Online marketing a B2B? How to compete with B2C content & win
Everyone is always going on and on about cat videos and while I don't mind that angry cat with the squashed face, cats generally I can scroll on by. Now dogs.....dogs in clothes pretending they are Beyonce, well that my friends is a whole different laughing matter. Rolling around the floor, bumping into things funny that is.
Dogs in turbans, articles about the meaning of life, news articles about the extreme states of the world, tech success stories and business advice that connects to my particular problem on a particular day all get my attention.
Now, I imagine you are visualising me opening multiple apps, tapping through to Facebook, then LinkedIn, zooming in on ABC News and finally resting on Instagram ramped up on coffee looking to be informed and entertained. Nope I'm on Facebook. It's 3pm, I'm not allowed to have anymore caffeine because it will have me thinking about death and finances at 3am. So, to give myself a desperately needed ping of dopamine I am lazily scrolling through the one place that has all the stuff.
Humans are messy, all over the place content readers. We don't compartmentalise like it feels we should. Our heads mash up business, animals, kids, funny things, sad things all in one giant twisted ball of plasticine and we don't read things in the nice pretty places that makes sense to read things. A US study (because I can't find an Australian one) says on average people spend 50 minutes a day on Facebook and 2 minutes on LinkedIn.
You read it right people '2 minutes a day on LinkedIn'. Think I'm crazy, here's some real live client stats right here. See the difference in engagement from LinkedIn to Facebook. We were posting pure B2B Content and it had a 6.5% click through rate on Facebook and a 1.6% conversion on LinkedIn.
So while I know it feels right to spend all your online or digital marketing budget on social media that wears a suit, you also need to be where your B2B audience are engaged, and that is on Facebook.
And you know what that means right? It means your business to business online marketing is taking on the big boys. It is taking on... den, den, dennnnn.....the DOG SINGING 'I LOVE YOU'.
'AAAAAAAAHHHHHHH - How on earth do I compete!' I hear you scream helplessly.
Make your online marketing about your customers not about you.
Everyone knows a time when they felt physical and emotional pain at being stuck near someone at a BBQ that went on and on and on and on about their topic of choice, while you stand there like a block of wood knowing that interaction is neither wanted or required but escape would mean a social awkwardness.
To create content that people want to read, watch or listen to you need to know your customers hearts. Here are the things you must know about your customers before you embark on your content journey
1) Whats are they struggling with? What could you education them on that would ease the struggle and point them in the direction of success?
2) What are they scared of and what could you produce to shine a light on an issue which would allay their fears?
3) What topical issues do they need to know to keep their knowledge up to date in their field?
4) What will make their long days brighter and more interesting?
Here's an example of an eBook we did for Noojee. Noojee is one of Australia's leading Call Centre SaaS businesses. One of their primary audiences is Call Centre Managers. Do Call Centre Managers want to read about Call Centre Software? On most days, no. On most days they are worried about how to keep their hard to engage call centre operators motivated and how to stop them from crying in the toilet when they don't make their targets.
From talking to Call Centre Managers on Noojee's behalf, we know that most of these people are 'people, people'. They are interested in how people tick and they are keen to keep their teams happy. They also know that by keeping their teams happy and motivated, they will produce better results. Better results mean a bigger bonus at the end of year. Hoorah! The world is a better and happier place. That's why we produced an eBook and a series of blogs for Noojee around just this topic.
On going content like this has seen Noojee's site traffic increase by 67%, time on page increase by 40% and lead generation by 37%. Exciting stuff right?
Online marketing that's different, that's you
The temptation in B2B is to copy the other guys, copy what has worked in the past. Look to green pastures with your content, wriggle out from what the other guys are doing. Being bold and being different gives you a chance to stay ahead of the pack. To stand out, to make people want to choose you, you need to have a point of difference, to stand for something. Make sure your content is reliably you, not a copycat of another company.
Make online marketing creative
Don't think because you're talking business it needs to be monotone. A lot depends on our jobs, but I think we can see with how much time we actually give to business platforms i.e 1 minute - where our heads are at a good portion of the time. Apply the rules of B2C digital marketing right back through to B2B content. It needs to be interesting and creative enough so we can pique people's interest and make them pay attention. Due to social niceties they might sit through a long and boring powerpoint presentation in a board room, but behind the doors of social media they are doing what they like.
Here's an awesome example of creative B2B content for Volvo Trucks which to date has had 72 million Youtube views.
Make sure your online marketing targeting is right
No matter how awesome you've made your content your dollars aren't going to work as hard if you have accidentally included Gen Y in your targeting and your key audience is 50 year old men. B2C brands love millennials with their confident ways and disposable incomes. B2B tech brands often love the decision making Gen Xs and Boomers. Getting your targeting right lowers the noise and clutter and stops wasted money on impressions.
Online marketing content needs to be searchable
Do you want to bow out of the fight against the 'Dramatic Chimpmunk'?
Then you need to make sure that your content appears after a Google tap tap taparoo. The most creative, interesting, beautifully written, gorgeously designed (you get the picture) content is only using half its power if it can only be found through paid advertising. What you really want is to be there when your customer are wanting help with problems, help with deciding and help finding who to trust. That means your content must be search engine friendly.
Finally, once your online marketing grabs attention, make sure to catch 'em like a fly in your content web.
So you've come up against the cat flushing the toilet and you've won. Someone has chosen to read a bit of your content, handed over an email address. Don't let this wonderful person wither on the content vine. Make sure you have a way to gently nudge them, like a soft, velvety, nosed horse down the purchase funnel.
This means creating content through the awareness stage, consideration stage and decision stage. Here's an example of topics we did for Noojee Telephony that outlined the content we would make through every stage.
Content that can hold its own against animals, envy inducing holidays, hillbillies playing ACDC and breathtaking world wonders is an asset. Build yourself a bank of content that competes against the real world, put it where the real world can see it and watch it blossom into one of the hardest working members of your sales team.