January 25, 2021
The use of B2B content marketing strategies have been steadily on the rise. The number of B2B marketers with a documented strategy has risen two percent year-over-year since 2017 (Statista), and now 43% of B2B marketers utilize a documented strategy, which indicates more businesses are focusing on improving content campaigns.
While content efforts have risen, we continue to see the same errors occurring in the B2B content marketing world. Here are the top mistakes to watch out for and the best ways to correct them.
The most common mistake B2B companies make across content channels is drafting copy that highlights services or promotes the business too heavily. Top-of-the-funnel content consists of social media, website homepages, blogs, and more. Homepages are often packed with descriptions of the product or the biographies of the company or founders. It’s important to remember that someone landing on a website may not have even decided whether they're in the market for a product or service, so going, so going for the hard sell immediately is a mistake.
How to correct: When buyers land on your website or social media pages, they immediately want to know what value you offer them. Messaging should be buyer-centric and focus on educating the prospect on their problem rather than going for the hard sell.
According to Statista, 53% of B2B marketers noted in-person events as the most effective channel to drive conversions, while email and phone conversations compete for a close second.
Although these traditional channels are still effective in B2B marketing, their success depends on how much value a brand can drive while they have a prospect's attention.
How to correct: B2B marketers should strive to use content in the sales funnel. By finding gaps in the pipeline, content needs become more apparent. Where do leads drop off? Where are conversion rates the lowest? Create content that addresses the buyer’s needs at that specific point in the funnel to keep prospects converting.
Databox found that B2B marketers focus roughly two-thirds of their content at the top of the funnel. While content is beneficial at this point in the buyer’s journey, it also has a place in the middle- and bottom-of-the-funnel.
How to correct: Not all prospects convert, and some may be missed opportunities. Looking at analytics, you can discover gaps in the sales funnel where potential buyers lose interest. Content can play a role here as a touchpoint or a more personalized piece addressing specific pain points. The best content types for bottom-of-the-funnel include personalized videos or articles, case studies, and demos.
Design plays a crucial role in conversions, but making the CTA button red or orange won’t move the needle as much as you think. Landing pages that perform poorly probably don’t need a design overhaul until messaging has been revamped.
How to correct: Conversion optimization relies heavily on proper messaging. When someone lands on the page, do they clearly understand the value the product or service offers? Can they immediately decipher whether or not this product is for them? If they need to scroll down to read more, then it’s time to take another look at the page’s content. That said, cutting content is not a requirement. Instead, aim to reorganize the information hierarchy, so a compelling reason to convert is front and center.
Demand Gen found that 97% of B2B buyers said it was important that vendor websites have relevant content that spoke directly to their company, and 79% noted that the winning vendor’s content had a significant impact on their buying decision. Unfortunately, B2B companies do not personalize website content in an attempt to “target everyone.” This strategy typically backfires and the website ends up targeting no one.
How to correct: ABM marketing is growing in popularity as it focuses on attracting more qualified leads. One of the challenges of ABM marketing, however, is creating personalized content at scale. B2B companies not already investing in ABM marketing likely find themselves with low conversion rates because their content is not targeted. Hyper-personalized content, however, may not appeal to a large enough audience. Personalized content at scale uses segmentation in the sales funnel and further segmentation by industry, account type, etc., to appeal to a targeted group of prospects. This type of content works well to draw in qualified leads that convert.
Lastly, it’s essential to track B2B content marketing efforts. Data-driven changes can improve a campaign, whereas basing decisions on a gut instinct may give you poor results. B2B marketers who create content for the entire funnel, while incorporating impactful messaging and personalization at scale will find success in an increasingly competitive market.
Statista, B2B marketing in the U.S., 2020.
Databox, How to Create & Measure Your Content Marketing Funnel, June 16, 2020.
Demand Gen, The 2019 B2B Buyers Survey Report, 2019.
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Grow your B2B business boldly. Ironpaper is a B2B marketing agency. We build growth engines for marketing and sales success. We power demand generation campaigns, ABM programs, create B2B content, strengthen sales enablement, and improve B2B marketing efforts.