The case is now long settled: Content marketing works. Demand Gen Report research published in the 2021 B2B Buyers Survey Report found that 80% of respondents say that a vendor’s content has a positive, significant impact on their buying decisions.
So if content works, but yours isn’t working—or not driving the results you hoped for—you have to ask, “Why not?” Here are five common answers we’ve found working for B2B organizations to develop effective content campaigns across a spectrum of industries.
You’re speaking to the wrong buyers. The best content won’t connect with buyers if you’re not speaking their language. Keep your buyer personas handy when you’re developing content to make sure you’re focused on the benefits they care about. More and more often, that means addressing content toward multiple audiences as the number of team members involved in B2B purchasing decisions has expanded. The B2B Buyers Survey Report uncovered that 19% of companies formed buying committees for the first time in the past year, alongside the 49% who already had them in place.
You’re making things complicated. This can happen when you focus too much on products and solutions and not enough on your buyers and what they care about. Buyers care about their problems and how you’re going to help them solve them. Product-focused white papers and E-books come at the end of the buyer’s journey, when they’re ready to make a decision and weighing their options. Earlier phases of the journey are better served with shorter, simpler content.
Your ho-hum message isn’t getting their attention. Bland, safe content doesn’t fly in a landscape that’s crawling with competitors. If your message blends in with all the other messages they’re reading, buyers won’t see what’s new and fresh about your solution. Incorporate action verbs, more vibrant visuals, eye-catching graphics and a fresh message that demonstrates how your solution stands out.
You’re not mapping your content. You don’t serve up buyer’s guides and detailed demos to early-stage buyers, and you don’t lean on fluff pieces for customers who are ready to buy. Map your content to the buyer’s journey to make sure you’re delivering the messages that are appropriate for the stage of the journey they’re on. Guide them from the awareness stage all the way through to the decision stage. This chart from the B2B Buyers Survey Report offers a general map of what your buyer’s priorities are likely to be as they progress through a purchase decision.
You don’t track engagement. Go beyond open rates and downloads to gather as much information as possible about how your content is performing. A realistic picture of how you’re doing will show you what to do more of and what you need to improve.
“If you build it, they will come” may work for baseball fields, but it’s not enough for B2B content marketing assets. Use these tips to point you in the right direction to increase the ROI for disappointing assets. And if you need additional support to face down your content challenges, grab some time with an expert strategist in a complimentary call.
Holly Celeste Fisk is an accomplished marketing pro with 20+ years of experience in B2B and B2C. She’s responsible for Content4Demand’s internal marketing efforts, managing everything from content creation and email marketing to events and sponsorships, blog publishing, website management and social media presence. When she’s not working, you’ll find her sliding into third at softball, buried in a book or practicing her Italian.