6 Secrets To Boost Your B2B Content Marketing Efforts In 2017

Michael Brenner on Nov 7, 2016 in Content Marketing

70% of B2B marketers expect their organizations to produce more content next year, according to the latest annual B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends research from Content Marketing Institute (CMI) and MarketingProfs. With so much B2B content out there competing for your target audience’s attention, what can you do to make sure your content will stand out, connect with them and convert?

According to a research from Eccolo Media, B2B buyers think much of the existing B2B content is too long, too general and has too much marketing hype around the B2B offering as well as their features and benefits. So what should B2B marketers do in their content? What’s actually considered effective content?

Lead gen expert Dan Stelter studied 100 B2B software and tech company websites to find out exactly what’s missing in B2B content that today’s consumers are looking for, and these are six insights you can leverage to boost your B2B content marketing efforts in 2017:

1. Buyer Pain

B2B Content Marketing buyer painsStelter found that more than three-fourths of the companies he’s looked at did not adequately address their target audience’s pain points. And even those who did, the content was not compelling enough to make him feel like the pain points were adequately addressed.

This is a big missed opportunity since a survey conducted by Google, Motista and CEB found that B2B customers, compared to consumers, are much more emotionally connected to their vendors. This is because what’s at stake is higher for B2B buyers than consumers with their purchase decision.

With a product they’re not satisfied with, consumers can typically return them for a full refund or credit back. B2B purchases, on the other hand, do not work the same way. Given how costly these investments can cost (six or even seven-figure at times), B2B buyers on average have to work with anywhere from five to twenty decision-makers and stakeholders. And if they made a bad buying decision, it can cost B2B buyers their professional reputation, credibility and even their job.

By speaking to the pain points your target B2B buyers are facing, and acting as their strategic partner and advisor, you can more effectively stand out from your competitors, connect and engage with your customers through your content.

2. Fear Of Loss

B2B Content Marketing fear of lossFear of loss is a powerful motivator to drive people to take actions. And there’s even scientific research to back this up. The research suggests that, when something is framed as a loss, people are more inclined to take action to avoid pain and loss, even if the outcome at the end is the same.

But surprisingly, out of the 100 companies Stelter looked at, only three companies have discussed this on their company home pages.

When creating content then, think about how you can communicate the pain and loss your B2B offering can help alleviate, to make your content more effective and compelling.

3. Features And Benefits

B2B Content Marketing benefits featuresStelter found that the company websites he’s looked at generally do one of these following two things: one, they discuss, on average, three to six of the major benefits and features of their B2B offering; and two, they briefly mention their benefits and features without highlighting them in detail.

Going back to the Eccolo Media study, most B2B buyers felt that today’s content is too focused on promoting the benefits and features of a product or service. These findings may suggest that B2B content focused on features and benefits isn’t as valuable to B2B buyers as what some brands and marketers may like to think.

4. Stakeholder Conflicts

B2B Content Marketing stakeholder conflictsA big missed opportunity Shelter found was addressing stakeholder conflicts. Not a single company he looked at has discussed and provided solutions to managing these issues.

According to CEB research, most stakeholder conflicts arise early on in the buyer’s journey. What B2B marketers can do through their content is to help B2B buyers reach consensus, and this can be done by:

  • Focusing on the common ground among multiple stakeholders by discussing shared topics and learnings important to them.
  • Increasing rewards and decreasing risks for decision-makers who have more influence over the final purchase decision.
  • Providing these decision-makers with the resources and tools they need to advocate for your B2B offering and influence others within their organization.

While you want to personalize your content so you’re addressing the stakeholder conflicts that are relevant to your B2B buyers, you also don’t want to personalize your messaging so much that it alienates the needs of other stakeholders who are involved in the decision-making process. Because when that happens, consensus can’t be reached and a final purchase decision won’t be made.

5. Business Benefits

B2B Content Marketing business valueStelter found that most B2B companies had compelling and relevant messaging around the benefits of their B2B offering to the business. The weaker company pages only offered generic benefits their product or service can provide to their target audience’s companies.

If you want to improve your B2B content, you’ll want to develop a deep understanding of your B2B buyers and the business benefits that are important and relevant to them. From there, think about how you can incorporate that messaging into your content as you’re developing it.

6. Personal Benefits

B2B Content Marketing personal valueThere’s a common perception among some B2B marketers that B2B purchasing decisions are made solely based on reason and logic, because business is not supposed to be “personal.” But the reality is that personal benefits can and do play a central role in how B2B purchasing decisions are made.

According to Kapost, personal value has twice as much impact as business value does. 71% of B2B buyers who see personal value in a B2B offering will purchase the product or solution. And, 68% of B2B buyers who see a personal value in a B2B offering are willing to pay a higher price for it. In contrast, only 8.5% of B2B buyers who see no personal value will pay a higher price for a B2B offering.

Emotion Influences B2B BuyingTo improve your content effectiveness, you’ll need to address and highlight personal value in addition to the business benefits your B2B product or service can offer to a B2B buyer’s organization.

Do you have any other content marketing tips on how to better connect and engage B2B buyers? Please share your ideas below!

Are you interested in engaging and converting new customers for your business? Contact me here and let’s talk about how we can help. Or follow me on LinkedInTwitterFacebook and if you like what you see, Subscribe here for regular updates.

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Michael Brenner
Michael Brenner
Michael Brenner is a globally-recognized keynote speaker, author of The Content Formula and the CEO of Marketing Insider Group. He has worked in leadership positions in sales and marketing for global brands like SAP and Nielsen, as well as for thriving startups. Today, Michael shares his passion on leadership and marketing strategies that deliver customer value and business impact. He is recognized by the Huffington Post as a Top Business Keynote Speaker and a top CMO influencer by Forbes. Please follow him on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook and Subscribe here for regular updates.
Showing 3 comments
  • Carolyn Frith

    Do you have any examples of the companies that are doing it right or almost right? I see none are addressing stakeholder conflicts.

    • Michael Brenner

      Great question Carolyn. Maybe I’ll do a follow-up post ;-).

      I don’t now of a company addressing stakeholder conflicts! But I do think the research is valuable, especially for B2B.

  • Deepa

    Hi Michael, The article brings out the importance of understanding buyer personas and their motivations very well in a B2B environment which one generally tends to overlook