality
- Increased SEO ranking
- Brand awareness lift
- Increased subscriber rates/ renewal rates
Each of these metrics is extremely important, being specially designed to help companies measure a unique aspect of their content marketing strategy.
Experts suggest that one of the proven keys to successful B2B content is the ongoing ability to generate a constant source of inbound traffic to the sales page or website.
According to a recent report published by State of Inbound (https://www.stateofinbound.com/), companies are likely to see up to 3 times higher ROI by using inbound marketing than with outbound marketing campaigns. Inbound marketing has been found to be much more successful at delivering leads.
This all means that your content marketing strategy should be focused around providing value to your prospects and enticing them to visit your website. Of course, in order to be successful, it is important to check the metrics regularly. The same study shows that B2B marketers who check the metrics at least 3 times a week are 20% more likely to achieve positive ROI.
The Bottom Line
There is no doubt that content marketing is still king in 2016. B2B companies that want to thrive in their niches need to learn how to stay away from making the above 5 content marketing mistakes.
As a B2B marketer, you need to be able to perceive the power and effectiveness of content marketing. This is one of your most valuable engagement and sales tool. To make the most out of content marketing, ensure that you develop tight metrics, you use content to power inbound marketing and you understand why customers love content marketing. Additionally, remember that your content marketing strategy should not be driven by assumptions, but by what your target customers want.
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