Content Marketing for beginners: Learn the basics
Content Marketing is the base for every great digital marketing strategy. Learn the basics and get started today.
Traditional marketing becomes less effective every single day. Handing out flyers or sending gift boxes is more time consuming and expensive than digital marketing. B2B companies that aren’t promoting their company in the digital world are falling behind.
Content marketing provides the building blocks for expanding your reach and generating more high-quality leads. When it comes to creating a good digital marketing strategy, leaving content marketing out would be a huge mistake.
What is content marketing?
Content marketing is a digital marketing approach that focuses on generating high-quality content, consistently, to attract and retain a target market and drive someone to take a certain action.
Content marketing is also focused heavily on building up relationships and trust with your target market.
As we mentioned, traditional marketing is slowly being pushed aside and companies are needing to discover new ways of promoting their business. Over time, we have become much more aware of advertisements – you see them on every website you go on, as you walk down the street, everywhere. We’re exposed to 4,000-10,000 advertisements every single day!
We react less to ‘sales’ messages and crave high-quality, informative content.
From a company’s point of view, it’s impossible to implement a digital marketing strategy without great content.
Types of digital content
Before we go through how to approach content marketing for B2B businesses, we want to list all the possible forms of digital content.
Why do you need content marketing?
So many businesses are doing content marketing. From small businesses to international corporations. The Nikes, Apples, and Disneys of the world are all creating high-quality content to boost their brand’s presence.
But how do you know if it’s right for your company? Is it even relevant to B2B?
Content marketing is looked at as a digital marketing channel that is for B2C marketers, but that isn’t true. It’s more important in B2B than B2C. In the B2C world, you’re promoting a product or services directly to the purchaser. Meaning there are fewer people who have to approve it and they’re decision takes into account emotional wants, visual aspects, what’s trending, etc.
For B2B, you have to convince multiple different people within a company that you’re product or service is the best fit for their company. So you need to prove that your features or offering fits, that you can generate results (whatever that may be), and in most cases, you need to be able to prove that you know the industry, their business, their needs, and so on.
Content marketing is the best strategy to prove these things and nurture potential clients through the sales funnel.
Blog posts are the most important form of content marketing. A business needs to be consistently posting high-quality, engaging blog posts that attract potential leads and nurture current leads.
Blog posts also play a key role with SEO, as creating them allows you to capture new rankings for more keywords.
Many businesses approach digital marketing as getting as much traffic as possible to their landing page, which is a very bad approach. Homepages aren’t built for conversions. They’re built to direct traffic to the content they need. Whereas blog posts land the person on the content they need without having to search.
Some of the most popular types of blog posts are:
- How to’s – walk people through a particular process or skills
- List posts – “Top 10 best outreach emails” is an example
- Checklists – List the things that someone needs to do to achieve an outcome
- Infographics – A blog post that is a graphic full of information
- Advice from experts – pick a topic and get an expert to address that topic
Emails are what drive a cold lead to a conversion. Once a person lands on your blog post, the call to actions (CTAs) on that page can prompt them to input their email address.
Once you’ve captured that email address, you can use emails to nurture them through the sales funnel. These are often set up to send automatically based on certain actions or rules.
Emails provide a higher ROI than any other digital marketing channel – for every dollar you spend, email’s ROI is $40.00 on average.
A potential client needs to know that you’re the best fit for their company and that you can provide what they need. You can try to convince them that this is your business all you like but if you want to get that client, you need to be able to provide proof.
Case studies are the best way to do this. They’re an overview of current clients, what you do for them, how you’ve helped them and what results you have accomplished.
These case studies will sit on your website where people can view them.
Case studies always seem like a hard thing to get. Most businesses are too scared to ask their clients to answer some questions but more often than not, your clients are happy to help. Plus they get a mention of your website, so it’s a win-win!
If you’re not sure where to start, reach out to your oldest client with the following questions:
- What challenges cause you to implement/buy a [insert product/service]?
- What made [company name] the standout?
- What was the reaction to [company name]?
- Can you share some metrics on how [business name] help?
- What have you been most impressed with?
Once you get a client to complete these questions, you’ll have all the information you need to create an awesome case study!
Ebooks are downloadable documents full of content on a specific subject. Ebooks are widely used by B2B companies to capture emails and provide new leads with information.
Ebooks can be on any subject that suits the needs of your digital marketing strategy. They could simply be a curated blog post, case study or a company overview.
Generally, a person will need to provide some key information about themselves before they can download the ebook, making them a lead-generating magnet.
Webinars have only recently become popular as businesses have realised their potential in generating new leads.
Webinars are run through video calling platforms, like Zoom, and require people to sign up through a landing page. These landing pages are then promoted through social media and emails. When it’s time for the webinar, all you need to do is log in to the Zoom meeting and people who registered will be promoted to do the same.
This generates leads by building a relationship with potential clients and giving them insight into your business.
You might be wondering what a B2B business could run a webinar about and the answer is anything!
You can pick a topic that you feel your audience would want to hear about. A great way to come up with the topic is to look at your top-performing blog posts and craft the webinar around that. Another option is to simply ask your current clients what they would like to hear about or why they chose to go with you.
Don’t expect a webinar to work the first time, it could take a few times to get it right but once you’ve done it a couple of times you could have hundreds of people dialing in.
Content marketing and the sales funnel
When it comes to B2B content marketing, it’s a whole different approach than B2C. In B2C you’re only selling to one person. That person can decide to buy your product or service and doesn’t rely on anyone else.
In B2B, you can have multiple people who need to approve. The deal size is bigger and it requires a lot more work.
So when you approach B2B content marketing, you need to approach it with the four steps of the sales funnel in mind.
Awareness is the top of the funnel. It’s getting leads into the funnel and getting your business known.
The types of content you need for this level of the sales funnel are:
- Blog posts
- Email newsletters
At the consideration stage, the lead knows who your business is and they’re deciding whether to go with your business or not.
The types of content you need for this level of the sales funnel is:
- Case studies
- How to’s that use your product or service as the example
- Demo videos
- Product descriptions
At the decision stage, the website visitor is ready to turn into a paying customer. This is where you’d make the final pitch and get them across the line.
The types of content you need at this level of the sales funnel is:
- A great sales process
At the retention level, you’re educating your current clients about your product or service and keeping them engaged.
The types of content you need at this level of the sales funnel is:
- Special offers
- Insider how to’s
- Feature announcements
Now that you have a basic understanding of content and how it works with the sales funnel, the question is how much does content marketing cost?
How much does content marketing cost?
The cost of content marketing has a few factors – experience, type, length, frequency – the list goes on.
You could be looking at a number as small as $300 per blog post up to $50,000 per month for the development and execution of a content marketing strategy.
It depends on what your business needs are, your budget and how good the agency or freelancer is.