If you are a B2B business, it’s essential to create content for every stage of the buyer’s journey. This is because, in today’s digital age, B2B buyers want helpful online content before purchasing your product or service.
Through content creation, you are building trust and credibility with your customers. But content is a craft, and with any art, there’s a right way and a wrong way to do it. Read on to find out how to create the right content for every stage of the B2B buyer’s journey.
The Importance of Content Marketing for B2B
Before you even create any content for your B2B, it’s important to understand content marketing and the role of having a content marketing strategy in place. Simply put, content marketing is a more indirect form of marketing that involves creating and distributing valuable and engaging content to a clearly defined target audience.
When your audience searches for answers online, your content ideally provides solutions or offers them a good perspective.
In today’s world, content marketing is no longer an option but a must-have. It’s also crucial to have a content marketing strategy for your B2B tailored to your buyers.
This is content marketing in action. Hiring an expert team of content marketers that specialize in the B2B space to create one ensures a custom-made B2B content marketing strategy is developed for your brand—not just a generic one.
Understanding the B2B Buyers Journey
Along with understanding the importance of content marketing and having a content marketing strategy, you need to understand the buyer’s journey. The buyer’s journey describes the series of steps that a potential customer (prospect or lead) goes through before deciding to purchase a product or service.
Without even realizing it, you go through this journey many times in your life. Just think of the last time you purchased a product or service. There were stages leading up to your decision.
There are a few variations of the buyer’s journey—it’s not an exact science, so every marketer will put their spin on it. But for the sake of simplicity and clarity, we’ve narrowed it down to the following four main stages:
- Awareness Stage
- Consideration Stage
- Decision Stage
- Retention stage
Content for Each Stage of the B2B Buyer’s Journey
To help elevate your content marketing journey, below is a list of the best types of content for each of the four stages of the B2B buyer’s journey.
Keep in mind, some of the content used in one stage can be used in another. But it’s done in a tailored way.
1.) The Awareness Stage and Content Creation
The first stage of the B2B buyer’s journey is all about getting people—the right people, of course (your target audience)—to see and read your content. At this stage, your potential buyers are becoming aware that they have a problem (pain point) and need help.
They research and gather information before they decide whether to buy your B2B product or service. This is where you need to be a master in grabbing their attention, so they know you exist. You do this by providing them with highly valuable and highly targeted content like:
- Blog posts: these are educational and informative and often the first go-to places for audiences to get more information about a particular issue/topic.
- Social media posts: are easily digestible forms of content audiences like to go to for information.
- Infographics: these visual forms of content are highly effective at presenting valuable information to audiences.
- Video: is just as valuable—if not more in some cases—as written content. For instance, you can showcase your product or service in a video.
Keep in mind that ideally, you want to offer these types of content for free during the awareness stage. After all, you’d be hard-pressed to find people at this stage wanting to pay for information they can easily get somewhere else. Not to mention they don’t even have a relationship with you.
There is no brand loyalty and trust at this stage. Remember, it should be about assisting them with their research and information gathering.
2.) The Consideration Stage and Content Creation
At this stage, your audience considers all their options, including you. They’ve done their research and gathered all the information they require.
By now, they also have a much better understanding of their problem or need. You’ve captured their attention with your content, and now they just need to decide who they will do business with. Now, it’s time to convince your potential buyer that you’re the one they need. To do this, you create content like:
- eBooks and white papers add a layer of professionalism and expertise to your brand and hence credibility and authority for your prospective buyers.
- Case studies add an extra layer of social proof by demonstrating the benefits of working with you and also offer a good comparison between you and your competitors.
- Testimonials and reviews are all social proof which turbo-charge your credibility, expertise, and overall professionalism.
- Webinars, live streaming, and live events showcase your expertise and provide a more intimate way of engaging with your audience.
3.) The Decision Stage and Content Creation
If you’ve done the previous two stages right, then this stage is the selling point. It’s where your B2B buyer is ready to spend money on your product or service.
But you need to give them a final nudge through your content to ensure they will come all the way with you. That is, they don’t change their mind at the last minute and go to your competitor.
Often, they will go through three out of sometimes even five stages before they even start thinking about buying. This is because there is SO much competition, and consumer behavior has changed.
Now, consumers are pickier and invest more time in research and weighing their options. But don’t be deterred. Just focus on delivering great content. At this stage, create content like:
- Free trials, demos, and consultations: everyone loves a free giveaway or a great offer that adds value and saves them money.
- Sales content: get on the phone or online and show your prospective buyer how your product or service is the solution they have been waiting for.
- Sales presentations: if done right, this can lock in the sale. Consider presenting a compelling and persuasive sales presentation in the form of a slideshow, for instance.
- Traditional marketing: despite the digital age, creating content like printed brochures and booklets that can be handed out is still viable and gives that extra nudge in convincing a buyer to do business with you.
4.) The Retention Stage and Content Creation
This is all about building long-term relationships with your buyer. You don’t want them as a once-off customer; instead, you want to retain them and get repeat business. So you must invest some time and make them feel that they are a valuable and important part of your community.
You do this through creating content like:
Email marketing: email campaigns and newsletters that keep the conversation going and add further value to your buyers.
Social media updates: you need to have a consistent social media management strategy that keeps your buyers in the loop about news and events.
Live streaming and videos: these are a great way of getting buyers’ attention due to their visual appeal and high interactivity.
Blog posts: publish a new blog post at least once a week to stay up-to-date and in touch.
Podcasts: have surged in popularity as they are a great way to create a voice for your brand and conversations your buyers can tune in to.
Remember, this is a step-by-step process, so it should be followed to get the best results. You can’t take shortcuts and just skip a step or two. If you do, your content won’t be as effective. Ultimately, you want to make your buyers into long-term fans of your brand. To discuss your content needs and getting a content plan in place for your B2B, book time with us today.