We all know that…

  • B-to-B buyers want web content specific to their industry
  • B-to-B buyers want web content specific to their role in their organization
  • Providing content to prospects based on where they are in the sales cycle will produce optimal results
  • B-to-B buyers want web content that is delivered within the context of their problems (and appropriate solutions), but most feel that the content they’re receiving is far more company and product-centric

Most B-to-B marketers believe that their web marketing is fairly targeted. While most will admit that they could be doing a much better job, the notion that marketing should be focused and targeted is nothing new, right?

There’s a large gap between how decent of a job marketers believe they’re doing and how targeted their buyers actually feel that their content is.

So what’s the problem?

I’ve worked with hundreds of marketers over the years and there have been very few that…weren’t resource-challenged in terms of content development. Content is the one thing we all know we need, yet never have enough of. And considering current budgets, we certainly can’t expect to instantly fix the problem by throwing money at it.

Baby steps

So maybe you’re not going to rewrite your whole website tomorrow. But if you tackle your content challenges in small pieces, you can actually make dramatic improvements and see improved results in a relatively short amount of time. Some tips ..

  • Start with a content audit of your website and other online materials (e-mail marketing, blogs, etc.) Ask a customer or two to review a few pages on your website and tell you if they honestly feel that the content is customer problem-centric, or more about your company and your products.
  • If you serve specific vertical markets, evaluate your industry content. Do you have any industry-targeted content at all? Ideally, you not only want an “Industries” section on your website (with appropriate solutions), but also industry-specific case studies, white papers and client testimonials (at the very least). And be sure that your industry content is not only identifying with industry-targeted pain points, but also written in a way to show that you truly understand the industry. Semantics go a long way.
  • Are you effectively targeting prospects at different phases of their sales cycle. A common mistake we see a lot of B-to-B marketers make is assuming that all leads will follow their typical sales cycle. (whether 3 months, 6 months, 12 months or longer). On the web, it’s important to remember that a prospect might conduct a search, seek you out and become a lead once they’re already 90% into their buying cycle.
  • So now take a look at your website’s lead-generation calls-to-action. (and by the way, a standard “Contact Us” form does not count as a call-to-action). Make sure that you’re providing actionable offers for each level of the sales cycle. For instance, white papers and other educational resources are great for early-cycle prospects in the awareness phase. Demos and case studies are effective for buyers a bit further into their buying cycles. And for the hot prospect with a P.O. practically in-hand, your site should include hot action drivers such as “Contact Sales”, “Let’s Discuss Your Project” or “Receive a Quote”. Even live chat is a viable option, providing you have the resources to man the system.
  • And don’t forget executives. While the Director of IT might read a 9-page technical white paper, such an offer will not entice a CEO or CFO. Consider a one-page “Research Report” describing how the ROI on your product or service is a no-brainer. Provide these C-levels with hard-hitting data that absolutely assures them that their money will be well-invested. They’re concerned with things like ROI, speed of implementation and operational efficiency.

And as always, if you feel you could use some assistance with your targeting strategy or even content development, you can call on eMagine.