B2B manufacturers and wholesalers almost always underestimate the time, effort and expertise that goes into effective content marketing. It’s understandable; when you’re not immersed in the ever-changing digital world, you couldn’t know what it entails. Digital is just about pushing buttons right? Launch a nice website and wait for the sales to roll in. This is a trap for every traditional B2B wholesaler beginning in eCommerce – dangerously unaware of the content marketing challenges they will face.
Once the importance of quality content marketing is understood, the question is; “how do we relentlessly create content that is compelling and engaging about our brand?”
What is content marketing and why is it important?
Content marketing involves the consistent creation and promotion of digital material that your consumers will find valuable, useful and engaging.
Such material includes blogs, video’s and social media posts that are not about selling or promoting your products; but more about entertaining, and providing your audience with helpful information.
In this digital age, businesses and consumers want information fast and free. Content marketing is the quickest and most cost-effective way to tell your story, establish trust, foster relationships and build a brand community; but it is by no means easy.
Success in digital commerce is centred on attracting and keeping a clearly defined audience – the right audience.
Traditional versus digital – the same only different.
The traditional B2B manufacturer or wholesaler would invest their marketing dollars in trade shows, catalogues, newspapers and magazines. It’s difficult to measure how many eyes skimmed over those ads and which of your promotional efforts were bringing you leads.
Digital eCommerce is all these traditional methods combined (only better). It’s one big trade show and your website is your booth. It’s one big magazine and social media is your full page colour spread. It’s one big newspaper and Google decides which story will be on the front page.
”In 2018 approx 88% of the Australian population are active internet users. That’s a trade show attendance of 21.8 million people. Content marketing is how you find your target audience in the crowd.
The trick is creating the content that will bring the interested business or consumer to your booth. The clever content that will grab and hold the attention of the buyer flicking through the mag. The strategies that will land you on the front page.
Your audience is no longer limited to the couple of thousand people on the trade show floor, or the 25,000 magazine subscribers. You don’t need to pack up and close down your booth at the end of the day. Your promotion isn’t finished when a new edition is released. You can keep it going; but it must be maintained.
For B2B manufacturers distributors and wholesalers, you no longer have to rely on retailers to tell your brand story and reach your target market. You have control AND your efforts are measurable.
How do you measure the success of content marketing?
As consumers trapse all over the web they leave digital footprints everywhere, filled with incredibly useful data and metrics. We won’t bore you with the details; but analytics tools tell us their age, location, interests, even browsing and purchasing behaviour.
With every content marketing piece and digital campaign, we can get immediate feedback. We observe how people arrived, where they came from, how quickly they left and whether or not they valued our content.
Content marketing is not blind advertising, we can see what’s working, and what’s not. This data analysis helps us more accurately measure (and elevate) ROI.
What type of content should you be doing?
A bucket load of everything. That’s the pain point for busy B2B manufacturers and wholesale distributors. It’s easy to grossly misjudge the amount of time and marketing budget that should be invested in content marketing management.
To be executed well it needs to be high quality and consistent. It should be measured and analysed. To succeed and lead to sales it must be nurtured, adjusted and perfected.
Company blog content:
Search engines (and people) love to see fresh new content on a website regularly. This demonstrates the site is current, modern, action-packed and trustworthy.
The content on your blog should transfer knowledge, ideas and experiences. It should be relatable for your target market, interesting, engaging, helpful. Like this blog.
Your blogs should be relevant to your industry; but not too salesy – that’s a job for your web pages.
Customer stories and case studies:
Your potential buyer wants to understand how you can add value to their business or life. Through case studies and real life examples of how you’ve helped someone like them, you can gain their trust and heighten their interest.
Be sure to tell a story and keep it real; long gone are the days of using actors for scripted testimonials.
Videos are a valuable and powerful marketing asset across all digital channels. Demonstrate to your audience that you are experts on your subject matter. Don’t tell them, SHOW them.
Consumers and B2B buyers love videos.
By 2019 video is expected to be responsible for 80% of all global internet traffic. According to Forbes, 90% of customers report that product videos help them make a decision on a purchase. Video content generates 1200% more shares on social media than text and image posts combined.
Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, YouTube…plant your brand everywhere your target is. Well managed social content marketing is a full time job in itself. Posts should be engaging and spark discussion. You want to involve your audience, not spruik to them.
Social listening is just as important as posting. Listen to what your consumers are saying about your products, industry or brand. Share your blogs and stories, allow customers behind the scenes, ask their opinions on new product lines or ideas. Build a brand community.
eBooks and buyers guides:
Everyone loves a freebie. Downloadable eBooks and buyers guides not only help you collect your consumers email address, they further demonstrate your expertise in your field and willingness to help your customers.
How often? And where do you start?
Every day. The more consistent and well maintained your content marketing is, the more successful it will be. Your brand will be trusted, you will stand out against your competitors who are too time poor. You will keep your customers interested and loyal to your brand.
You will continue to grow your following, your rank, and your digital trade show presence in a crowded marketplace. This is daunting and taxing for companies that are not accustomed to the retail-level style of engagement with customers.
So, when we hear that question “how do we relentlessly create content that is compelling and engaging about our brand?” Our answer is, you allocate a budget, and you get help. It’s almost impossible to self-manage content marketing successfully.
We’re problem solvers, so we’ve written this very important concern into our ‘eCommerce as a service’ model, which includes ongoing content marketing creation and strategy support. Your website and digital presence should work for you, not consume you. Get content marketing help, so you can get back to business.