Why Content Marketing Is the Sweet Spot for B2B Consultants
First, What Is Content Anyway?
My friends at Powered By Coffee over in the UK couldn’t have said it better…
“Your content is anything on your website that isn’t the site itself. Anything that isn’t the design, the buttons, the elements or the code. This is why web design projects that don’t factor in content from the start are doomed to fail spectacularly – you are basically producing a book that you hope will sell but instead of focusing on the words inside your spend all your time on the cover of the book and how its looks on the shelf, hoping that will be enough to entice buyers.
Content can be anything that is communicated and provides value and isn’t just decoration – blog posts, articles, video, podcasts, downloadable white papers, email auto responders or even apps. Your content should be as designed as any other part of your site, it should be thought of strategically, as a resource and a means to a particular end. You should have clear goals for what your content will enable for you and the people who consume it.”
Why Does Content Matter?
B2B Content marketing helps us generate new clients, and retain old ones. Firstly, content is the engine on which you build engagement and rapport with your prospects.
Content builds trust and lowers risk
In a world of increasing commoditization and increasing globalization, how do we stay competitive as consultants and service providers? We can’t compete on price, there will always be someone prepared to do the work for less. The big secret is that people don’t buy on just price – they buy on risk. By using content to demonstrate what you know and how you’ve applied it before, to solve a similar problem that your prospect has, you can demonstrably lower the risk of working with you over other businesses. You have helped your prospect trust you and hence, like you. And people want to work with people they like. Through intelligent, purposeful and valuable content on your website, you can demonstrate what you know and how you’ve applied it. Through proactive blogging and article writing, you can actively help your prospects with problems in their businesses. Providing value builds trust.
Content speeds up your sales process
For many consultants, sales conversations can be difficult. Content can help here as well. The sales process generally has many stages. Most of these stages involve conversations with your prospect. While this can’t be avoided, it can be sped up. Producing content that answers the commonly asked questions you get during the process means you can direct people to these resources in a repeatable fashion, saving you time during your sales and on-boarding process. Furthermore, a 2011 survey discovered that B2B (business to business) customers will make contact with a business only after independently completing 60% of their decision process. That 60% happens before they even identify themselves to you. Your valuable, authoritative content needs to keep you on top of the game during that first 60%, or you will never even get a chance to talk to your potential customer.
Content helps you get found
Finally, content will help you get found. Content, done correctly, doesn’t disappear when you change your web design or your marketing agency, it is an evergreen resource that is always there, always answering questions, always providing value and always accessible by Google and the other search engines. Consistently adding content that provides value to your site helps you look good from a search engine’s perspective, so they are going to rank you higher than someone who doesn’t actively generate good content. Having more good content also means you can answer more questions and provide more value, giving you more opportunity to be found in the first place. A steady stream of new content to promote helps you get found on social media as well. Content which provides value will be shared organically around the network. Shared content builds an audience and an audience becomes more traffic and clients. More traffic, more conversions, more customers, more money. Simple.
Content can, and should be recycled
Content is not limited to one use. Website content can and should be used across as many mediums as is appropriate. Many find that repackaging blog content into email marketing campaigns to be very effective. Some consolidate content into white papers or eBooks. Re-purposing content can stretch your budget further, and by reusing your content assets across as many mediums as you can, you regularly and consistently reinforce your brand.
Content is a business asset
Content that generate sales, improve processes or builds your brand is important and can be considered as part of your asset column on your balance sheet. The value of a business isn’t just limited to what profit it makes, but also what assets that business possesses. Those assets can be physical objects, but they can also be intellectual property or processes. Content, done well, is an asset that adds value. Content is the most essential aspect of your consulting website and your marketing strategy. Miss that, and you’ve completely missed the point.