If you’re just catching up with the latest inbound marketing strategies, you might not be aware of all the benefits content marketing brings to B2B businesses. Earlier this week, we discussed the basics: what content marketing entails and why you should take advantage of this trending methodology. If you’re convinced it will help but aren’t sure how to get started on your first campaign, here are the first three steps you need to take to establish a clear direction for a successfully targeted campaign.
1. Conduct Foundational Research
Today’s consumers make educated purchases by doing their research and that’s exactly where you should begin when planning for a content marketing campaign – with research. The B2B industry is unique in that consumers take very different paths than in the B2C market to reach a purchasing decision. This means that your company’s offering might place prospects on a Buyer’s Journey very different from the average purchasing path.
If you also serve several sectors or interact with prospective customers who maintain distinct roles in the same industry – such as clinicians and healthcare executives – you’ll also need to target multiple Buyer Personas with your campaign. These two key content marketing terms – Buyer’s Journey and Buyer Personas – should be carefully constructed using thorough research, with the essential influence of information gathered from your:
- Marketing team
- Sales department
- Average leads
- Current customers
2. Map Out the Buyer’s Journey
The Buyer’s Journey lays out the specific path consumers take to find and purchase your products and services. To create one that will best inform your campaign, include the touchpoints at which prospective customers interact with your content and list the pieces that you believe best resonate with them at each stage. The basic Buyer’s Journey consists of three key stages (Awareness, Consideration and Decision), but for B2B companies, it might include extra stages throughout the consumer’s lifecycle. Consider what they require at each stage. For example, an educational whitepaper or a neutral blog would be ideal at the Awareness stage, while a simple infographic would help differentiate vendors during the Consideration stage. Understanding your end-to-end sales cycle means understanding and outlining your company’s specific Buyer’s Journey.
3. Construct Your Buyer Personas
Use your preliminary research to create in-depth Buyer Personas that, as in a Shakespeare play, provide context for each player before the story begins. Determine what issues your target audience struggles with, what answers they seek and what resources they want to be met with at each stage so you can proactively move them further along the path to making their final decision. Flesh out a background story to place context around their challenges and consider extra details such as:
- Age, stage in life and possible personality
- The tone that resonates with them best
- Conversational, informative, technical, playful, etc.
- The online platforms on which they gather information, interact and share content
- Social media platforms, specific blogs, news outlets, etc.
- The specific purchasing power they hold in the workplace
- Do they make purchasing decisions or pass info along to superiors?
- The features they might compare across companies
- Price point, quality, guarantees, service, etc.
A lot of work goes into nailing down your company’s Buyer’s Journey and configuring the best methods to prepare for incoming leads.
But if you collaborate with colleagues, consumers and your marketing agency, you can piece together each of these elements to guide an effective content marketing campaign. For a more comprehensive guide to content marketing and its benefits specifically for B2B technology companies, download our free whitepaper: What is Content Marketing & Why Do Technology Companies Need It?
Are you interested in B2B healthcare marketing services? Contact Sagefrog Marketing Group today.