How to engage your B2B audience - Building the perfect content strategy
Sam Malik, digital marketing specialist at DrFelix, shares some effective tips for digital PR professionals to enagage their target audience and generate meaningful results
Building a following on social media, and increasing readership of your B2B content takes a lot of work. It isn’t enough to just have Facebook likes, Twitter followers or LinkedIn shares. Conversions are much more important. There are many inbound marketing tools to schedule your content to be published on the internet, but there isn’t a “magic pill” you can swallow for to engage your B2B audience.
Attracting the attention of prospects which resemble your ideal persona is just the beginning. You need to:
- Communicate your unique selling proposition
- Demonstrate you can provide the prospect with significant value for their investment
- Tell compelling stories which your customers can see themselves starring in
- Deliver messages which convey emotion, and give your company a human side
- Articulate (and stand behind) your perspective on important subjects, and inspire thought and action in your reader
Each of these goals takes commitment, creativity, and confidence in your domain expertise. Ensuring your marketing content rises above the “noise’ of your competitors and pretenders takes time, consistent messaging and the ability to hold two way conversations.
Here are five strategies your company can use to engage your target audience, and generate meaningful results.
1. Be a master story teller
Coming up with content ideas is challenging, though real life stories are always happening before your eyes. Talk to one of your existing customers about why they chose to work with you and how they benefit from your products and/or services. Your insights are valuable for building authority and credibility, but a success story demonstrates you can walk your talk.
Even better than writing a client success story is having the customer write it themselves. UGC, otherwise known as user generated content is extremely valuable for engagement. Even a customer who was once dissatisfied can become an advocate for you, if you address their concerns and create a happy ending. If you publish stories about your successes as well as when your company wasn’t at its best, you come across as more authentic.
If you don’t have the time or energy to tell stories yourself, find people in your company who have a flair for spinning a tale. Your staff across sales, operations, customer service and manufacturing all have different perspectives, and different stories to tell. Consider holding a contest for the best stories from each of your departments. Use the stories on your website, or in your regular newsletters.
2. Show your human side
Having your employees tell their own stories provides fresh content, and a variety of personalities which prospective customers can connect with. Highlight employees who are involved in:
- Volunteering for community or social causes like Habitat for Humanity or Junior Achievement
- Sports or other community events
- Industry associations or Chambers of Commerce
- User groups or professional associations
Showing how your employees are empowered to be engaged in causes and organizations they believe in is a great way to build customer engagement. If decision makers in your target market have similar interests, it can lead to opportunities to build relationships and foster trust.
If your employees are active in the community, and on social media, nominate a group of people to be ambassadors and share your company’s content on their social media channels. Having multiple channels to promote your content is better than just one.
3. Be responsive to customer feedback
Make sure your social media channels are used not just for self-promotion. Become aware of mentions of your products and services online. Use tools like Social Mention, Google Alerts and other social listening tools. Addressing complaints and accolades online will instil confidence in your target market, and help to build your online following.
There are a number of B2B brands that have publicly acknowledged negative customer feedback, and turned it into a win. Take Hootsuite for example, when they responded to negative customer feedback like Jimmy Kimmel’s popular Mean Tweets segment. Not only did they show their sense of humour, they also leveraged a popular pop culture phenomenon, and got great promotion for their upgraded application user interface at the same time. They increased their following, engagement and reputation, all in one light-hearted campaign.
4. Empower your customers to serve themselves
Providing tools and programs with a community spin helps to build advocacy. Your company should consider:
- Customer support forums, moderated by your company
- Groups on social media channels like Facebook or LinkedIn
- Self-service portals, where you give customers access to videos, special promotions and ordering channels for products and services
- Premium support programs
If you are in a business which needs to deliver a lot of information to customers, or have a high volume of calls into your support team or call center – find tools like knowledge bases, FAQ pages and other web content to help your clients get the information they need quickly, accurately and without having to wait on hold. Establish ways for your customers for your customers to feel like they belong, and you’ve got engagement!
5. Personalised content
Are you creating persona-based direct mail, e-mail or creating personalized content? If you make a B2B customer feel like you understand who they are, what their interests are and what they need, you’ll improve your conversion rate on your inbound marketing goals.
Seek out feedback from your sales team, mine data from your CRM system and evaluate the content which has been effective to certain industries and roles before. Vanilla messaging might work on occasion, but content which is tailored for a specific industry and contact role will increase conversion on your digital marketing goals, and increase the win rate of your campaigns.
Complete B2B customer engagement reportedly drives as much as twenty-five percent more revenue than companies that are struggling with keeping their client base and top prospects tuned into their content. Following these suggestions will help your improve your content marketing effectiveness, and help your customers feel more connected and informed about where your company is going.