Clutch recently released a report where they surveyed over 380 employees who'd read business content within the last week. The report sought to discover how B2B audiences interact with business content online, and the findings illustrate the importance of SEO and content marketing, with notes that can be used to tweak or revise a B2B content marketing strategy.
As any content marketer knows, strategies need thorough testing and analyzing. For those who have poor performing B2B content marketing campaigns, here are some key takeaways and advice based on the newly reported statistics on how B2B audiences behave.
Revise website, blog, and social SEO strategy
Marketers know that - though sometimes claimed otherwise - SEO is still very much alive, and forms a critical part of any campaign. For B2B marketers that aren't seeing results, a first place to examine might be your SEO strategy.
According to the report, B2B audiences most frequently encounter business-related content through search engines (87%) and social media (85%). Where companies place on page one of Google really matters, so it’s important to look at your keywords of focus, and ensure you rank for industry topics. Furthermore, social media is essential - even for B2B products.
Three-fourths (75%) of B2B audiences frequently engage with business content on company websites - but they also have to find the company website first, which, again, underlines how critical SEO can be. Furthermore, according to Google, 89% of B2B buyers begin their purchasing process through search.
The numbers show that B2B marketers that aren't making an effort to get their company onto the first page of Google results for strategic keywords are likely missing out on business. If new leads are slow to come in, it may well be because your SEO campaign needs revision.
Use the company blog strategically
According to the survey, 33% of B2B audiences consume content about a company through the company blog or an article. To find information about a specific company, a B2B buyer will also look at reviews (25%) and product descriptions (16%).
These statistics show that it’s important to have relevant content about each product or service you offer on your company blog or site. Use filters and tags so that B2B audiences can find what they need quickly - marketers can also put new features and product information in blog post format, so that anyone potentially going to buy can find such information easily.
Fill the sales funnel with content
Clutch's research also found that the reason that B2B audiences consume business content (or content about a company) generally reflects their stage in the conversion funnel.
Those at the top of the funnel, in the awareness phase, are more likely to read blogs and articles, which most B2B marketers have covered. Moving down the sales funnel to the interest phase, B2B audiences read product descriptions (28%) more than reviews (27%) and blogs or articles (18%). B2B audiences in the decision phase then read reviews (32%) on the product before taking action.
B2B marketers should remember to have ample content covering each stage, so that potential buyers stay informed as they move along to becoming a client. Pay close attention to product descriptions and reviews, making sure to ask happy customers to write reviews of the product or service. This type of content can help turn an interested prospect into a client.
Bylines and guest posts should discuss technology
B2B audiences consume content about technology (45%), ahead of content about small businesses (24%) or workplace/personnel (21%). These statistics indicate that third-party content should discuss the technological trends in the business industry. Nearly half of those surveyed (45%) indicated that their primary reason for reading business-related content online is to stay informed about business and industry trends - more than twice as much as any other reason.
Bylines and guest posts are an excellent way to showcase the technical insight of a founder or CEO. B2B marketers should make sure to keep their third-party content strategy favoring technical content, instead of trying to write about business or workplace issues. Technological content is more likely to be seen by B2B audiences with buying power - while many founders and CEOs want to discuss their product in third-party content, these articles will be hard to place, and are unlikely to be seen by prospects.
Bylines and guest posts are also another way to increase SEO rankings, so this tactic should be in every marketer’s arsenal.
Test and retest strategies
When enacting any change in a marketing strategy, thorough testing is necessary. B2B marketers should measure the increased number of leads, as well as actions taken within the funnel.
Working with the sales team, B2B marketers will be able to establish a firm understanding of which marketing tactics help to transform prospects into clients, and where there are gaps in the sales funnel that can be filled with quality content. It’s important to watch B2B audience behavior to find out how to tweak strategies, resulting in better performing campaigns.