By now, most businesses have gotten the message that fresh, compelling content is the key to a successful digital marketing strategy, but many small B2B companies struggle to keep their content updated often enough to achieve optimum results. To complicate tactics even further, the bewildering proliferation of social media sites leaves them wondering where to place their efforts to get the best results.
Social media and content top the list of successful tactics
Recent research from The Content Marketing Institute provides insights into where you should place your efforts to increase traffic and move prospects along your sales funnel. Around 87 percent of respondents used social media and 83 percent use articles on their website. Yet in the same study, only 49 percent of respondents rated social media as effective or very effective.
The most effective social media site for B2B marketing is LinkedIn, but it’s just not enough to create a page and leave it as is. The most successful companies use social media to distribute content and drive prospects through the sales funnel to increase sales. The same study shows that a company needs to update their content a minimum of twice weekly to ensure success, and greater frequency results in greater success.
Content creation challenges many companies
At 20 percent, more companies cited producing enough content as their most difficult challenge, but putting the effort in results in significantly higher traffic and better results. Fresh content helps sites rank higher with search engines, and the resulting increased traffic leads to higher sales. The trick is to ensure that your content is engaging enough for human readers, not just web crawlers, so that readers develop a positive impression and a desire to follow your brand.
For success, tailor your content
The best way to engage readers is to tailor your content to specific reader characteristics. Approximately 91 percent of companies tailor their content in some way, including tailoring to specific buying personas or stages in the buying cycle. In fact, 71 percent of the most effective companies tailor their content, as compared to only 41 percent of the least effective companies.
Develop personas and sales stages for effective tailoring
To tailor your content most effectively, develop specific and detailed buying personas as targets for your content. A job title alone is not enough to provide sufficient detail for a target persona; effective personas include demographic details, industry challenges and even hobbies that the persona is likely to pursue. Every detail added to your personas can help you target your content for maximum impact.
You should also tailor content to specific stages in the buying cycle, addressing the needs of prospects in those stages. Determine if the prospect is in the information gathering stage, or is ready to make a decision and needs help putting together an ROI for the purchase before writing your content.
Pick a target before you produce content
Whenever you produce content, you should first decide on the specific persona and buying stage that you are targeting. Making these decisions up front helps you to grab the reader’s attention and deliver immediate value that leaves a positive impression. Unfocused content may bring traffic to your site, but it doesn’t necessarily result in higher sales because it may not address specific needs.
With content marketing, you receive benefits in direct proportion to the effort you make, and the effort is definitely worth it. Taking the time to focus your content and making the effort to keep it fresh and up to date will result in more traffic and increased sales.