By now, most businesses involved in both B2B and B2C sales understand the value of content marketing. By providing consistent content via platforms including social media, blogs, white papers, videos, and infographics, companies can engage their customers with the kind of information that boosts traffic and drives sales.
However, businesses need to leverage that content effectively in order to yield results.
The Benefits of Great Content
If you haven’t already recognized the value of content marketing, check out this article. In general, businesses that implement an effective content marketing strategy can expect to see:
- Better search engine visibility
- A reputation as an authoritative voice within their industry
- Stronger brand identity and recognition
- A better relationship with customers
- Increased lead generation
There is one additional advantage of content marketing that isn’t as widely recognized. That’s because marketing strategies come up short, meaning this one particular benefit isn’t fully realized: higher sales conversions.
Using Content to Convert Leads
It’s widely known that content can help generate leads though things like eBook downloads and subscriptions signups. What isn’t as commonly known is that that same content, if used properly, can actually help convert those leads into customers.
To be successful though, sales teams need access to the unique content that makes those conversions possible.
On average, only 1 in 5 marketing leads turn into sales. That might be because only 18 percent of B2B marketers equip their sales teams with the content they need in an effective, on-brand and organized manner.
Additionally, 13 percent of B2B marketers had no sales enablement process, while 11 percent didn’t even know if they had one or not.
However, if content marketers take into consideration the detailed, personalized needs of both B2B and B2C audiences, the conversion rate will be much higher.
Marketers need to understand the customer journey in order to make content marketing effective. They need to provide the right content in the right place and time in order to facilitate the sales process, and that means understanding the different paths customers take during their journey.
The Customer Journey: Business-to-Business vs. Business-to-Consumer
The customer journey is different for these two sales environments right from the beginning, and different content is more useful in converting a sale at each stage in the process.
Businesses typically begin their journey by identifying a need; consumers, on the other hand, tend to operate on impulse. At this stage, the B2C lead is much more receptive to advertising and marketing than the B2B lead. It’s at the next stage when the divergent content strategies for B2B and B2C are most critical.
B2B leads conduct extensive research and comparisons, evaluating solutions for their identified need. They want tangible information and hard data—information that proves you can be the answer to their problem. Examples of these include:
- White papers
- Case studies
- Consumer surveys
- Product demos
- Informative blog posts
- Satellite sites
- Web events and webinars
B2C customers, on the other hand, are more influenced by peers. Friends, family, reviews by fellow shoppers—these are the primary figures in helping inform consumers at the product evaluation stage.
The average consumer is not particularly interested in case studies or webinars. Social content works best for the B2C environment, meaning Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are a must. Other platforms including Snapchat, Tumblr, and Pinterest can have varying levels of effectiveness, but those depend more on the product offered.
The most effective strategies for B2C marketing include:
- Social media
- Email coupons
- Infographics and photos
- Sharable video
- Mobile apps
The effect of content at the B2C decision stage is even more pronounced when it comes to younger consumers, many of whom no longer even respond to more conventional advertising. Engaging content can draw greater attention to your brand without shouting “Buy me!”
After their purchase, B2B clients tend to require much more support, and this is where your promises of support and service weigh most heavily. B2C customers, on the other hand, typically do not have any further interaction regarding a specific purchase once that purchase is complete, unless there is a problem with their purchase. At that point, customer service becomes overwhelmingly the most important element of the brand.
Converting and Retaining Customers with Stellar Content
Companies that manage to craft the strongest, most dynamic brand using content will be the most successful at winning new customers and capturing return visitors.
Customized content that meets prospects’ needs throughout the sales process has the ability to convert leads and retain valuable customers.
Photo by winnond/FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Monica Eaton-Cardone is Co-founder and COO of Chargebacks911.com.