Content marketing (aka Inbound Marketing) is no longer the newcomer to B2B marketing. It’s earning a seat at the table by proving its effectiveness in generating more sales and leads. In fact, it has pulled far away from outbound marketing in generating a better ROI (Source: State of Inbound 2017, Hubspot).
So, if inbound is the best thing since scrolling web pages, why isn’t it clicking for everybody? Why do some inbound initiatives just fall flat? Obviously, every situation is different, but we have some ideas on what might be happening. Here are our top 5.
1. Buyer Persona Quality - Your buyer personas are too generic. If inbound marketing has taught us anything, it’s that leading marketers know their customers much better than they ever did before. The 1-to-1 relationships allow for dialogue that presents customer pain points and needs so that companies can anticipate and deliver solutions. Sometimes, though, companies don’t dig past basic demographics into behavioral, cultural and attitudinal characteristics to understand why buying decisions are made—or not. Get clear on your buyer personas as quickly as possible to make all your content efforts as effective as possible.
2. SMART Goals - Your goals aren’t SMART enough. You’re probably familiar with the SMART technique of goal setting: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely. Maybe you work toward your goals with this method but you feel you’re falling short. Re-visit each characteristic and be crisp with your evaluation of how you’re implementing to each element. Be as specific as possible. Identify the number of leads you need. What dollar volume increase do you want in a certain time period? This isn’t the time to be vague. But don’t over promise either. Get real with your situation and be sure your goals are SMART.
3. Content Quality and Quantity - Not enough of the right content. OK, so this could be two issues—not enough content and not the right content. Either way, your content marketing is not going to get much lift if it’s not addressing your buyer personas or if you simply don’t have enough content volume on a regular basis. Content should always provide relevant, beneficial information and not be too salesy. You’ll also get better engagement if you provide a variety of formats such as blogs, case studies, videos, infographics, etc. Show readers how innovative you are. Then educate them and offer solutions—in your brand tone, of course—and they’ll come to rely on you as a partner with whom they want to align for the long term.
4. Effective Content Promotion - You forget to promote your content. Here’s where a well-thought out content strategy comes into play. Don’t just put content online and hope that the right people will find it. Google’s search database now has knowledge of 130 trillion pages. Yea. Good luck getting found if you don’t promote your content. Start by identifying the places where your customers hang out online and then be there. Be present on social media, professional forums, guest blogs, etc. Your customers and potential customers are looking for expert solutions and it’s your job to get to them first.
5. Commitment to Consistency - You lose momentum. Content marketing isn’t a set-it-and-forget-it proposition. It must be constantly maintained. Social media must be monitored. Blogs need new content every week. Videos should support product launches. You get the idea. Your customers will come to rely on you for substantive information and you literally can’t stop producing or the gap in communication will be noticed. Not what you want. So, dedicate a team to define a content strategy and then create a content plan that’s relevant, authentic and consistent.
Let’s face it. You’re not in this to lose so why do you let your content marketing up to chance? If it’s a matter of resources, let us help. We’re experts in industrial B2B marketing and can hit the ground running—and keep your content strategy fresh—so that you’re one of the all-time great content marketing success stories.