B2B content marketing can seem like a strategy that's hard to pin down in terms of clearly defining your ROI. The problem is that while content marketing is a large-scale tactic that can be used to benefit every part of the sales funnel, trying to lump it all together to prove ROI as a whole is nearly impossible and doesn't really give you any valuable insight.
Instead, if you want to see the value of B2B content marketing, look at how it influences each stage of the buyer's journey as new website visitors slowly become paying customers.
Content to Bring in Prospects
Drawing in fresh leads is at the heart of boosting your bottom line. Without new prospects, your sales team has nobody to pursue, and your profits stagnate. Here’s how B2B content marketing brings new people into your fold:
- More Visibility. Almost 90 percent of consumers turn to search engines for answers. In the earliest stages of the buyer’s journey, fresh, relevant content helps you show up in search results and provides helpful information for prospects to share with their colleagues.
- Branding Messages. Branded content is a great way to help people new to your company find out who you are, what sets your business apart, and what drives your company's success.
- Building Trust. B2B buyers are often making decisions that will have a ripple effect on their company. With so much riding on their choices, trust is essential. Your content will lay the foundation of a good business relationship and ease fears.
- Increase Conversions. This is your goal in the early stages. Small businesses with a blog get 126 percent more leads than those without. Content marketing also generates more than three times as many leads compared to outbound methods. Fresh leads mean more sales.
Using content in the early stages of the purchasing process also produces better-qualified leads, as each prospect has had a chance to find out early on whether your product or service is not a good match. The result is fewer resources dedicated to leads that were never going to pan out into a sale.
Content to Nurture Leads
The middle of the funnel is another area where content really shines. Not only does it keep your leads warm while inching them closer to a sale, but it can also be highly automated at this phase to keep your resources in check.
B2B prospects at this point are still doing their own homework and will work through almost 60 percent of the purchase process before engaging with your sales team. They are, however, receptive to emails that are packed with information and highly focused on their needs.
In fact, 80 percent of business decision-makers prefer to get information from a series of articles rather than an ad. Automated, lead-nurturing emails were designed to trickle out information in a timely manner.
The content you supply here will satisfy your prospects’ need to do their own research while still guiding them in the right direction. The result of using content at this stage is fewer leads lost because they were unable to answer their questions, and leads that are ripe for your sales team to begin direct engagement.
How Content Closes the Deal
Right before a prospect makes a purchase, they're ready for cost analysis, price comparisons, understanding what to gain from your solutions, and determining whether there are any additional expenses such as installation or implementation.
In other words, they need just a bit more information — and content delivers yet again. Much of this content might come directly from a sales rep, but that rep should have an entire library available to advise their leads at just the right moment.
Once those last few hurdles are removed, the sale is made. Thanks, content!
B2B Content Marketing Boosts Retention
Getting your retention rates to creep up by just 5 percent can add at least 25 percent to your profits, and up to 95 percent more for some industries. Continue using content that’s highly personalized and relevant to the customer to keep building trust, cross-sell and upsell, and offer incentives for upgrading or updating when necessary.
Remember, customers who have a great experience with your company are seven times more likely to buy from you again and to forgive possible mistakes. They're also nine times more likely to recommend you to a friend or colleague.
Content Marketing for the Win
Content ROI means so much more than just impacting sales and boosting your bottom line. Content is there for you every step of the way, from the moment a new visitor first becomes aware of your company's name until they become one of your best evangelists.