B2B marketing teams ultimately want to achieve one thing – to generate hot leads that they can pass over to sales for conversion. The secret to achieving this goal lies in producing awesome content that pulls in the right kind of prospects then expertly guides them on towards a sale, hitting them with the right messages at the right time.
Creating strong, strategic and highly effective pieces of content takes a lot of thought and planning. The whole process requires constant analysis and review, alongside an understanding of the industry, wider economy and any other issues that prospects may be dealing with or interested in.
The most successful marketing teams will be ones that sit within an organisation where all departments come together and share their learnings. Decisions about everything from the buyer journey to which customers to target and what pieces of content to produce and when, will be a team effort. They will be made based on genuine customer insights that are pooled from all departments, so there’s no going in blind with a plan based purely on assumptions and guess work.
While sales teams will have a lot of insights and observations to bring to the table, they’re not the only ones. Another great source of information that could be used to make your content even stronger is customer services. When did you last speak to your customer services team and mine them for data to use for your content marketing and in attracting more clients?
Customer service insights
One way to look at content marketing, is as the ability to foster deep customer relationships. If you understand your customers and their needs then you can use that information to create content that will help you attract even more of the same type of customers. That means anything that happens after the sale – in operations, as well as customer services – is important to include in your content marketing strategy.
Here are just a few of the questions you should be asking your customer services team:
- What are customers asking?
In B2B content marketing the biggest challenge remains to create content that will attract a target audience and get them interested in what you have to offer. Explaining your products and services is a great way to produce content relevant to specific customer journey stages. One way to find out what information real clients may be looking for before they purchase, is to look at what customers have been asking after they’ve bought.
- What complaints and feedback is available that you can review?
As well as the most commonly asked questions, complaints and general feedback can both be great areas to mine for your content. Look out for any similarities and patterns, including across verticals or other demographics, and see which ones could form the foundation of some great pieces of content.
- What aftersales learnings are there?
Content marketing doesn’t stop once a purchase has been made. In fact, it can help greatly when it comes to increasing customer retention levels. Think what helpful information you could continue to present to your client base after they’ve bought from you. Find out what will be the best and most helpful way to stay in touch with them. For this part of the customer journey it is again important to call on all the intelligence that customer services and operations teams will hold.
Content examples and ideas
So you now know where you should be looking for extra inspiration and insights for your content marketing but what should you then do with it? Here are a few ideas:
- Case studies
The staple of any B2B sales team, case studies are also a must for content marketing. The aim of them is to help prospective buyers to relate and spot similarities with their own situation and need. Mining information from across teams for your various verticals will help you hit the right notes.
- Product in action
Showing how different companies are using your product or service is another way to present case studies and one which will give you lots of good content. Just don’t make the mistake of guessing how customers use it, make sure you interview them for this specific purpose. Doing that may itself lead to some good cross-selling or co-marketing opportunities when you speak to your clients.
- Video client interviews
These are similar to case studies but presented in a different format. They will be a bit trickier and more time-heavy to produce, but if done well can be extremely powerful. Keep the focus on the benefits that clients have found, so that is the message you’ll present to potential new clients. Make it easy by asking only relevant questions.
Another staple in the sales tool box. There is nothing like having your clients tell others how great your service is. Testimonials can be presented in any format and you should explore as many as you can. Whether they are in written form on your website, videos, or even in-person events that mix your existing clients with new prospects, don’t forget them in your content marketing plan.
Top tip: Getting testimonials can sometimes prove difficult and you need to respect that your clients are busy people. Many may be willing to give you a testimonial but just don’t have the time to sit down and do it. If you write a draft for them and send it across for their approval then you will have a far better chance. Make sure you have all the appropriate figures together to support the testimonial, as that will make it easier for you to put it into words. Be as specific as possible ‘this is a great company’ is not going to get you much traction.
What are the most frequently asked questions teams hear, both before and after the sale? Think about ways you can work with them and present these questions and answers in a digital format for your audience. Don’t just post them on your website, use them and drip feed them out, for example by addressing them (and adding links) within your email campaigns as well.
- Customer surveys
If you undertake customer surveys then they could be another treasure trove of valuable insights you can use within your content and marketing activities. This is particularly true if the results are going to be potentially interesting for an entire industry, or any other specific group within your broader audience.
- Search function on your website
Another source of information that could help you produce relevant and effective content is your website search function. Do you know what people are actually typing into your search bar? What words or phrases are they looking for? Are there any gaps you need to fill in the content you are offering? If your website doesn’t currently offer a search function then get one installed, it’s an easy win all round.
A quick note for new businesses – If you are a new business and don’t have existing clients to go to then you will need to rely on assumptions initially. But as soon as you have clients, start gathering the intelligence you need to create strong, interesting and relevant content. When you first start out, make sure you have all the processes in place that you will need to make sure insights are gathered, recorded and shared between teams.
And the result…
The key to all of this is to be able to put yourself into your buyer’s shoes. You want to be able to anticipate what kind of questions they may have when evaluating your solution. Through your content marketing you can then ensure you are not only answering these questions before they even ask them, but you’re going far beyond that. You are also showing them how successful your product or service is in reality, through case studies and the words of real customers. It really is win-win.