The content used in effective B2B marketing campaigns is written differently, has a different tone, voice, and overall different feel than B2C campaigns. While the end goal may be similar for both B2B and B2C brands—driving conversions and generating leads—how these two arrive at their destination can vary greatly.
For example, B2C brands may use social media platforms like Instagram and Pinterest to publish and promote their content, but B2B brands will likely choose LinkedIn and Facebook instead.
5 tips to create problem-focused content
When it comes to social justice issues and other causes, two thirds of Americans want brands to take a stance on these topics. And in many cases, when your business does align itself with supporting a specific cause, it pays off. Take Nike for example, who sponsored Colin Kaepernick, an athlete who faced scrutiny for openly expressing his personal political views. While there were many who disagreed with this move, it resulted in a 31% increase in sales.
1. Do your research and build relationships
Before you go and create an alliance with a non-profit organization or post about your company’s values, be sure to do research on your customers. You want to be confident that the stance you take on your particular issue of choice is also reflected in your audience.
While you don’t have to exactly mimic their opinions, you don’t want to alienate and offend your target audience. Doing comprehensive research about how your audience feels on your topic of choice is crucial to problem-focused content.
For B2B brands, this means taking a look at the businesses you want to work with and see if they have a stance on this topic. More importantly, it means networking and building relationships with others in your field. Having conversations about the topic and listening to what other people have to say is the core of B2B content marketing because, while you’re building relationships between people, you’re also building relationships between brands.
2. Tell a story
Behind big brands are people who make the brand with their own stories. These stories are powerful ways to connect with your audience because they may be going through something similar. The answer is to start a conversation and connect to the people behind the businesses that you want to work with or work for.
Regardless of the B2B digital marketing trends that are being copied within your content, whether it’s an Instagram post, an infographic, or a video, you need to tell a story. Tell a story of how your team and your brand came to care for the cause you’re advocating and why you want to openly express those feelings in your business.
3. Focus on long-term profit instead of short-term gains
Purpose-driven and problem-focused content connects brands with users on a deeper level. You’re finding common ground with your audience through a cause you can both support. In this purpose-driven lead generation journey, you’ll need to think about long-term profit and not short-term gains.
This means that the content you produce for this campaign needs to focus on the issue you’re contributing to and not your products and services. It would be in bad taste if during a breast cancer awareness campaign, a brand made that cause seem secondary to its products. If you’re going to support an issue, support the issue. Don’t try to detract from the heart of your campaign. You’re investing in your business and in your audience, you’re increasing your brand awareness and brand authority, so hold your brand in a higher regard and let another issue take the spotlight on this campaign; it will pay off in the long run.
4. Use authenticity and transparency
In a world where brands, celebrities, and influencers alike can be cancelled in minutes and lose millions of followers in just an hour, authenticity and transparency are key.
To drive B2B conversions with a problem-focused content marketing plan, the brands interested in doing business with you will want to know exactly what they’re getting into, as the deal they make could also very well reflect on them.
It’s important to be real and tell the truth. Where are your products coming from and going to? Where are the materials being sourced? Where is the money going? What percent is your team going to take? Having answers to these questions and being open about those answers will help keep everyone on the same page.
5. Be the solution
Problem-focused content can be used for many different things; you can help organizations increase awareness, raise money, grow their email lists, and donate supplies, but for some B2B brands, your company can also help be the solution.
Salesforce is a cloud-based software company that helps businesses grow through marketing automation, analytics, and app development. One of the causes they champion is environmentalism and sustainability. With their Salesforce sustainability cloud, they aim to “empower every business to drive impactful climate action.” The sustainability cloud allows companies to, “quickly track, analyze and report reliable environmental data to help them reduce their carbon emissions.” If your team has the means and the resources, the content that’s created for your problem-focused campaign could also be the solution.
Advice from the experts
Sometimes in business you need other people to help guide you along the way. These five seasoned experts have the tips that will help B2B marketers hone their problem-focused content marketing plans:
It’s important for B2B brands to understand their audience and provide quality content their users can learn from. He states that American Express, the founding organization of Small Business Saturday, has provided useful content to small business owners and entrepreneurs alike. He mentions,
One advantage that American Express has over some publishers is its impressive roster of guest contributors… American Express’ content is organized into logical, intuitive sections, and reads very much like B2C content, proving that accessibility is just as important as substance.
Alicia’s tip for B2B marketers is to diversify your reach. There’s no one person that makes business decisions in any brand. Oftentimes, there are multiple layers of approval that need to happen.
Looking at the diversity of the reach is something we pay an incredible amount of attention to. Just reaching the CIO is not good enough because the CIO is not the sole decision-maker.
She wants marketers to be aware there is no single decision-maker within a company, so look to extend your brand’s reach by targeting multiple levels of people within a business.
Neil Patel, founder of Crazy Egg
The key to creating consistently engaging content is simple:
Focus on the story you want to tell, and then worry about selling your business within the content.
So if you’re still wondering what lead generating content marketing is, tell the story of your business and have that be the focal point. Focus on selling after.
Gary Vaynerchuk, best-selling author and speaker,
At Imagine 2019, Gary said that convenience is how brands will connect with their audience. He talks about how voice search is going to be big because of how easy it is to use.
Everyone is talking about privacy, but I actually know you don’t give a sh*t about privacy… It’s convenience and time-saving that people care about.
If you can conveniently communicate with your audience and save their time, you have their attention.
B2B digital marketing trends
Some of the B2B digital marketing trends that we’re looking forward to seeing in 2020 are voice, email marketing and the usage of social media. As Gary said, voice is convenient and it saves time. Up until now we’ve only seen B2C companies leverage this technology, so it will be interesting to see how B2B brands step up to the technologically evolving plate.
Email marketing is another trend that has been widely praised by B2B and B2C marketers. With the average ROI for email marketing being $42 for every $1 you spend, it’s no wonder more businesses across industries are focusing on their email marketing strategy.
Lastly comes social media. The ever-changing landscape of social media is a B2B marketing trend to watch out for, as brands become more creative with the content they put out on their social channels. 2020 is going to be an exciting year for B2B!